The cords of the wicked have encircled me, but I have not forgotten Your law.
Imagine trying to live out your faith when your enemies are doing everything to destroy you. They have no regard for your life, for truth, or for God. They take every opportunity to trap you, with the ultimate goal of destroying you. Their hatred is beyond description. That is the plight of the psalmist.
For many who profess Christ, such circumstances would lead to despair, discouragement, disillusionment, bitterness, anger, and frustration. Far too often our expectation of life as a Christian is not consistent with the life of our Lord or of how He described what we could expect in this life.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
1 Peter 4:12–16
The response of the psalmist to intense opposition was to keep the law of God in his heart and mind. It is the truth of God’s word that orients our hearts in the midst of life’s circumstances. God’s word reminds us of the character of God and His purposes. The commitment of the psalmist to God’s word did not remove him from his circumstances, but it did keep him thinking as God intends in the midst of his challenges.
Brothers and sisters, we must expect opposition in this life if we are to live in a manner that pleases the Lord. Don’t be surprised by the fiery trials and don’t let them distract you from the truth of God’s word and from the mission we are on. Don’t lose sight of our faithful brethren who have gone before us, and let’s keep our focus on Jesus.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.