(21) Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
Those who err (stray, mistake, transgress) from God's Word are not left unpunished. This standard was given at the very beginning of the law. We see the choice to follow God's law given to Adam, but he chose to err. Again and again, we see examples in Scripture, warning us to follow God's laws. "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:" (Deuteronomy 28:15)
For the new testament believer, we are not exempt. "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:23) As believers, we are still responsible to keep God's Word: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
(22) Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.
When we keep God's testimonies, He will not hold us in reproach of contempt.
There are blessings for all who will keep God's Words and His testimonies:
"Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God. And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan." (Joshua 22:3-4)
"I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight." (2 Samuel 22:24-25)
"Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not." (Psalm 17:4-5)
"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." (John 15:10)
According to these verses, the benefits to keeping God's laws are:
- God's promises fulfilled
- God cleansing us and seeing us as righteous and clean
- God holding our footsteps
- Abiding in God's love
If we do our part, God will do more than His part back to us. With these promises, why do we hesitate to keep God's commandments?
(23) Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
In difficult outward circumstances (accusation, murmuring against, etc.) how do we respond? Do we let ourselves get crushed by the enemy's attacks? or do we meditate in God's Words? What comfort do we find in God's Word? Can we bring it to our mind to meditate on it at any time? How important it is to hide God's Words in our heart so that we can meditate on it.
(24) Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.
Going back to verse 20, "My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times." Do we long for and delight in God's Words? Can we truly say that "This is my delight."
Above that: who - or what - counsels us?
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Peter 1:3-4)
God has given us all the things we need for counsel in any decision. But we don't gain it immediately because we're Christians. As Psalm 119 has been reiterating, we must seek God and His Word and then apply it.