Verses 118–120

Here is, I. God’s judgment on wicked people, on those that wander from his statutes, that take their measures from other rules and will not have God to reign over them. All departure from God’s statutes is certainly an error, and will prove a fatal one. These are the wicked of the earth; they mind earthly things, lay up their treasures in the earth, live in pleasure on the earth, and are strangers and enemies to heaven and heavenly things. Now see how God deals with them, that you may neither fear them nor envy them. 1. He treads them all down. He brings them to ruin, to utter ruin, to shameful ruin; he makes them his footstool. Though they are ever so high, he can bring them low (Amos 2:9); he has done it many a time, and he will do it, for he resists the proud and will triumph over those that oppose his kingdom. Proud persecutors trample upon his people, but, sooner or later, he will trample upon them. 2. He puts them all away like dross. Wicked people are as dross, which, though it be mingled with the good metal in the ore, and seems to be of the same substance with it, must be separated from it. And in God’s account they are worthless things, the scum and refuse of the earth, and no more to be compared with the righteous than dross with fine gold. There is a day coming which will put them away from among the righteous (Matt. 13:49), so that they shall have no place in their congregation (Ps. 1:5), which will put them away into everlasting fire, the fittest place for the dross. Sometimes, in this world, the wicked are, by the censures of the church, or the sword of the magistrate, or the judgments of God, put away as dross, Prov. 25:4, 5.

II. The reasons of these judgments. God casts them off because they err from his statutes (those that will not submit to the commands of the word shall feel the curses of it) and because their deceit is falsehood, that is, because they deceive themselves by setting up false rules, in opposition to God’s statutes, which they err from, and because they go about to deceive others with their hypocritical pretences of good and their crafty projects of mischief. Their cunning is falsehood, so Dr. Hammond. The utmost of their policy is treachery and perfidiousness; this the God of truth hates and will punish.

III. The improvement David made of these judgments. He took notice of them and received instruction from them. The ruin of the wicked helped to increase, 1. His love to the word of God. “I see what comes of sin; therefore I love thy testimonies, which warn me to take heed of those dangerous courses and keep me from the paths of the destroyer.” We see the word of Go fulfilled in his judgments on sin and sinners, and therefore we should love it. 2. His fear of the wrath of God: My flesh trembles for fear of thee. Instead of insulting over those who fell under God’s displeasure, he humbled himself. What we read and hear of the judgments of God upon wicked people would make us, (1.) To reverence his terrible majesty, and to stand in awe of him: Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? 1 Sam. 6:20. (2.) To fear lest we offend him and become obnoxious to his wrath. Good men have need to be restrained from sin by the terrors of the Lord, especially when judgment begins at the house of God and hypocrites are discovered and put away as dross.