Theme: Guarding Us from Dangers and Enemies
In this week’s lessons, this stanza of Psalm 119 tells us how we can shed light on the darkness of our lives.
Scripture: Psalm 119:105-112
In the studies from the last two days, we have looked at some areas we see clearly by the light of the Bible. Today we continue with two more.
5. The dangers of this life (v. 109). The Hebrew of this verse says literally, “My soul in my hands constantly.” The idea is exactly the same as the English idiom, “I am taking my life in my hands.” It means that the writer is in constant danger.
Whenever we find the psalms talking about danger we usually think of physical danger, and it is true that the psalmists, particularly David, did face physical danger. David’s enemies were always out to get him. But this is not all the psalms speak of. They also speak of spiritual dangers like falling into sin or forgetting God. This verse combines these two ideas. When the writer speaks of taking his life in his hands, he is expressing the idea of actually losing it. That is, he might be killed. But when he adds, nevertheless, “I will not forget your law,” he is confessing that the far greater danger would be for him to abandon God’s Word and begin to live a purely secular life. In other words, the Bible clarifies the nature of the danger and shows where his true peril lies.
Do we understand that about life? I do not think so, and the fact I would put into evidence is the nature of our prayers. The prayers I hear have to do almost exclusively with having good health (or getting better when we or someone else is sick), succeeding at our jobs, passing a test, or perhaps praying that someone else might become a Christian. But where are the prayers that we might be kept from sin, that we or those close to us might become more godly, that we might be able to live better for God or get to know God better? We need the Bible to clarify our true danger. We will never be aware of our danger without it.
6. Enemies (v. 110). This verse teaches the same lessons as the one before it, making clear that the writer really was in danger of being killed by his enemies. They are “the wicked” who had set snares for him. If we are trying to live for Christ, we will have similar experiences. Ungodly people will also set snares for us because they hate us and the Lord we are serving. They will try to make us look bad before our friends or fail at our jobs. If we are going to see our way through this problem and remain on the right path spiritually, we are going to have to study God’s Word to get our priorities straight and be reminded that it is far more important to be approved by God than by other people.
But how can we read of the wicked fixing snares for us without thinking also of our even greater enemy, the devil, who we are told is “crafty” (Gen. 3:1), “the father of lies” (John 8:44) and “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8)? If we are going to triumph over this most terrible enemy, we will need to know everything the Bible says about him and his tactics. We will need to know that he is powerful, but also that he is a defeated foe. Most important of all, we will need to know that the greatest battles we face are “not against flesh and blood [that is, what other people might do], but against … the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). The Bible clarifies the nature of these struggles, showing that it is our spiritual battles, rather than mere material or physical success, that really matter.
What spiritual dangers do we all face?
What kind of enemies does a Christian have? How should a Christian react to their snares?
Reflection: Examine your prayers to God this week. Are they generally lists of requests? Do you spend time praising God and getting to know him better?
Key Point: We need the Bible to clarify our true danger. We will never be aware of our danger without it.
Prayer: Ask God’s protection from your true danger.