17 Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!
20 My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.
21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments.
22 Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies.
23 Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24 Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.
Gimel is the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The word Gimel in Hebrew is derived from the word gemul, which in Hebrew can mean both reward and punishment. In this passage the Psalmist, for our argument’s sake, David is asking the Lord for spiritual blessings, for reward. The first line “deal bountifully with your servant” is David asking for God to bless Him but He is also recognizing “with your servant” that he comes humbly before God while asking. He comes boldly to God, yet recognizing his place. But his motive for asking is to “live and keep your word.” He asks in verse 18 for understanding of the scriptures. While yesterday we focused on memorizing and reading and hiding God’s word in our hearts. The focus of this passage is understanding so that we can walk in it.
I love the next verse where David says “I am a sojourner on the earth.” Aren’t we all? When we become Christians and as we study God’s word it becomes more and more evident that this world is not our home. Do you ever feel out of place, maybe in your work place or in your school. For that matter, you can walk into Wal Mart these days and wonder do I even belong here? Or is that just me? I find that the older I get and/or the more I walk with Him, the more I feel less at home on earth. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean I am ready to check out today, I mean I want to watch my grandchildren grow up and I want to see my people living out their purpose on earth, all the while I want to live out mine. But I also know that if and when the Lord does decide to take me home I will be more at home there than I am here. David recognized this, that he felt a little out of place if you will, and he was asking God for more understanding of the scriptures so that he could feel the spiritual blessing of understanding. He wanted to understand so that he would know how God wanted him to live. As the next four verses will show, it appears that David was going through some trials. He wanted to LIVE his life, not just to survive but to THRIVE in his spiritual life even in the midst of what may have been going on when he penned this passage.
These next four verses made me think of Job. David is apparently in a season of life where he feels that he has people plotting against him. I love studying the life of David because he went through many seasons in his life. He knew times when people revered him and times when people scorned him. He sinned and repented and he worshipped God in good times and in bad times. Our friend Job, was a pretty good guy who did nothing to deserve the hardships that were placed on him and then his friends sat around trying to get him to admit what he had done wrong and he honestly did not have anything to repent of that would have caused him to lose everything. He knew scorn and contempt. David is saying I know scorn and contempt, yet I want to keep my focus on God’s word. Have you ever been there? Where you feel like you may be being scorned, ridiculed if you will, because of your love for the scriptures? I think this is where understanding of the scriptures is most important. For one thing, when I feel scorned or ridiculed for my beliefs, if I am being honest when I think of what Jesus endured on the cross I feel pretty silly for even letting it bother me. I want to understand the scriptures more and more so that I can put things in perspective. I find that when I am staying in the Word like I should that I don’t let the things bother me that might have when I am not. It gives a perspective to every day life so that I can thrive in my everyday rather than to feel I am just surviving. I pray for spiritual understanding of what God is teaching us. I pray it for me and I pray it for you too.