113 I hate the double-minded,
but I love your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.
115 Depart from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117 Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for your statutes continually!
118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes,
for their cunning is in vain.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross,
therefore I love your testimonies.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgments.
The psalmist swore a whole hearted oath to keep the Lord’s righteous rules (v 106) and in light of this he hates the doubled-minded (v 113). The psalmist loves the Lord’s torah which is a contrast to the double-minded. The double-minded are “fickle, who cannot decide what they believe” (A. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms:90-150 KEL, 2016, p. 556). There is a contrast as well between love and hate. “These two verbs, love and hate, are antithetical, but they are also words that include acts. To “hate” includes the idea of rejecting, and “love” the idea of choosing…The psalmist has little patience with those who are double-minded” (Ross, p. 557).
Verse 114a explains why he loves the Lord’s torah and it is because the Lord is his hiding place and his shield. “Through his adversity he has come to value the Lord as his shelter and shield, images that could imply protection in a military context” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 427). The concept of the Lord as a hiding place and shield are common throughout the psalms signifying protection. The Lord is the psalmist’s protection, hence he hopes in His Word (114b).
For the first and only time in this psalm, the psalmist speaks directly to the evildoers, commanding them to depart from him (v 115a). He demands that these evildoers depart from him so that he may keep his God’s commandments (115b). The psalmist will not disobey nor give up obeying the Lord even though these evildoers are pressuring him. Ross notes the psalmist “could maintain such a commitment to the word even if they did not depart; but if they left him alone, however, he would be free to do more in his service of God” (Ross, p. 557).
In verses 116 and 117 the psalmist makes two petitions (qal, imperatives) to the Lord to uphold and hold him. The psalmist petitions the Lord to uphold him based on His promises so that he won’t be put to shame in his hope. “Only the Lord can preserve his life and thus prevent his shame. He has placed his hope in the Lord, so if the Lord does not sustain him then both the Lord’s honor and the psalmist’s honor are at stake” (Estes, p. 427). By petitioning the Lord to hold him that he may be safe he is “appeal[ing] to divine help. If the Lord sustains him in his faith, he will eventually be delivered from his enemies. With this appeal he affirms his esteem for God’s statutes” (Ross, p. 558).
Estes states that verse 118 “forms an anthesis to v 117, as the psalmist asserts that the Lord despises those who depart from his decrees. He views their deceit as falsehood, and the fundamental issue is their insistence on the lie of human autonomy instead of yielding to the truth of divine authority over their lives” (Estes, p. 427). The psalmist is confident that “God rejects those who reject him, those who wander away from his statutes (meaning disregard and disobey)” (Ross, p. 558). The word for astray in Hebrew is a participle. This is continual going astray, it does not stop. For people today, those who go astray from the Lord’s statutes will continue to do so until they repent, changing their ways.
In verse 119 “the psalmist pictures divine judgment on the wicked as dross discarded through the process of refining metal. If the wicked are characterized as dross, then the righteous are like pure silver that emerges through the smelting fire. The Lord can be trusted to do what is right in the world he rules, and this confidence causes the psalmist to love what the Lord has decreed” (Estes, pp. 427-428).
The psalmist knows that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). The psalmist’s flesh trembles in fear of the Lord and he is afraid of His judgements (v 120). The psalmist is in “awe of the Lord, and he shudders when he contemplates God’s retribution of the wicked. In contrast to the fool, he does not take the Lord lightly, but he stands in awe and terror before him” (Estes, p. 428).
Lord God, it is a fearful thing to fall in Your Hands. Lord God, may we never approach You on our terms but on Yours. Thank You Lord that You do allow us to come before Your Throne boldly and in confidence; however, may we NEVER take advantage of Your grace and mercy! Lord God, may we be like this psalmist solely devoted to You rather than being like the double-minded. Lord God, being double-minded is denounced in both the Old and New Testament. Lord, You are our hiding place and our shield. May we rest confidently and securely in You regardless of what is happening around us. Lord, may we never stop hoping in Your Word and clinging to Your promises.
Lord, help us to put on the full armor so that we may be able to withstand the evildoers who do not depart from us. Remind us to put on Your Armor so that we may keep Your commandments! Lord, thank You that You will NEVER act in a way that brings shame to Your Name. Even though this world is full of scoffers and mockers, thank You Lord that You are our Victorious and Soon Returning King who will take vengeance on those who have rejected You. Lord God, obedience is required. Remind us there are NO days off in the Christian life and that when we go astray from Your statues, help us to repent right away and to get back on Your path.
Lord God, for the person who is reading this who is not in Christ, I pray for their salvation. Lord I know that it is taboo to talk about Your Wrath, but there is a day of judgement coming that will be severe and unlike anything humans have ever seen, known or experienced. Lord God, for the person who thinks that hell is not real, soften this person’s heart to read Your Word and to see what You have to say about judgement, hell and eternity for themselves.
Lord God, for those who are in Christ and love Your testimonies may our entire being tremble in fear, awe and reverence of You. Lord God, thank You and praise You that Your perfect love casts out fear! May believers NEVER forget that we will also face Your Judgement. Lord, help us to live in a manner that pleases and glorifies You. Not to merit/earn our salvation but as a way to say we love You and thank You for being our God. Thank You Lord for this reader. Lord God, help this reader run their race well. In Jesus’s Holy and Mighty Name I pray. Amen.