Responding to Rejection of God’s Law (Psalm 119:136)

My eyes shed streams of water,
Because they do not keep Your law.

Psalm 119:136

How do I respond to people rejecting God’s Word?

In America, there have been numerous attempts to legislate various issues on which God has already given His input. Some react to the nation’s rejection of God’s wisdom with anger. There are marches and protests and hateful things are said and done. This is not how God wants me to respond. Some react with judgment, telling those who have rejected God’s wisdom on issues that God will judge the country. While God will get around to judging everyone eventually, it is not for me to say when He will begin judgment on any individual or group or nation.

The psalmist is reduced to weeping; to tears over the disobedience of others.The psalmist writes that his eyes shed streams of water — tears literally pour down his face over people who do not keep [God’s] law. Why?

First, the psalmist delights in God’s law. Psalm 119 is a paean for God’s law and the benefits imparted to those who ponder it. The psalmist has only good things to say about those who keep God’s law and only praise for what comes of obedience to God’s law. In short, the psalmist sees God’s law as one of the greatest Goods. To see people pushing aside something good for them; something delightful and full of blessing, breaks the psalmist’s heart. It also breaks God’s heart. And it should break mine.

Second, the psalmist has found the abounding wisdom of God’s law. In previous verses, the psalmist has spoken of how thinking deeply on God’s law has made him (the psalmist) wiser than his enemies and more insightful than his teachers. While it may sound braggadoccious, the fact remains that God’s Word contains more wisdom than any other set of teachings ever recorded. How much sorrow should be produced when I see someone shun the wisdom of God in favor of the counsel of men?

Third, the psalmist has realized that there is life in God’s law. The Law — which I define as the first five books of The Bible —is not just a set of instructions about ordinations and sacrifices; tabernacle construction and consequences for various crimes. The Law also contains foreshadowing of Jesus — Who He would be and what He would do and what His nature would be like. The foundations of salvation were laid out in The Law — the notion of the kinsman redeemer and that blood equals life and sin can only be cleansed by the shedding of innocent blood; the taking of an innocent life. All this and more is tucked away in The Law if only one looks. And the psalmist knew this. The psalmist knew that people would dismiss God’s Law as nothing more than a set of Dos and Do Nots. Seeing the trees, they miss the forest.

All of these things that break the psalmist’s heart also break God’s heart. And they should break mine, as well. Rather than react with anger or judgment or any of the entirely human responses to peoples’ rejection of God and His Law and all the benefits conferred by both, I should find my heart broken for them. They forfeit blessing and choose burden. They reject eternal joy and substitute finite pleasures. Let me weep for those who would do this as I would want others to weep for me were those actions my own.

God, as the praise song says, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours.” Please break my heart and wring out of it tears for those who would reject You and all of Your benefits for counterfeits.

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