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PSALM 119:113-120 SAMECH

We have all heard the saying that someone has become so heavenly-
minded, they are of no earthly use. I knew someone who used to quote
the Bible at me all the time and accompanied with all the spiritual phrases
hoping it would make me and everyone else think they were so holy, -
it was just so plain annoying! He couldnt have an ordinary conversation!

If being a born-again believer consisted only of nice spiritual language
and sitting at a table and meditating on the Word and loving God, life
would be so easy you wouldnt have any problems. However, from
Genesis to Revelation you find that the people of God have problems and
enemies and life in this world is not always easy!

Paul got it spot on when he said, Acts 14:22, we must through much
tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

On the other hand, it would be so easy to be like the ten men who went to
spy out the land of Canaan, and they came back with their report, Num.
13:27 We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with
milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. 28 Nevertheless the people be strong
that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we
saw the children of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south:
and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and
the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan 31 We be not able
to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. If you werent
depressed before you listened to them, you soon did become depressed!

We have far too much against us, we wont be able to cope, the giants
around us are too many. Lets quit before we start!

However, contrary to their fellow-spies, J oshua and Caleb spoke out, v.30
Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it 14:8
If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a
land which floweth with milk and honey.

There are four simple assurances in this section of Ps. 119 that I trust will
be an encouragement and the first encouragement is this

The psalmist sets out plainly, I hate vain [double-minded] thoughts: but thy
law do I love. We have come to know him sufficiently to recognise that he
says what is in his heart. He doesnt mince his words.
From the very beginning of this psalm, he has already shown to us his
hatred of anything that is offensive to God.
He despises sin, he sees no reason to justify any degree of sin, he
seeks to draw a distance between himself and sin however, he does not
find it easy.
He speaks about the sin that is all around him and the workers of sin
who are his enemies and he also speaks about the sin he has personally
to deal daily with in his own heart.
Lets look at these enemies. No matter how hard we try not to have
them, in the Lords work it is almost impossible to avoid opposition and
In each of Pauls epistles he had opposition from other believers, and
in some of the epistles he also had opposition from those who were not
saved but who had made their way in to the church fellowships, Phil. 3:18
many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that
they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose
God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.
It seems to be the case in Ps. 119 that the enemies of the psalmist
belonged to his own people, the J ews. The word vain can also be
translated double-minded, undecided, divided; these type of people
he constantly describes as his enemies, - vv.98, 139,157.
Some folk might say you shouldnt have enemies however, you
cannot legislate for how another person feels about you. If they choose
not to like you, there is not a lot you can do about it. You can try and
speak with them and try to understand their position, but at the end of the
day, if they choose to continue not to like you there is not much more you
can do about it.
There are also some occasions when it is absolutely impossible to
make peace with the enemy. The Bible speaks about the enemies of the
Gospel, - it is impossible to make peace by compromising the Word of
God with them, it is impossible to make peace when it means you must
set aside what you fervently and wholeheartedly understand to be the
Truth. Besides, if you were to make peace with the enemies of the Gospel
and the enemies of God you are acting in disobedience to Him and you
cannot expect either Gods blessing or Gods protection.
The psalmist had enemies because he was not willing to accept the
vain thoughts (v.113) and the evil-doings (v.115) they were involved in.
v.139 mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
You see, if we love the Lord, it is straightforward. The Christian
Gospel is not part of the Truth; the Christian Gospel is the Truth and the
Bible tells us not to compromise in the face of ungodly opposition and
cower/cringe/tremble but instead the Bible tells us, I Tim. 6:12 Fight the
good fight of faith In the great hall of the saints (Heb. 11:34) we read
about those who out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight.
This is a spiritual battle and the psalmist knew his shelter and his
shield was the Lord alone, and he trusted in Him. He is not hiding out of
fear of facing the enemy he is in the quiet place where the Word of
God gives him the strength he needs to continue to confront the opposer.
The Lord is His shield (v.114) what can penetrate such a defence
as the Lord being your shield? Absolutely nothing!
Ps. 3:3 thou, O LORD, art a shield for me
Ps. 5:12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou
compass him as with a shield.
Ps. 18:35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy
right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.
Ps. 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in
him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my
song will I praise him.
Ps. 33:20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.
Ps. 59:11 scatter them [the enemy] by thy power; and bring them down,
O Lord our shield.
Ps. 84: 9 Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine
anointed. 10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be
a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of
wickedness. 11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield.
Ps. 115:9 O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their
shield. (also v.11)
Ps. 144:2 my shield, and he in whom I trust.
Prov. 30:5 he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
It is hard work facing an enemy, it is hard work keeping your
composure as a Christian, - it is far easier to follow Peters example when
he cut the ear off Malchus when the J ewish leaders came to arrest J esus
in the Garden of Gethsemane!
In this section of the psalm, the psalmist teaches us that only in the
Lord can we find the help we need to face the enemy and still retain our
witness for and our favour in Him.
Like the soldier you are protected behind the shield because you
know it will keep you safe.
You dont fight the enemy the enemys way; the battle is the Lords
and the arsenal with which we fight comes from the armoury of Heaven.
When we use the whole armour of God, [then we are] able to
withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Eph. 6:13).
You put around you the truth of God (the loins); you put on the
breastplate of righteousness to protect what is in your heart; on your feet
you have the preparation of the Gospel of peace that protects you as you
follow the Lord; you have got the helmet of salvation to guard your mind;
and you have the sword of the Spirit in your hand, the Word of God.
The psalmist had his heart set on the Lord, - thy law do I love I hope
in thy word I will keep the commandments of my God.
He knew and was fully convinced that God protects His people.

