And so we come to the close of Psalm 119. As I’ve said before, it’s an anonymous psalm, but I wouldn’t be surprised if David was the author. One reason is how this psalm ends, and the experiences of the psalmist.
Namely, he was pursued and persecuted by his enemies, and yet he refused to give in to feelings of revenge, and repay evil with evil. The psalmist starts this section with a cry for help against his enemies.
I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. I rise before dawn and cry for help (146-147).
Yet despite all his troubles, we see time and again his commitment to doing things God’s way.
Instead of plotting on his bed ways to get back at his enemies, he said,
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night that I may meditate on your promises. (148)
He then places himself in God’s hands, refusing to turn aside from God’s word, even though his enemies had done so in seeking his life.
Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law. Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise. (153-154)
See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love. (159)
Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word. (161)
Why did he live this way? Because he truly believed God’s way was best. He wrote,
Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. (165)
And as he closes the psalm, he once again puts himself in God’s hands, humbling himself before God, asking for his direction, committing himself to doing things God’s way no matter what, and waiting for God’s salvation.
How about you? How do you react when others hurt you? When others attack you? Do you give into your anger, repaying evil for evil? Do you say to yourself, “I can’t just let them do this to me. I know it’s not God’s way, but I’ve got to get back at them.”
If that’s you, remember the attitude of this psalmist. More than that, remember the attitude of our Lord on the cross. That though people nailed him to the cross, nevertheless, he didn’t seek revenge. Rather, he forgave them. And us.
Finally, remember the words of the apostle Paul who wrote,
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21)