Psalm 119:161-168 – Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word. I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil. I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law. Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws. Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. I wait for your salvation, O LORD, and I follow your commands. I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.
" Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.” This was the question raised and the statement made by the members of the early church in Acts 4. Peter and John had just been imprisoned, chastised, and threatened for healing a lame man in Jesus’ name! The question notes that such raging and plotting is in vain. All rules and authority in conflict with God cannot long endure.
Rulers who enact laws and agendas that oppose the law of God and persecute those who love and trust in Him are not a new phenomenon on the earth. In contrast to his mortal foes and their temporary rule, our Psalmist recognizes the eternal authority of God’s Word and the surety of His promises. Therefore, he trembles at God’s Word, he rejoices in God’s promise, he hates falsehood, but he loves God’s law. Multiple times a day he finds reason to praise God for His righteous laws. It’s also clear to him that God’s law leads to peace and surety. His obedience to God is the fruit of his love for God, for His truth and righteousness expressed in His statutes and precepts, and of God’s love for him.
A hymn by Maltbie D. Babcock helps us appreciate this part of Psalm 119:
This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears all nature sings,
and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light,
the lily white, declare their maker's praise.
This is my Father's world: he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
GOD IS THE RULER YET!
This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King;
let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!
Prayer Challenge: Pray that God will grant every believer: a passionate devotion to His Word, a humble recognition that we have much room for growth and improvement, His corrective discipline (that may be painful but produces good fruit), and a steadfast courage with strength to endure the arrogance, hostility, ridicule and slander of those who disregard the beauty and authority of God’s Word.