David might well give his testimony to "the words of the Lord," that they were "tried words," for perhaps no one had ever tried them more than himself, and certainly no one had more experience of their faithfulness, sweetness, and support. Saul and his "princes might indeed sit and speak against him;" but he had a resource, of which they could never deprive him, "Not as the world gives, give I unto you." As our blessed Master was employed in communion with His Father, and delighting in His work at the time when the "princes did sit and speak against him;" so, under similar circumstances of trial, this faithful servant of God, by meditation in the Lord's statutes, extracted spiritual food for his support; and in this strength of his God he was enabled to "suffer according to His will, and to commit the keeping of his soul to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator."
The children of Israel in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, and the disciples of Christ in the early ages of the Church, have each found "this same affliction to be accomplished in themselves." that God is pleased to permit it, to show "that his kingdom is not of this world," to wean His people from earthly dependencies, and to bring out before the world a more full testimony of His name.
One other reason is suggested by this verse—to make His word more precious by the experience of its sustaining consolation in the conflict with the power of the world. Often, indeed, from a lack of a present application of the word—young Christians especially are in danger of being put to rebuke by the scorner's sneer. The habit of scriptural meditation will realize to them a present God, speaking "words of spirit and life" to their souls. The importance, therefore, of an accurate and well-digested acquaintance with this precious book cannot be too highly estimated. In the Christian's conflict it is "the sword of the Spirit," which, if it be kept bright by constant use, will never be wielded without the victory of faith. Such powerful support does it give against fainting under persecution, that the good soldier may ever be ready to thank God, and to take courage. Christ has left it, indeed, as the portion of His people, "In the world you shall have tribulation;" counterbalanced, however, most abundantly, by the portion which they enjoy in Him, "In Me you shall have peace." If, therefore, the one-half of this portion may seem hard, the whole legacy is such as no servant of Christ can refuse to accept, or indeed will receive without thankfulness.
"Princes also did sit and speak against me." David was high game, and the great ones of the earth went a-hawking after him. Princes saw in him a greatness which they envied, and therefore they abused him. On their thrones they might have found something better to consider and speak about, but they turned the seat of judgment into the seat of the scorner. Most men covet a prince's good word, and to be spoken ill of by a great man is a great discouragement to them; but the Psalmist bore his trial with holy calmness. Many of the lordly ones were his enemies, and made it their business to speak ill of him; they held sittings for scandal, sessions for slander, parliaments of falsehood, and yet he survived all their attempts upon him. "But your servant did meditate in your statutes." This was brave indeed. He was God's servant, and therefore he attended to his Master's business; he was God's servant, and therefore felt sure that the Lord would defend him. He gave no heed to his princely slanderers; he did not even allow his thoughts to be disturbed by a knowledge of their plotting in conclave. Who were these malignants that they should rob God of his servant's attention, or deprive the Lord's chosen of a moment's devout communion? The rabble of princes were not worth five minutes' thought, if those five minutes had to be taken from holy meditation. It is very beautiful to see the two sittings: the princes sitting to reproach David, and David sitting with his God and his Bible, answering his traducers by never answering them at all. Those who feed upon the word grow strong and peaceful, and are by God's grace hidden from the strife of tongues.
Note that in the close of the former octave he had said, "I will meditate"; and here he shows how he had redeemed his promise, even under great provocation to forget it. It is a praiseworthy thing when the resolve of our happy hours is duly carried out in our seasons of affliction.