The psalmist also had confidence in God being able to grip him in
His hand and not to let him fall, v.116 Uphold me that I may live, 117
Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.
Sustain me, bear me up, for me to stand I am depending on the
hold God has of me.
In the Hebrew language these are two very similar words, - v.116
Uphold me 117 Hold thou me up. One derives from the other; the first
means lean on the Lord and the second word has the added meaning
that He will give you the refreshment and the help you need to continue.
For example, the sense of the Word (uphold) is found around the
Lords Table where we read, Jn. 13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus'
bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. In Song of Solomon 8:5 we
read, Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her
beloved? It is the same meaning we have in the hymn,
What a fellowship, what a joy divine, Leaning on the everlasting
arms; What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms. What have I to dread, what have I to
fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms; I have blessed peace with my
Lord so near, Leaning on the everlasting arms.
When you feel like falling down and just giving up, the Lord comes
to your aid in ways you could never have imagined. You lean on Him
and He gives you the strength and the purpose to continue on.
In another psalm , 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the
LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly
cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. ... 145:14 The LORD
upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
In the beautiful verse from Is. 41:10, we read, Fear thou not; for I am
with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will
help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
But you may say, David, Im in a terrible deep hole and I seem to be
slipping further into it. I want to believe what you say but Im finding it
so difficult what can I do?
Yes, do you feel like the psalmist elsewhere felt? Psalm 119:131 I
opened my mouth, and panted ... 132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto
me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.
Again I point you to the Word of God, Ps. 121:2 My help cometh from
the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be
moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 5 The LORD is thy keeper: the
LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
In just about every section the psalmist had to contend with his
enemies but also, - in every section, - we find his confidence is placed
nowhere else but in the Lord.
The enemy does not leave you alone but then, neither does the
And neither was it the psalmists knowledge about the Lord that
upheld him, - it wasnt what someone else had told him, - it was his own
personal testimony of how he found the Lord to be his strength.

We are only about half-ways through the section, - we shall look at
the three remaining verses this evening, - but do you see what the
psalmist is trying to get across to us?
Surely, everyone of us has found ourselves in a dark place at some
time or another; we have not known what way to turn, and we can
understand something of the struggles, contention and opposition the
psalmist is describing when he speaks about the hostility the enemy
Here, - very simply, - is what God wants to remind you of for He is
greater than the enemy, - He wants to remind you He protects His
people, and He upholds them when they are about to fall.
May God encourage us through the first part of our study.

PSALM 119:113-120 SAMECH

This morning we considered how God protects His people and how He
upholds them by His power. The psalmist drew for us the beautiful
picture of God being our hiding place, - where we can safely rest from the
enemy in order to recharge our batteries in preparation for being out in
the battle; and he also used the symbolism of our God as being like a
shield, - nothing can penetrate the protection He gives us. You might be
lying dying of an incurable disease or battling with a serious family
problem but yet, - in the words of Paul, - Rom. 8:37 we are more than
conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death,
nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things
to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The psalmist then continues and he now homes in on his enemies

Basically, there are only two sides, - you are either for God or
against Him. There are no half-measures, - it is either one or the other.
For example, if you believe the Word of God to be infallible, inerrant
and inspired you can have no truck with someone who denies it
If you believe that J esus Christ is the only means of salvation from
sin you have nothing in common with those who preach another gospel.
In particular, the psalmist has described the enemy as sheep who have
gone astray, v.10 O let me not wander from thy commandments 21 Thou
hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments
They were fellow-J ews who also had the privilege of being born into
the people of Israel especially favoured by God.
They had been taught in the Law of Moses and brought up in the way
of the fathers, however, they added to Gods Word to make it suit their
lifestyles and they took away from Gods Word when it didnt v.118
their deceit is falsehood.
They had formulated a religion denying the true Person of God, -
they had an appearance of religiousity, but actually deprived God of His
absolute Godliness.

