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Like a Wineskin in the Smoke


Psalm 119:81-88

Verses 83-84 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your decrees. How long must Your servant wait? When will You punish my persecutors?


We started talking yesterday about how the psalmist is struggling with waiting for God’s promises and that it can be a troubling time for us as well. Today the psalmist revisits something he has already prayed about in this psalm.


The first line in today’s key verse may not make as much sense to us as it would have to the people of ancient times but the message of the phrase is just as relevant today as it was back then. Smoke damages the wineskin and that is how the psalmist feels from the pressure he has been under as he has been persecuted by his enemies.


We may not have enemies the way that the song smith did but as Christians we do have those who are trying to keep us from speaking of the works of God. We struggle with understanding why God allows them to make such claims about us and ultimately Him. As the psalmist was facing those who wished him harm he struggled to see why God would let them bring such stress to his life. He may have felt like the stress of the persecution was keeping him from being as effective to God’s kingdom as he could be if he wasn’t dealing with them. We feel that way sometimes too, don’t we?


It is as if much of the world would like to see Christianity done away with. This shouldn’t surprise us as they killed Christ. We can’t expect to be treated better than He was. Just as they got upset when He pointed out the errors of their ways, the people of our day don’t like to hear truth when it goes against what they value. When a person values sin they can’t stand people who live a life of truth.


But the psalmist makes an important reminder, during times of persecution we need to remember to stay true to the law. His decrees may make us unpopular with the people of the world but popularity shouldn’t be important to us. Our desire to obey the law of the Lord may bring us uncomfortable situations with others but we need to take comfort in the promise that He will punish those that persecute us. Maybe not as soon as we would like, but He will do as He has said.


Making It Personal

Have you ever faced any persecution for your faith? How did you respond? How can following the law keep you focused on the Lord during these times of trials?


Making It Personal Kids

Has anyone made fun of you because you love Jesus? How did you react? Should you still obey Jesus even if they make fun of you?


Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for giving us Your law. It is through the law that we remember You will judge in due time. Please give us the courage to continue obeying You and seeking to stand for You in the midst of persecution. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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