Psalm 119:136—Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law.
I’ve been reading through the Psalms lately, and just started on Psalm 119 a couple days ago. I am about halfway through it, and it did not take long to realize something: The writer of this Psalm does not see God’s laws as an undue burden for a man to carry. He sees God’s law for what it is: perfect. See, the Law of God was not given to show us how good and upright and righteous we could be. Paul lets us know that in no uncertain terms in Galatians 3:19. The Law was given, rather, to show the perfection of God, and to point us to the man who would be Christ. The man who knew the Law–the spirit of the Law, that is, not the letter–would know the Christ when He came.
However, there were many who knew the Law of God, and treated it with flippancy. They knew God, they had seen or heard or heard tell of the glory of God, and the salvation He brought to Israel. Yet they turned their back on that Law, and went and served other Gods. And the Psalmist shows us that this is an insult to God, and a thing that should be mourned over.
Let’s bring that verse into today’s conversation (The real one, not the “Emerging” one). Do we pour out rivers of water from our eyes because men kill and steal and blaspheme? I confess I have not done so much. But perhaps we should. After all, did not the Master implore us to do so? “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Daniel, a man who served God from his youth, even in the pagan empire of the Babylonians, cried out to God thus: “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets.” (Daniel 9:8-10).
Yet there are those who call themselves “the church” who–not only do they not mourn and weep over the sins of men against God–they rather celebrate the desecration of God’s laws by those who would serve their flesh and its lusts. They give a wink and a nod to homosexuality and cursing and the worship of other gods, and the blasphemy against the written word of God, and the worship of that grand humanistic idea of “inclusiveness.” They welcome into their midst those who would cast doubt on God’s word, and would claim that we can get to Heaven by following whatever path we want to, and bring in music and ideas from heathens and pagans like Oprah Winfrey and the Beatles.
If only there would pour forth rivers from the eyes of the church of our Lord Jesus Christ for those who spit upon and ignore the Law that God gave us–a Law that does not keep one under bondage, but one that was given so that we may know Him–that we would see that we are not greater than the Law, that we are not worthy of God’s mercy because we have transgressed that Law. We are no longer under the curse of the Law, praise God (Galatians 3:13)! But may we always look to that perfect Law of God, to see it as a constant reminder of the grace of God given to us sinners, and love the LORD our God by keeping His commandments!
As Spurgeon once wrote,
He wept in sympathy with God to see the holy law despised and broken. He wept in pity for men who were thus drawing down upon themselves the fiery wrath of God. His grief was such that he could scarcely give it vent; his tears were not mere drops of sorrow, but torrents of woe. In this he became like the Lord Jesus, who beheld the city, and wept over it; and like unto Jehovah himself, who hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but that be turn unto him and live. The experience of this verse indicates a great advance upon anything we have had before: the psalm and the Psalmist are both growing. That man is a ripe believer who sorrows because of the sins of others. In Psalms 119:120 his flesh trembled at the presence of God, and here it seems to melt and flow away in floods of tears. None are so affected by heavenly things as those who are much in the study of the word, and are thereby taught the truth and essence of things. Carnal men are afraid of brute force, and weep over losses and crosses; but spiritual men feel a holy fear of the Lord himself, and most of all lament when they see dishonour cast upon his holy name.
–Charles Spurgeon, from The Treasury of David, Psalm 119:136