The double-minded. This morning that’s the hook that keeps me hovering over my reading in Psalm 119. The songwriter hated the double-minded.
Hate. We taught our kids that was a dangerous word. A word not to be used lightly or thoughtlessly. But that’s the word used here. All the translations translate it the same, even Peterson in The Message. One of my lexicons qualifies it “to hate personally” as you would an enemy or foe. No getting around it, the songwriter hated the double-minded.
Literally, “the divided.” The half-hearted. The ambivalent. Those who, when it came to God’s word, took an I-can-go-this-way-or-I-can-go-that-way sort of approach.
And the songwriter’s visceral opposition to the double-minded is shared throughout Scripture.
“Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
(Joshua 24:15b ESV)
And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
(1Kings 18:21a ESV)
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
(James 1:6-7 ESV)
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
(James 4:8 ESV)
Just as He did with Joshua, Elijah, and James, the Spirit of God moves the songwriter to declare, You gotta pick a side. And the songwriter does.
I love Your law . . .
I hope in Your word . . .
That I may keep the commandments of my God
(Psalm 119:113b, 114b, 115b ESV)
But while it’s the declaration of the psalmist concerning the double-minded that hooks me, and his commitment to God’s word that inspires me, it’s the twice repeated prayer of the psalmist that teaches me.
Uphold me according to Your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for Your statutes continually!
(Psalm 119:16-17 ESV)
I’ve made my decision. I’ve staked my claim. I’ve chosen this day. I’ve landed firmly on one opinion. I’m no longer doubting. I’ve repented of any double-mindedness. Now my God, “Uphold me.” Or, to say it differently (but not too differently), “Hold me up.”
Rather than boast in his resolve to love, hope in, and follow the word of God, twice the songwriter calls out to God to sustain him in his determination. To support him should his legs weary from standing for God’s word.
As You’ve promised, he prays, have my back, that I may live. As I’ve chosen to trust in You, he pleads, carry me when needed, that I may be safe.
With great determination, it seems, comes the need for great dependency. Taking a side comes with inviting opposition. A willing spirit acknowledges the weakness of the flesh. I can love the word . . . hope in the word . . . even determine with a holy determination to keep the word, but in so doing, I must also cry out to the Word to uphold me according to His promise.
Not double-minded. By God’s grace.
But wholly dependent. For God’s glory.