I hate double-minded men,
But I love your law.
How can we have anything but the strongest antithetical reaction to men – and that part of all men – when they are changeable, deathly, deceitful, unintentional, when we profess to love a living word that is secure, alive, honest, purposeful and good?
You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.
God is a cave – an overhanging tree – a windbreak – a stormwall – a dam, a cordon, a barrier. My belief for the good in tomorrow resides entirely within his word, nestled inside it. You have to unfold the flaps of God;s voice and there, beautifully hidden, you see your hope – your own belief. Find it!
Away from me, you evildoers,
That I may keep the commands of God!
Harsh words – but the price is great. You cannot save a drowning man unless you are secure in the boat. Distance is important – it brings clarity and freedom of sight – and allows me to keep God’s commands – not simply begin them.
Sustain me according to your promise, and I shall live;
Do not let my hopes be dashed.
This strength to see things through to the end is to be found in God’s promise to us. Life is when something is being continued, sustained, not otherwise. Your hopes – all of them – are secure in that single word – undashable.
Uphold me, and I shall be delivered;
I shall always have regard for your decrees.
Keeping God’s law is prominent, upheld like an offering in the sight of the people – but for delivery – and this is eternal life – satisfaction in his word!
You reject all who stray from your decrees,
For their deceitfulness is in vain.
Shortcuts are a waste of time – self-defeating. Attempts to trick God are folly. Those who stray are choosing a path that will be harder and less profitable.
All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross;
Therefore I love your statutes,
Here, there is some fear – not to be discarded – but you can see the poet’s value on his relationship with God. I do not want to be unnecessary to the purpose, for wickedness makes us unusable – cannot be forged into good tools.
My flesh trembles in fear of you;
I stand in awe of your laws.
For his word is like a furnace – burning, changing, melting – on a vast scale. More terrifyingly hot that a furnace crucible – than all the molten metal in the world – the process is on such a scale and is so effective. This is what the word of God does – refine!
So we might learn distaste for the company of evil, but God effects our separation. This verse of the Psalm is a window into his process in our hearts, convincing us through shows of strength and mercy. The mercy is in his sustenance – we can only keep his laws because he hears our prayers and does his will.