Friday, November 2, 2018

Scripture to Meditate On

Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies. Psalms 119:22

The first question to ask has to do with the scorn and contempt that the psalmist is facing. Whence? Who is dealing with him in this way and why? I think that the best choice is to say that our friend is facing problems because of those around him who don't share his zeal for God. He is working at being as righteous as he can and they don't like that. He is too religious for them and so they react with scorn and contempt. 

Jesus warns us about this.

It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. Matthew 10:25 

We are once again dealing with a basic aspect of life in this fallen world. It's the wicked against the righteous.

So, the psalmist appeals to God to deal with this, to take it all away. Is that a good prayer? Well, it must be okay, at least in some situations. After all, here it is in the Bible on the lips of one of the righteous. However, it needs to be said that it would be a very poor prayer if the one making the request is simply interested in a comfortable life, a life without these problems that come with working at holy living. But clearly, that isn't what the psalmist is thinking. And we know that because of the second part of this prayer. 'for I have kept your testimonies.' No, this isn't one of those who want to skate through life painlessly and on into heaven. This is someone who is working on submitting to the will of God. And what he wants is to be able to continue to do that.

Now, note that first little word of the second part of his prayer: 'for'. Such a little word and yet, such an important word. The psalmist is giving what he thinks is a good reason for God to grant his request in the first part of the prayer. God should take those things away because our friend is working at obedience.

He could have pointed to many other good reasons why God should act. He could have referred to God's love for His saints or one of His many promises. But instead, he points to his own faithfulness in obeying. In this way, the psalmist is actually appealing to the covenant that he has with his God. 'I will be your God and you will be My people.'

It's as if he were saying, 'I've been working at keeping my covenant promise to live as one of Your people, and now I'm looking to You to keep Your covenant promise to be my God. Rescue me from my oppressors.'

That's quite a good basis for his request and a very good reason for God to act.

Will God grant this prayer? Of course He will. But that may have to wait a while. It just may be that the time when all those who trouble us because of our zeal for Jesus will be removed from us will be in the age to come. It will certainly happen then. Might it happen now, also? It could, but we should not demand that. Remember those words of Jesus that I quoted above.