You Rebuke the Insolent | Psalm 119:21

You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.

Psalm 119:21 ESV

The LORD rebukes the insolent, accursed ones. The fact that they are accursed implies that this rebuke is not merely corrective. God rebukes and disciplines His people as an earthly father does with his children. Yet His rebukes lead to life. They are for the purpose of repentance, calling us to flee sin and return to Him. Those who are accursed, however, only receive the judgment and wrath of God without this mercy.

Yet the curses of God are never without merit. Here the psalmist tells us that God rebukes the insolent or, as other translations read, the proud. In their insolence, they wander from the commandments of God, choosing to follow their own understanding instead. They are insolent because they believe themselves to be wiser than wisdom’s very Source. They are accursed, therefore, because they wander from the living water to drink from polluted streams. Like Pharaoh, they refuse to let go of their sin, regardless of the plagues that it brings upon them. Like Absalom, the object of their pride will be the very noose by which they are hung, the instrument of their inevitable destruction.

All of this is to say that God is just in cursing the insolent. He has given to us His Word and His commandments. The wise prostrate themselves in the dust and cling to His Scriptures for life. They submit to the discipline and instruction of the LORD, seeking to be conformed evermore into the image of Christ. The insolent, however, are fools who despise instruction. Their own will shall be done, even though the end is hell. Let us, therefore, be diligent not to wander from the LORD’s commandments and quick to repent whenever we do.

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