In each of the stanzas we have studied thus far we have found the writer's confession that although he was determined to study God's Word and live by it, he nevertheless could not do this by himself. In the first stanza he cried out, “I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me” (v. 8). In the second stanza he prayed, "Teach me your decrees” (v. 12). It is the same in stanzas three and four. Here he is reflecting on his many trials because of wanting to live by God's law. But if he is to live by it, God will have to open it up to him, teach him, give him understanding and keep him from other, false ways. He prays for four things. 

In today's study we continue our discussion of the persecutions that come to those who adhere to God's Word. We have already looked at the trials of alienation and slander. 

As we saw in yesterday's lesson, in stanzas three and four of Psalm 119 the psalmist speaks of the trials that come to one who lives by the law of God. The first trial he mentions, alienation, contains two ideas. The first is that we pass through this world only a short while with little time to know and live by God's Word. The second is the thought of being out of place in this world. Believers are alienated from the world by belonging to God, whom the world does not know or honor. This thought seems to belong to the larger context, for after speaking of his own desire to know God's commands, the poet writes of the “arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands” (v. 21) and the princes" who "sit together and slander me" (v. 23). 

M. Blaiklock is a well-known Bible scholar from Australia and a former professor of classics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He has written a book about the influence of the Bible on his life, called The Bible & I. At one point in this book he thinks back over the weeks he once spent lecturing on Psalm 119 and how, as he studied and lectured, he came to appreciate the suffering the writer seems to have gone through: 

Is Jesus Christ your kinsman? Are you related to him by saving faith? Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” Can you say, “My Redeemer, my Jesus”? Do not let this Christmas go by until you can claim that personal relationship with Jesus for yourself. Do not rest this night until you rest in him.