This week, we begin the third strophe of Psalm 119, Gimel. The psalmist begins this stanza with an accurate view of his place in relation to the God he serves, and the results that come along with it. You can see it for yourself in Psalm 119:17-20:
The psalmist begins by stating that it is only with God’s help and actions that we can exist. In verse 17, he asks God to do good to him, and in verse 18, he asks that God open his eyes. In both of these requests, the author knows that God is the only one who can provide the answers needed: life, in accordance to God’s Word, and sight, in order to see the wonderful things in God’s Word.
But living in accordance to God’s Word leads to the world hating us. And in verse 19, the psalmist sees some of this. This is the first of four consequences that we will see over the next couple of stanzas. In all actuality, these are not consequences as much as they are trials that come because of our commitment to God.
Jesus told us that the world would hate his disciples in John 15:18-25, and the writer of this psalm experienced that same thing. Righteousness for the sake of God will always cause the world to hate us.
This idea of being a stranger on the earth can be seen in a couple of different ways, both equally true. First of all, this is not our home to begin with, we are just passing through, and our lives are short. There is limited time available to us, and we should devote what we can to reading and studying God’s Word and spreading the Good News that is found there to others.
Secondly, the idea of alienation can be seen in the fact that we feel out of place here in this world, simply because we do belong to God, whom the world hates. We don’t hold to the same values as the world, and as a result, the world reviles us. This seems to be the intent of the psalmist in this passage, because of the comments found in the next few verses, which mention the arrogant and slanderers.
There is a truth here that is a tough one to swallow sometimes. We live in a world that will hate those who follow God. We will not feel like this is our home, because it cannot be; our home is elsewhere. In God, we have a home that far surpasses this one, and Jesus has already gone there to prepare it for us. What does this world have to offer that can compare to that?
Question: Have you ever felt out of place in this world because of your commitment to God? How did you respond to that? What did you learn? You can leave a comment by clicking here.