Depart from Me

“Depart from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commandments of my God.” Psalm 119.115

This verse (truly, every verse) cannot be separated from its context. Because the psalmist loves the law of God (113), because God is his shield and God’s word gives him hope (114), he wants no part with evildoers. He commands them to depart from him. The poet wants none of their influence.

The reason he reacts so strongly against evildoers lies in his longing to obey the commandments of God. These commandments are pleasing to him because they are from his God. It’s personal (my God) for him. He commands that evildoers depart, because they interfere with him lovingly obey his God.

As those reconciled to God, those who’ve received the grace of God by faith, we should long to obey God out of love for him (John 15.10). If we love him, his commands are not a burden to us, but our delight (1 John 5.3). Let us love God, put off evil, and disassociate ourselves from anything that would deter our obedience to his commands—that he might be honored in our lives.

What associations do you have with evildoers? How have you seen these associations interfere with your obedience to God’s commands? Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and discernment. Ask that—in his great kindness—he would guide you in repentance.

Gracious Lord, our beloved God and King, show us those things that interfere with out devotion to you. Help us, O Lord, to examine our relationships and how they affect our obedience. In your grace, dear Father, lead us in repentance. Give us a love for you and your word that produces faithful obedience. Amen.

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