Psalm 119: Samek 113-120

Here we have a dominion worthy of service. Even today we recognize the pride that comes with belonging to the winning side, so it offers no difficulty to understand the psalmist’s frank boasting in His Master. The entire octet is cast in terms of feudal military service.

He starts with a common adjective meaning “divided,” but in this context refers to someone lacking a clarity of commitment, a fraudulent enlistment. It indicates someone whose heart lacks a decisive loyalty, making the mind too confused to act with moral consistency. Such people are the psalmist’s enemy, but the Law is his battle buddy. He then refers to the Lord’s authority as a tactical advantage, offering both, concealment from being spotted too soon, and a shield of protection in battle. It keeps him going when it seems everything is going against him.

A great many ancient armies were conscripted from prisons and social outcasts. Our psalmist wants no part of that; he would rather march alone than accept support from that sort of greedy predator. God’s army marches the high road. So he asks that the Lord keep him strong within the just power of His Word, for anything less is death. It’s better to wait until God divides the spoil and honors His loyal servants at the very end than to slip away early with a lion’s share that might see him hiding from his Master.

God’s provision for His servants is always the best within a given context, even if it seems austere by human standards. It’s better to be free from distracting cares of excess baggage and comfort. He intends to keep his focus on what God says really matters to Him. When the camp of God moves out, He leads off by treading down those who slept late from hangover. They could have known it was coming. The psalmist employs a clever pun, using a Hebrew word for arming oneself with weapons of deceit that aren’t much of a threat.

Our Lord scrapes off the wicked like the dross that floats atop molten silver or gold, implying that He tosses them aside as unworthy of attention. What’s left is a purified treasure — His true servants. He purges His army to keep an illustrious record of moral victory that is endearing to those who seek His favor. The psalmist ends with an image of one who sees no place to hide from the intense scrutiny of his Lord, the One who sees clearly every motive of his heart.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
This entry was posted in bible and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.