19: “I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me. ” In the NIV, there are 37 references to the word “stranger”, The ASV has 99, and the KJV has 198 references to the word stranger. What is a stranger, you may ask, (cause I know you’re asking)? Dictionary.com defines stranger as:
- a person with whom one has had no personal acquaintance: He is a perfect stranger to me.
- a newcomer in a place or locality: a stranger in town.
- an outsider: They want no strangers in on the club meetings.
- a person who is unacquainted with or unaccustomed to something (usually followed by to ): He is no stranger to poverty.
- a person who is not a member of the family, group, community, or the like, as a visitor or guest: Our town shows hospitality to strangers.
In I Peter, the apostle refers to Christians 3 times as strangers in an alien world. The first reference to living as a stranger is in Genesis 1513, where God is telling Abraham his descendents will live as strangers in a foreign land for 400 years. Why is this important? David is saying that as a believer in God, as one who believes in the creator of the universe, we ought to live as strangers on an earth that denies him. His prayer is to hear God, to know HIS words. I don’t think it means to cut myself away from the world, but to live as an outsider, to not be a part of the club, to take part in life, but to not accept the ways of the world. The second half of the verse is intriguing to me. “Do not hide your commands from me”. Because of being a stranger, he needs direction, he’s saying the only direction he wants is from God. He’s crying out for a clear channel from God so that he may know and understand how to navigate this place he lives on.
20. “My soul is consumed with longing for you laws at all times.” This is a recurring theme so far in this chapter. It’s pretty redundant, but that’s how much David wants to emphasize the importance of knowing God’s word. He only had the law, the Pentateuch, we have the whole Bible. My life’s desire should be to know the word. I have no problem reciting lines from stupid movies (and I like stupid movies), or song lyrics, so why do I struggle with memorizing the Bible? David’s statement that his “soul is consumed with longing…” should be an indictment to me.