Psalm 119:51

The proud have had me greatly in derision:
yet have I not declined from thy law.
~ Psalm 119:51

The proud have had me greatly in derision:

Derision refers to scorn or ridicule. The proud have scorned the Psalmist because of his dedication to God’s Word and way. They have used his afflictions as an opportunity to heap scorn upon him. They do this because they hate God and His people. They do this because they also misunderstand affliction. God sovereignly works all these things together for good (Romans 8:28), but they have such a limited perspective that they cannot see it. Therefore, they mock.

yet have I not declined from thy law.

The Psalmist had suffered double trouble. He endured his afflictions and the scorn heaped on him for them. However, despite these difficulties, his resolve for God’s Word is only strengthened. Job’s wife tried to provoke him to give up God’s way and the Psalmist’s scorners tried to do the same. Rather than forsaking it the Psalmist found comfort in it and so we must do in the face of affliction and the teeth of our adversaries.

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Psalm 119:22

Remove from me reproach and contempt;
for I have kept thy testimonies.
~ Psalm 119:22

Reproach and contempt are here put for the Psalmist’s enemies, his accusers. He names those who speak evil against him in verse 23. He values integrity and a good name. Scripture teaches us the value of a good name is better than great riches (Proverbs 22:1). Earthly riches often come at the expense of a good name.

To ask for the removal of reproach and contempt signaled that he was suffering for righteousness’ sake (1 Peter 4:12-16). Otherwise, his prayer would have been confession and repentance.

The second phrase of the verse confirms his suffering from false accusations. He could plead that he had kept the testimonies of God and had not offended as he was accused. Keeping God’s testimonies was what brought the worldly reproach on him.

Of course, our comfort in such suffering is not a reward in this life.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
– Matthew 5:11-12

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