Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at Your word.
I rejoice in Your word like one who discovers a great treasure.
I hate and abhor all falsehood, but I love Your instructions.
I will praise you seven times a day because all Your regulations are just.
Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.
I long for Your rescue, Lord, so I have obeyed Your commands.
I have obeyed Your laws for I love them very much.
Yes I obey Your commandments and laws because You know everything I do.
Psalm 119: 161-168
Powerful people harass me…At first glance we may think that powerful people refers to authoritative figures, whether political or religious. However, anyone to whom you give ‘authority’ over you qualifies as a ‘powerful’ person over you. What do I mean by that?
We were gifted by our Creator with free will, free choice – a risky move on God’s part! One of the results of having free will is that you and I – consciously or subconsciously – view various people as having authority over us. Certainly, as Bible believers, we recognize God’s authority and the very fact of studying His word gives evidence that we have a heart to follow Him and His ways.
Recognized civil authority is part of any society and we generally acknowledge and give due respect to those authority figures.
But there’s another dimension in all of our lives important to recognize. Sometimes we attribute authority to others out of our own fears or insecurities. They become ‘powerful’ people in our eyes. For example, there’s been a great deal reported in recent months about the problem of bullying among school children. The less confident or secure child is intimidated and fearful and in so doing are ‘giving authority’ to the bully to intimidate them.
But it’s not just children. Adult bullies act out for the same reasons that kid bullies do; they’re trying to make up for some shortcoming of their own. If we do not understand that bullying is not about you, we become intimidated, thereby attributing authority to someone who really doesn’t have any over us. Bullies want power and control over others because they lack it in some aspect of their own lives. Bullies look for people that are willing to submit to their power play. If you make it look like the bully’s actions and words don’t affect you, it ruins it for them.
Do as David did. When so-called ‘powerful people’ harassed him, he declared, ‘I tremble only at Your Word.’ By keeping the Word of God alive in your heart and mind, you can face the ‘powerful people’ who harass or aggravate you with peace of mind, equanimity of soul.
Just two verses later, we read Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble. This is David’s advice on how to keep oneself free of the unlawfully ‘powerful’ people that cross our path. Love the Word of God – commit it to memory – cherish it in your heart and you will not stumble into intimidation and fear.
Another translation says it this way: Great peace have they who love Your Law and nothing shall offend them. I like that. If I don’t get offended, I won’t be intimidated! The result: I’ll live in the freedom God has for me.
Isn’t it amazing how words penned some 3000 years ago are so relevant to you and me today. The Word of God is so wonderful. May His name be praised forever!
Til next week and our final meditation on this psalm, be blessed and be a blessing!