Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Psalm 119:23 ESV
As is so often the case, this verse continues the train of thought of verse 22. That verse was a prayer for deliverance from those who were treating the psalmist with scorn and contempt; now, however, we have a declaration of bold resilience in the face of opposition, even from those with the most authority.
The princes mentioned are obviously rulers, people with authority to govern others. For most of the ancient world, the power of rulers was only kept in check through fear of revolt or of an even higher ruler of them. Therefore, what the prince said was what happened. With so much authority, these princes were the last people one would want to enrage, and to have one plotting against someone was essentially a seal of death. Yet the psalmist goes one step further by declaring that even if many princes conspired together to plot his ruin and demise, he would still meditate upon God’s statutes. Nothing, not even the threat of death, would stop him from pondering over the riches found in God’s Word. But notice also that he again calls himself God’s servant, which now becomes a pledge of allegiance as well. Although he may also serve earthly princes, the psalmist ultimately bends his knee to the High King of heaven.
Such a steadfast commitment to the Scriptures should cause us to prayerfully consider at least two things. First, although even the threat of death could not part the psalmist from thinking deeply over God’s law, what things pull your heart and attention away from the Word? Persecution may be more delightful to the devil, but distraction can be just as damning. The hum of a phone may achieve what blatant threats could not, pulling us from sitting under the Word of our Father. Second, do you turn to God’s Word during times a distress and uncertainty as the psalmist did? When everything seems to be working against you, do you meditate upon the Scriptures, or do you self-medicate with entertainment, work, or other forms of distraction? Like psalmist, we fearful and trying times should lead us into further and deeper dependence upon our Lord in His Word, not less.