Isn’t scorn and contempt exactly what Jesus predicted that His followers would experience if they truly kept following Him? So, what did David mean? Surely, obeying God – ‘observing His instruction’ – will make things worse, not better, as we find ourselves out of step with a godless world. So, why should David ask God to take them away?
The word translated ‘remove’ is used of rolling a heavy stone away from something. And I think that gives us a clue to what David means. Yes, he will experience scorn and contempt, but it doesn’t have to lie like a heavy weight over his spirit.
After Israel had crossed the Jordan and had entered the Promised Land, they were all circumcised and then celebrated Passover (Joshua 5:1-12). They ate the produce of the Land and, at the same time, the Manna ceased. Joshua named the place Gilgal. Why? Because God had said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled off from you the stigma of Egypt’.
The name, Gilgal comes from the Hebrew word galal, which means roll. This is the word that is translated ‘remove’ in today’s verse. The years of slavery; the years of wandering in the desert, they were all ended. A new life had begun. They were circumcised – a sign of cleansing; and they celebrated Passover – a sign of liberation.
In doing these things they were obeying God’s laws – His testimonies. And, as they did so, God rolled the weight of the years of slavery and wandering from them. God had already said to them, ‘I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, so that you would not be their slaves. I have broken the bars of your yoke, so that you can walk upright’ (Leviticus 26:13).
Yes, if we keep in step with the Spirit of God today, we will certainly find ourselves out of step with many of those with whom we will have contact. They may feel (and, maybe, express) scorn and contempt for our lifestyle and values. But, as we walk with God, He promises to lift the weight of it from us.
Of course, we have a part to play. It’s very simple, and yet we sometimes find it surprisingly difficult. He will take it from us; but we must be willing to give it to Him. Before praying, why not spend a few moments remembering some of the things that still weigh you down so that you can give them to your loving Father?
Prayer: Father, thank You that You promise to take away the burden of the scorn and contempt that I have experienced in the past, but still feel today. Today, I choose to remember the things that people have said and done that still lie heavily on my spirit. And I bring them to You, trusting that You will release me from their weight. Amen.
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