I have done justice and righteousness;
Do not leave me to my oppressors.
Be surety for Your servant for good;
Do not let the proud oppress me.
My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation
And Your righteous word.
Deal with Your servant according to
And teach me Your statutes.
I am Your servant;
Give me understanding,
That I may know Your testimonies.
It is time for You to act, O LORD,
For they have regarded Your law as void.
Therefore I love Your commandments
More than gold, yes, than fine gold!
Therefore all Your precepts concerning
all things I consider to be right;
I hate every false way.
Anytime that we stand for the truth, we can expect opposition and conflict, especially living, as we do, in a society which rejects the notion of absolute truth. To be sure, those who rail against Christians for their intolerance are themselves expressing their own intolerance, but what are we to do when pressed in on by a world that is committed to rejecting Biblical truth and replacing it with man-centered philosophy? The Psalmist, in this 16th stanza, cries out for God to deal mercifully with him, even as relief from his oppressors seems like it may never come, and renews his testimony of love for God’s truth.
While none but Christ can claim to have done justice and righteousness perfectly, the Christian must expect that any righteous deed will be met with consternation, at best and at worst, hostility. Our only hope in times of distressing persecution is to trust in our Savior, against whom such injustice is actually directed. He promises to accomplish His good purpose through the circumstances of our lives, both good and bad, and so it is to His promises that we turn in times of distress. You can almost picture the Psalmist scouring the scroll of Scripture until daylight is far spent and his eyes burn with weariness, looking at God’s promise of deliverance to reassure himself that his time of great darkness will not continue forever.
It is, therefore, most appropriate that he would call out for God’s mercy, because justice without mercy is a dreadful thing. In His mercy, God has given us His wonderful word, which brings wisdom and understanding to the one who seeks it, who humbles himself as a servant before his Master, seeking to know God through the Scriptures. Those who fail to recognize the authority of God’s law, fail to submit to His dominion as LORD, and bring righteous judgment on themselves. But we who have tasted His mercy recognize the truly priceless nature of the Bible as the only source of absolute truth, and so love God’s word above all else.
From the very beginning, mankind has refused to live under the authority of God’s law, and has actively worked to suppress the truth of God. What do we do, then, when the pressure to conform to this world’s rebellion threatens to overwhelm us? As the pressure from without increases, we grip all the more tightly to His word, holding it closer than even the most precious treasures of this life. Like the Psalmist, we declare, “I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than find gold.”