If the Lord does us good, we must expect Satan to do us evil. Acting in his own character, as a "liar and the father of it," he readily puts it into the hearts of his children to forge lies against the children of God! But all is overruled by the ever-watchful care and providence of God, for the eventual good of His church. The cross frightens the insincere, and removes them out of the way; while the steadfastness of His own people marvelously displays to the world the power and triumph of faith. A most delightful source of encouragement in this fiery trial is, to take off the eye from the objects of sense, and to fix it upon Jesus as our pattern, no less than our life. For every trial, in which we are conformed to His suffering image, supplies to us equal direction and support. Do "the proud forge lies against us?" So did they against Him. "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple, that he be as his master, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" "Consider Him, therefore, that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds."
But is it always lies that are forged against us? Is there no worldliness, or pride, or inconsistency in temper and walk, that opens the mouths of the enemies of the gospel, and causes "the way of truth to be evil spoken of?" Do they not sometimes "say all manner of evil" against some of us, for Christ's sake; yet alas! not altogether "falsely?" "Woe unto the world, because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man, by whom the offence comes!" If, however, the reproach of the world be "the reproach of Christ," "let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised." Insincerity of heart can never support us to a consistent and persevering endurance of the cross. A heart divided between God and the world will ever be found faulty and backsliding. Wholeness of heart in the precepts of God adorns the Christian profession, awes the ungodly world, realizes the full extent of the Divine promises, and pours into the soul such a spring-tide of enjoyment, as more than counterbalances all the reproach, contempt, and falsehood, which the forge of the great enemy is employing against us with unceasing activity, and relentless hatred. Yet do not forget, believer, that these proofs of the malicious enmity of the proud must often be received as the gentle stroke of your Father's chastisement. Let the fruits of it, then, be daily visible in the work of mortification—in the exercise of the suffering graces of the gospel—in your growing conformity to His image—and in a progressive fitness for the world of eternal uninterrupted love.
"The proud have forged a lie against me." They first derided him (51), then defrauded him (61), and now they have defamed him. To injure his character they resorted to falsehood, for they could find nothing against him if they spoke the truth. They forged a lie as a blacksmith beats out a weapon of iron, or they counterfeited the truth as men forge false coin. The original may suggest a common expression—"They have patched up a lie against me." They were not too proud to lie. Pride is a lie; and when a proud man utters lies "he speaks of his own." Proud men are usually the bitterest opponents of the righteous: they are envious of their good fame, and are eager to ruin it Slander is a cheap and handy weapon if the object is the destruction of a gracious reputation; and when many proud ones conspire to concoct, exaggerate, and spread abroad a malicious falsehood, they generally succeed in wounding their victim, and it is no fault of theirs if they do not kill him outright Oh the venom which lies under the tongue of a liar! Many a happy life has been embittered by it, and many a good repute has been poisoned as with the deadliest drug. It is painful to the last degree to hear unscrupulous men hammering away at the devil's anvil forging a new calumny; the only help against it is the sweet promise, "No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper and every tongue that rises against you in judgment you shall condemn."
"But I will keep your precepts with my whole heart." My one anxiety shall be to mind my own business, and stick to the commandments of the Lord. If the mud which is thrown at us does not blind our eyes or bruise our integrity, it will do us little harm. If we keep the precepts, the precepts will keep us in the day of contumely and slander. David renews his resolve—"I will keep"; he takes a new look at the commands, and sees them to be really the Lord's—"your precepts"; and he arouses his entire nature to the work—"with my whole heart." When slanders drive us to more resolute and careful obedience they work our lasting good: falsehood hurled against us may be made to promote our fidelity to the truth, and the malice of men may increase our love to God. If we try to answer lies by our words we may be beaten in the battle; but a holy life is an unanswerable refutation of all calumnies. Spite is balked if we persevere in holiness despite all opposition.