"Do good to Your servant, and I will live;
I will obey Your word.
Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in Your law.
I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide Your commands from me.
My soul is consumed with longing
for Your laws at all times.
You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed
and who stray from Your commands.
Remove from me scorn and contempt,
for I keep Your statutes.
Though rulers sit together and slander me,
Your servant will meditate on Your decrees.
Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors."
Context, context, context.
So much of this portion of the psalm seemed at first to be so disconnected... but I've been thinking about it off and on all day, and I'm not sure after all that it is...
The first verse tripped me up a bit. It seems like David is attempting to strike a bargain with God - "if You're nice to me, I'll do what You say." Eek. That doesn't seem like a good attitude with which to walk into God's presence... He's God. He can do anything He wants, and because He's God, He's the King, and we're His servants, and we should do whatever He says... but then I got to thinking about God's character. "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." (Psalm 107:1, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 136:1) God is good - His goodness is part of what makes Him God... So maybe what David is saying is actually more of an observation of fact. "Do good to me - not so You get the response from me that You want, but because it is who You are... I know You'll do good to me - and as a result of Your goodness towards me, I will live." So what about when times are hard? Well, what we see isn't always actually what's true - you can't see air, but it's still there... so maybe on those days when we have trouble seeing the goodness of God at work in our lives, we either need to put on new glasses (redefine our misunderstandings of what God's goodness really is) or simply trust that just because we can't see it today doesn't mean it isn't true anyway...
"Open my eyes so I may see wonderful things in Your law." "I need You to do that."
"You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from Your commands. Remove from me scorn and contempt..." "I see those tendencies in myself, God... I could so easily become arrogant - but I don't want to be. Help me... " How does God help? By showing us the good way so we can walk in it (Jeremiah 6:16) ... His laws, His statutes, His decrees, His promises.... guideposts, streetsigns, maps, directions...
"Though rulers sit together and slander me, Your servant will meditate on Your decrees." "I don't care who mocks me for this; I'm going to live my life Your way..."
Oh for that kind of passion for God's Word, and for that kind of dedication to following Him...
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God..." - Psalm 42:1
"My soul is consumed with longing for Your laws at all times..."
I want this to be true of me.