Their religion was false and based upon error; they held the truth in
unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18) and Rom. 1:21 when they knew God, they
glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their
imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to
be wise, they became fools and that was their calibre!
The psalmist was straightforward and direct concerning Gods
judgement of them, he said they had been put to the test and had been
proven to be dross (v.119). When refined in the fire the dross is shown
up among the good metal, it is then taken out and thrown away.
The psalmist had said earlier, Ps. 101:7 He that worketh deceit shall not
dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. You
see, you either have truth or error, - you cannot have both. They are
mutually exclusive, - truth hates error as much as error hates truth.
As Matthew Henry commented, All departure from God's
statutes is certainly an error, and will prove a fatal one.
As a consequence, God had trodden them down (v.118) and had put
them away (v.119), - He had dealt with them as if they had already
entered eternity; He had already cast them off. And that is frightening!
So far, - as we saw this morning, - God protects His people, He
upholds His people, and now we see the complete opposite, - how He
rejects the wicked.
God has no place in Heaven for those who are in opposition to His
holiness. Finally, the psalmist reminds us

One of the greatest sources of sin is, Ps. 36:1 The transgression of the
wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For
he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. 3
The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to
do good. The sinner has no fear of God and he flatters himself to the
degree that he will not even consider sin to be sin. That is how it is when
there is no fear of God!
There is no God standing over me so therefore I can do I like!
It describes our society. Speak about God and there is no fear and
they can mock Him, make jokes about Him, and deny His goodness and
compare Him to the gods of other religions.
However, the psalmist here does not approach God in an unbelieving
manner, nor even as a criminal about to be sentenced; he approaches God
as the loving son approaches His Heavenly Father.
God honours those who fear Him, - it is a hallmark of the true
believer, v.120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee.
It is a description of those who love God, for the holy fear of God
sets apart the people of God. II Cor. 7:1 Having therefore these promises,
dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
The subject of the fear of God makes no sense to the unsaved. We
fear God because we love Him what sense does that make?!
To fear God is to know Him personally through His Son, to love
Him, to hear His voice speaking through His Word, and to obey His will.
The fear of God is the work of the Holy Spirit in your life to give
God His place and to hold Him forth as your Saviour and Lord. To know
such a great truth is the meaning of fearing the Lord.
To fear God is to love Him. To love Him is to trust Him. To trust
Him is to obey Him. To obey Him is to single-mindedly follow Him,
setting aside the things of self and all others.
You dont fear the enemy because God is your shield and your
hiding-place. You fear God and He opens your eyes to see the enemy is a
defeated foe.
The enemy can never defeat you, such is the power of God. The
enemy can try to knock you over, but even if you do fall, God picks you
up again and you continue on in the battle until it is over but you are
on the winning side because you fear the Lord.
Its not stubbornness, and neither is it simply your strong resolve
but Phil. 2:13 it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good
pleasure and in the previous verse Paul commanded the believers, my
beloved, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

What does this section teach us? It teaches us again that the
psalmists heart, soul and mind are devoted to the glory of God.
And in return God protects His people, He upholds His people,
He rejects the wicked and He alone should be feared.
The psalmist had got it all into its proper perspective. Despite the
antics of the enemy God had laid it upon his heart that He is in control.
No matter what the enemy seemed to be capable of doing, God would
ultimately smash his plans. God cannot be defeated, - it is totally
Even when the enemy thought it had defeated Christ on the cross,
the exact opposite had happened. In fact, instead of Christ dying the final
death, death itself was defeated.
It means that death is no longer a threat that hangs over the believer
dangling him over the edge of the great abyss into Hell, - death instead
is the gateway into glory. God uses death for His own means of bringing
His children to the Throne.
The wicked is not to be feared. The opposition to the ways and
purposes of God will never fall, - He promises us that!
What He requires in return is that we fear and honour and respect and
reverence His most holy Name.
It is the Name high over all, In hell or earth or sky, it is the Name
to sinners dear, The Name to sinners given; It scatters all their guilty fear,
It turns their hell to Heaven.
What a beautiful statement of delight in His Lord, when the psalmist
expresses, v.120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee. May we know the
perfect fear of the Lord in these days. Amen.