61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law*.
62 At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
63 I am a companion of all who fear you,
of those who keep your precepts.
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!
* Through these reflections, those phrases that identify God’s word, revelation, or law will be highlighted in the text in the hopes of accentuating the many and varied ways we can visualize what God has given to us for our good.
The company we keep will influence two important aspects of life. Our friends will impact our perspective on life and our ability to overcome obstacles.
How we view the world is greatly informed by the people we have around us. If they generally have a negative view of the world and of how events will turn out, we will find ourselves mimicking that as well. However, if they are positive and look for the “win,” that will also inform, to varying degrees, how we approach the circumstances of life.
The second area our friends impact us has to do with our resilience. Now, this does not mean that you don’t ever get down or discombobulated. It just means, based on the description above, if our friends have a dim view it is easier to stay out of sorts. The inverse also being true. Upbeat and positive friends look for ways to pick you up. Even if we are not quick to change our attitude or thinking, it can be helpful to know there are others there to support you.
These are not hard and fast rules. They are broad descriptions that have been borne out in my life. But, it should be clear, we are not talking about a naive view of the world. We are talking about recognizing how who we associate with has a greater affect on us than we may like to admit.
Verse 61: In the course of living, there are times where others my want to cause us harm. And regardless of the way that harm comes, it can create in us anxiety and worry about our lives. These kinds of situations cannot all be avoided. So, we must make every effort to be prepared. In the verse we see that preporation is best achieved when we do not “forget your law.” In God’s commandments, we find wisdom for how to overcome and even endure difficult moments.
Verse 62: As we mentioned briefly in another section, descriptions of the time of day are many times metaphorical. Referring to some other contextual idea. In this case, it would appear that the reference to “midnight” is another reference to difficulty or times when our peace is being challenged. In these times we ought to still find reasons to praise God. And our praise will make more sense because we are grounded in God’s revelation. In those words preserved for us in the Scripture, we make discoveries of God’s goodness and his manifold promises. These discoveries open up for us newer and deeper and better insights of who God truly is.
Verse 63: Walking by faith can feel daunting at times. However, there is great comfort in knowing we do not walk alone. The Psalmist acknowledges that there are others who also fear the Lord. And it is those fellow travelers who make up the body of the faithful. Our shared faith works to strengthen us and encourage us throughout our journey. What should not be overlooked is that the writer is talking about a specific group of people. Not just anyone meets the criteria for this cohort. It is those who “keep your precepts” who are to be seen as fellow journeyman.
Verse 64: God’s love is the attribute of his character that is most clearly seen in Jesus. The work of redemption on and through the cross are key to understanding God’s love toward us. What is remarkable here is the description of where God’s love resides. It exists and is seen in the whole earth. The creation is a testament to God’s love for us. When we recognize this, we can “see” more of God’s love. The connection to God’s word is this, as we see God’s love in creation (or what is often called “general revelation”) we can then see God’s love in his Word (or “special revelation”). God is at work in the natural world and he is at work in the spiritual world. It’s not one of the others it is both. And usually at the same time.