The boldness and zeal necessary to confront the spirit of this age comes only through the work of the cross. It is only as Christ’s nature is experientially worked in us that we find His zeal also consuming us. Passivity and lukewarmness are traits of the Adamic nature. The secular push for tolerance and diversity spring from the Adamic nature, not God’s. It is true that there is a false zeal, a false boldness, that springs from the religiosity of Adam. This too must be crucified. Paul expressed this spiritual boldness perfectly in Gal. 6:17. “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.”
The prophet Elijah was another man of boldness. He confronted the prophets of Baal, and after humiliating them and proving them false, slew them with the sword, all 450 of them. Such zeal is distasteful to Adam’s religiosity. Why is it that false Christianity has no backbone? Why does it play into the hands of the politically correct, antichrist spirit dominating Western culture right now? Jesus answers this question in John 16.
2 “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.
3 “These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.
It is because too much of Christianity does not have a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. They do not know Him. The closer we draw to the Lord the less compromise is in our spirits. The false spirit of religion delights in painting Jesus as a fluffy lamb who is not offensive. But the Scriptures call Him a stone for stumbling and a rock of offense (1st Pet. 2:8). The zeal Jesus demonstrated in driving the money changers from the Temple with whips was a result of His relationship to the Father. When Jesus cleansed the Temple, His disciples remembered it was written of Him, “Zeal for Your house shall consume Me.”
The secular/religious world considers the zeal of the Lord arrogant and unreasonable. Christ’s zeal is mocked by the antichrist spirit. Western culture especially has the propensity for such an attitude. This is because the emphasis upon self and self-gratification is at its zenith. The Adamic flesh nature, which carries the antichrist spirit, is having its full expression in this hour. It is according to Isiah 14.
13 “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.
14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
15 “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit.
Some may say, “Oh, these verses are about Satan.” The satanic seed is bound up in the Adamic nature. They are inseparable. There must be the spirit of Elijah to come forth in a people. Only the zeal of the Lord Himself can confront the satanic strongholds that must come down. It is written in Dan. 11 that they who know their God will be strong and do exploits.
Psalm 119 is a very unique psalm. It is an expression of the workmanship of God in His sons. The psalm is prophetic of how Christ’s own nature is formed in us. Everything written by the psalmist springs from a work done in his spirit. None of the hunger for God’s righteousness has its origin within the psalmist. It is created in him through the dealings of God. The psalm is difficult to understand because in one verse the psalmist is proclaiming his love for the word of God and His righteousness, and in the next seems to be lamenting his utter incapability to measure up. This theme runs through the entire psalm. The psalm is a revelation of how we become the righteousness of God, all the while maintaining an awareness of our utter failure in Adam. This truth is a great paradox. Christ’s nature is formed in us through the cross, and it is indelibly part of us. At the same time, we never lose the awareness of the distinction between Him and us. God orders His workmanship in us this way because Christ is to always be honored as the preeminent One. This the true explanation of the grace of God.
Let’s begin our journey through Psalm 119. We will not examine every verse, for that would be a study in itself.
9 ¶ Beth. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.
10 ¶ With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
11 ¶ Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
12 ¶ Blessed are You, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes.
13 ¶ With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways.
16 I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.
Such an attitude as expressed in the above verses does not come naturally to us. God must create it in our hearts. All of God’s ways in our lives are designed to bring us closer to Himself. The Lord emphasizes our lack that we may run after Him with whole hearts. How can there be a hungering and thirsting after righteousness if we first don’t feel our need very deeply? This is how God deals with the psalmist, and this is how God creates sons.
17 ¶ Gimel. Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word.
18 ¶ Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.
19 ¶ I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.
20 ¶ My soul is crushed with longing After Your ordinances at all times.
21 ¶ You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, Who wander from Your commandments.
22 ¶ Take away reproach and contempt from me, For I observe Your testimonies.
23 ¶ Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
24 ¶ Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors.
Notice how the psalmist proclaims that his soul is crushed with longing for God’s ordinances, and then in verse 22 he cries that reproach and contempt be removed from him. The crushing of our spirits before God go hand-in-hand with reproach. Such was Job’s experience.
25 ¶ Daleth. My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
26 ¶ I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; Teach me Your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders.
28 ¶ My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word.
29 Remove the false way from me, And graciously grant me Your law.
30 ¶ I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.
31 I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!
32 I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart.
The psalmist’s soul cleaves to the dust. He cries for reviving. Verse 28 says his soul weeps because of grief. Why is this? The dealings of God make us desperate to walk in His nature. The psalmist cries in verse 29 for God to remove every false way from him. Notice verse 30. “I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.” Such a choice comes through crushing. All that seems negative and distasteful to Adam in reality produces the purity of His word in us. This is the wonder and paradox of the cross.
32 I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart.
God enlarges our hearts for Himself. This message is about the Lord creating His zeal in a people. As He enlarges our hearts we find His zeal beginning to fill us. We begin to become jealous for His name. God’s dealings have a way of endearing us to Him in a way that seems improbable. But it is all related to having a broken spirit before Him.
34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart.
