Theme: Looking to God Always
In this week’s lessons, this portion of Psalm 119 shows that there are absolutes by which believers must live, which are contrary to what the world puts forth.
Scripture: Psalm 119:113-128
In the last of these three stanzas (ayin, vv. 121-128), which have to do with walking by God’s Word, the contrasts that have already been introduced reoccur: the need for clear direction in a sinful, dark world; threat of enemies versus the sustaining grace of God; and hatred of sin versus love of God’s Word. But going on from the writer’s awe of God introduced at the end of the last stanza, what this stanza emphasizes is that if we are to walk as God wants us to walk, we must keep looking to him intently and at all times. As far as sin is concerned, we must look to God’s commandments. As far as dangers go, we must look to God for deliverance.
One combination of words that seems to tie the stanza together is “your servant,” which is found in verses 122, 124 and 125. These words present the psalmist as God’s servant in contrast to those who are God’s enemies and who are therefore naturally oppressing him. The writer has spoken of these enemies earlier. They are the wicked of stanza fourteen, who have set snares for him (v. 110), the double-minded persons, evildoers and wicked of the earth of stanza fifteen, whom he has turned his back on in order to follow after God (vv. 113, 115, 119). In stanza sixteen they are said to be oppressing him, so much so and for so long that his eyes have failed, looking for God’s salvation. He needs deliverance. Therefore, he is going to keep on looking to God until help comes.
According to the Masoretes, verse 122 is the only verse in the psalm that does not mention the Word of God. We have seen that verse 84 also seems not to mention it; verses 90, 121 and 132 may be examples, too. But the fact that the Bible is not mentioned here, in verse 122, may be an indication of the depth of mental anguish to which the psalmist fell as a result of the oppression he had endured from wicked men. For a moment his eyes seem to be off the Bible and on his fierce oppressors instead.
But not for long! He is God’s servant, and “as the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master” and “as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress” (Ps. 123:2), so does he look up anxiously to God, expecting God to act. This stanza gives three arguments for why God should save him:
1. Because God is a loving God (v. 124). He has learned that God is not an indifferent, unconcerned deity. He is a loving God; that is why he has given us the Bible. Since he is a loving God, should he not care for those he loves and deliver them?
2. Because the writer is God’s servant (v. 125). Masters normally value those who are part of their households. If that is true on earth, shouldn’t it also be true in heaven? Can God be any less caring that a good master on earth?
3. Because it is time for God to act (v. 126). We might expect the writer to have said that God should act now because if he delays, it will be too late; he will be crushed by his oppressors. We have seen this argument in other psalms.1 But this is not what the psalmist says here. Instead of pleading his own desperate condition, he calls on God to act because “your law is being broken.” How interesting! Because he is God’s servant, he is more concerned with God’s name and law than with himself and his condition.
1For example, in Psalm 38 (vv. 17, 21, 22) and Psalm 70 (vv. 1-5).
For what reason do we look to God? Why do we need this help?
Why is it significant that the psalmist calls himself God’s servant?
What happened when the psalmist took his eyes off God’s Word? What happens when you do? What does that teach you about your relationship to God?
List three reasons God should save the psalmist.
Reflection: Can it be said of you that you are God’s servant?
Key Point: …if we are to walk as God wants us to walk, we must keep looking to him intently and at all times.