In the last stanza we read that the psalmist was sad and upset because of the bad attitude of certain people (who should have known better) towards God’s laws. He wrote:
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed. (NIV)
In the next stanza his emotions have moved onto anger, and so he writes:
139 I am indignant and angry because of the way my enemies have disregarded your laws. (Living Bible)
So, what is it about God and His laws that brings out such strong emotions in our psalmist? Well, we will let him explain in verses 137-144 where the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet used is צ Tsadhe (pronounced S as in pots) and the key word used beginning with this letter is saddiq which appears 5 times. Saddiq means righteous.
Read this next stanza and note his use of this word:
137 You are righteous, Lord,
and your laws are right.
138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous;
give me understanding that I may live.
A couple of other Scriptures describing God’s righteousness are:
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
… the LORD our God is right in all that he has done … (Daniel 9:14).
Obviously, if God Himself is righteous (and He is) then His words (laws) will also be righteous and it is only right that his people should also do that which is right. As the prophet Zephaniah wrote: Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zeph. 2:3)
Wilcock suggests that the psalmist “would have found himself entirely in tune with that greatest of Old Testament scholars, the apostle Paul; with the greatest of his writings, the letter to the Romans; and especially with the way it sets out to expound the central message of all Scripture, the gospel of Christ – ‘the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes,’ for in it ‘a righteousness from God is revealed’ (Romans 1:16-17)”
He continues: “When in Romans people are made righteous, they are made what they ought to be… So, if in verse 137 the Lord is righteous, then he is what he ought to be, and if in verse 138 he has laid down His statutes (the terms on which his covenant is based) in righteousness, they too are what they ought to be.” (# 5)
So, then what about us? Are we living the lives that we ought to be?
The reason the psalmist was indignant and angry was because of the ignoring and blatant disobedience of God’s laws by those who ought to have known better, and so ought we to be.
If, like the psalmist, we are able to honestly say, Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them, then our heart’s desire should be to see others blessed in this way by obeying his word. The things and people and pleasures and entertainment of this world will pass away, but here is one thing that remains: Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. In God and His Word is real life, if we do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. [but rather] Do what it says. (James 1:22)