(Psalms 17:4) “Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”
This is the Fourth Devotion in the Psalms 17 Series on Judgment. Here in Psalms 17:4, David is stating his Determination to follow the Standard of Righteousness; which is the Standard of God (Truth), by stating, “by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer”; which David means the Word of God. The key is to perceive what it is that David endeavored not to conform his daily words and actions unto; and what it is that David conformed his life unto. David explains this by using the negative approach.
The Subject: “Concerning the works of men”
Here David sets the stage of his next request to God. The subject is “the works of men.” David is speaking of the wicked works of men. The motive behind the works of the men of this world is described in:
(15) “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
(17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
David used what dwells in the flesh of every man; and that is sin (Rom. 7:14-24). David said, ‘concerning the works of men that flow from the seed of sin that dwells within men’ I have the following to say to you God:
The Standard: “by the word of thy lips”
What is “the word of thy lips”? It is the Law of God, the Written Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21); which is The Truth, the rule and standard of faith and practice. The Word of God is the standard of the definition of Right (Righteousness) and Wrong (sin) (Rom. 3:30) “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
David declared that The Word of God was his guiding Principle; it was the Light that revealed the standard of his daily thoughts, words, and actions, as commanded by the Author of the Bible, God. God’s Word was David’s Meditation, Teacher, Guide, and Goal to achieve daily in his entire behavior. It was what exercised his mind and conformed him to the Will of God (Rom. 12:1-2). It was the very thing that fed his spiritual man (Mt. 4:40). It was that which was more than his necessary food, as Job said (Job 23:12). The eternalness of God’s Word (Mt. 24:35) formed the foundation of David’s hope and security that God’s promises shall never fail. David knew, as did Joshua, it was the only avenue of Success for a child of God.
(Jos 1:8) “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
The Service: “by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”
David declares his path of action based upon the Word of God. The one sure thing that will keep the child of God from walking in the path of the destroyer is studying, assimilating, digesting the Word of God (2 Tim. 2:15) (Jas. 1:21) “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” The only book of this world, the only collection of words, that will lead to Righteousness and Salvation is the verbal, plenary (complete; entire), infallible (impeccable; perfect), inerrant (without error), inspired (literally breathed of God) Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). God, not man, is the Author of His Word. “Vain is the help of man” (Ps. 108:12); for the only Power over all things is Jesus Christ (Mt. 28:18). The Apostle Paul acknowledged the only One to deliver him from the body of this death is Jesus Christ (Rom. 7:24-25; 8:1-16).
The devil is the “destroyer” (see the words Abaddon and Apollyon; both which signify “destroyer”). David said that God’s Word had kept him from the devil, his false ambassadors, false teachers, and all wicked men. The paths of wicked men are wicked principles, practices, and damnable errors and heresies. The path of the devil and his men is the “broad road” that leads to destruction both physically and spiritually.
The Word of God alerted David, and every child of God that reads God’s Word, of the wicked path of the devil, the destroyer. Being a child of God, he had the ability to discern spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:9-16); for he had been given the “mind of Christ”; he had the will and desire to please Christ; and he had the power to follow God’s Word. This “keeping” of the commandments of Christ; preserved him and revealed that he loved God (Jn. 14:15).
The answer for every child of God to being an “overcomer” over the indwelling sin in the flesh – from the lies and deception of the devil, and the false teachers, and all wicked men – is to study, meditate, assimilate, digest, and obey the Word of God. The Word of God is the Road Map for the daily journey of the child of God; without which the child of God is open to the wiles of the devil to lead him astray by depending on a lie instead of the Truth of God. The lies of the flesh are founded on “sinking sand,” and not on the Solid Rock Christ Jesus (Mt. 7:24-27). If you want “Success”; you must follow Joshua’s instruction in (Jos. 1:8). Please read the following:
(7) “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
(8) The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
(9) The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
(10) More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
(11) Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
(12) Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
(13) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
(14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”