The arrogant utterly deride me, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.
The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law.
The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.

The scorn of an ungodly world is one of the afflictions, which realize to us the comfort of the word. And this is a trial, from which no exemption is to be expected, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Not even David—though a king—a man of wisdom and prudence, and therefore not likely to give unnecessary offence; and whose character and rank might be expected to command respect—not even was he shielded from the derision of the proud on account of the profession and service of his God. Thus it ever was and ever will be. Faith in the doctrine of Christ, and conformity to the strict commandments of the gospel, must expose us to the taunts of the unbeliever and the worldling. Yet, where the heart is right with God, the derision of the proud, instead of forcing us to decline from the law of God, will strengthen our adherence to it. David answered the bitter derision of Michal with a stronger resolution to abide by his God, "I will yet be more vile than thus." He counted it his glory, his duty, his joy. None, however, but a believer knows what it is to bear this cross: and none but a real believer can bear it. It is one of the touchstones of sincerity, the application of which has often been the means of "separating the precious from the vile," and has unmasked the self-confident professor to his own confusion. Oh! how many make a fair profession, and appear "good soldiers of Jesus Christ," until the hour of danger proves them deserters, and they reap only the fruits of their self-confidence in their own confusion!

It is, therefore, of great importance to those who are just setting out in the warfare, to be well armed with the word of God. It kept David steadfast amid the derision of the proud; and it will keep young Christians from being frightened or overcome by the sneer of an ungodly world. But that it may "dwell in us richly in all wisdom," and be suited to our own case, it will be well, under circumstances of reproach, to acquaint ourselves with the supporting promises and encouragements to suffer for righteousness' sake. Above all, the contemplation of the great sufferer Himself—meeting this poignant trial in meekness, compassion, and prayer—will exhibit "a refuge from the storm, and a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as the storm against the wall." The mere professor knows not this refuge; he possesses not this armor; so that when "affliction or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately he is offended."

Christian! be satisfied with the approbation of your God. Has He not adopted you into His family, stamped you with His image, assured you by His Spirit, sealed you for His kingdom? And is not this "honor that comes from God only" enough—far more than enough—to counterbalance the derision of the proud? Think of the day, when "the rebuke of the people shall be taken away from off all the earth," when "he will confess their name before His Father, and before His angels," when "the saints shall judge the world," when "the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning." Can we be Christians, if this sure prospect does not infinitely more than compensate for all "the hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against us?"

Thus—blessed be God—the weapons of our warfare are drawn from the Divine armory; and therefore depending on the grace, and following the example, of Jesus, we suffer, as the way to victory—the road to an everlasting crown.

"The proud have had me greatly in derision." Proud men never love gracious men, and as they fear them, they veil their fear under a pretended contempt. In this case their hatred revealed itself in ridicule, and that ridicule was loud and long. When they wanted sport they made sport of David because he was God's servant. Men must have strange eyes to be able to see a farce in faith, and a comedy in holiness; yet it is sadly the case that men who are short of wit can generally provoke a broad grin by jesting at a saint. Conceited sinners make footballs of godly men. They call it roaring fun to caricature a faithful member of "The Holy Club": his methods of careful living are the material for their jokes about "the Methodist"; and his hatred of sin sets their tongues a-wagging at long-faced Puritanism, and strait-laced hypocrisy. If David was greatly derided, we may not expect to escape the scorn of the ungodly. There are hosts of proud men still upon the face of the earth, and if they find a believer in affliction they will be mean enough and cruel enough to make jests at his expense. It is the nature of the son of the bondwoman to mock the child of the promise.

"Yet have I not declined from your law." Thus the deriders missed their aim: they laughed, but they did not win. The godly man, so far from turning aside from the right way, did not even slacken his pace, or in any sense fall off from his holy habits. Many would have declined, many have declined, but David did not do so. It is paying too much honor to fools to yield half a point to them. Their unhallowed mirth will not harm us if we pay no attention to it, even as the moon suffers nothing from the dogs that howl at her. God's law is our highway of peace and safety, and those who would laugh us out of it wish us no good.

From verse 61 we note that David was not overcome by the spoiling of his goods any more than by these cruel mockings. See also verse 157, where the multitude of persecutors and enemies were baffled in their attempts to make him decline from God's ways.