“I Am a Stranger in the Earth”

Text: Psalm 119:17-24

Third stanza of Psalm 119 – This lesson considers how God’s word provides companionship for us. People value friendships, family relationships, being part of a community, etc. But often, we will be strangers, alone, outcasts, etc. God’s word provides comfort and guidance for us when we feel as the psalmist did – as “a stranger in the earth.”

If We Follow God’s Word, the World Will Reject Us (v. 19, 23)

  • Why are we strangers in the earth? … we seek God’s commandments – automatic difference (Romans 3:9-10); God expects His people to be different (Romans 12:2); we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth (1 Peter 2:11-12); remember that this world is not our home (Philippians 3:20)
  • Princes oppose us – those who reject the Lord will reject us (1 John 3:11-13); reminder for us to prepare for persecution from authorities (2 Timothy 3:12; Revelation 2:10); David was king, yet still was threatened, showing that we are never completely safe (cf. Acts 16:22-24, 35-38)

God’s Favor is Better Than the Favor of Man (v. 17-18)

  • Humans are social beings – we all crave the approval of others to varying degrees; yet too many want to be friends of the world (James 4:4); we cannot strive to please men and please the Lord (Galatians 1:10)
  • We can only please one, so we must choose to please God because His favor is better – He can deal bountifully with us (v. 17; cf. James 1:17); He provides life (v. 17; cf. Acts 17:25; Romans 6:23); He has shown “wonderful things” in His word (v. 8; cf. Romans 15:4; John 3:16)

God’s Rebuke Comes Against the Disobedient (v. 21-22)

  • Those who disobey God’s word will be punished (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9) – therefore, do not join yourself with them (2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 6:17)
  • We must be obedient to God’s word (Philippians 4:9) – this removes reproach and contempt (v. 22); does not mean we earn salvation (Luke 17:10), but God has given conditions we must meet

We Must Long for God’s Word (v. 19-20)

  • After declaring himself to be a stranger, the psalmist expresses a longing for God’s word (v. 19-20)
  • We must desire God’s word (Psalm 119:40, 131) – Why? … in this context, it gives us what the world does not – companionship

God’s Word Gives Us Counsel (v. 24)

  • Delight in God’s word – His testimonies are counselors to us; God’s word leads us in the way we should go
  • We do not have the physical presence of God with us – but we do have His word; through His word He is with us (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5-7; 2 John 9)

Conclusion

  • We are strangers on the earth – we may often feel alone/isolated
  • Yet the Lord is with us through His word

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