The psalmist cries for understanding that He may observe God’s ordinances and keep them with all of His heart. “All of our hearts” is a relative term. The Lord will enlarge our hearts, giving us a greater capacity to love Him.
41 ¶ Vav. May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LORD, Your salvation according to Your word;
42 So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word.
God’s lovingkindness is manifested through the dealings He puts us through. Our love for God is compounded exponentially as He crushes our spirits.
67 ¶ Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.
All the above passages have served to show us that it is God who creates in us the fulfillment of Phil. 2.
12 ¶ So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Back to psalm 119.
102 ¶ I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, For You Yourself have taught me.
103 ¶ How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.
The psalmist states that he hates every false way. This hatred does not originate with Adam, but from Christ’s word abiding in us. Remember the cry of the psalmist in verse 29: Remove the false way from me, and graciously grant me Your law. It is by the grace of God operating in us that we will learn to hate with a perfect hatred. Does this sound distasteful? And what about all the passages about love? It is precisely our love for His word in us that drives us to hate every false way.
113 ¶ Samekh. I hate those who are double-minded, But I love Your law.
Now, what about the passages commanding us to love our enemies? What about those passages teaching us that God is love? God’s love is stronger than tempered steel. The following passages about Jesus are from Heb. 1:
8 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
The hatred of every false way has nothing to do with hating individuals. It has everything to do with the false presentation of who the Lord really is. The false way is the way of lawlessness, and it is entrenched in Christianity.
126 ¶ It is time for the LORD to act, For they have broken Your law.
127 ¶ Therefore I love Your commandments Above gold, yes, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way.
129 ¶ Pe. Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul observes them.
130 ¶ The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.
131 ¶ I opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for Your commandments.
The psalmist states in verse 127 that he loves God’s commandments above fine gold. This love for God’s commandments, i.e. His word, creates the hatred of every false way. In verse 131 the psalmist declares how he had panted and longed for God’s commandments. This hunger is a work of grace that eliminates the passivity of Adam.
137 ¶ Tsadhe. Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments.
138 You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness And exceeding faithfulness.
139 ¶ My zeal has consumed me, Because my adversaries have forgotten Your words.
140 ¶ Your word is very pure, Therefore Your servant loves it.
This zeal for the Lord is a divine jealousy for the pure revelation of His word. When we begin to partake of a pure, living word, it reveals Christ to us in a pure manifestation. We begin to see Him without religious lens. The psalmist declares that his zeal has consumed him. The world, including the religious world, hates extremism. Yes, there are many false expressions of extremism, such as the Islamic terrorism sweeping the earth. It all serves to bring reproach upon the true zeal of the Lord. Jesus Himself said in Rev. 3:
14 ¶ “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
157 ¶ Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, Yet I do not turn aside from Your testimonies.
158 ¶ I behold the treacherous and loathe them, Because they do not keep Your word.
159 ¶ Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.
160 ¶ The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.
The psalmist states that he beholds the treacherous and loathes them. Once again, the treacherous must be seen as the false spirit that lives in Christianity. This is not about individuals, per se. Back in verse 136 the psalmist said, “My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep Your law.” The “law” must be interpreted, not as the Mosaic Law, but as the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is the word of Christ’s authority. It is one thing to rejoice in revelation and certain teachings when they come, but it is quite another to bow to His Lordship when it conflicts with the Adamic self-life. The religious pride of Adam is the root of the lawlessness that is being judged in this hour. If we cannot see Christ’s Lordship as it’s manifested in His body, then we do not see it at all. The living word of Christ carries His authority. The “treacherous” is that which proclaims the name of the Lord but does not submit to His manifestation through His word as it’s spoken in His body. There is to be no tolerance for that which exists outside of His Lordship. We become jealous for His name.
161 ¶ Shin. Princes persecute me without cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your words.
162 ¶ I rejoice at Your word, As one who finds great spoil.
163 ¶ I hate and despise falsehood, But I love Your law.
This psalm is full of prophetic overtones pointing to Christ. “Princes persecute me without cause.” This is written also in Psalm 69 and quoted in John 15 as pertaining to Christ. Why was Christ persecuted? In John 10 the Jews told Jesus they were attempting to stone Him because He, being a man, was making Himself out to be God. They would not tolerate a manifestation of God IN man. This is the lawless spirit, and this is the “treacherous” of verse 158. Persecution will come from within Christianity because of the unwillingness to accept Christ’s Lordship manifested through human channels.
Verse 163 states that the psalmist hates and despises falsehood. This zeal, this jealousy for the name of the Lord, springs from the drive to see Him glorified and honored. The pure glorification of the Lord only comes in an Adamic-free atmosphere. It is the religious self-life, the pride of Adam, that bucks against Christ’s Lordship. The religious pride of Adam will always take a measure of glory unto itself. Religious Adam cannot, and will not, see Christ exalted in flesh. It will feign such obedience as long as it honors the Adamic ego in some way. But when Adam is truly confronted, he will rebel. Those who are entering into the true zeal of the Lord are those in whom God is dealing very deeply. The zeal of the Lord honors Him only.