“The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.” Psalm 119:51 (NIV)
Many Christians today understand what it means to be ridiculed for believing God’s Word. The Bible is openly mocked from the halls of education to the halls of our nation’s capital. It’s touted as a collection of myths for the gullible and feeble-minded. And like the psalmist, we’re not mocked just because we read Scripture but because we live by it. How should we respond when practicing our faith brings ridicule, intimidation, or suffering?
First, we need to understand who these arrogant mockers are. Simply put, they think they know more than others, even God. An inflated sense of importance—usually from wealth, education, or position—gives them an air of superiority. They disregard Scripture (v21) because they don’t believe in God’s existence, much less His authority over their lives. As a result, the unbelieving arrogant treat people who believe and follow God’s Word with “scorn and contempt” (v22 NIV).
How did the psalmist respond to his mockers? He didn’t. Instead, he pressed into God even more by declaring, “but I do not turn from your law.” God’s Word was his hope (v49), his comfort (vv50, 52), and his song in the night (vv54-55). You see, there’s a difference between reading the Bible and living by the Book. Practicing our faith means that Scripture determines our way of life, despite what anyone else says or does. Can we say, “This has been my practice: I obey your precepts” (v56 NIV)?
As our culture grows increasingly hostile to God and His Word, each believer has to decide how to respond. Sure, we can avoid a lot of trouble by reading the Bible in the privacy of our homes without confronting the growing evil in our nation. But we cannot say we believe Scripture without also doing what it says. In other words, truly following Jesus means putting His instructions into practice.
So, how openly do you practice your faith? Take a look at Psalm 119:49-56 again. Ask the Lord for courage to not only believe the Bible but to follow through on what it says. If believing God’s Word brings public ridicule, then actually practicing our faith will have a greater cost. We may yet suffer some type of persecution. Even so, God’s Word will continue to give us comfort, hope, and a song in the night.