69 The insolent smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep your precepts*;
70 their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in your law.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is better to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
* 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.
As the years have passed, the more wonderful and precious God’s word becomes.
There may have been a time when I thought I could live without the Scripture’s influence in my life. I had treated the word as helpful advice, ancient wisdom, or just practical ideas for living. However, this is not what God’s word is.
God’s laws, commandments, precepts, and statutes, all of these ways of seeing God’s revelation, are God’s self-expression. God speaks into the world and we should take that effort more seriously than we do. We should give his utterances the proper weight they deserve, for they are the verbalization of God’s mind.
So, when we read and meditate on God’s word, we are interacting with the very mind of God. Let’s therefore approach this priceless treasure with the dignity and care it merits.
Verse 69: It does not matter what those who oppose us say or do, we must remain faithful to God’s precepts. An important caveat here is this: we must not be guilty of what those who speak against us are saying. If we are being falsely maligned, we must not succumb to responding in kind. We must become more committed to living in accord with God’s character. If we do not keep God precepts “with my whole heart,” we give opportunities for our enemies, whether spiritual or physical, to find an entry point. We must work to fortify our defenses when under attack.
Verse 70: As a continuation of the previous verse, the idea of “their heart” being incapable of feeling is quite interesting. It seems the reason for the smears is due to our attackers lack of “delight” in God’s law. When we know God’s law, and are being shaped by it, we refrain from doing to others what we do not want done to us. We are able to make links between actions and consequences. The law of God is the forge in which our conscience is molded. Without God’s law, we become untethered to what is true and righteous.
Verse 71: When given the choice between comfort and tribulation, it would be safe to say, most people would choose comfort. So, the idea here is not an invitation to tribulation, but a reframing of it. To be able to look at the difficult circumstances of life and to then see how God’s word becomes real to us is an important component of a mature faith. The greater our focus on God’s statutes, the better our ability to endure, even in the most difficult of times.
Verse 72: There is nothing that compares to the value of God’s law. Not even gold and silver can be traded or exchanged for it. This view of the worth of God’s law is one many overlook. In order to better understand what treasure we possess, we have to reconnect the object with the giver. When we see that God has given us this precious gift, we can better appreciate the importance of what we have been granted access to in the Scriptures.