The Arrogant Have Dug Pits For Me

Text: Psalm 119:81-88

Eleventh stanza of Psalm 119 – This lesson is about persecution that comes from following God’s word. This is important for us to remember since we will all face persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). These verses not only speak of the reality of persecution, but the hope we have despite of it.

Sometimes the Word Will Bring Persecution (v. 85)

  • This psalm about God’s word mentioned a lot of positive things, but this seems negative – but those things that appear negative on the surface may not be
  • Persecution is not pleasant, but is ultimately a reason to rejoice (1 Peter 4:12-13; Acts 5:40-41)
  • The word brings persecution if we keep the word (v. 85, 88; cf. 1 Peter 4:16)
  • The word brings persecution because others do not keep the word (v. 85; cf. John 15:18-19) – the world hates us because our faithfulness condemns the world (Hebrews 11:7)
  • The word brings persecution because the persecutors are arrogant (v. 85) – arrogance will put one against the truth (James 3:14); God’s word demands humility (James 1:21), so the arrogant will oppose it

We Must Behave So That We Are Persecuted Wrongly (v. 86)

  • First, notice David’s attitude – trust in God (“Help me!“) and in His word (“All Your commandments are faithful“)
  • If we are going to be persecuted, it must be “with a lie” (cf. 1 Peter 4:15-16) – a time may come when we must refuse to obey (Acts 5:29), but not simply to be rebellious (1 Peter 2:13-16)

While Persecuted, We Must Remain Faithful (v. 81-83, 87)

  • If persecution comes, we must remain faithful – do not compromise or give up; that is what the persecutor wants
  • My soul languishes…I wait for your word” (v. 81) – when we feel we are at the end, we must turn to God’s word (Psalm 119:25)
  • …longing for Your word…when will You comfort me?” (v. 82) – when in trouble, seek God above all others (2 Timothy 4:16-18)
  • Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your word” (v. 83) – when in a weakened state, remember the promises of God’s word (Hebrews 10:35-36)
  • They almost destroyed me on earth, but…I did not forsake Your precepts” (v. 87) – death is the worst they can do; do not fear them (Matthew 10:28)

God Will Judge the Wicked (v. 84)

  • Natural for the persecuted to desire God to execute judgment (v. 84; cf. Revelation 6:9-11)
  • God will execute judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8) – He is patient, but judgment will come (2 Peter 3:9-10)

God Will Give Life to the Faithful (v. 88)

  • Our desire is not just for revenge (v. 84) – we desire life from God (v. 88)
  • God can revive us – even if we die, we will be victorious in Him (Romans 8:35-39)

Conclusion

  • We will be persecuted if we follow God’s word (2 Timothy 3:12)
  • But we have reason to hope if we remain faithful (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

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