Psalm 119:134-136, 139 – Has the church lost its passion for holiness?

Long tailed boat in golden Asian paradise

We continue our study of Psalm 119:129-144, addressing four additional precepts (119:134-136, 139) in our series of 14 principles and precepts of a spiritually victorious life.  Having prayed for the LORD to give him victory over sin (119:133b), the psalmist now expresses his resolve to keep the LORD’s precepts, laws and commands (119:134).

The eighth precept in our series of fourteen is: Be committed – Pray for God’s deliverance from persecution (119:134).

Psalm 119:134  Deliver [redeem; ransom; rescue] me from the oppression [injury; fraud; deceit; extortion] of man: so will I keep [heed; observe] thy precepts [commandment; statute; Law].

Daniel 1Realizing the plots of evil men to injure and oppress the saints, the author prayed for the LORD to protect him from those who would, through fraud, deceit, threats, and slander seek to destroy him.  Like Daniel who, though an exile living in the midst of Babylon and tempted by the king’s wine and meat, “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8), the psalmist expressed his own resolve to “keep thy precepts”.

The ninth precept observed by faithful saints is: Be dependent – Pray for God’s favor and spiritual discernment (119:135).

Psalm 119:135  Make thy face [countenance] to shine [i.e. set on fire; brighten; illuminate] upon thy servant; and teach [instruct; teach diligently] me thy statutes [ordinance; decree; law; commandment].

Facing temptation and oppressed by the wicked, the psalmist sought the refuge of the LORD’s presence and pleasure (119:135).  He prayed for the LORD to be close to him and yearned to be the object of His grace.  Contrary to the disgruntled spirit that many Christians evidence, the psalmist demonstrated a spirit of humility and tenderness, when he prayed, “teach my thy statutes” (119:135b).

“Be tender: Sensitive to the sins of those near you” is our tenth precept. The psalmist writes:

Psalm 119:136  Rivers [streams] of waters run down [descend] mine eyes, because they keep [observe; heed] not thy law [Torah; i.e. 10 Commandments; Pentateuch].sorrow

The sinful ways of those he loved were a sorrow to the author.  His heart was broken and tears streamed down his face as he mourned the sins of those who refused God’s law.

The eleventh precept in our study is: Be zealous: Indignant of those who turn away from God’s Words (119:139).

Psalm 119:139  My zeal [jealous for God; envy; anger] hath consumed [cut off; destroy; silence or put an end to] me, because mine enemies [adversaries; foes] have forgotten thy words [speech; commandments].

Not only did the psalmist grieve for those who “kept not” the law, he expressed his consternation, a holy indignation, toward those who had “forgotten”, rejected and turned from God’s words, laws and statutes.  Like David whose heart was stirred when he heard the insults of the Philistine giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17:4, 10-11, 26), the psalmist was jealous for the LORD and angered by those who had known, but rejected the Word of the LORD.

sinOne of the great tragedies of our day is the lack of zeal and brokenness evidenced by Christians toward the open sin and rebellion seen not only in society, but also in our churches and homes.  I am afraid the majority of 21st century believers are not only ignorant of God’s Word, laws and precepts, but also are themselves desensitized to sin.

When was the last time you grieved over the sins of your family and friends?  Where is the zeal, the indignation, and the jealousy for God and His Word that so moves your soul you cannot keep silent?

Needless to say, the psalmist would not have been welcome in some of your churches and fellowships where members piously flaunt their liberties while cursing as legalists those who love God’s Word, law, precepts and statues!

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith