Psalm 119 Commentary

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The unfolding of Thy Word gives light.
It gives understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:130

Psalm 119:1 Aleph. How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD. 

  • Blessed Ps 1:1-3 32:1,2 112:1 128:1 Mt 5:3-12 Lu 11:28 Joh 13:17 Jas 1:25 Rev 22:14 
  • blameless, 2Ki 20:3 2Ch 31:20,21 Job 1:1,8 Joh 1:47 Ac 24:16 2Co 1:12 Tit 2:11,12 
  • walk Eze 11:20 Ho 14:9 Lu 1:6 1Th 4:1,2 

GOD'S FORMULA FOR
BLESSING

Note that in the Septuagint (Lxx) this verse begins with the great word ALLELOUIA which means "Praise Yahweh" hallelujah, praise the LORD. As you read these comments on Psalm 119 you will notice that there are frequent references to the Septuagint translation of the passage as the Greek words often add significant insights to the meaning of the verse. Therefore, in a sense, the Septuagint functions somewhat like a "commentary" on the Hebrew text. And remember that many (if not most) of the OT quotations by the writers of the NT are taken not from the Hebrew text but from the Greek text, the Septuagint.

How blessed are those whose way is blameless - The blessing of obedience. Way refers to one's way of life or conduct. Jesus declared "blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:28+) Obedience is the key to blessing in both the Old and New Testament. God desires to bless His children because they are, so to speak, His trophies of redemption, His re-creations in Christ, and as such He desires the lost world to see His glory through His believing, obedient children. This begs the question -- Are you shining for Jesus? (cf Mt 5:16+, Phil 2:15+, 2 Pe 3:11, 12+

Psalm 1:1+ is the key to blessing - "How blessed (HEBREW LITERALLY "BLESSED, BLESSED" = EMPHASIS) is the man who does not walk (conduct himself) in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!" In fact, if we fail to carry out Psalm 1:1+, we will hardly have a holy desire to carry out verse 2 and the indescribable blessing associated with it. Psalm 1:2-3+ says "But (WHAT IS THE CONTRAST? WALKING...STANDING..SITTING...IN SIN!)  his delight (IF WE ARE "DELIGHTING" IN THE TEMPORAL DELICACIES OF THIS FALLEN UNGODLY WORLD OUR APPETITE GOD'S ETERNAL, HOLY WORD WILL BE NIL!) is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates (Hebrew - hagah; Lxx - meletao = carefully think about, cultivate, meditate - see invaluable value of meditation) day and night (HOW OFTEN?). He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers."

Blessed (0835)('esher/'eser related to the verb 'ashar = to go or be straight, to go on, to advance, to be right) and always refers to people but never to God. Vine writes that "Basically, this word connotes the state of “prosperity” or “happiness” that comes when a superior bestows his favor (blessing) on one. In most passages, the one bestowing favor is God Himself = Dt. 33:29. Used twice in Psalm 119 - Ps. 119:1; Ps. 119:2.

Septuagint Blessed (3107)(makarios from root makar, but others say from mak = large or lengthy) means to be happy, but not in the usual sense of happiness based on positive circumstances. From the Biblical perspective Makarios describes the person who is free from daily cares and worries because his every breath and circumstance is in the hands of His Maker Who gives him such an assurance (such a "blessing"). As discussed below makarios was used to describe the kind of happiness that comes from receiving divine favor. Used in both Ps 119:1,2.

Blameless (without defect or blemish, perfect, integrity) (08549)(tamim from the verb tamam = to be complete, entire or whole literal sense in Lev 3:9, Ezek 15:5, refers to a action which is completed) has both physical (without defect) and spiritual (blameless, devout, upright) significance. Tamim has the fundamental idea of completeness or wholeness. Tamim deals primarily with a state of moral or ceremonial purity

Septuagint Above reproach (beyond reproach, blameless, faultless, unblemished) (299)(amomos from a = without, not + momos = spot, blemish in physical sense or moral sense, blot, flaw, shame or disgrace {as a moral disgrace}) is literally without spot or blemish (blot, blight). It was used literally of the absence of defects in sacrificial animals. Figuratively, it means morally (spiritually) blameless, unblemished by the marring of sin, a perfect description of the Lamb of God. How incredibly incomprehensible that sinners such as we can be described with the same adjective (amomos) used to describe our incomparable, sinless Lord! O the wonder of the "cleansing power" of the Lamb's precious blood, which washes us Whiter than the Snow. Here is a beautiful old Maranatha chorus.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. 
(Isa 1:18+)

 Hallelujah.
Thank You Jesus!

Who walk in the law of the LORD - Walk is the verb corresponding to noun way for our walk describes the way we continually (poreuomai in present tense = continually, middle voice = reflexive = initiate the action and participate in results thereof) conduct ourselves. Blameless is who we are to be within, in our heart, and walking blamelessly shows who we really are. Our walk will ultimately reveal our heart. The reward for a walk of integrity is being blessed by the Almighty God! 

THOUGHT - When we walk in the law of the LORD the idea is that we conduct ourselves in the sphere of the God's law. Think of a fish in a bowl. What keeps the fish alive? Water of course. The fish lives or conducts itself in the sphere or atmosphere of the water. No water, no life! By analogy the law of the LORD is our "water," our source of true spiritual life (as energized of course by the Holy Spirit - cf 2 Cor 3:5,6+, Jn 6:63, Jn 7:37,38,39+)

Moses said it this way...

"Take (not a suggestion but a command) to your heart (NOT JUST YOUR HEAD BUT YOUR HEART!) all (OT AND NT!) the words (MEMORIZE THEM SO YOU CAN MEDITATE ON THEM!) with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. 47 “For (TERM OF EXPLANATIONIT (THE WORD OF GOD) is not an idle (EMPTY, VAIN, USELESS) WORD for you; indeed IT IS YOUR LIFE (COULD GOD HAVE BEEN ANY CLEARER REGARDING HOW IMPORTANT THE WORD IS TO OUR LIFE!). And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 32:46-47)

Jesus said it this way...

“It is written,‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.”  (Matthew 4:4+

Do you really believe the words of Moses and the words of Jesus? If you do, then you will show it by your daily choice (under grace, not law - cf Gal 3:3+) to read, memorize and meditate on the Word! If you really believe Moses and Jesus then you will immerse yourself (like a fish), by the washing of the water with the Word (Eph 5:26+), in the living and active Word of God (Heb 4:12+), so that you will be able (enabled by the Spirit - Php 2:13NLT+) to walk in the law of the LORD! Let it be true in each of our lives LORD God, that by Your Word, energized by Your Spirit, we would be enabled to walk for Your Glory (Mt 5:16+), in the Name of Jesus, the ever living Word of God (Rev 19:13+). Amen


Charles Bridges - 1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord

This most interesting and instructive Psalm, like the Psalter itself, ‘opens with a beatitude for our comfort and encouragement, directing us immediately to that happiness, which all mankind in different ways are seeking and inquiring after. All would secure themselves from the incursions of misery; but all do not consider that misery is the offspring of sin, from which therefore it is necessary to be delivered and preserved, in order to become happy or “blessed.” ’1

The undefiled character described in this verse marks, in an evangelical sense, “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile”2—not one who is without sin, but one who in the sincerity of his heart can say—“that which I do I allow not.”3 As his way is, so is his “walk”—“in the law of the Lord.” He is “strengthened in the Lord, and he walks up and down in his name”4—his “ears hearing a word behind him, saying—this is the way, walk ye in it—when he is turning to the right hand or to the left.”5 And if the pardon of sin, imputation of righteousness,6 the communion of saints, and a sense of acceptance with God;7—if protection in providence and grace,8 and, finally and for ever, the beatific vision,9 are the sealed privileges of his upright people, then there can be no doubt, that “blessed are the undefiled in the way.” And if temporal prosperity,10 spiritual renovation and fruitfulness,11 increasing illumination,12 intercourse with the Saviour,13 peace within,14 and, throughout eternity, a right to the tree of life,15 are privileges of incalculable value; then surely “the walk in the law of the Lord” is “the path of pleasantness and peace.” “Truly”—indeed may we say—“God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.”1

But let each of us ask—What is the “way” of my heart with God? Is it always an “undefiled way?” Is “iniquity” never “regarded in the heart?” Is all that God hates habitually lamented, abhorred, forsaken? “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”2

Again—What is my “walk?” Is it from the living principle of union with Christ? This is the direct—the only source of spiritual life. We are first quickened in him. Then we walk in him and after him. Oh! that this my walk may be steady, consistent, advancing! Oh! that I may be ever listening to my father’s voice—“I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect!”3

Is there not enough of defilement in the most “undefiled way,” and enough of inconsistency in the most consistent “walk” to endear to us the gracious declaration of the gospel—“If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous?”4

1 Bp. Horne on Psalm 1:1.

2 John 1:47. Comp. Acts 24:16.

3 Rom. 7:15.

4 Zech. 10:12.

5 Isa. 30:21.

6 Ps. 32:1, 2, with Rom. 4:6–8.

7 1 John 1:7.

8 2 Chron. 16:9. Job 1:8, 10

9 Matt. 5:8.

10 Joshua 1:7, 8. 1 Tim. 4:8. 2 Chron. 17:4, 5.

11 Ps. 1:2, 3.

12 John 7:17.

13 Jn. 14:23; 15:14, 15.

14 Ps 119:163. Gal. 6:16. Isa. 32:17.

15 Rev. 22:14.

1 Psalm 73:1.

2 Psalm 139:23, 24.

3 Gen. 17:1.

4 1 John 2:1.


Wiersbe - The Bible’s ABCs

WHAT WOULD YOUR CHRISTIAN LIFE BE LIKE IF YOU HAD NO BIBLE? Would that make any difference? After all, what is the Bible supposed to do for our lives? God gives us some answers to those questions in this psalm. Almost every verse in this long psalm in some way refers to the Word of God. The psalm is arranged according to the Hebrew alphabet. The first eight verses all begin with the Hebrew letter aleph; the next eight verses start with beth; the next eight, gimel; and so on. It’s as though God were saying, “Here are the ABCs of how to use the Word of God in your life.” “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD!” (Ps 119:1). Undefiled means “people who are blameless, those who have integrity.” Integrity is the opposite of duplicity and hypocrisy, which is the pretense to be something we are not. If we have integrity, our whole lives are built around the Word of God. The psalmist says, “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” (Ps 119:2). Are you wholeheartedly into the Word of God? In the Bible, heart refers to the inner person, and that includes the mind. “I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments” (Ps 119:7). It also includes the will. “I will keep Your statutes” (Ps 119:8). In other words, when you give your whole heart, mind, and will to the Word of God, it starts to put your life together. Is your life or your home “falling apart” today? Turn to the Word of God. The Bible has one Author—God. It has one theme—Jesus Christ. It has one message—the salvation of your soul. And it has one blessing to bring—a life of integrity. The Word of God is a powerful spiritual resource. Its truth feeds your soul. As you walk in the life of faith, the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to minister to you. Get into the Word and allow it to make you whole and build integrity into your life. (Prayer, Praise and Promises Psalm 119:1-8 The Bible ABC's)


God's Word - Psalm 119:1–6

God’s Word gives us happiness, holiness, success, worship, cleansing, and joy. There is no substitute for God’s Word. His Word should be a part of our everyday life. His Word will guide and direct us.

  1.      THE PERSON—vv. 1–4
  2.      THE PRECEPTS—vv. 5–8
  3.      THE PURGING—vv. 9–11
  4.      THE PRAISING—vv. 12–16


Warren Wiersbe -  PSALM 119 - Borrow Wiersbe's expository outlines on the Old Testament

This psalm is special in several ways. It is the longest psalm (176 verses), and it is an acrostic psalm, following the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In most editions of the Bible, the twenty-two sections of this psalm are headed by the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph, Beth, Gimel, etc.). In the Hebrew Bible, each verse in a section begins with that Hebrew letter. For example, all the verses in the “aleph” section (vv. 1–8) begin with the Hebrew letter “aleph.” Look at the “teth” section (vv. 65–72) and start v. 67 with “Til” and v. 71 with “Tis,” and you will have each line starting with the English letter “T” (which is the same as the Hebrew “teth”). The Jews wrote in this fashion to help them memorize the Scriptures so they could meditate on God’s Word. We do not know who wrote this psalm, although the writer refers to himself many times. He was suffering for his love for God’s Law (vv. 22, 50–53, 95, 98, 115), yet he had determined to obey the Word regardless of the cost. All but five verses mention the Word of God in one way or another. The exceptions are vv. 84, 90, 121, 122, and 132. God is referred to in every verse. The number eight is stamped all over this psalm. Each section has eight verses; there are eight special names for God’s Word listed; there are eight symbols of the Word given; the believer has eight responsibilities to the Word. The word “eight” in Hebrew literally means “abundance, more than enough”; it is the number of new beginnings. It is as though the writer is saying, “God’s Word is enough. If you have the Scriptures, that is all you need for life and godliness.” Indeed the Bible points us to Christ: He is the Living Word about whom the written Word speaks. In one sense, Ps. 119 is an expansion of Ps. 19:7–11. Note the eight basic titles of the Bible in the first nine verses of the psalm: law of the Lord, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, and word. These are repeated many times throughout the psalm.

 I.  What the Bible Is

A. Water for cleansing (Psalm 119:9).

This whole section (Psalm 119:9–16) deals with victory over sin. Young people in particular need to learn to heed and hide the Word that they might overcome temptation. As you read the Word and meditate on it, it cleanses your inner being, just as water cleanses the body. See John 15:3 and Eph. 5:25–27.

B.  Wealth and treasure (Psalm 119:14, 72, 127, 162).

Many people do not know the difference between prices and values. Your Bible may cost but a few dollars, but what a treasure it is. How would you feel if you lost God’s Word and could not replace it?

C.   A companion and friend (Psalm 119:24).

The writer was a stranger (Psalm 119:19), rejected by the proud (v. 21) and by princes (v. 23), but he always had the Word to be his counselor. Read Prov. 6:20–22.

D.   A song to sing (Psalm 119:54).

Imagine making a song out of statutes—laws! Life is a pilgrimage; we are “tourists” and not residents. The songs of the world mean nothing to us, but God’s Word is a song to our hearts.

E. Honey (Psalm 119:103).

The sweetness of the Word is like honey to the taste. It is sad when the Christian must have the “honey” of this world to be satisfied. See Ps. 34:8 and Job 23:12.

F.   A lamp (Psalm 119:105, 130).

This is a dark world and the only dependable light is the Word of God (2 Peter 1:19–21). It leads us a step at a time, as we walk in obedience. 1 John 1:5–10 tells us we walk in the light as we obey His Word.

G. Great spoil (Psalm 119:162).

Poor soldiers were made rich from the spoil left by the defeated enemy. The riches of the Word do not come easy; there must first be that spiritual battle against Satan and the flesh. But it is worth it. Read Luke 11:14–23.

H.  A heritage (Psalm 119:111).

What a precious inheritance is the Bible! And think of those who had to suffer and die that we might have this inheritance.

II. What the Bible Does

A.  It blesses (Psalm 119:1–2).

It is the book with a blessing (Ps. 1:1–3). We are blessed in reading the Word, understanding the Word, and obeying the Word. We are also blessed when we share the Word with others.

B.  It gives life (Psalm 119:25, 37, 40, 50, 88, 93).

“Quicken” means “to give life.” The Word gives us eternal life when we believe (1 Peter 1:23). It is the living Word (Heb. 4:12). But the Word also quickens us when we are weak, discouraged, and defeated. Revival comes when we yield to God’s Word.

C.  It gives strength (Psalm 119:28).

Trusting the Word encourages us (Matt. 4:4). God’s Word has power (Heb. 4:12) and can empower us when we believe and obey.

D.  It gives liberty (Psalm 119:45).

A law that gives liberty—what a paradox! Sin would have dominion over us (v. 133), but the Word sets us free (John 8:32). True liberty comes in obeying God’s will. His Word is “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25).

E. It imparts wisdom (Psalm 119:66, 97–104).

We may get knowledge and facts in other books, but true spiritual wisdom is found in the Bible. Note in vv. 97–104 that there are various ways to discover truth—from your enemies, from your teachers, from your older friends—and all of these are good. But above them all is a knowledge of the Bible. Teachers may know from books, and elders may know from experience (both deserving respect), but these without the Bible are not sufficient.

F.  It creates friends (Psalm 119:63).

Knowing and obeying the Bible will bring into your life the very finest friends. Those who love God’s Word are friends indeed. There are false friends who may dazzle you with their worldly wisdom and wealth, but their friendship will lead you astray. Stick with those who “stick” with the Bible (Psalm 119:31).

G.  It gives comfort (Psalm 119:50, 76, 82, 92).

More than sixty verses in this psalm mention trial and persecution (vv. 22, 50–53, 95, 98, 115, etc.). The believer who obeys the Word will have trials in this world, but the Bible gives him lasting comfort. The Comforter, the Spirit of God, takes the Word of God and applies it to our hearts to comfort us.

H.  It gives direction (Psalm 119:133).

The Christian life is a “walk,” a day at a time and a step at a time (vv. 1, 3, 45). The Word directs our steps, both for walking and for running (v. 32). Note the prayers in vv. 35 and 116–117. As we pray for guidance, the Lord answers through His Word.

III. What We Must Do with the Bible

 A. Love it (Psalm 119:97, 159).

The way you treat your Bible is the way you treat Christ. To love Him is to love His Word. The Word is a delight (vv. 16, 24, 16, 35, 47, 70) and not a disappointment; we rejoice to read it (vv. 14, 162).

B. Prize it (Psalm 119:72, 128).

To hold the Bible in high esteem is the mark of a true saint. It should be more precious to us than any earthly treasure.

C.  Study it (Psalm 119:7, 12, 18, 26–27).

At least twelve times the psalmist prays, “Teach me.” The Christian who daily studies his Bible will be blessed of God. Bible study is not always easy, for it takes the “whole heart” (vv. 2, 10, 34, 69, 145).

D.  Memorize it (Psalm 119:11).

“The best Book, in the best place, for the best purpose!” is the way Campbell Morgan explained this verse. All ages need to memorize the Word, not children and young people alone. Joshua was not a youth when God commanded him to memorize the Law (Josh. 1:8). Jesus was able to quote Scripture when He faced Satan in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1–11).

E. Meditate on it (Psalm 119:15, 23, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148).

Meditation is to the soul what digestion is to the body. To meditate means to “turn over” God’s Word in the mind and heart, to examine it, to compare Scripture with Scripture, to “feed on” its wonderful truths. In this day of noise and confusion, such meditation is rare but so needful. Meditation is impossible without memorization.

 F. Trust it (Psalm 119:42).

We trust the Bible about everything, because it is right about everything (v. 128). It is true and can be trusted wholly. To argue with the Bible is to argue with God. We test every other book by what God says in His Word.

G. Obey it (Psalm 119:1–8).

To keep the Word is to obey it, to walk in its commandments. Satan knows the Word, but he cannot obey it. If we know God’s truth and fail to obey it, we are only fooling ourselves.

H.  Declare it (Psalm 119:13, 26).

As we obey, we should also witness to others about the Word and tell them what the Lord has done for us.

Resources on Psalms by Dr. Warren Wiersbe: Always worth checking for his insightful, devotional and practical comments.

Be worshipful : glorifying God for who he is : OT commentary, Psalms 1 - 89 by Warren Wiersbe

Wiersbe's Commentary on the entire Old Testament - by Warren Wiersbe - for comments on Psalms scroll down to page 872

Meet yourself in the Psalms by Warren Wiersbe

Prayer, praise & promises : a daily walk through the Psalms by Warren Wiersben - Note this is also online below 

Wiersbe's expository outlines on the Old Testament by Warren Wiersbe

"Even the most difficult Scriptures come alive as Warren Wiersbe leads you book-by-book through the Old Testament and helps you to see the "big picture" of God's revelation. In this unique volume, you will find: • Introductions and/or outlines for every Old Testament book • Practical expositions of strategic chapters • Special studies on key topics, relating the Old Testament to the New Testament • Easy-to-understand expositions that are practical, preachable, and teachable If you have used Dr. Wiersbe's popular BE series, you know how simple and practical his Bible studies are, with outlines that almost teach themselves. If not, you can now discover a wonderful new resource. This work is a unique commentary on every book of the Old Testament. It contains new material not to be found in the BE series.

With the Word - Devotional Commentary - Warren Wiersbe - 428 ratings 

This book gives short explanations and applications of the strategic chapters of each Bible book. Dr Wiersbe's insights into each chapter are always enlightening and challenging.

Psalm 119:2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.  

  • Observe Ps 119:22,146 25:10 105:45 De 6:17 1Ki 2:3 Pr 23:26 Eze 36:27 Joh 14:23 1Jn 3:20 
  • seek Ps 119:10 De 4:29 2Ch 31:21 Jer 29:13 

OBEDIENCE THE WAY
TO BLESSING

How blessed are those who observe His testimonies

Observe (preserve, keep, watch, guard) (05341natsar means to guard, keep, observe, hide, preserve, hide. Many of the uses of natsar are nuanced by the object that is being watched or guarded. Natsar is close syn to more common verb shamar "keep, tend." guard, protect, conceal, observe, preserve, watchman. First use is by God: sense of "keeping with faithfulness" in Ex 34:7 Who KEEPS lovingkindness for thousands. Watching the mouth (Pr 13:3 Ps 141:3), one's path in life (Pr 16:17), one's heart (Pr 4:23). 

Cowper Blessed... Blessed, in the first verse and second, is to let us see the certainty of the blessing belonging to the godly.

Manton - In the former verse a blessed man is described by the course of his actions, "Blessed are the undefiled in the way": in this verse he is described by the frame of his heart. 

Obedience to God’s Word results in: being treasured by God (Ex 19:5); blessedness (happiness) in life (Ps 119:2); not being ashamed (Ps. 119:4-6); understanding (Ps 119:100); avoidance of evil (Ps 119:101); guidance for life (Ps 119:105); safety and freedom from anxiety (Pr 1:33); life (Pr 19:16; Eze 18:19; Jn 8:51); God’s blessing (Isa1:19); greatness in the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:19); bearing fruit for God (Mt 13:23); manifesting love for God (Jn 14:23; 1Jn 2:5); promise of God’s presence (Jn 14:23; 2Jn 9); abiding in the love of God (Jn 15:10); evidence of the doctrine that has been taught (Ro 6:17); assurance of salvation (1Jn 2:3); eternal life (1 Jn 2:17); dwelling in God (1Jn 3:24); love of God’s children (1Jn5:2); and entrance into heaven (Rev 22:7).

Thomas Manton on testimonies - The notion by which the word of God is expressed is "testimonies"; whereby is intended the whole declaration of God's will in doctrines, commands, examples, threatenings, promises. The whole word is the testimony which God hath deposed for the satisfaction of the world about the way of their salvation. Now because the word of God branches itself into two parts, the law and the gospel, this notion may be applied to both. First, to the law, in regard whereof the ark was called "the ark of the testimony" (Exodus 25:16), because the two tables were laid up in it. The gospel is also called the testimony, "the testimony of God concerning his Son." "To the law, and to the testimony" (Isaiah 8:20); where testimony seems to be distinguished from the law. The gospel is so called, because therein God hath testified how a man shall be pardoned, reconciled to God, and obtain a right to eternal life. We need a testimony in this case, because it is more unknown to us. The law was written upon the heart, but the gospel is a stranger. Natural light will discern something of the law, and pry into matters which are of a moral strain and concernment; but evangelical truths are a mystery, and depend upon the mere testimony of God concerning his Son. 

Cowper on testimonies - The word of God is called his testimony, not only because it testifies his will concerning his service, but also his favour and goodwill concerning his own in Christ Jesus. If God's word were no more than a law, yet were we bound to obey it, because we are his creatures; but since it is also a testimony of his love, wherein as a father he witnesseth his favour towards his children, we are doubly inexcusable if we do not most joyfully embrace it.

Spurgeon - Blessed are they that keep his testimonies. What! A second blessing? Yes, they are doubly blessed whose outward life is supported by an inward zeal for God's glory. In the first verse we had an undefiled way, and it was taken for granted that the purity in the way was not mere surface work, but was attended by the inward truth and life which comes of divine grace. Here that which was implied is expressed. Blessedness is ascribed to those who treasure up the testimonies of the Lord: in which is implied that they search the Scriptures, that they come to an understanding of them, that they love them, and then that they continue in the practice of them. We must first get a thing before we can keep it. In order to keep it well we must get a firm grip of it: we cannot keep in the heart that which we have not heartily embraced by the affections. God's word is his witness or testimony to grand and important truths which concern himself and our relation to him: this we should desire to know; knowing it, we should believe it; believing it, we should love it; and loving it, we should hold it fast against all comers. There is a doctrinal keeping of the word when we are ready to die for its defence, and a practical keeping of it when we actually live under its power. Revealed truth is precious as diamonds, and should be kept or treasured up in the memory and in the heart as jewels in a casket, or as the law was kept in the ark; this however is not enough, for it is meant for practical use, and therefore it must be kept or followed, as men keep to a path, or to a line of business. If we keep God's testimonies they will keep us; they will keep us right in opinion, comfortable in spirit, holy in conversation, and hopeful in expectation. If they were ever worth having, and no thoughtful person will question that, then they are worth keeping; their designed effect does not come through a temporary seizure of them, but by a persevering keeping of them: "in keeping of them there is great reward."

We are bound to keep with all care the word of God, because it is his testimonies. He gave them to us, but they are still his own. We are to keep them as a watchman guards his master's house, as a steward husbands his lord's goods, as a shepherd keeps his employer's flock. We shall have to give an account, for we are put in trust with the gospel, and woe to us if we be found unfaithful. We cannot fight a good fight, nor finish our course, unless we keep the faith. To this end the Lord must keep us: only those who are kept by the power of God unto salvation will ever be able to keep his testimonies. What a blessedness is therefore evidenced and testified by a careful belief in God's word, and a continual obedience thereunto. God has blessed them, is blessing them, and will bless them for ever. That blessedness which David saw in others he realized for himself, for in Psalms 119:168 he says, "I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies, "and in Psalms 119:54-56 he traces his joyful songs and happy memories to this same keeping of the law, and he confesses, "This I had because I kept thy precepts." Doctrines which we teach to others we should experience for ourselves.

Who seek Him with all their heart - The opposite of a whole heart is a divided heart. The idea is FULL SURRENDER...seeking Christ with ALL my heart. Not a mite would I withhold. I have been bought with a price. Present yourself as living and holy sacrifice.“Heart” refers to intellect, volition, and emotion (cf. Ps 119:7, 10, 11, 32, 34, 36, 58, 69, 70, 80, 111, 112, 145, 161). Complete commitment or “whole heart” appears 6 times (Ps 119:2, 10, 34, 58, 69, 145).

Spurgeon - And that seek him with the whole heart. Those who keep the Lord's testimonies are sure to seek after himself. If his word is precious we may be sure that he himself is still more so. Personal dealing with a personal God is the longing of all those who have allowed the word of the Lord to have its full effect upon them. If we once really know the power of the gospel we must seek the God of the gospel. "O that I knew where I might find HIM, "will be our wholehearted cry. See the growth which these sentences indicate: first, in the way, then walking in it, then finding and keeping the treasure of truth, and to crown all, seeking after the Lord of the way himself. Note also that the further a soul advances in grace the more spiritual and divine are its longings: an outward walk does not content the gracious soul, nor even the treasured testimonies; it reaches out in due time after God himself, and when it in a measure finds him, still yearns for more of him, and seeks him still.

Seeking after God signifies a desire to commune with him more closely, to follow him more fully, to enter into more perfect union with his mind and will, to promote his glory, and to realize completely all that he is to holy hearts. The blessed man has God already, and for this reason he seeks him. This may seem a contradiction: it is only a paradox.

God is not truly sought by the cold researches of the brain: we must seek him with the heart. Love reveals itself to love: God manifests his heart to the heart of his people. It is in vain that we endeavour to comprehend him by reason; we must apprehend him by affection. But the heart must not be divided with many objects if the Lord is to be sought by us. God is one, and we shall not know him till our heart is one. A broken heart need not be distressed at this, for no heart is so whole in its seeking after God as a heart which is broken, whereof every fragment sighs and cries after the great Father's face. It is the divided heart which the doctrine of the text censures, and strange to say, in scriptural phraseology, a heart may be divided and not broken, and it may be broken but not divided; and yet again it may be broken and be whole, and it never can be whole until it is broken. When our whole heart seeks the holy God in Christ Jesus it has come to him of whom it is written, "as many as touched Him were made perfectly whole."

That which the Psalmist admires in this verse he claims in the tenth, where he says, "With my whole heart have I sought thee." It is well when admiration of a virtue leads to the attainment of it. Those who do not believe in the blessedness of seeking the Lord will not be likely to arouse their hearts to the pursuit, but he who calls another blessed because of the grace which he sees in him is on the way to gaining the same grace for himself.

If those who seek the Lord are blessed, what shall be said of those who actually dwell with him and know that he is theirs?

"To those who fall, how kind thou art!
How good to those who seek
But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show:
The love of Jesus— what it is,
None but his loved ones know."


Building On The Bible

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart. — Psalm 119:2

Today's Scripture: Psalm 119:1-8

What can be done to improve society? An MTV political correspondent had this unexpected but praiseworthy suggestion: “No matter how secular our culture becomes, it will remain drenched in the Bible. Since we will be haunted by the Bible even if we don’t know it, doesn’t it make sense to read it?”

Our culture is indeed “drenched in the Bible.” Whether or not the majority of people realize it, the principles on which the United States was founded, and the values which still permeate our national life, were based on the Holy Scriptures.

Yet God’s Word no longer occupies the commanding place it held in the past. Its ethics are sometimes still praised even though biblical morality is flagrantly violated. So I agree with the political correspondent’s urging that people read the Bible.

We need to do more, however, than just read the Word of God. We need to believe the Bible and put its inspired teachings into practice. The psalmist reminded us that we are to walk in God’s ways, to keep His precepts diligently, and to seek Him with our whole heart (Ps. 119:2-4).

If we obey the Bible, we’ll build on our good foundation and improve our society—one person at a time.By:  Vernon Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

For Your Holy Book we thank You;
May its message be our guide,
May we understand the wisdom
Of the truth Your laws provide.
—Carter

The Bible: read it, believe it, obey it!


Charles Bridges - 2. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart

The “testimony” in the singular number, usually denotes the whole canon of the inspired writings—the revelation of the will of God to mankind—the standard of their faith.5 “Testimonies” appear chiefly, to mark the preceptive part of Scripture6—that part, in which this man of God always found his spiritual delight and perfect freedom. Mark his language: “I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever; for they are the rejoicing of my heart.”7 Not however that this blessedness belongs to the mere outward act of obedience;8 but rather to that practical habit of mind, which seeks to know the will of God in order to “keep” it. This habit is under the influence of the promise of God—“I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.”9 And in thus “keeping the testimonies of God,” the believer maintains the character of one that “seeks him with the whole heart.”

Oh! how many seek, and seek in vain, for no other reason, than because they do not “seek him with the whole heart!” The worldling’s “heart is divided; now shall he be found faulty.”10 The professor “with his mouth shows much love; but his heart goeth after his covetousness.”11 The backslider “hath not turned unto me with his whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.”12 The faithful, upright believer alone brings his heart, his whole heart, to the Lord—“When thou saidst—Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee—Thy face, Lord, will I seek.”1 For he only has found an object that attracts and fills his whole heart—and if he had a thousand hearts, would attract and fill them all. He has found his way to God by faith in Jesus. In that way he continues to seek. His whole heart is engaged to know and love more and more. Here alone the blessing is enjoyed, and the promise made good—“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”2

But let me not shrink from the question—Do I “keep his testimonies” from constraint or from love? Surely when I consider my own natural aversion and enmity to the law of God, and the danger of self-deception in the external service of the Lord, I have much need to pray—“Incline my heart to thy testimonies. Give me understanding—save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.”3 And if they are blessed, who seek the Lord with their whole heart, how am I seeking him? Alas! with how much distraction; with how little heart-work! Oh! let me “seek his strength” in order to “seek his face.”4

Lord! search—teach—incline—uphold me. Help me to plead thy gracious promise—“I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”5

5 Comp. Isa. 8:20.

6 Ps 119:138.

7 Ps 119:14, 111.

8 Treasure up his testimonies—Bp. Horsley.

9 Ezek. 36:27.

10 Hos. 10:2.

11 Ezek. 33:31.

12 Jer. 3:10.

1 Psalm 27:8.

2 Jer. 29:13.

3 Ps 119:36, 125, 145.

4 Ps. 105:4.

5 Jer. 24:7.

Psalm 119:3 They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways.  

  • 1Jn 3:9 5:18 

They also do no unrighteousness

Spurgeon -  They also do no iniquity. Blessed indeed would those men be of whom this could be asserted without reserve and without explanation: we shall have reached the region of pure blessedness when we altogether cease from sin. Those who follow the word of God do no iniquity, the rule is perfect, and if it be constantly followed no fault will arise. Life, to the outward observer, at any rate, lies much in doing, and he who in his doings never swerves from equity, both towards God and man, has hit upon the way of perfection, and we may be sure that his heart is right. See how a whole heart leads to the avoidance of evil, for the Psalmist says, "That seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity." We fear that no man can claim to be absolutely without sin, and yet we trust there are many who do not designedly, wilfully, knowingly, and continuously do anything that is wicked, ungodly, or unjust. Grace keeps the life righteous as to act even when the Christian has to bemoan the transgressions of the heart. Judged as men should be judged by their fellows, according to such just rules as men make for men, the true people of God do no iniquity: they are honest, upright, and chaste, and touching justice and morality they are blameless. Therefore are they happy.

They walk in His ways.  

Spurgeon - They walk in his ways. They attend not only to the great main highway of the law, but to the smaller paths of the particular precepts. As they will perpetrate no sin of commission, so do they labour to be free from every sin of omission. It is not enough to them to be blameless, they wish also to be actively righteous. A hermit may escape into solitude that he may do no iniquity, but a saint lives in society that he may serve his God by walking in his ways. We must be positively as well as negatively right: we shall not long keep the second unless we attend to the first, for men will be walking one way or another, and if they do not follow the path of God's law they will soon do iniquity. The surest way to abstain from evil is to be fully occupied in doing good. This verse describes believers as they exist among us: although they have their faults and infirmities, yet they hate evil, and will not permit themselves to do it; they love the ways of truth, right and true godliness, and habitually they walk therein. They do not claim to be absolutely perfect except in their desires, and there they are pure indeed, for they pant to be kept from all sin, and to be led into all holiness.


Charles Bridges - 3. They also do no iniquity; they walk in his ways

This was not their character from their birth. Once they were doing nothing but iniquity. It was without mixture, without cessation—from the fountain-head.6 Now it is written of them—“they do no iniquity.” Once they walked, even as others,7 in the way of their own hearts—“enemies to God by wicked works.” Now “they walk in his ways.” They are “new creatures in Christ; old things are passed away; behold! all things are become new.”8 This is their highly-privileged state—“Sin shall not have dominion over them: for they are not under the law, but under grace.”9 They are “born of God, and they cannot commit sin: for their seed remaineth in them, and they cannot sin, because they are born of God.”10 Their hatred and resistance of sin are therefore now as instinctive, as was their former enmity and opposition to God. Not indeed that the people of God are as “the saints made perfect,” who “do no inquity.” This is a dream of perfection—unscriptural and self-deluding.1 The unceasing advocacy of their Heavenly Friend evidently supposes the indwelling power of sin, to the termination of our earthly pilgrimage. The supplication also in the prayer of our Lord teaches them to ask for daily pardon and deliverance from “temptation,” as for “daily bread.”2 Yes—to our shame be it spoken—we are sinners still; yet—praised be God!—not “walking after the course,” not “fulfilling the desires,” of sin. The acting of sin is now like the motion of a stone upward, violent and unnatural. If it is not cast out, it is dethroned. We are not, as before, “its willing people,” but its reluctant, struggling captives. It is not “the day of its power.”

And here lies the holy liberty of the Gospel—not, as some have feigned,—a liberty to “continue in sin, that grace may abound;”3 but a deliverance from the guilt and condemnation of abhorred, resisted, yet still indwelling sin. When our better will hath cast it off—when we can say in the sight of an heart-searching God, “What we hate, that do we”—the responsibility is not ours—“It is not we that do it, but sin that dwelleth in us.”4 Still let us inquire, is the promise of deliverance from sin “sweet to us?”5 And does our successful resistance in the spiritual conflict realize the earnest of its complete fulfilment? Blessed Jesus! what do we owe to thy cross for the present redemption from its guilt and curse, and much more for the blissful prospect of the glorified state, when this hated guest shall be an inmate no more!6 O let us take the very print of thy death into our souls in the daily crucifixion of sin.7 Let us know the “power of thy resurrection” in an habitual “walk in newness of life.”8

6 “Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart is evil—only evil—continually.” And this “God saw”—before whom “all things are naked and open”—who searcheth the heart, and therefore cannot be mistaken. Gen. 6:5.

But lest we should conceive this to be the picture of some generation of so peculiarly aggravated a character, that the awful demonstration of his wrath could no longer be restrained, this testimony is repeated by the same Omniscient Judge, immediately subsequent to the flood, (Gen. 8:21,) and confirmed by him in many express declarations. Jer. 17:9, 10. Matt. 15:19.

7 Eph. 2:2, 3. Col. 1:21.

8 2 Cor. 5:17.

9 Rom. 6:14.

10 1 John 3:1.

1 Comp. Eccl. 7:20, with Job 9:20. Phil. 3:12.

2 Matt. 6:11–13.

3 Rom. 6:1, 2.

4 Ro. 7:15–20.

5 Ro. 6:14.

6 Rev. 21:27.

7 Rom. 6:6.

8 Phil. 3:10. Rom. 6:4, 5.

Psalm 119:4 You have ordained Your precepts, That we should keep them diligently.  

  • De 4:1,9 5:29-33 6:17 11:13,22 12:32 28:1-14 30:16 Jos 1:7 Jer 7:23 Mt 28:20 Joh 14:15,21 Php 4:8,9 1Jn 5:3 

You have ordained Your precepts,

That we should keep them diligently.  

Spurgeon - Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. So that when we have done all we are unprofitable servants, we have done only that which it was our duty to have done, seeing we have our Lord's command for it. God's precepts require careful obedience: there is no keeping them by accident. Some give to God a careless service, a sort of hit or miss obedience, but the Lord has not commanded such service, nor will he accept it. His law demands the love of all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and a careless religion has none of these. We are also called to zealous obedience. We are to keep the precepts abundantly: the vessels of obedience should be filled to the brim, and the command carried out to the full of its meaning. As a man diligent in business arouses himself to do as much trade as he can, so must we be eager to serve the Lord as much as possible. Nor must we spare pains to do so, for a diligent obedience will also be laborious and self denying. Those who are diligent in business rise up early and sit up late, and deny themselves much of comfort and repose. They are not soon tired, or if they are they persevere even with aching brow and weary eye. So should we serve the Lord. Such a Master deserves diligent servants; such service he demands, and will be content with nothing less. How seldom do men render it, and hence many through their negligence miss the double blessing spoken of in this Psalm.

Some are diligent in superstition and will worship; be it ours to be diligent in keeping God's precepts. It is of no use travelling fast if we are not in the right road. Men have been diligent in a losing business, and the more they have traded the more they have lost: this is bad enough in commerce, we cannot afford to have it so in our religion.

God has not commanded us to be diligent in making precepts, but in keeping them. Some bind yokes upon their own necks, and make bonds and rules for others: but the wise course is to be satisfied with the rules of holy Scripture, and to strive to keep them all, in all places, towards all men, and in all respects. If we do not this, we may become eminent in our own religion, but we shall not have kept the command of God; nor shall we be accepted of him.

The Psalmist began with the third person: he is now coming near home, and has already reached the first person plural, according to our version; we shall soon hear him crying out personally and for himself. As the heart glows with love to holiness, we long to have a personal interest in it. The word of God is a heart affecting book, and when we begin to sing its praises it soon comes home to us, and sets us praying to be ourselves conformed to its teachings.


Charles Bridges - 4. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently

We have seen the character of the Man of God. Let us mark the authority of God, commanding him to a diligent obedience. The very sight of the command is enough for him. He obeys for the command’s sake, however contrary it may be to his own will. But has he any reason to complain of the yoke? Even under the dispensation which “gendereth unto bondage” most encouraging were the obligations to obedience—“that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever.”9 Much more, then, we, under a dispensation of love, can never want a motive for obedience! Let the daily mercies of Providence stir up the question—“What shall I render unto the Lord?”10 Let the far richer mercies of grace produce “a living sacrifice” to be “presented to the Lord.”11 Let “the love of Christ constrain us.”12 Let the recollection of the “price with which we were bought,” remind us of the Lord’s property in us, and of our obligations to “glorify him in our body, and in our spirit, which are his.”1 Let us only “behold the Lamb of God;” let us hear his wrestling supplications, his deserted cry, his expiring agonies—the price of our redemption; and then let us ask ourselves, Can we want a motive?

But what is the scriptural character of Evangelical obedience? It is the work of the Spirit, enabling us to “obey the truth.”2 It is the end of the purpose of God, who “hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”3 It is the only satisfactory test of our profession.4

Then let me begin my morning with the inquiry—“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” “Teach me thy way, O Lord: I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”5 Let me trade with all my talents for thee: ever watchful, that I may be employed in thy work; setting a guard upon my thoughts, my lips, my tempers, my pursuits, that nothing may hinder, but rather every thing may help me, in keeping thy precepts diligently.

But why do I ever find the precepts to be “grievous” to me? Is it not that some indolence is indulged; or some “iniquity regarded in my heart;” or some principle of unfaithfulness divides my service with two masters, when I ought to be “following the Lord fully?” Oh! for the spirit of “simplicity and godly sincerity” in the precepts of God. Oh! for that warm and constant love, which is the main-spring of devoted diligence in the service of God. Oh! for a larger supply of that “wisdom which is from above,” and which is “without partiality and without hypocrisy!”6

9 Deut. 5:29. Comp. Deut. 6:17, 18; 28:1, 2. Jer. 7:23.

10 Psalm 116:12.

11 Rom. 12:1.

12 2 Cor. 5:14.

1 1 Cor. 6:19, 20.

2 1 Peter 1:22.

3 Eph. 1:4.

4 Matt. 12:33. John 14:15, 21.

5 Acts 9:6. Psalm 86:11.

6 James 3:17.

Psalm 119:5 Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes!  

  • Ps 119:32,36,44,45,131,159,173 51:10 Jer 31:33 Ro 7:22-24 2Th 3:5 Heb 13:21 

A PRAYER FOR
PRESSING ON!

Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes!  


Spurgeon - O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Divine commands should direct us in the subject of our prayers. We cannot of ourselves keep God's statutes as he would have them kept, and yet we long to do so: what resort have we but prayer? We must ask the Lord to work our works in us, or we shall never work out his commandments. This verse is a sigh of regret because the Psalmist feels that he has not kept the precepts diligently, it is a cry of weakness appealing for help to one who can aid, it is a request of bewilderment from one who has lost his way and would fain be directed in it, and it is a petition of faith from one who loves God and trusts in him for grace.

Our ways are by nature opposed to the way of God, and must be turned by the Lord's direction in another direction from that which they originally take or they will lead us down to destruction. God can direct the mind and will without violating our free agency, and he will do so in answer to prayer; in fact, he has begun the work already in those who are heartily praying after the fashion of this verse. It is for present holiness that the desire arises in the heart. O that it were so now with me: but future persevering holiness is also meant, for he longs for grace to keep henceforth and for ever the statutes of the Lord.

The sigh of the text is really a prayer, though it does not exactly take that form. Desires and longings are of the essence of supplication, and it little matters what shape they take. "O that" is as acceptable a prayer as "Our Father."

One would hardly have expected a prayer for direction; rather should we have looked for a petition for enabling. Can we not direct ourselves? What if we cannot row, we can steer. The Psalmist herein confesses that even for the smallest part of his duty he felt unable without grace. He longed for the Lord to influence his will, as well as to strengthen his hands. We want a rod to point out the way as much as a staff to support us in it.

The longing of the text is prompted by admiration of the blessedness of holiness, by a contemplation of the righteous man's beauty of character, and by a reverent awe of the command of God. It is a personal application to the writer's own case of the truths which he had been considering. "O that my ways, "etc. It were well if all who hear and read the word would copy this example and turn all that they hear into prayer. We should have more keepers of the statutes if we had more who sighed and cried after the grace to do so.


Charles Bridges - 5. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

The Lord has indeed “commanded us to keep his precepts.” But, alas! where is our power? Satan would make the sense of our weakness an excuse for indolence. The Spirit of God convinces us of it, as an incitement to prayer, and an exercise of faith. If, reader, your heart is perfect with God, you “consent to the law that it is good;” you “delight in it after the inner man;”7 you would not have one jot or tittle altered, mitigated, or repealed, that it might be more conformed to your own will, or allow you more liberty and self-indulgence in the ways of sin. But do you not sigh to think, that when you aim at the perfect standard of holiness, you should, at your best moments, and in your highest attainments, fall so far below it; seeing indeed the way before you, but feeling yourself without ability to walk in it? Then let a sense of your helplessness for the work of the Lord lead you to the throne of grace, to pray, and watch, and wait, for the strengthening and refreshing influences of the Spirit of grace. Here let your faith realize at one and the same view your utter insufficiency, and your complete All-sufficiency.8 Here behold Him, who is ever presenting himself before God as our glorious Head, receiving in himself, according to the good pleasure of the Father,1 the full supply for this and every successive moment of inexpressible need. Our work is not therefore left upon our own hands, or wrought out at our “own charges.” So long as “He hath the residue of the Spirit,”2 “grace” will be found “sufficient”—Divine “strength will be made perfect in weakness.”3 “Without him we can do nothing.”4—“Through Him all things.”5 Even the “worm Jacob shall thresh the mountains,” when the Lord says—“Fear not, I will help thee.”6

In connecting this verse with the preceding, how accurately is the middle path preserved, equally distant from the idea of self-sufficiency to “keep the Lord’s statutes,” and self-justification in neglecting them! The first attempt to render spiritual obedience will quickly convince us of our utter helplessness. We might as soon create a world, as create in our hearts one pulse of spiritual life. And yet our inability does not cancel our obligation. Shall God lose his right, because sin has palsied our ability? Is not a drunken servant still under his master’s law? and is not the sin which prevents him from performing his duty, not his excuse, but his aggravation? Thus our weakness is that of an heart, which “cannot be subject to the law of God,” only because it is “carnal, enmity against God.”7 The obligation therefore remains in full force. Our inability is our sin, our guilt, and condemnation.

What then remains for us, but to return the mandate to heaven, accompanied with an earnest prayer, that the Lord would write upon our hearts those statutes, to which he requires obedience in his word?—“Thou hast commanded us to keep thy statutes diligently.” We acknowledge, Lord, our obligation; but we feel our impotency. Lord, help us: we look unto thee, “O that our ways were directed to keep thy statutes!” “Give what thou commandest; and then command what thou wilt.”8 Now, as if to exhibit the fulness and suitableness of the promises of the gospel, the commands and prayers are returned back again from heaven with promises of quickening and directing grace. Thus does the Lord fully answer his end with us. He did not issue the commands, expecting that we could turn our own hearts to them; but that the conviction of our entire helplessness might cast us upon him, who loves to be sought, and never will be thus sought in vain. And indeed this is a part of “the mystery of godliness,” that in proportion as we depend upon him, who is alike “the Lord our righteousness” and our strength, our desires after holiness will increase, and our prayers become more fervent. He who commands our duty, perfectly knows our weakness. And he who feels his own weakness is fully encouraged to depend upon the power of his Saviour. Faith is then the principle of evangelical obedience, and the promises of his grace enable us for duty, at the very time that we are commanded to it.1 In this view are brought together the supreme authority of the Lawgiver, the total insufficiency of the creature, the full provisions of the Saviour, and the all-sufficiency of “the God of all grace.” We pray for what we want; we are thankful for what we have; we trust for what is promised. Thus “all is of God.” Christ “is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”2 Thus “grace reigns” triumphant. The foundation is laid in grace, and the head-stone will be brought forth with shoutings, crying, “Grace, grace unto it!”3—The Saviour’s work is finished, and Jesus is crowned Lord of all for ever.

7 Rom. 7:16, 22.

8 2 Cor. 3:5.

1 Col. 1:18, 19.

2 Mal. 2:15.

3 2 Cor. 12:9.

4 John 15:5.

5 Phil. 4:13.

6 Isa. 41:14, 15.

7 Rom. 7:7. Compare Genesis 37:4. John 8:43; 5:40. 2 Peter 2:14,—where the moral inability is clearly traced to the love of sin, or the obstinate unbelief of the heart, and therefore is inexcusable. The case of the heathen is traced to the same wilful source, Rom. 1:20–28.

8 “Da quod jubes, et jube quod vis.”—Augustine.

1 “Quod lex imperat, fides impetrat.”

2 Rev. 22:13.

3 Zech. 4:7.

Psalm 119:6 Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Your commandments.  

  • shall I Ps 119:31,80 Job 22:26 Da 12:2,3 1Jn 2:28 3:20,21 
  • I have Ps 119:128 Joh 15:14 Jas 2:10 
  • Spurgeon's sermon A Clear Conscience or listen to audio version

Then I shall not be ashamed  Then shall I not be ashamed. He had known shame, and here he rejoices in the prospect of being freed from it. Sin brings shame, and when sin is gone, the reason for being ashamed is banished. What a deliverance this is, for to some men death is preferable to shame!

When I look upon all Your commandments - NLT is interesting = "when I compare my life with your commands." 

Look upon (05027)(nabat) is a root which means that which one does with the eye (Ps 94:9), everything from a mere glance (1Sa17:42) to a careful, sustained, and favorable contemplation (Isa 5:12; Ps 74:20; Ps 119:6, 15 Hab 1:5) 

Septuagint Look at (regard, pay special attention) (1914)(epiblepo from epi = upon + blepo = to observe, to see) means to literally to turn the eyes upon. The root verb blepo frequently implies looking not nonchalantly but with intent and earnest contemplation. BDAG says epiblepo means to "look intently, to pay close attention to (show special respect for - James 2:3), to look attentively at with implication of personal concern for someone or something (God in Lk 1:48+).  

Spurgeon - When I have respect unto all thy commandments. When he respects God he shall respect himself and be respected. Whenever we err we prepare ourselves for confusion of face and sinking of heart: if no one else is ashamed of me I shall be ashamed of myself if I do iniquity. Our first parents never knew shame till they made the acquaintance of the old serpent, and it never left them till their gracious God had covered them with sacrificial skins. Disobedience made them naked and ashamed. We, ourselves, will always have cause for shame till every sin is vanquished, and every duty is observed. When we pay a continual and universal respect to the will of the Lord, then we shall be able to look ourselves in the face in the looking glass of the law, and we shall not blush at the sight of men or devils, however eager their malice may be to lay somewhat to our charge.

Many suffer from excessive diffidence, and this verse suggests a cure. An abiding sense of duty will make us bold, we shall be afraid to be afraid. No shame in the presence of man will hinder us when the fear of God has taken full possession of our minds. When we are on the king's highway by daylight, and are engaged upon royal business, we need ask no man's leave. It would be a dishonour to a king to be ashamed of his livery and his service; no such shame should ever crimson the cheek of a Christian, nor will it if he has due reverence for the Lord his God. There is nothing to be ashamed of in a holy life; a man may be ashamed of his pride, ashamed of his wealth, ashamed of his own children, but he will never be ashamed of having in all things regarded the will of the Lord his God.

It is worthy of remark that David promises himself no immunity from shame till he has carefully paid homage to all the precepts. Mind that word "all, "and leave not one command out of your respect. Partial obedience still leaves us liable to be called to account for those commands which we have neglected. A man may have a thousand virtues, and yet a single failing may cover him with shame.

To a poor sinner who is buried in despair, it may seem a very unlikely thing that he should ever be delivered from shame. He blushes, and is confounded, and feels that he can never lift up his face again. Let him read these words: "Then shall I not be ashamed." David is not dreaming, nor picturing an impossible case. Be assured, dear friend, that the Holy Spirit can renew in you the image of God, so that you shall yet look up without fear. O for sanctification to direct us in God's way, for then shall we have boldness both towards God and his people, and shall no more crimson with confusion.


Charles Bridges - 6. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments

The Lord expects our obedience to be not only “diligent,” but universal. Willingly to dispense with the least of the commandments, proves that we have yet to learn the spirit of acceptable obedience.4 Grace is given and suited for all, no less than for one of them, “that we might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.”5 One lust “regarded in the heart” is sufficient to keep possession for the tyrant, however others may be restrained. Even Herod could “do many things;” and yet his adulterous wife cherished in his bosom, too plainly proved the sovereignty of sin to be undisturbed.6 Saul slew all the Amalekites but one; and that single exception to universal obedience marked his unsoundness, cost him the loss of his throne, and brought him under the awful displeasure of his God.7 And thus the corrupt unmortified member brings the whole body to hell.8 Reserves are the canker upon godly sincerity. A secret indulgence—“the rolling of the sweet morsel under the tongue”—“the part of the price kept back”9—stamps our service as a robbery, not as an offering. We may be free, sincere, and earnest in many parts of our prescribed duty; but this “root of bitterness” renders the whole an abomination.

Sincerity therefore must be the stamp of my Christian profession. Though utterly unable to render perfect obedience to the least of the commandments, yet my desire and purpose will have respect unto them all. I shall no more venture to break the least than the greatest of them; much less shall I ever think of attempting to atone for the breach of one by the performance of the rest. They are indeed many commandments; yet—like links in a chain—they form but one law; and I know who has said—“Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”10 However the professor may confine his regard to the second table (as if the first were ceremonial, or obsolete, or the regulation of the outward man was the utmost extent of the requirement), I would fix my eye with equal regard to both; yet specially marking any command in either of them, that may appear most directly opposed to my besetting corruptions. Thus “walking in the fear of the Lord,” I may hope to walk “in the comfort of the Holy Ghost;”1 and “hereby shall I know that I am of the truth, and shall assure my heart before God.”2

But where, in my strictest walk, is my hope of acceptance, but in Him, whose obedience has “fulfilled all righteousness”3 in my stead, and whose death “has redeemed me from the curse”4 of my unrighteousness, when repentance, prayers, and tears, would have been of no avail? Yet it is only in the path of holiness that we can realize our acceptance.5 The heart occupied with this world’s pleasure, knows nothing of this heavenly joy. Its brightness is dimmed—its freshness fades—its life withers—in the very breath of an unholy world. A godly assurance of the present favor of God must be weakened by self-indulgence, unwatchfulness, allowance of secret sins, or neglect of secret duties. “If thou return to the Almighty”—said a wise man,—“thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.”6

Let us then carefully examine the character of our assurance. Does it rest simply and exclusively upon the testimony of the Gospel? Will it abide the test of the word of God? Is it productive of tenderness of conscience, watchfulness, and circumspection of conduct? Does it exercise our diligence in adding grace to grace, that we may “make our calling and election sure,” and that “an entrance may be ministered to us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?”7 How boldly can we plead our Christian confidence in the path of godliness.—“I have stuck unto thy testimonies; O Lord, put me not to shame. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes, that I be not ashamed.”8

4 Matt. 5:19.

5 Col. 1:10.

6 Mark 6:18–20.

7 1 Sam. 15:21–32.

8 Mark 9:43–48

9 Acts 5:1, 2.

10 James 2:10, 11.

1 Acts 9:31.

2 1 John 3:19.

3 Matt. 3:15.

4 Gal. 3:13.

5 1 John 1:7, 2:5, 3:21, 24.

6 Job 22:23, 26.

7 2 Peter 1:5–11.

8 Ps 119:31, 80.

Psalm 119:7 I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments.  

  • I shall give thanks l Ps 119:171 9:1 86:12,13 1Ch 29:13-17 
  • when Ps 119:12,18,19,27,33,34,64,73,124 25:4,5,8-10 143:10 Isa 48:17 Joh 6:45 
  • Your righteous judgments, Ps 119:138 

I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart,

Spurgeon - I will praise thee. From prayer to praise is here, a long or a difficult journey. Be sure that he who prays for holiness will one day praise for happiness. Shame having vanished, silence is broken, and the formerly silent man declares, "I will praise thee." He cannot but promise praise while he seeks sanctification. Mark how well he knows upon what head to set the crown. "I will praise thee." He would himself be praiseworthy, but he counts God alone worthy of praise. By the sorrow and shame of sin he measures his obligations to the Lord who would teach him the art of living so that he should clean escape from his former misery.

Spurgeon - With up righteous of heart. His heart would be upright if the Lord would teach him, and then it should praise its teacher. There is such a thing as false and feigned praise, and this the Lord abhors; but there is no music like that which comes from a pure soul which standeth in its integrity. Heart praise is required, uprightness in that heart, and teaching to make the heart upright. An upright heart is sure to bless the Lord, for grateful adoration is a part of its uprightness; no man can be right unless he is upright towards God, and this involves the rendering to him the praise which is his due.

When I learn Your righteous judgments.  

Learn (03925)(lamad) means "to learn, study, and teach," as well as "to be taught and to be learned." Lamad conveys the idea of learning and teaching in the sense of educating and training. The first use of lamad in the OT is in Dt 4:1+ which emphasizes its importance (because Israel was being given instructions prior to entering the promised land). The idea is to gain information and respond properly to it with regular action, implying acceptance of, or submission to the information. 

Septuagint Learn (3129)(manthano related to the noun mathetes = disciple, literally a learner! The shut mind is the end of discipleship!) has the basic meaning of directing one’s mind to something and producing an external effect. Manthano refers to teaching, learning, instructing, and discipling. Manthano to genuinely understand and accept a teaching, to accept it as true and to apply it in one’s life. It was sometimes used of acquiring a life-long habit.

Righteous (06664)(tsedeq) the root connotes CONFORMITY to an  ETHICAL or MORAL STANDARD. Biblically this is clearly God's holy, perfect standard

Judgments (justice, ordinance[s]) (04941)(mishpat/mispat from shaphat = to judge, govern) is a masculine noun used over 400x in the OT and has general meanings including a judgment, a legal decision, a legal case, a claim, proper, rectitude.  Vine writes that mishpat/mispat "has two main senses; the first deals with the act of sitting as a judge, hearing a case, and rendering a proper verdict. Eccl. 12:14 is one such occurrence. Mishpat can also refer to the “rights” belonging to someone (Ex 23:6). This second sense carries several nuances: the sphere in which things are in proper relationship to one’s claims (Ge 18:19—first occurrence); a judicial verdict (Dt. 17:9); the statement of the case for the accused (Nu 27:5); and an established ordinance (Exod. 21:1).  (Vine's Expository Dictionary)

Spurgeon - When I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. We must learn to praise, learn that we may praise, and praise when we have learned. If we are ever to learn, the Lord must teach us, and especially upon such a subject as his judgments, for they are a great deep. While these are passing before our eyes, and we are learning from them, we ought to praise God, for the original is not, "when I have learned, "but, "in my learning." While yet I am a scholar I will be a chorister: my upright heart shall praise thine uprightness, my purified judgment shall admire thy judgments. God's providence is a book full of teaching, and to those whose hearts are right it is a music book, out of which they chant to Jehovah's praise. God's word is full of the record of his righteous providence, and as we read it we feel compelled to burst forth into expressions of holy delight and ardent praise. When we both read of God's judgments and become joyful partakers in them, we are doubly moved to song— song in which there is neither formality, nor hypocrisy, nor lukewarmness, for the heart is upright in the presentation of its praise.


Charles Bridges - 7. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments

The righteous judgments of God include the whole revelation of his word9—so called—as the rule by which he judges our present state, and will pronounce our final sentence.10 David’s attainments here seemed to be as nothing. So much remained unlearned and unknown, that he could only anticipate the time, when he should have learned them. “Thy commandment”—he exclaims—“is exceeding broad.”11 When the Apostle, after twenty years’ acquaintance with the gospel, expressed it as the one desire of his heart—“That I may know Christ”1—evidently he entertained the same humbling views of his high attainments, and the same exalted apprehensions of the value of treasures yet unexplored, and progressively opening before him. Thus the wisest saints are only students in the Divine School. Yet whatever their learning be, it casts them into the mould and spirit of their doctrine.2 Conceit however of knowledge is the greatest enemy to knowledge, and the strongest proof of ignorance; so that, “if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”—“He deceiveth himself.”3

But what is the motive, that enlivens the believer in this holy learning? Is it that he may live upon the airy breath of human applause? No, rather that he may “praise his God with uprightness of heart.” When our mind is dark, our lips are sealed. But when “he opens our understandings” to “learn his judgments,” he will next “open our lips, and our mouths shall show forth his praise.”4 And this indeed is the end, for which “his people are formed;”5 for which they “are called out of darkness into marvellous light.”6 This is the daily frame, in which our God will be glorified.7 Yet must we live as well as sing his praise. “The praise of the upright heart will be shown in the holy walk and conversation.”8

But let us watch, that our praise really flows “out of the abundance” of what our hearts have “learned” of his “righteous judgments.” For do we not sometimes speak of our Saviour with a secret lurking after self-exaltation? May we not really be seeking and serving ourselves in the very act of seeming to serve and honor him? Surely the very thought of the selfishness that defiles our holiest earthly praise, may well quicken our longings after that world of praise, where the flame burns active, bright, incessant; where we shall offer our sacrifices without defilement, without intermission, without weariness, without end.9

9 John 3:18, 19.

10 Jn. 12:48.

11 Ps 119:96.

1 Phil. 3:10–14.

2 Rom. 6:17.

3 1 Cor. 8:2. Gal. 6:3.

4 Ps. 51:15; also ver. 27, 171.

5 Isa. 43:21.

6 1 Peter 2:9.

7 Psalm 50:23. For an example of the uprightness of heart in the service of praise here alluded to, see 1 Chron. 29:13–18.

8 Psalm 116:12–14.

9 Rev. 4:8.

Psalm 119:8 I shall keep Your statutes; Do not forsake me utterly!  

  • I shall keep Your statutes Ps 119:16,106,115 Jos 24:15 
  • Do not forsake me utterly Ps 119:116,117,176 38:21,22 51:11 Php 4:13 

I shall keep Your statutes - Keep (see shamar) means to watch, to keep, to preserve, to guard, to be careful, to watch over, to watch carefully over, to be on one's guard. This is what Adam was supposed to do in Ge 2:15 but did not do a very good job as we see in Genesis 3! 

Spurgeon - I will keep thy statutes. A calm resolve. When praise calms down into solid resolution it is well with the soul. Zeal which spends itself in singing, and leaves no practical residuum of holy living, is little worth: "I will praise" should be coupled with "I will keep." This firm resolve is by no means boastful, like Peter's "though I should die with thee, yet will I not forsake thee, "for it is followed by a humble prayer for divine help,

Do not forsake me utterly! After his confident assertion that he could keep all God's statutes, testimonies, precepts, walking in His law, respecting His commandments, and learning His judgments he suddenly realizes he simply cannot do all this and right at the end of his first stanza he cries out for God's mercy! (cp Php 2:12,13, Eze 36:27). 

THOUGHT - And this indeed is my feeble cry...the fear that the Holy God would say "enough of your sin...have your own way then''. Lord I plead with you to not give me over to my flesh and to the lusts of this world. Do not forsake me utterly yea even though I deserve that end. Please visit me afresh Lord. Please be willing to speak to me to make Your presence known to me. Tender my heart to confess quickly my waywardness, rebellion and evil heart. For Thy Name's sake. Amen.

Spurgeon - O forsake me not utterly. Feeling his own incapacity, he trembles lest he should be left to himself, and this fear is increased by the horror which he has of falling into sin. The "I will keep" sounds lightly enough now that the humble cry is heard with it. This is a happy amalgam: resolution and dependence. We meet with those who to all appearance humbly pray, but there is no force of character, no decision in them, and consequently the pleading of the closet is not embodied in the life: on the other band, we meet with abundance of resolve attended with an entire absence of dependence upon God, and this makes as poor a character as the former. The Lord grant us to have such a blending of excellences that we may be "perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

This prayer is one which is certain to be heard, for assuredly it must be highly pleasing to God to see a man set upon obeying his will, and therefore it must be most agreeable to him to be present with such a person, and to help him in his endeavours. How can he forsake one who does not forsake his law?

The peculiar dread which tinges this prayer with a sombre hue is the fear of utter forsaking. Well may the soul cry out against such a calamity. To be left, that we may discover our weakness, is a sufficient trial: To be altogether forsaken would be ruin and death. Hiding the face in a little wrath for a moment brings us very low: an absolute desertion would land us ultimately in the lowest hell. But  the Lord never has utterly forsaken his servants, and he never will, blessed be his name. If we long to keep his statutes he will keep us; yea, his grace will keep us keeping his law.

There is rather a descent from the mount of benediction with which the first verse began to the almost wail of this eighth verse, yet this is spiritually a growth, for from admiration of goodness we have come to a burning longing after God and communion with him, and an intense horror lest it should not be enjoyed. The sigh of Psalms 119:5 is now supplanted by an actual prayer from the depths of a heart conscious of its undesert, and its entire dependence upon divine love. The two, "I wills" needed to be seasoned with some such lowly petition, or it might have been thought that the good man's dependence was in some degree fixed upon his own determination. He presents his resolutions like a sacrifice, but he cries to heaven for the fire.


Charles Bridges - 8. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly

The resolution to “keep the Lord’s statutes” is the natural result of having “learned his righteous judgments.” But how happily does David combine “simplicity” of dependence with “godly sincerity” of obedience! Firm in his purpose, but distrustful of his strength, instantly upon forming his resolution, he recollects that the performance is beyond his power; and therefore the next moment, and almost the same moment, he follows it up with prayer—“I will keep thy statutes; O forsake me not utterly.” Oh! beware of self-confidence in the Christian course. We stumble or advance, as we lean upon an arm of flesh, or upon an Almighty Saviour. Temporary desertion may be the seasonable chastisement of spiritual wantonness. When grace has been given in answer to prayer, it was not duly prized, or diligently improved. The “Beloved”—in answer to solicitation—“is come into his garden;” he knocks at the door, but the spouse is “asleep.” The answer to prayer was not expected, not waited for, and therefore not enjoyed; and the sleeper awakes too late, and finds herself forsaken by the object of her desire.1 Again—when we have given place to temptation;2 when “our mountain stands strong;”3 when love for our Saviour “waxes cold,” and our earnestness in seeking him is fainting;4 we must not be surprised, if we are left for a time to the trial of a deserted state.

Yet we sometimes speak of the hidings of God’s countenance, as if it were a sovereign act, calling for implicit submission; when the cause should at least be sought for, and will generally be found, in some “secret thing” of indulgence, unwatchfulness, or self-dependence.5 It was while David “kept silence” from the language of contrition, that he felt the pressure of the heavy hand of his frowning God;6 and may not the darkness, which has sometimes clouded our path, be the voice of our God—“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee; know therefore and see, that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God.”7

But in the engagement of the Lord’s everlasting covenant, how clear is the warrant of faith!—how ample the encouragement for prayer—“Forsake me not utterly!” David knew and wrote of the Lord’s unchangeable faithfulness to his people; and, while he dreaded even a temporary separation from his God more than any worldly affliction, he could plead that gracious declaration—“Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.”8 We would not indeed make the promises of grace an encouragement to carelessness: yet it is indispensable to our spiritual establishment that we receive them in their full, free, and sovereign declaration. How many fainting souls have been refreshed by the assurances—“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee—with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer!” “My sheep shall never perish: neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.”9 In a lowly, self-abased and dependent spirit we shall best, however, learn to “make our boast in the Lord,” “confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in us, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”10 And even if awhile destitute of sensible consolation, still our language will be—“I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob; and I will look for him.”11

Great indeed is the danger and evil to the soul, if we apprehend the Lord to have forsaken us, because we are in darkness; or that we are out of the way, because we are in perplexity. These are the very hand-posts, that show us that we are in the way of his own promised leading—painful exercise—faithful keeping—eternal salvation;—“I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”1 Oh! the rest, the satisfaction of placing a blind implicit confidence in a covenant-keeping God!

Forsaken we may be—but not utterly. David was forsaken, not like Saul2—Peter was forsaken—not like Judas3—utterly and for ever. What foreboding have you of such desertion? Is your heart willing to forsake him? Have you no mournings and thirstings for his return? “If indeed you forsake him, he will forsake you.”4 But can you forsake him? Let him do as seemeth him good, (is the language of your heart;) I will wait for him, follow after him, cleave to his word, cling to his cross. Mark his dealings with you. Inquire into their reason. Submit to his dispensation. If he forsakes, beg his return: but trust your forsaking God. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”5 Though my comfort is clouded, my hope remains unchanging, unchangeable—such as I would not resign for the glory of an earthly crown. What are these earnest breathings—this abiding confidence, but his own work in us? And can the Lord “forsake the work of his own hands?”6 Sooner should heaven and earth pass, than the faithful engagements of the Gospel be thus broken.7

1 Song. 4:16, with 5:1–6.

2 2 Chron. 32:31.

3 Psalm 30:6, 7.

4 Cant. 3:1–4.

5 Job 15:11.

6 Psalm 32:3, 4.

7 Jer. 1:19.

8 Psalm 89:33.

9 Isa. 54:7, 8. John 10:28

10 Psalm 34:2. Phil. 1:6.

11 Isa. 8:17.

1 Isa. 42:16.

2 Psalm 30:7, with 1 Sam. 28:6, 16.

3 Matt. 26:75, with 27:3–5.

4 2 Chron. 15:2. Comp. 1 Chron. 28:9.

5 Job 13:15. Isa. 45:15; 50:10. Heb. 3:17, 18.

6 Psalm 138:8.

7 Augustine’s Paraphrase of this verse is beautifully descriptive of the believer’s conflict in a state of temporary desertion. “O Lord, if—lest I should be proud, and should say in my prosperity, I shall never be removed—it pleaseth thee to tempt me, yet forsake me not over-long;” that is, if thou hast thus forsaken me, that I may know how weak I am without thy help, yet “forsake me not utterly,” lest I perish. I know that of thy good will thou hast given me strength; and if thou turnest away thy face from me, I shall forthwith be troubled. “O forsake me not, that I perish not.”


John MacArthur - ARRESTING THE FLESH
PSALM 119:8

The godly conduct that produces spiritual stability depends on obeying the divine standard of God’s Word. The Word is what cultivates godly attitudes, thoughts, and actions that will keep you from being overwhelmed by trials and temptations. To understand the relationship between godly attitudes, thoughts, and actions, consider this analogy. If a policeman sees someone who is about to violate the law, he will arrest him. Similarly, godly attitudes and thoughts produced by the Word act as policemen to arrest the flesh before it commits a crime against the standard of God’s Word. But if they are not on duty, they can’t arrest the flesh, and the flesh is free to violate the law of God. The analogy teaches that right attitudes and thoughts must precede right practices. Paul realized only spiritual weapons will help in our warfare against the flesh (2 Cor. 10:4). By using the right weapons, you can take “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). (Truth for Today)

Psalm 119:9 Beth. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.  

  • How can - Ps 25:7 34:11 Job 1:5 13:26 Pr 1:4,10 4:1,10-17 5:7-23 6:20-35 Pr 7:7 Ec 11:9,10 12:1 Lu 15:13 2Ti 2:22 Tit 2:4-6 
  • by keeping Ps 119:11,97-105 1:1-3 19:7-11 78:4-8 De 6:6-9 17:18 Jos 1:7 Joh 15:3 2Ti 3:15-17 Jas 1:21-25 

How can a young man keep his way pure? A good question not just for a young man but for an old man! 

Keep pure (02135)(zakah) to clean, to be clean, to cleanse. It is found only 8x in the OT - Job 15:14 = "What is man, that he should be pure"; Job 25:4 = "how can he be clean who is born of woman?"; Ps. 51:4 = "blameless when You judge"; Ps. 73:13 = "Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure"; Ps. 119:9; Pr 20:9 = "who can say I have cleansed my heart"; Isa. 1:16 = "make yourselves clean"; Mic. 6:11 = "Can I justify wicked scales" In Psalm 119:9 zakah is translated in the Septuagint with the verb katorthoo (used in 1 Ki 2:35; 1 Chr 16:30; 1 Chr 28:7; 2 Chr 29:35; 2 Chr 33:16; 2 Chr 35:10; 2 Chr 35:16; Ps 96:10; Ps 119:9; Ps 119:128; Pr 2:7; Pr 2:9; Pr 4:18; Pr 9:6; Pr 11:10; Pr 12:3; Pr 12:19; Pr 14:11; Pr 25:5; Isa. 9:7; Jer 10:23; Ezek 18:29; Mic.7:2; Zech 4:7) which means to cause something to be correct, to come out right, accomplish successfully, or be set straight. 

Herbert Wolf - The Piel means "to make or keep clean, pure," the Hithpael, to make oneself clean" (only in Isaiah 1:16).The term appears twice in Job (Job 15:14; Job 25:4), and both times Job's comforters are asking how a man can be pure in the sight of God. In each verse zākâ is parallel to ṣādaq "be righteous." A similar question appears in Proverbs 20:9 where the admission is made that no one has kept his heart pure and sinless. Those who walk in accord with God's word can live pure lives, however (Psalm 119:9). The psalmist also notes that at times the wicked appear to be happier and more prosperous than the one who keeps his heart pure (Psalm 73:13), but in the end the wicked are ruined. In Isaiah 1:16 God warns the people of Judah that they must wash and make themselves clean or face severe judgment. Twice the verb is used of God. In Psalm 51:4 [H 6] David admits that God was "justified" when he judged David for his sin with Bathsheba. The interpretation of Micah 6:11 is difficult. Is God asking if he should "justify wicked scales" (NASB) or "acquit a man" (RSV, NIV) who uses dishonest scales? The thought seems to be that God will not "declare pure" such a sinner. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Spurgeon -  How can a young man keep his way pure How shall he become and remain practically holy? He is but a young man, full of hot passions, and poor in knowledge and experience; how shall he get right, and keep right? Never was there a more important question for any man; never was there a fitter time for asking it than at the commencement of life. It is by no means an easy task which the prudent young man sets before him. He wishes to choose a clean way, to be himself clean in it, to cleanse it of any foulness which may arise in the future, and to end by showing a clear course from the first step to the last; but, alas, his way is already unclean by actual sin which he has already committed, and he himself has within his nature a tendency towards that which defileth. Here, then, is the difficulty, first of beginning aright, next of being always able to know and choose the right, and of continuing in the right till perfection is ultimately reached: this is hard for any man, how shall a youth accomplish it? The way, or life, of the man has to be cleansed from the sins of his youth behind him, and kept clear of the sins which temptation will place before him: this is the work, this is the difficulty. No nobler ambition can lie before a youth, none to which he is called by so sure a calling; but none in which greater difficulties can be found. Let him not, however, shrink from the glorious enterprise of living a pure and gracious life; rather let him enquire the way by which all obstacles may be overcome. Let him not think that he knows the road to easy victory, nor dream that he can keep himself by his own wisdom; he will do well to follow the Psalmist, and become an earnest enquirer asking how he may cleanse his way. Let him become a practical disciple of the holy God, who alone can teach him how to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, that trinity of defilers by whom many a hopeful life has been spoiled. He is young and unaccustomed to the road, let him not be ashamed often to enquire his way of him who is so ready and so able to instruct him in it. Our "way" is a subject which concerns us deeply, and it is far better to enquire about it than to speculate upon mysterious themes which rather puzzle than enlighten the mind. Among all the questions which a young man asks, and they are many, let this be the first and chief: "Wherewithal shall I cleanse my way?" This is a question suggested by common sense, and pressed home by daily occurrences; but it is not to be answered by unaided reason, nor, when answered, can the directions be carried out by unsupported human power. It is ours to ask the question, it is God's to give the answer and enable us to carry it out. (Treasury of David)

What is the "4D" process suggested in these verses?

1). Desire to remain pure
2). Devour it: Treasure or store up God's Word of life, Word of truth in your control center [(your heart...all your heart = a whole heart not a divided heart for you will be double-minded and unstable in all your ways (Jas 1:8) for you cannot serve two masters (Mt 6:24)]
3). Do it: Keep it according to the treasured Word (v10 sought Thee...the idea of fixing your eyes on Jesus Heb12:2)
4). Depend on God's power ("Do not let me wander from Thy commandments")
5). RESULT: Not sin against God...keep way pure

By keeping it according to Your word -  Note that God provides His Word, but we are responsible to keep it. He will not force us to keep it, but in the Church age God has also provided His Spirit to enable us to make the choice daily to keep it. 

Keeping (careful, guard, kept, observe, watch) (08104)(shamar) means to keep, watch, preserve, to guard, to be careful, to watch over, to watch carefully over, to be on one’s guard. The first use of shamar in Ge 2:15 is instructive as Adam was placed in the garden (a perfect environment) and was commanded to "keep" it which in the Septuagint is translated with phulasso (used here in Ps 119:9 to translate shamar) which means to guard like a military sentinel would at his post. Clearly Adam did not do a good job at "keeping" the garden safe from intruders! And because of this failure he was cast out of the garden and angels stationed to "guard (Lxx = phulasso) the way to the tree of life" so that he would not eat of it (Ge 3:24). We are charge not with watching the Garden of Eden but to watch over the "garden" of our heart, to make sure we quickly pull (confess) "weeds" of sin! Phulasso in Ps 119:9 is in the middle voice which means the subject (us) initiates the action (guarding our heart - see Pr 4:23+) and participates in the results (fruit) of zealously guarding our heart! 

Shamar is a "key verb" in Psalm 119 - Ps. 119:4; Ps. 119:5; Ps. 119:8; Ps. 119:9; Ps. 119:17; Ps. 119:34; Ps. 119:44; Ps. 119:55; Ps. 119:57; Ps. 119:60; Ps. 119:63; Ps. 119:67; Ps. 119:88; Ps. 119:101; Ps. 119:106

Spurgeon By keeping it according to Your word - Young man, the Bible must be your chart, and you must exercise great watchfulness that your way may be according to its directions. You must take heed to your daily life as well as study your Bible, and you must study your Bible that you may take heed to your daily life (STUDY YOUR BIBLE BUT BE SURE TO LET IT "STUDY YOU!"). With the greatest care a man will go astray if his map misleads him; but with the most accurate map he will still lose his road if he does not take heed to it. (SEE EXAMPLE OF A MAN WHO KNEW THE WORD BUT DID NOT PRACTICE IT - HIS NAME WAS NIKITA KRUSHCHEV!) The narrow way was never hit upon by chance, neither did any heedless man ever lead a holy life. We can sin without thought, we have only to neglect the great salvation and ruin our souls; BUT to obey the Lord and walk uprightly will need all our heart and soul and mind. Let the careless remember this. Yet the "word" is absolutely necessary; for, otherwise, care will darken into morbid anxiety, and conscientiousness may become superstition. A captain may watch from his deck all night; but if he knows nothing of the coast, and has no pilot on board, he may be carefully hastening on to shipwreck. It is not enough to desire to he right; for ignorance may make us think that we are doing God service when we are provoking him, and the fact of our ignorance will not reverse the character of our action, however much it may mitigate its criminality. Should a man carefully measure out what he believes to be a dose of useful medicine, he will die if it should turn out that he has taken up the wrong vial, and has poured out a deadly poison: the fact that he did it ignorantly will not alter the result. Even so, a young man may surround himself with ten thousand ills, by carefully using an unenlightened judgment, and refusing to receive instruction from the word of God. Wilful ignorance is in itself wilful sin, and the evil which comes of it is without excuse. Let each man, whether young or old, who desires to be holy have a holy watchfulness in his heart, and keep his Holy Bible before his open eye. (AND OPEN HEART). There he will find every turn of the road marked down, every slough and miry place pointed out, with the way to go through unsoiled; and there, too, he will find light for his darkness, comfort for his weariness, and company for his loneliness, so that by its help he shall reach the benediction of the first verse of the Psalm (Psalm 119:1), which suggested the Psalmist's enquiry, and awakened his desires.Note how the first section of eight verses has for its first verse, "Blessed are the undefiled in the way." and the second section runs parallel to it, with the question, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" The blessedness which is set before us in a conditional promise should be practically sought for in the way appointed. The Lord saith, "For this will I be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them." (Treasury of David)


Warren Wiersbe - Keeping Clean
 
Read Psalm 119:9-16
 
How does a person keep clean in this dirty world? The psalmist asks this question in verse 9: "How can a young man cleanse his way?" The answer: "By taking heed according to Your word." Of course this doesn't apply only to a young man. The same is true for a young woman, a child or an older person. We are living in a dirty world, and because of the pollution around us, we have to walk in the Word of God. The psalmist gives us several instructions to follow to keep us spiritually clean.
 
First, heed the Word. We first have to read and study the Word so we know it. And if we know it, we should obey it.
 
Second, hide the Word. "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:11). G. Campbell Morgan used to say of this verse, "It tells us about the best book--'Thy Word'--in the best place--'my heart'--for the best purpose--'that I might not sin' against God." Are you obeying the Word of God? Are you treasuring it in your heart?
 
Third, herald the Word by sharing it with others. "With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth" (Psalm 119:13). If we have Scripture in our hearts, it has to come out through our lips, because "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34).
 
Finally, honor the Word. "I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways" (Psalm 119:15). In other words, "I will honor God's Word. I will respect what He wants me to do. My Father is telling me what to do, and I am going to obey Him."
 
* * *
God's Word has a cleansing effect. But you must get into the Word before it can become effective in your life. Obey God's Word, and He will keep you clean in this dirty world  (Psalm 119:9-16 Keeping Clean


We are drowning in a sea of sexual images and sinful attractions. Everywhere we look we find temptation to fill our minds with thoughts of sexual relationships that God wouldn't approve. The writer asked a question that troubles us all: How do we stay pure in a contaminating environment? We cannot do this on our own but must have counsel and strength more dynamic than the tempting influences around us. Where can we find that strength and wisdom? By reading God's Word and doing what it says. - Life Application Study Bible


HOW DO WE "PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR"?

One of the most important ways is to hide God's Word in our heart (Ps 119:9-11) AS IF OUR VERY LIFE DEPENDED UPON IT...BECAUSE OUR SPIRITUAL VITALITY DOES! Toward the close of World War II, Allied forces were mopping up against remaining Nazi resistance. One particular unit was assigned a crucial mission in Berlin. Each soldier had to memorize a map detailing all of Berlin's important military sites -- and they had to do it in a single night! In just a few hours, each soldier in the unit had committed the map to memory. The mission was a success. Several years later, the Army conducted an experiment to see if that original feat could be duplicated. They offered a similar unit an extra week's furlough--an attractive incentive--if they could carry out a comparable mission without a hitch. But the second unit could not match the success of the first. What made the difference? The lives of the men were not at stake. Surviving in battle was a greater motivation than a week's vacation. Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10-18). Our road map, our plan of strategy against Satan's military strongholds, is the Bible. The more we read it, the more of it we memorize, and the more thoroughly we know it, the more effective we will be for God. We must approach God's Word as if our lives depended on it--because they do. That's real motivation! --HWR (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

Thy Word is like an armory,
Where soldiers may repair,
And find, for life's long battle-day,
All needful weapons there.
--Hodder

If your life depended on knowing the Bible,how long would you last?

Even though children can understand the Bible's basic truths, it is no simple book. Anyone who bothers to study it finds it to be as limitless as the cosmos. We can go back to the same text countless times and still find more there. No one has ever mastered the Scriptures. 

The Bible is like the ocean. You can wade in it, feed from it, live on it--or drown in it. But those who take the time to learn its truths and practice them will be changed forever. 

The Bible is simple enough for a child to read
and too deep for a scholar to master.


CLEANSING Psalm 119:9–16

I.      The purging—v. 9
      A.      Concern—“How can a young man cleanse his way?” More simply, “How can a person live a holy life?”
      B.      Cleansing—“By taking heed thereto according to thy Word.” “By reading your Word and following its rules” (LB). A person who follows God’s Word will live a holy life.

II.      The plea—v. 10
      A.      Prayer—“With my whole heart have I sought Thee.” Perhaps the psalmist knew the truth of Jer. 29:13.
      B.      Plea—“O let me not wander from thy commandments.” In plain words, “Help me to obey all thy commandments.”
    A Christian should always be seeking to improve his Christian living. He should never be satisfied. To be satisfied is to be backslidden.

III.      The power—v. 11
      A.      Scripture—“Thy Word.” God’s Word will not pass away. His Word is settled forever in heaven—Ps. 119:89.
      B.      Security—“Have I hid in my heart.” If we hide His Word in our hearts, we’ll not sin against God! Jesus said that out of the heart man speaks—Matt. 15:18.
      C.      Sinlessness—“That I might not sin against thee.” The more we hide God’s Word in our hearts, the less we will sin against Him.

IV.      The prayer—v. 12
      A.      Praise—“Blessed art thou.” All prayer should begin with thanksgiving. Daniel prayed and gave thanks—Dan. 6:10.
      B.      Plea—“O Lord: teach me thy statutes.” He will teach us if we are willing to study—2 Tim. 2:15.

V.      The Person—vv. 13–15
      A.      Witness—v. 13. The Psalmist talked about the good things of God. God seeks people who will witness for Him.
      B.      Worship—v. 14. Rejoicing is a very important part of worship. The Psalmist rejoiced in God’s ways.
      C.      Ways—v. 15. He respected and meditated upon God’s ways. Many have never learned to meditate.

VI.      The praise—v. 16
      A.      Delight. Delight in God’s statutes. He was happy to keep God’s laws.
      B.      Dedication. He would not forget God’s Word!

Croft Pence


Charles Bridges - 9. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word

Why is the young man so especially called to cleanse his way? Because God justly claims the first and the best. And is it not a most affecting proof of the alienation of the heart from God, that the youth of man—the bloom and freshness of his mind—his “first love”—should naturally be devoted to the service of sin? Ever since fallen man “begat a son in his own likeness,” “the imagination of man’s heart has been evil from his youth.”1 For “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?”2 And never does the heart utter the cry, “My Father! thou art the guide of my youth,”3 until the misery of wandering without a guide has been painfully felt. And even when Divine grace has awakened the desire to return homewards, the habit of wandering from God, and the long-cherished pollutions of sin, seem to form an almost invincible barrier to progress.

The fearful power of “youthful lusts,” and the madness with which the heart is hurried into forbidden indulgences, give solemn weight to the inquiry—“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” And the answer is ready. Let him “take heed thereto according to the word.” Thus did Joseph4 and Daniel with his young companions5 “cleanse their way” in the defilement of an heathen atmosphere. It was probably the recollection of this purifying efficacy of the word, that induced the venerable Beza to mention in his will, among his chief matters of thankfulness to God, the mercy of having been called to the knowledge of the truth at the age of sixteen; thus, during a course of more than seventy years’ walk with God, “escaping the pollutions of the world through lust.” But the “way can only be cleansed” by the cleansing of the heart: for how can a corrupt fountain “send forth” other than “bitter waters?”6 “Out of the heart are the issues of life.” Hence the urgent need to cry—“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”7

How precious, therefore, is the word of God, as the means of this cleansing operation! When our Saviour had been setting forth himself as “the way, the truth, and the life,” and exhibiting the high privilege of union with himself—“Now,” he adds, “ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”8 This is “the truth,” which he pleaded with his Father as the means of our sanctification.9 This sets out our purifying hope.10 Here are the promises, by which we “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”11 Thus is restored to man that golden “crown”—the stamp of his Maker’s holiness—which “fell from his head when he sinned.”12

But oh! how does the recollection force itself upon us,—that our way wants daily cleansing! so defiled are our actions, our thoughts, our motives,—nay more, our prayers and services. Let us then “take heed according to the word of God”—specially thankful for its heavenly light, which guides us to the “fountain that is opened for sin and for uncleanness.”1 Let us also under the same Divine light seek for the daily sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God. “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”2 ‘Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit.’3

1 Gen. 5:3; 8:21.

2 Job 14:4.

3 Jer. 3:4.

4 Gen. 39:9.

5 Dan. 1:8–20; 3:12–18.

6 James 3:11, 12.

7 Prov. 4:23. Psalm 51:10.

8 John 14; 15:1–3.

9 Ib. 17:17.

10 1 John 3:3.

11 2 Cor. 7:1. Comp. 2 Peter 1:4. Augustine’s recorded account of his own conversion furnishes a striking illustration of this subject. Confessions, Books viii. ix. The substance of it may be found in Milner’s Church History, vol. ii. 353–356. See Dr. Owen’s valuable work on the Spirit for a most instructive use made of it, as throwing light upon the doctrine of conversion. Book iii. chap. vi.

12 Lam. 5:16, with Gen. 1:27. Eph. 4:24.

1 Zech. 13:1.

2 Psalm 19:12.

3 Prayer-Book.


Thy Word I Have Treasured in My Heart - John Piper - January 5, 1997   Psalm 119:9–16

  How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word. 10 With all my heart I have sought Thee; Do not let me wander from Thy commandments. 11 Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee. 12 Blessed art Thou, O LORD; Teach me Thy statutes. 13 With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Thy mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, As much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on Thy precepts, And regard Thy ways. 16 I shall delight in Thy statutes; I shall not forget Thy word.

The Ultimate Goal of Life

There are two ways to state the ultimate goal of life, one positively and one negatively. Positively we could say: the ultimate goal of life is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. Or negatively, we could say: the ultimate goal of life is not to sin. They both mean the same thing because sinning is falling short of glorifying God by embracing other things as more enjoyable.

So if we could learn how to glorify God by enjoying him, we would know how not to sin. And if we could learn how not to sin, we would know how to glorify God by enjoying him.

Ps 119:11 tells us one of the keys to not sinning. It says, speaking to God, “Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.” The way not to sin is to treasure the word of God in your heart. Which means that the way to succeed in the ultimate goal of life—to live for the glory of God by enjoying him forever—is to treasure the word of God in your heart.

So let’s focus for a moment on what this means. Take the three key phrases: 1) Thy word; 2) I have treasured; 3) in my heart.

“Thy Word”

The Word the psalmist has in mind is not a subjective impression that comes to his mind when he prays for God’s will to be revealed. It is the revelation of God in his written word, primarily the Torah, the books of Moses, but also the writings of the prophets whom God sent to Israel. You can see this in the way he piles up familiar words for God’s revealed written word in the context. For example, verse 10b: “Do not let me wander from thy commandments.” Verse 12: “Blessed art thou, O LORD; teach me Thy statutes.” Verse 13: “With my lips I have told of all the ordinances of Thy mouth.” Verse 14: “I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies.” Verse 15: “I will meditate on Thy precepts.”

These words—commandments, statutes, ordinances, testimonies, precepts—are all words that the Bible uses to refer to the written word of God, especially in the books of Moses, but by implication to all God’s revealed written work. Today we would say “Thy word” refers to the Bible in its entirety. So what the psalmist is referring to in verse 11 is not subjective impressions but objective teachings of God in Scripture. “Thy Word—that word I have treasured in my heart.”

“In My Heart”

Next take the phrase “in my heart.” The point here is mainly to say: inside of me, not just on a tablet outside of me. The words of God are not just kept in writing for the psalmist to consult outside of himself. They are kept for his consulting inside of him—in his heart. The heart in the Old Testament is a place of both thinking and feeling (Genesis 6:5; Job 36:13). So these words of God are being treasured in a place where they can be thought about and felt.

“I Have Treasured”

Finally take the middle phrase: “I have treasured.” “Thy word I have treasured in my heart.” You might ask, How do you know that the word of God is “in the heart,” rather than only the act of treasuring being in the heart while the word is on the scrolls outside the heart? For example, I could say, “My wife have I treasured in my heart,” and would not mean that my wife is in my heart, but only that I treasure her with my heart.

The reason we know that the word of God is in the heart is that the Hebrew word “I have treasured” (tsaphan), in its 30-some uses in the Old Testament, almost always means “hide” or “store.” It only secondarily comes to mean “to treasure” since hiding was what you did with your treasures in the days before there were banks (see Job 23:12+; Proverbs 2:1+). So we know that when the psalmist says, “Thy word I have treasured in my heart,” he does not just mean that the act of valuing happens in his heart, but that the word is being hidden and stored up there as something valuable—like a treasure.

So the teaching in this verse is that one way to keep from sinning—one way to attain the ultimate reason for being, to live for the glory of God by enjoying him forever—is to store up the word of God in our hearts as something very precious. When we have the word of God stored or hidden in our hearts, and treasure it like gold and silver, that word will function to keep us from sin.

Two Things that Keep us from Sinning

It’s not just one thing, but two things that keep us from sinning and move us to glorify and enjoy God. It is not just having the word stored. Nor is it is just valuing the word. It is both. Both are crucial. We value the word and therefore we have it stored in our hearts. And the two together give us the power to stand against the temptations to sin. It is a (1) superior treasure, (2) present and active, that conquers sin.

So I believe that the Bible teaches us to memorize scripture the way an ant gathers food in summer: because it is so valuable and will be needed in the winter months. “[The ant] prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:8). Memorizing scripture is not a discipline for its own sake. It is because the scriptures are a treasure and will be needed before the day is done to help you escape a sinful attitude and live a life that glorifies God.

The Cruciality of Bible Memory

We on the staff believe that a church-wide Bible memory challenge will be revolutionary for our lives. Dallas Willard, who is famous for his book, The Spirit of the Disciplines, said, "As a pastor, teacher, and counselor I have repeatedly seen the transformation of inner and outer life that comes simply from memorization and meditation upon Scripture. Personally, I would never undertake to pastor a church or guide a program of Christian education that did not involve a continuous program of memorization of the choicest passages of Scripture for people of all ages."

That is what we are planning to do beginning today.

You Can Do It

You may doubt that you can do this, especially if you are older. But ask yourself this question, If I offered you $1,000 for every verse you memorized in the next week, how many do you think you could memorize? Yet God says of his word in Psalm 19:10–11+, “They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” The real value of the word is far greater than $1,000 a verse. The question is, Do you believe this? Believing this will be the crucial motivation you need.

Nor is the task beneath you and only for children. The Lord Jesus memorized Scripture verbatim. We know he did, because when he was fasting in the wilderness there were no libraries or books, and with every temptation of the devil he quoted a passage of Scripture to defeat the devil (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10+).

This is why we are calling the 52 passages prepared for all of us this year (one a week) “fighter verses.” Jesus defeated the devil’s temptations with the use of a memorized passage of Scripture. And in Ephesians 4:17+, Paul called the word of God “the sword of the Spirit.” We cannot successfully overcome sin and Satan without the present treasure of precious words of God—“fighter verses.”

You can do this. When Dawson Trotman, the founder of the Navigators, became a Christian in 1926, he was driving a truck for a lumberyard in Los Angeles. While driving, he would work on memorizing a verse a day. During the first three years of his Christian life he memorized his first thousand verses. If he can do that you can do 52 in a year.

Faith Feeds on Scripture all Day

How is your faith? Is it strong or weak? I have never known a strong Christian who did not have much scripture memorized. There is a reason for this. God designed faith to feed on the promises of Scripture all day long. Faith depends for its life on steady access to precious Biblical truth. Look at how Proverbs 22:18–19 puts this: “It will be pleasant if you keep [the words of the wise] within you, that they may be ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the LORD, I have taught you today, even you.”

How is your trust? Your confidence? Your peace and joy and assurance? Are they strong or weak? God says that he has given us his word so that it will be within us and that we may trust in him. Faith rises or falls to the degree that it feeds hourly on the treasure of God’s truth stored in the heart.

If you choose against Bible memory (not our program in particular) you choose against the food of faith and will, at best, become a weak Christian and, at worst, prove to be a false Christian. Far better to say with Psalm 119:9, “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”


John Butler - Sermon Starters - The Solution Psalm 119:9
This text shows the desire of the Psalmist for sanctification. It is a rare desire to be holy, clean, upright. But it is a healthy desire.

FIRST—THE PRIORITY OF THE DESIRE
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" Man needs cleansing/holiness more than anything else. Man may have other needs such as a job, clothes, house, transportation, and food but his greatest need is to be cleansed of his sin. You may have all these other things but "without holiness no man shall see God" (Hebrews 12:14, and "Blessed (happy) are the pure" (Matthew 5:8). Holiness is the key to acceptance with God; it is also the key to happiness, Many of our churches and our government focus on the needs of the body (clothes, food, job, housing, etc.) and ignore the needs of the soul. But our text wisely focuses on the great need of man, namely, holiness.

SECOND—THE PERIOD OF THE DESIRE
"Young man." The sinfulness of man begins early in life. "The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." (Genesis 8:21). Sin starts early in life. Those cute little babies if unattended spiritually soon develop sinful characteristics early in life. We have heard young children using the grossest of profanity on the playground. It doesn't stop with profanity but is found in the conduct of young children who are getting very difficult to handle in our schools. A famous football coach wrote that the lack of character and discipline in recruits made it difficult to coach. Our text talks about a young man needing cleansing. This does not exclude "old" men, but it shows the importance of purity early in life.

THIRD—THE PROMISE FOR THE DESIRE
"By taking heed thereto according to thy Word." Men need to take a soul bath. We are not talking about a body bath. We are talking about a spiritual bath. Our text asks the question about cleansing. The answer is found in the Scriptures. This tells us the great value of the Word of God. If holiness is our greatest need and the Word is the answer then the Word needs to be front and center in life. But the Bible is not even front and center in most churches. Scripture is replaced by socials (church suppers and ball games) and the Bible is put on the back burner. No wonder our churches are not a purifying influence anymore. The Scripture tells us about Christ Who can save the soul (cleanse it permanently) and it tells us about holy living. However, the Scriptures are not popular. Christ is rejected, and holiness is watered down to where it tolerates a lot of sin. Criticism of the Scriptures is often disguised as intellectualism. Often the Scriptures are rejected as separation of church and state, but we note that wickedness abounds in society and those who reject the Word do not have a solution to the problem of abounding wickedness in our youth. (Sermon Starters)


The Key to Purity
Today's Reading: Psalm 119:9-13

How can a young person stay pure? Psalm 119:9

WHENEVER SCRIPTURE poses a critical question about life, it also gives the answer—often within the next few sentences. God isn't in the business of confusing us. He wants our life to be fruitful and obedient and prosperous.
"God, please, bring to mind Scriptures you want me to hear right now. Don't let hunger or fatigue or fear keep me from remembering."  Armageddon, 207
The psalmist asked this question: "How can a young person stay pure?" And the formula is found immediately following. "By obeying your word and following its rules. I have tried my best to find you—don't let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.... I have recited aloud all the laws you have given us" (Psalm 119:9-13, italics mine).
First, we obey his Word. We allow the Bible to become our blueprint for living. We take God's commandments to heart and make obedience our primary desire and longing.
Second, we seek to find him. Jesus tells us: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength" (Mark 12:30). A critical ingredient to a pure life is to seek God with every fiber of our being.
Third, we hide his Word in our heart. By reading and meditating on Scripture daily, we become intimately aware of God's will for us and his desire for our holiness.
Fourth, we recite his Word aloud. When tempted in the desert by Satan, Jesus didn't attempt to develop new arguments for the enemy; he simply restated what God had already said. God's Word is complete enough to guide us through each and every situation. When faced with temptation, we, too, should quote God's Word aloud.
This is the four-step plan for pure and holy living outlined in Scripture for anyone serious about his or her Christian walk. And though the psalmist's words are aimed at the young, the advice is applicable to us all.

Reflection Meditate on today's passage, asking God to speak to you specifically regarding the state of your heart. How does your life reflect the purity that God wants for you? What portions of the Word have you hidden in your heart to ward off temptation and help you discover God's will for your life


Moral culture of young men

I. YOUNG MEN REQUIRE CLEANSING. Somehow or other, from the very commencement of moral agency, impure thoughts enter the mind, and impure emotions are awakened. So that cleansing is required almost at the beginning, because spiritual uncleanness is 
      (1) Inimical to peace of conscience.
      (2) A hindrance to true soul growth.
      (3) An obstruction to Divine fellowship.

II. MORAL CLEANSING REQUIRES CIRCUMSPECTION IN LIFE. “By taking heed thereto.” If you tread the path of vanity, avarice, sensuality, selfishness, you will go down deeper and deeper in moral filth. If you tread the path of virtue as trod by Jesus of Nazareth, you must take heed that you tread that path constantly and not turn to the right hand or to the left. “Take heed.” There are many on all hands who will try to turn you from the path.

III. CIRCUMSPECTION OF LIFE SHOULD BE GUIDED BY THE DIVINE WORD. “Thy Word,” that contains the map; Thy Word, there burns the lamp; Thy Word, there dwells the inspiration. (Homilist.)


A. Maclaren - How a young man may cleanse his way

I. THIS IS THE GREAT PRACTICAL PROBLEM FOR LIFE. It is more especially the question for young people.
    1. You are under special temptations not to ask it. There are so many other points in your future unresolved that you are only too apt to put aside the consideration of this one in favour of those which seem to be of more immediate importance. And you have the other temptation, common to us all, of living without any plan of life at all. At your age, judgment and experience are not so strong as inclination and passion; and everything has got the fresh gloss of novelty upon it, and it seems to be sometimes sufficient delight to live and get hold of the new joys that are flooding in upon you.
    2. It is worth while for you to ask it. For you have got the prerogative that some of us have lost, of determining the shape that your life’s course is to take.
    3. You have special temptations to make your ways unclean.

II. WE CAN ONLY MAKE OUR WAY CLEAN ON CONDITION OF CONSTANT WATCHFULNESS. “Take heed to thyself” is the only condition of a pure and noble life. That such a condition is necessary will appear very plain from two considerations. First, it is clear that there must be constant watchfulness, if we consider what sort of a world this is that we have got into. And it is also plain if we consider what sort of creatures we are that have got into it. We are creatures evidently made for self-government. Our whole nature is like a monarchy. There are things in each of us that are never meant to rule, but to be kept well down under control, such as strong passions, desires rooted in the flesh which are not meant to get the mastery of a man. And there are parts of our nature which are as obviously intended to be supreme and sovereign; the reason, the conscience, the will.

III. THIS CONSTANT WATCHFULNESS, TO BE OF ANY USE, MUST BE REGULATED BY GOD’S WORD. The guard on the frontier who is to keep the path must have instructions from head-quarters, and not choose add decide according to his own phantasy, but according to the King’s orders. Or, to use another metaphor, it is no use having a guard unless the guard has a lantern. In the Word of God, in its whole sweep, and eminently and especially in Christ, who is the Incarnate Word, we have an all-sufficient Guido. A guide of conduct must be plain--and whatever doubts and difficulties there may be about the doctrines of Christianity, there are none about its morality. A guide of conduct must be decisive--and there is no faltering in the utterance of the Book as to right and wrong. A guide of conduct must be capable of application to the wide diversities of character, age, circumstance--and the morality of the New Testament especially, and of the Old in a measure, secures that, because it does not trouble itself about minute details, but deals with large principles. A guide for morals must be far in advance of the followers, and it has taken generations and centuries to work into men’s consciences, and to work out in men’s practice, a portion of the morality of that Book. If the world kept the commandments of the New Testament, the world would be in the millennium; and all the sin and crime, and ninety-nine hundredths of all the sorrow of earth would have vanished like an ugly dream. Here is the guide for you, and if you take it you will not err.

IV. ALL THIS CAN ONLY BE DONE EFFECTUALLY IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN. My psalm goes as far as the measure of revelation granted to its author admitted; but if a person had no more to say than that, it would be a weary business. It is no use to tell a man, “Guard yourself; guard yourself.” Nor even to tell him, “Guard yourself according to God’s Word,” if God’s Word is only a law. The fatal defect of all attempts at keeping my heart by my own watchfulness is that keeper and kept are one and the same. And so there may be mutiny in the garrison, and the very forces that ought to subdue the rebellion may have gone over to the rebels. You want a power outside of you to steady you The only way to haul a boat up the rapids is to have some fixed point on the shore to which a man may fasten a rope and pull at that. You get that eternal guard and fixed point on which to hold in Jesus Christ, the dear Son of His love, who has died for you. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Psalm 119:10 With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.  

  • With all my heart Ps 119:2,34,58,69 78:37 1Sa 7:3 2Ch 15:15 Jer 3:10 Ho 10:2 Zep 1:5,6 Mt 6:24 Col 3:22 1Jn 2:15 
  • Do not let me wander from Your commandments Ps 119:21,118,133,176 23:3 125:5 143:8-10 Pr 2:13 21:16 Isa 35:8 Eze 34:6 2Pe 2:15-22 

My loose translation of Lxx = In my whole heart I have diligently searched for You. Let me not thrust off from myself away your commandments.

With all my heart I have sought You;

Spurgeon - With my whole heart have I sought thee. His heart had gone after God himself: he had not only desired to obey his laws, but to commune with his person. This is a right royal search and pursuit, and well may it be followed with the whole heart. The surest mode of cleansing the way of our life is to seek after God himself, and to endeavour to abide in fellowship with him. Up to the good hour in which he was speaking to his Lord, the Psalmist had been an eager seeker after the Lord, and if faint, he was still pursuing. Had he not sought the Lord he would never have been so anxious to cleanse his way. It is pleasant to see how the writer's heart turns distinctly and directly to God. He had been considering an important truth in the preceding verse, but here he so powerfully feels the presence of his God that he speaks to him, and prays to him as to one who is near. A true heart cannot long live without fellowship with God.

Spurgeon  - His petition is founded on his life's purpose: he is seeking the Lord, and he prays the Lord to prevent his going astray in or from his search. It is by obedience that we follow after God, hence the prayer,

Do not let me wander from Your commandments - A prayer that recognizes his dependence on God's power to keep him from wandering. While he is responsible to choose, he cries out for God's sovereign protection and power to enable him to walk uprightly. A good prayer. It reflects a humble recognition that we need God all the time! Even when we are seeking Him with a whole heart. We are always vulnerable to slip and fall, for the flesh is ever looking for a crack in our armor!

Spurgeon - O let me not wander from thy commandments; for if we leave the ways of God's appointment we certainly shall not find the God who appointed them. The more a man's whole heart is set upon holiness the more does he dread falling into sin; he is not so much fearful of deliberate transgression as of inadvertent wandering: he cannot endure a wandering look, or a rambling thought, which might stray beyond the pale of the precept. We are to be such wholehearted seekers that we have neither time nor will to be wanderers, and yet with all our wholeheartedness we are to cultivate a jealous fear lest even then we should wander from the path of holiness. Two things may be very like and yet altogether different: saints are "strangers" — "I am a stranger in the earth" (Psalms 119:19), but they are not wanderers: they are passing through an enemy's country, but their route is direct; they are seeking their Lord while they traverse this foreign land. Their way is hidden from men; but yet they have not lost their way. The man of God exerts himself, but does not trust himself: his heart is in his walking with God: but he knows that even his whole strength is not enough to keep him right unless his King shall be his keeper, and he who made the commands shall make him constant in obeying them: hence the prayer, "O let me not wander." Still, this sense of need was never turned into an argument for idleness; for while he prayed to be kept in the right road he took care to run in it with his whole heart seeking the Lord. It is curious again to note how the second part of the Psalm keeps step with the first; for where Psalms 119:2 pronounces that man to be blessed who seeks the Lord with his whole heart, the present verse claims the blessing by pleading the character: With my whole heart have I sought thee.

Henry Morris - With less self-confidence than before his cleansing through the Word the young man realizes his deep dependence on the Lord, on prayer, and on the Word, calling out for strength not to "wander" away from God's written will.


F B Meyer - Be wholly given to God, then you too shall live in the light, as He is in the light. The warmth of His love shall fill your emotions with its glow, and teach you the art of love; the light of His truth shall banish obscurity and ignorance from your mind, and endow it with direct and certain knowledge; the ray of His presence shall inspire you with strength, vigor, elasticity, immortal youth. Where sunshine is, there is life, health, gladness, vigorous strength.


John Phillips - Halfhearted commitment, in my opinion, was the problem with American involvement in Vietnam. The United States had no commitment to win, only a halfhearted response to a treaty obligation. American failure there led to subsequent massacres by the communists throughout Southeast Asia. America did not have total commitment; the nation was divided. Troops were sent to Vietnam to fight a war while millions demonstrated, protested, and some even burned the American flag. It was a sure recipe for ruin.

Anyone who tries to keep God's Word halfheartedly will fail. God calls for total commitment. Yet it is the wholehearted among us who disturb us most. The apostle Pauls, the D. L. Moodys, the Patrick Henrys.

A documentary film which is the prelude to a tour of Williamsburg, Virginia, gives us exceptional insight into Patrick Henry. This revolutionary hero began by demanding that colonists have the same rights as Englishmen. Patrick Henry was a born lawyer. In six weeks with only a stack of books he taught himself enough Virginia law to force the examiners to sign his application for the bar. In three years he tried over a thousand cases, most of which he won. When the British imposed the Stamp Act of 1765 on the colonies, to make them help pay for the soldiers who guarded their Indian frontiers, Patrick Henry exploded. He saw it as a violation of the Magna Charta. When things finally came to a head he lifted his voice in Richmond: "Gentlemen may cry 'Peace, peace,'" he said, "but there is no peace. Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains...? As for me, give me liberty or give me death." Patrick Henry seemed a dangerous man to many. But he was a real driving force behind the American Revolution.


Charles Bridges - 10. With my whole heart have I sought thee; O let me not wander from thy commandments

Attention to the word, however important,4 can never be practically effective without earnest prayer. Indeed this is a character of the Lord’s people—“a generation of seekers,”5 and yet how much do we lose of the comfort of our religion, and obscure the glory of our profession, by neglecting to bring “our whole heart” to this work! When sin is vigorous, and our spiritual affections are dull, and various hindrances combine in prayer; at this crisis strong faith is needed to overcome and to persevere. But here the soul too commonly yields to the difficulty, and contents itself either with heartless complainings, or with just sufficient exertion to quiet the voice of conscience, and produce a delusive peace within. But the Lord will not be found thus. His promise is not to such seekers as these; and if we are satisfied with this state, we must look for a very scanty measure of spiritual success, accompanied with the total absence of spiritual enjoyment. In a far different spirit David could appeal—“With my whole heart have I sought thee.” And this assurance, instead of procuring self-confidence, will so far as it is genuine, invariably show itself in a prayerful acknowledgment of our weakness—“O let me not wander from thy commandments.” Yet the feeblest desire and attempt to seek the Lord, is the Spirit’s rising beam in the heart, a “day of small things” not to be “despised.”6 It is distinguished from every other principle by the simplicity of its object—“This one thing I do.” “One thing have I desired of the Lord; that will I seek after.”7 My God! my Saviour! “with my whole heart have I sought thee.” The desire of my soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early.”8

When the soul is thus conscious of “following the Lord fully,” there is a peculiar dread of wandering. In a careless or halfhearted state, wanderings are not watched, so long as they do not lead to any open declensions. Secret prayer will be hurried over, worldly thoughts unresisted, waste of time in frivolous pursuits indulged, without much concern. Not so, when the heart is fully in pursuit of its object. There is a carefulness, lest wandering thoughts should become habitual. There is a resistance of the first step, that might lead into a devious path. The soul remembers the “wormwood and the gall,”9 “the roaring lion,” and the devouring wolf; and in the recollection of the misery of its former wandering, dreads any departure from the Shepherd’s fold. This blessed state of mind the flock of Christ should cherish with godly jealousy. Yet let it be remembered, that daily progress in the heavenly walk is not maintained by yesterday’s grace. Humble and dependent prayer must fetch in a fresh supply continually—“O let me not wander from thy commandments.” ‘Lord, I feel my heart so prone to wander. My affections are often scattered to the ends of the earth. “Unite my heart to fear thy name.”1 Concentrate every thought, every desire, in thyself, as the one object of attraction.’

4 Ps 119:9.

5 Psalm 24:6.

6 Zech. 4:10.

7 Phil. 3:13. Psalm 27:4.

8 Isa. 26:8, 9.

9 Lam. 3:19.

1 Psalm 86:11.

Psalm 119:11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.  

  • Your word Ps 119:97 1:2 37:31 40:8 Job 22:22 Pr 2:1,10,11 Isa 51:7 Jer 15:16 Lu 2:19,51 Col 3:16 
  • that I Ps 19:13 

Ps 119:9,11

THE BEST THING
IN THE BEST PLACE
FOR THE BEST PURPOSE

Your word I have treasured in my heart - Have you ever had weeds grow up in your garden and choke out the other plants? That's what sin in our heart does to the fruit of the Spirit in a believer's life -- it chokes out our "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5:22-23+) So how do we get rid of weeds in our garden? We plant flowers that will choke out the weeds! Yes, this dynamic is real and effective. Applying this physical principle to our spiritual life, we can "plant" flowers of God's Word in our heart, which the Spirit (our "Resident Gardiner") can use to choke out the weeds of sin that sprout up daily, often suddenly catching us by surprise! In the 1800's a Scottish pastor Thomas Chalmers preached a sermon entitled "The Expulsive Power of a New Affection" in which he said 

The best way to disengage an impure desire is to engage a pure one; the best way to expel the love of what is evil is to embrace the love of what is good instead. To be specific, we must replace the object of our sinful affection with an infinitely more worthy one—God himself. In this way we do not move from a full heart into a vacuum. Instead we move from a full heart to a heart bursting with fullness. And the expulsive power of our new affection weakens and even destroys the power of sin in our hearts. 

Related Resource:

As a medical doctor expulsion recalls the effect of the hormone oxytocin which causes expulsion of milk from the lactating mammary gland. In other words, the milk is forced out by the powerful expulsive effect of the hormone. While it is close, that is not exactly what the concept refers to spiritually, because the idea is more of something replacing something else and that which is replaced is forced out. An good synonym for this kind of expulsion would be displacement which describes the moving of something from its place or position and implies the filling of a place once occupied by something lost, destroyed, or no longer usable or adequate. Spiritually speaking a negative or sinful affection is moved from its place of enthronement on our hearts. The affection that dethrones the negative affection then ascends to the throne of the heart and from there exercises control of one's mind, emotions and will. Sounds so simple doesn't it? (Expulsive Power of a New Affection)

Treasured (concealed, hidden, stored) (06845)(tsapan/sapan) means primarily to hide, to keep secret, to conceal something often of great value with a definite purpose (for protection or for sinister purposes). Definitions of English verb To Treasure (Where applicable try "inserting" these different definitions in place of treasuredJealously safeguard something considered precious. Esteem - set a high value on, regard highly and prize accordingly. Cherish (hold dear, feel or show affection for, entertain something in one's mind deeply and resolutely - eg, he still cherishes that memory; Keep or cultivate with care and affection). Prize highly as valuable, rare or costly! The Septuagint translates treasured with the verb krupto to cover, to hide, to conceal, to keep secret (either protectively or for selfish reasons). To keep something from being seen, but in the case of God's Word it is for the purpose of keeping in a place where it will be seen with the eyes of our heart! 

This same verb tsapan (and krupto ) is used in Job's declaration "I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured (tsapankrupto) the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." (Job 23:12 - see the Secret of Job's Perseverance)  What value did Job place on God's Word? In a sense, he is saying he would rather starve physically than starve spiritually! Note also the important principle -- first Job did not commit sin for had he done so it would have negatively impacted his appetite and desire for the pure word which is holy. Unconfessed (unholy) sin and God's holy Word are not mutually compatible! Job's holy walk enabled a desire to treasure God's Word. We see this same principle in Ps 1:1+ (the negative) and Ps 1:2-3+ (the positive), where participating in the deeds of verse 1 will choke our desire for God's Word. And again in 1 Peter 2:1+ we see the things we need to put off or confess in order that we might have a healthy appetite and like newborn babes long for the pure milk of the word that by it we might grow in respect to salvation. (1 Pe 2:2+). If your spiritual growth is stunted, perhaps you need to check 1 Peter 2:1+ or Psalm 1:1+ and confess and repent of any known sins so that you will desire the Word. 

Another doctor Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes how believers are to put on the new self and put off the old self as Paul alludes to in (Eph 4:22-24+). He writes

"Indeed, as I have already said, you cannot truly deal with the negative unless you are at the same time doing the positive. The way to get rid of the defects is to cultivate the virtues. To use a well-known phrase of Thomas Chalmers (see his sermon), what we need is to apply the “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection”. I use a simple illustration. The way the dead leaves of winter are removed from some trees is not that people go around plucking them off; no, it is the new life, the shoot that comes and pushes off the dead in order to make room for itself. In the same way the Christian gets rid of all such things as bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and evil speaking and all malice. The new qualities develop and the others simply have no room; they are pushed out and they are pushed off. In the Septuagint, krupto is in the active voice which means the psalmist has made a conscious choice of his will to conceal the Word safely in His heart. 

What the Doctor is saying is that to deal with the negative, you need to first accentuate the positive. Take special note of the order - the new needs to be put on in order to effect displacement or expulsion of the old. We see this order in several of Paul's epistles. For example, in Colossians 3, note that we first "put on" the positive attitudes in Colossians 3:1-5+ before Paul tells us to "put off" the old, or more directly to kill the sins in Colossians 3:5. The new affection in Colossians 3:1-5 enables us to expel the old affections (and actions) in Colossians 3:5+.  Similarly, notice the critical order in Galatians 5:16+ , where Paul first commands us to walk by the spirit (the "new affections") and then and only then will you be enabled to not carry out the deeds of the flesh! In other words, the new affection in effect expels the old affection or old desires that come from our fallen flesh! Our fallen flesh tries to invert the order of Paul's Command by saying something like "I will walk by the Spirit by getting rid of this fleshly desire or that fleshly act." Can you see the subtle trap this individual has just fallen into? He (or she) has just fallen prey to legalism saying things like "I'll make a list of things I won't do, etc" That person has just placed themselves under the power of the Law and instead of expelling the fleshly desires, legalism actually stirs up the very desires the person sought to expel, displace or cast off! (See discussion of the effect of the law to actually arouse our sin nature.) 

Let me give you one of Paul's passages that teaches this principle in Ephesians 5 writing that "immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." (Eph 5:3-4+) Do you see the "flowers" we need to plant in order to root out tenacious weeds of immorality, impurity, greed (which equates with idolatry)? What is Paul's solution? What is the new affection that exerts an expulsive effect on those difficult to pull out weeds? Clearly it is an attitude of gratitude, an attitude of giving thanks. But that is not something our fallen flesh naturally gravitates toward. Even the attitude of gratitude is a fruit of being filled with the Spirit as Paul writes in Eph 5:18-19, 20+. So let us begin each day with a confession of sins that we might not quench or grieve (1 Th 5:19+, Eph 4:30+) the Spirit but that we would empty ourselves of sin and open ourselves to the Spirit's filling and control in our hearts. Than we be enabled to be "always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father." (Eph 5:20+). 

Let us read...

Scripture every day
And meditate on what God said
To fight temptation from the world
And live a life that's Spirit led
(see note) --Sper

Spurgeon Thy word have I hid in mine heart. His heart would be kept by the word because he kept the word in his heart. All that he had of the word written, and all that had been revealed to him by the voice of God, — all, without exception, he had stored away in his affections, as a treasure to be preserved in a casket, or as a choice seed to be buried in a fruitful soil: what soil more fruitful than a renewed heart, wholly seeking the Lord? The word was God's own, and therefore precious to God's servant. He did not wear a text on his heart as a charm, but he hid it in his heart as a rule. He laid it up in the place of love and life, and it filled the chamber with sweetness and light. We must in this imitate David, copying his heart work as well as his outward character. First, we must mind that what we believe is truly God's word; that being done, we must hide or treasure it each man for himself; and we must see that this is done, not as a mere feat of the memory, but as the joyful act of the affections.

That I may not sin against You - Notice that first and foremost when we sin, we sin against God. That truth should enter our minds when we are being tempted to sin and can be an effective deterrent! What else serves as a fortress against temptation to sin? God's Word is the "wall" that temptations have leap over or penetrate in order to take down the castle of our heart. What greater motivation do we need to memorize God's Word than Psalm 119:11. 

When the word is hidden in the heart
the life shall be hidden from sin.

Spurgeon - That I may not sin against You - Note our sin is first and foremost against a Holy God! (cf Ge 39:9, Ps 51:4) That I might not sin against thee. Here was the object aimed at. As one has well said, ” Here is the best thing” "thy word"; hidden in the best place,  "in my heart; "for the best of purposes, ” "that I might not sin against thee." This was done by the Psalmist with personal care, as a man carefully hides away his money when he fears thieves, — in this case the thief dreaded was sin. Sinning "against God" is the believer's view of moral evil; other men care only when they offend against men. God's word is the best preventive against offending God, for it tells us his mind and will, and tends to bring our spirit into conformity with the divine Spirit. No cure for sin in the life is equal to the word in the seat of life, which is the heart. There is no hiding from sin unless we hide the truth in our souls. A very pleasant variety of meaning is obtained by laying stress upon the words "thy" and "thee." He speaks to God, he loves the word because it is God's word, and he hates sin because it is sin against God himself. If he vexed others, he minded not so long as he did not offend his God. If we would not cause God displeasure we must treasure up his own word. The personal way in which the man of God did this is also noteworthy: "With my whole heart have I sought thee." Whatever others might choose to do he had already made his choice and placed the Word in his innermost soul as his dearest delight, and however others might transgress, his aim was after holiness: "That I might not sin against thee." This was not what he purposed to do, but what he had already done: many are great at promising, but the Psalmist had been true in performing: hence he hoped to see a sure result. When the word is hidden in the heart the life shall be hidden from sin. The parallelism between the second octave and the first is still continued. Psalms 119:3 speaks of doing no iniquity, while this verse treats of the method of not sinning. When we form an idea of a blessedly holy man (Ps 119:3) it becomes us to make an earnest effort to attain unto the same sacred innocence and divine happiness, and this can only be through heart piety founded on the Scriptures.

Related Resources:


I. The Word of God is in its very nature expulsive of sin and cleansing therefrom (John 15:3.)
II. Hid like a sword in its sheath to be drawn out at a moment's notice. Christ's answer to Satan: "It is written." Hid like a guard in a house, a sentinel in a fort, to watch diligently against the approach of temptation. (Homiletic Monthly)


Scripture is the source of spiritual victory.

Many Christians struggle with spiritual defeat or recurring sins because they haven’t learned to apply Biblical principles to specific situations. Perhaps they don’t know God’s will because they haven’t matured in the Word. Or maybe they know what He expects of them, but they disregard His counsel. In either case, the result is the same.

Jesus Himself repelled Satan’s attacks by quoting specific portions of Scripture that applied to specific temptations (Matt. 4:1–11). He knew the Word, believed it, and refused to compromise its principles. In so doing, He set a pattern for us to follow.

Using metaphorical language, the Apostle John emphasized the priority of the Word when he described three levels of spiritual maturity: children, young men, and fathers. In 1 John 2:13 he says, “I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.” Spiritual children aren’t yet mature in their faith, but they know who their Heavenly Father is. They know they belong to God.

John continues: “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (v. 14). Spiritual young men are healthy, vibrant, and aggressive because the Word abides in them—it has found a home in their hearts. They’re victorious over the evil one because their doctrine is sound and they’ve cultivated spiritual wisdom and discernment (Phil. 1:9). They recognize Satan’s lies and reject them.
First John 2:14 also says, “I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.” Spiritual fathers have a deep, mature relationship with God that comes from prolonged time in prayer and the Word.

Which of those terms best describes you—spiritual child, young man, or father? What specific things can you do today to move toward a more mature and victorious Christian life? (Drawing Near - John MacArthur)


BRAIN GAMES

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. —Romans 12:2

A saying among scientists who  study the human brain is “Use it before you lose it.” We have the power to help keep our brain fit and working well. Dr Lawrence Katz, a neurologist, urges people to perform daily mental exercises such as brushing your teeth with the nondominant hand or taking a new route to work to help stimulate the brain and keep it healthy. The goal is to replace routine with fresh awareness and new focus.

There’s a lesson here for us as followers of Jesus Christ. Even the most valuable spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer can become so habitual that our minds are not fully engaged.

To avoid slipping into a spiritual rut, why not add Scripture memory to your daily devotional time? It’s a mental effort designed to produce spiritual change. The psalmist wrote, “Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Ps. 119:11). Paul said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

It’s more than a brain game to memorise and meditate on the powerful Word of God. David C. McCasland  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

LET GOD’S WORD FILL YOUR MEMORY,
RULE YOUR HEART AND GUIDE YOUR FEET.


Memorize It!

Read: 2 Timothy 3:10-17

Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. —Psalm 119:11

Before the choir began to sing an anthem of praise, Cindy quoted the first Bible verse she had ever memorized. It was inspirational for our congregation to hear her repeat from memory that passage from the Psalms.

At the same time, in another part of the church, adult workers were listening to more than 50 children recite verses they had memorized. They were involved in a Scripture memory program designed to hide God’s Word in their hearts for a lifetime.

I remember when I first became a believer as a teenager. A godly woman was conducting a similar memorization program in our little church. I learned 110 verses and won an award—a book that told the story of the Bible.

I no longer have that book, but I am still carrying the best prize—those precious verses. When I need them—while visiting a sick friend, while making an important decision, while going through difficult days, while I’m talking about or writing about the Lord—the Holy Spirit brings the appropriate verses to my mind.

The psalmist referred to hiding God’s Word in his heart (Ps. 119:11). We do that by memorizing it. Then it’s always there, even when we don’t have a Bible.By David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Hiding God's Word in our hearts
Will strengthen our spirit within,
Giving the help that we need
To turn from temptation and sin.
—Sper

When the Bible becomes a part of you,
you'll be less likely to come apart.


DEVELOP A SPIRITUAL IMMUNE SYSTEM

Ps 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.

One of the things I’ve learned a lot about in the last few years is the immune system. Our God-given immune systems help us fight off the forces that would destroy our bodies. If our immune systems are functioning at 100 percent, we don’t have to take medicines because they will just fight off the disease seeking to take over our bodies. But if our immune systems aren’t healthy, then we become susceptible to lots of things. If we get in the condition of an AIDS patient, our bodies lose their ability to fight off almost anything. To fight off sickness, we have to strengthen the body’s immune system. That may mean stopping some things we enjoy doing and starting some things we haven’t been doing. It’s a matter of critical importance. 
The same is true spiritually. In order to increase our immunity to sin, we must strengthen ourselves through prayer, the Word, and fellowship with other strong Christians. (David Jeremiah - Sanctuary)


Don't Use a Crooked Ruler
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word."—Ps. 119:9

"The Bible is so strict and old-fashioned," said a young man to a grey-haired friend, who was advising him to study God's Word if he would learn how to live. "There are plenty of books written now-a-days that are moral enough in their teaching, and do not bind one down as the Bible."
The old merchant turned to his desk, and took out two rulers, one of which was slightly bent With each of these he ruled a line, and silently handed the ruled paper to his companion.
"Well," said the lad, "what do you mean?"
"One line is not straight and true, is it? When you mark out your path in life do not take a crooked ruler!"


How full of promised cleansing is the Laver of the Word! The very Book, which as the mirror reveals my sin, is likewise the laver showing me how every stain can be cleansed. In the outer court of the Tabernacle there stood the Brazen Altar and The Laver. After serving at the first, the Priest, having dealt with the sacrifice, had to wash his hands (work) and his feet (walk) and thereby remove all defilement as he sought to enter the Holy Place to worship God. (Herbert Lockyer)


Rod Mattoon - God reveals biblical principles for cleansing in His Word

1. We are cleansed by the power & blood of the Lord Jesus Christ

  • 1 John 1:7—But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

2. We are cleansed by confessing our sin to the Lord

  • 1 John 1:9—If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

3. The Word of God has a cleansing effect on our lives when we put it into practice

  • Ephesians 5:26—That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
  • John 15:3—Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
  • Psalm 119:9—Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

4. The expectancy of the Lord's Return helps motivate us to keep ourselves pure

  • 1 John 3:2—Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure.

Adrian Rogers - Watch his video - How to Control Your Thought Life (excerpts below)

I. Three Steps to a Pure Thought Life
   A. Purification 
   B. Determination
   C. Fortification
Conclusion

A. Purification Number one: There must be the purification of the mind. Your mind has got to get clean to begin with...

B. Determination Now here's the second thing: Not only after there comes that cleansing—that's step number one—and that is purification. After that comes determination. Sorry about that. But if you're looking for a cheap way, an easy way, I can't give it to you...

C. Fortification Now, first of all, purification. Secondly, determination. Now that's still not enough. That is still not enough. You can get clean and you can say, "By the grace of God and everything in me that is, I will keep my heart clean and pure," and you'll still fall if you fail on this third and most vital thing. Purification. Determination. And then, fortification..... It is the Word of God hidden in your heart that is the antidote, the bulwark, that keep the thoughts, the impure thoughts out, and it is the, that you're not being overcome with evil, but you're overcoming evil with good. You must saturate your being with the Word of God. These hath God married and no man shall part; dust on the Bible and drought in the heart. Now you say, "Pastor Rogers, I have a wonderful Bible. I bought it over here in the Bellevue bookstore." Wonderful. I'm glad you have. But do you read it? Do you memorize it? Do you apply it? Is it real to you? A dime and a gold nugget are of the same value to you personally if both of them are lying on the bottom of the ocean floor. What good is all of the treasure in this Word of God if it's, if it's not taken and used? I mean, it can be there like a gold nugget, but somehow you have to, you have to get this into your heart and in your mind. How does the Bible keep us pure? Look again in verse 11: "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." How does the Bible keep us pure? Well, God is a holy God. And when you read the Bible, understand the Bible, and apply the Bible, what you're doing is thinking God's thoughts after Him. Now put this verse in your margin: Philippians 4:8, 9. (for full message see How to Control Your Thought Life)


Charles Bridges - Ps 119:11. Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

WHAT an aggregate of guilt and misery is comprehended in this short word “sin”—the greatest curse that ever entered the universe of God, and the parent of every other curse! Its guilt is aggravated beyond the conception of thought. Injury to a Superior—a Father—a Sovereign! Its power is misery, wherever it extends—in the heart—in the family—in the world. In eternity its power is unrestrained. Sometimes the death-bed scene casts a fearful gleam of light upon “the worm that never dieth, and the fire that never shall be quenched:”2 but experience only can develop its full-grown horrors. How supremely important therefore is the object of our preservation from sin! and how wisely adapted are the means to the end! That word—which the man of God had just before mentioned as the guide to the cleansing of the way,3—he hides within his heart—not for concealment, but for security,4 that it may be ready for constant use.5 It is not therefore a mere acquaintance with the word, that will avail us. There must be a cordial assent—a sound digestion—a constant respect. It must be to us the rule that we would not transgress—the treasure that we are afraid to lose.6 Often indeed Satan shuts out its entrance. He “catches away that which was sown.” Too often, again, it is withered or choked in the soil. But “the honest and good heart” “hides it, keeps it, and brings forth fruit with patience, unto perfection.”7 Here it “dwells richly in all wisdom,”8 the storehouse, as occasion requires; a principle of holiness; a covering from sin. In this view it is recommended by one, who had well acquainted himself with its valuable uses—“My son, let them not” (the Divine precepts) “depart from thine eyes; keep sound wisdom and discretion. So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.”9 David also gives us the same experience—“By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”10

2 Mark 9:44.
3 Ps 119:9.
4 Matt. 25:25. Ps. 21:10, with Ex. 25:21. Job 22:22.
5 Joshua 1:8.
6 Matt. 13:44.
7 Luke 8:15, with the whole parable.
8 Col. 3:16.
9 Prov. 3:21–24. Compare Prov. 2:10–15.
10 Ps. 17:4.

And it was probably this recollection, combined with a sense of continual danger, that suggested the prayer—“Order my steps in thy word; and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”1

The value of the word is inestimable, as our means of walking with God in the hurry, business, and temptation of the day. The Psalms furnish precious materials for ejaculatory prayer; the promises food for comfort;2 the rules such light in perplexity;3 the instruction such solid matter for godly conference4—all operating for one end—a preservation from sin. Being from the word—a manifestation of the Saviour’s love—what a keeping of the heart! what a quickening motive! How seasonable in worldly temptation is the warning of the word hid in the heart—“No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God!”5 So in the spiritual conflict, let this word—“Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out”—be hid in the heart—what a preservative is it against unbelief!6 Take the word to the unbelieving believer, (if the expression may be allowed,) alarmed by ridicule or persecution—“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”7—Fearing that he shall never hold out unto the end; “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”8—Trembling, lest his sins should rise up to his condemnation; “The blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God cleanseth from all sin.”9 And then as to duties: Let his Saviour’s word rebuke his indolence and unwatchfulness,—“What! could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch, and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.”10 Hide in the heart the sorrowful story of his agony in the garden, and his death on the cross, that “sin may appear yet more exceeding sinful.”

But how is the word to gain entrance into hearts like ours? How shall it be “hid” in so unkindly a soil? No power of man surely can plant it there. The Holy Spirit’s almighty agency must be diligently sought; for in proportion as we are filled with his gracious influences, shall we be armed, as was our Master, for the effectual resistance of our spiritual temptations.11Lastly, connected with this subject, mark the Christian’s character—“In whose heart is my law.”12—His security—“None of his steps shall slide.”13—His happiness—“O how I love thy law!”14—His victory—“The word of God abideth in him, and he hath overcome the wicked one.”15—All infallibly provided by the covenant-promise—“I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.”16 O let us not then shrink from a close contact with the word, though the cost may be the cutting off a right hand for the saving of the life. There is no better test of our security, than a willingness to come to the searching light of the word.17
-------------------

1 Ps 119:133.
2 Ps 119:50, 92.
3 Ps 119:105. Prov. 3:5, 6.
4 Col. 3:16.
5 Luke 9:61, 62.
6 John 6:37.
7 Jn 15:18.
8 Heb. 13:5.
9 1 John 1:7.
10 Matt. 26:40, 41.
11 Comp. Luke 4:1–12.
12 Isaiah 51:7.
13 Psalm 37:31.
14 Ps 119:97.
15 1 John 2:14, with Eph. 6:17.
16 Jer. 31:33.
17 Comp. John 3:20, 21.

Hiding the Bible in the Heart
"Thy word have I hid in my hearty that I might not sin against Thee."—Ps. 119:11

The late excellent Rev. Dr. James W. Alexander was, in many respects, a model Christian man and minister. One important secret of it lay in some of his habits. One of these was that of taking, every morning, a verse or passage from the Bible for his meditation during the day, and with the view, he said, of having his entire life filled with its spirit and influence. David said to God: "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee."


The Scriptures Value Psalm 119:11

Psalm 119 is all about the Word of God. This text is one of the texts that emphasizes the value of the Word of God.

FIRST—THE POSSESSION OF THE WORD
"Thy Word." The Psalmist possessed the Word of God. He did not possess all that we have, in fact, he only had the first five books of our Bible, namely the Pentateuch. But he possessed it and prized that great possession. We do not appreciate possessing the Scriptures as we do. Every six months I get a catalog from a book company which is just about the Bibles they sell. What a treasure we have in being able to purchase all kinds of Bibles in our day. I had a missionary friend in Detroit who was from the Ukraine. In the late 1960s on a visit to Ukraine they gave a Bible to a Christian lady. Upon receipt of the Bible the lady cried and hugged the Bible, she prized it so. Yet we in our country practically despise the Bible though we can buy it cheaply at the local dime store. To possess the Bible is a great privilege.

SECOND—THE PLACE FOR THE WORD
"I hid in mine heart." "Hid" does not mean you have concealed the Word from others but that you have deposited it as a treasure in your heart. The heart is the best possible place for the Bible. Many have the Bible in their hands, their head, on the shelf or on the table, but it needs to be in their heart. When we memorize Scripture we often say we know the Word by heart, but the Psalmist means much more than that in our text. Being in the heart means at least three things. First, it means that you will live the Word, for if it is in your heart it will show in your life. Second, it also means the you will laud the Word, for in your heart is a place of honor. And third, if means you will love the Word, for the heart is the place of affection. The Word needs to be in our heart in these three ways.

THIRD—THE PURPOSE OF THE WORD
"That I might not sin against thee. "Two main purposes can be seen in this statement,

  • The holy purpose. "That I might not sin." Some want to know the Bible to win an argument, others to satisfy curiosity, the skeptics want to know the Bible so they can criticize it. The psalmist wants to know the Bible to be holy. If you would live holy, live the Word.
  • The honor purpose. "Against God." All sin is against God. This does not mean that our sin is not against our fellow man, but it means that it is primarily against God.

Therefore if the Word abides in our heart and we walk a holy life it will bring honor to God. Sin dishonors God, Nathan in rebuking David for his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah said, "By this deed [sin] thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" (II Samuel 12:14). Therefore, if you have the Word in your heart, you life will be holy and will honor God. (John Butler - Sermon Starters)


John Phillips -  A Cleansing Effect (119:9)
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word." Think what a school playground was like in your day. Think of the passionate hatreds that could generate in a flash, of the fist-fights that broke out. Think of the cursing and swearing, the common language of the crowd. Think of the dirty jokes that were the password to popularity. Think how deeply some of those smutty stories have become embedded in your memory, still unerasable. Think of the obsession with sex, the vile things said and done with a snicker or sneer. Think of the lying and cheating, the smoking and drinking. Think of the peer pressure to conform, the pettiness and jealousy.

As I recall such things, it seems as if our school playground was a suburb of hell for youthful wickedness. Yet in those days strict discipline was maintained on campus. We could be expelled for cheating or smoking, forfeiting the right to further education in that school. Schools are much worse now, with far more permissiveness and lack of discipline-to say nothing of the problems of drug use and alcoholism. How can a young person stay clean in such an environment? The psalmist has the answer.

The Word of God kept me from many a sin when I was young, even though I did not take an aggressive stand for Christ. Whenever I reflect on the sins of my youth in the presence of God, I blush for some of the things I said and did and to think what a poor testimony I was. Yet at the same time I was kept from many harmful things by the Word of God. It had a cleansing effect on my life. I shall praise the Lord one of these days, in His presence, when He shows me the full story of God's Word keeping me in a clean path when I might have wallowed in filth. Young people who want to honor Christ at school should begin every day with a verse or two of Scripture and prayer:

   Keep me true, Lord Jesus, keep me true.
   There's a race that I must run,
   There are victories to be won,
   Give me power, every hour, to be true.


Hidden Away

Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. — Psalm 119:11

Today's Scripture: Psalm 119:9-16

By the time I was born, my great- grandfather, Abram Z. Hess, had already lost his sight. He was known for the beautiful wooden objects he had carved on a lathe—and also as someone who could quote many verses of Scripture. He and his friend Eli would often share Scripture verses back and forth. A bit of a competitive spirit resulted in their admission that Eli could cite more references while my grandfather could recite more verses.

Today, the family often remembers Abram as “Blind Grandpa.” His practice of memorizing Scripture became a lifeline for him when he lost his physical sight. But why is it important that we memorize the Word of God?

Psalm 119 gives us instruction on how to follow God by hiding His Word in our hearts. First, in this way, we arm ourselves when temptation comes (v.11; Eph. 6:17). Then, as we meditate on His Word, we come to know Him better. Finally, when we have His words etched in our minds, we are better able to hear His voice when He instructs and guides us. We use those phrases of Scripture as we talk with Him, worship Him, and teach or witness to others (Col. 3:16).

The Word of God is “living and powerful” (Heb. 4:12). Hide its precious words away “in [your] heart” (Ps. 119:11)where they will always be with you. By:  Cindy Hess Kasper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, Your Word is a treasure—priceless and beyond
compare. I’m not the best at memorizing but
I do want Your words to saturate my mind and heart.
Please use Your Word in obvious ways in my life today.

When God’s Word is hidden in our heart, His ways will become our ways.


USE THE "STRAIGHT RULER"
 
Thy word have I hidden in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  Psalm 119:11 
 
The new morality really isn't new. When you analyze it, you discover at its core the old immorality! It stems from man's de-sire to cast off the restraints which absolute moral standards place upon his conduct. One who doubts God's Word and follows instead the dictates of his own reason invites trouble. Mother Eve took this ill-considered course and lost true righteousness. In like manner, the new morality as well as the old immorality are both deviations from the true morality.
 
The importance of following the unchanging and perfect guide-lines established by God Himself can be seen in the following story: "The Bible is too strict and old-fashioned," said a young man to a gray-haired friend who had been advising him to study God's Word if he would learn how to live. "There are plenty of books written today that are moral enough in their teaching which don't bind me down as the Scriptures do." Without saying a word, the old merchant turned to his desk and picked up a couple of rulers, one of which was slightly bent. With each of these, he drew a line and silently handed the paper to his young friend. "Well," said the lad, "what are you trying to say?" "Just this," he replied, "notice that one line is straight; the other is crooked. When you mark your path in life, be sure to use the straight ruler!"
 
The pathway of true morality leads us through the pages of God's Holy Word, the Bible. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" asks the Psalmist; to which he supplies the answer: "By taking heed thereto according to thy word" (Ps. 119:9). (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thy Word is a lamp to my feet,
A light to my path alway,
To guide and to save me from sin,
And show me the heavenly way.
— E.O.S.
 
The Bible will keep you from sin — or sin will keep you from the Bible!

Psalm 119:12 Blessed are You, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes.  

  • Blessed 1Ti 1:11 6:15 
  • teach Ps 119:26,27,33,64,66,68,71,72,108,124, 25:4,5 86:11 143:10 Lu 24:45 Joh 14:26 1Jn 2:27 

Blessed are You, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes - A great prayer.


Charles Bridges - 12. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes

“Praise is comely for the upright.”1 It is at once their duty and their privilege. But what does its highest exercise amount to, when placed on the ground of its own merit? We clothe our ideas with magnificence of language, and deck them out with all the richness of imagery; and perhaps we are pleased with our forms of praise. But what are they in his sight beyond the offering of a contemptible worm, spreading before its Maker its own mean and low notions of Divine Majesty? If a worm were to raise its head, and cry—‘O sun! thou art the source of light and heat to a widely-extended universe’—it would, in fact, render a higher praise to the sun, than we can ever give to our Maker. Between it and us there is some proportion—between us and God none. Yet, unworthy as the offering confessedly is, he will not despise it. Nay, more,—instead of spurning it from his presence, he has revealed himself as “inhabiting the praises of Israel,”2—intimating to us, that the service of praise is “set forth in his sight as incense;” and at the same time, that it should be the daily unceasing exercise of one at his own home.

The true character of praise, however, depends entirely upon the state of the heart. In the contemplative philosopher it is only cheering barren admiration: in the believer it becomes a principle of comfort and encouragement. For, can he forget “the revelation” which his God has given of himself in the gospel of his dear Son; how it divests every attribute of its terrors, and shines before us in all the glory of his faithfulness and love? The ascription of praise—“Blessed art thou, O Lord”—frames itself therefore into the prophet’s song—“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage! He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”3

Truly then he is “blessed” in himself, and delights to communicate his blessedness to his people. Hence we are emboldened to ask for continual “teaching in his statutes”4—in the truths which he has revealed, and the precepts which he has enjoined! that we may “be followers of him, as dear children,” and “walk with him in love.”5 The practical influence, however, of Divine light constitutes its peculiar privilege. Man’s teaching puffeth up—God’s teaching humbleth. Man’s teaching may lead us into error as well as into truth—God’s teaching is “the unction from the Holy One, by which we know all things.”6 Man’s teaching may make us more learned—God’s teaching makes us more holy. It persuades, while it enlightens. It draws the heart, inclines the will, and carries out the soul to Christ.7 The tried character of God encourages us to look for his teaching—“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore will he teach sinners in the way.”8 Our warrant is especially confirmed in approaching him as our covenant God—“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art the God of my salvation. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God.1

Reader! do you desire to praise your God? Then learn to frequent the new and living way, “by which alone you can offer your sacrifice acceptably.”2 And while engaged in this holy service, inquire, surrounded as you are with the means of instruction, what progress you are making in his statutes. Seek to have a deeper acquaintance with the character of God. Seek to be the vessels of honor and glory, into which he is pouring more and more continually, “until they be filled with all the fulness of God.”3 Value the unspeakable blessing of Divine teaching, by which you learn to live the life, and begin the blessedness of God.

1 Psalm 33:1, 2.

2 Psalm 22:3.

3 Micah 7:18.

4 The same acknowledgment and plea are made in verses 64, 68.

5 Eph. 5:1, 2.

6 1 John 2:20.

7 John 6:44, 45.

8 Ps. 25:8.

1 Ps. 143:10.

2 Heb. 10:20, 13:15. 1 Pet. 2:5.

3 Eph. 3:19.


For Young And Old

Read: Psalm 119:9-16

Blessed are You, O Lord. —Psalm 119:12

Kerri’s grandpa was having health problems and hadn’t been himself lately. To cheer him up, Kerri visited him to recite a Bible passage she had memorized for a speech contest.

Grandpa knew that she had won, so he wanted to reward her. Opening his Bible to his favorite passage, he hid some money there. When Kerri arrived, she recited her winning entry, Psalm 119:9-16. Then Grandpa gave Kerri the Bible, and she opened it to find the hidden gift—located at Psalm 119. They had both chosen the same passage!

For Kerri and her grandpa, God’s direction led them to a portion of Scripture of vital importance for both young and old. It details how to stay pure in a world of impurity (Ps. 119:9)—something all young people need to do. It explains the importance of hiding God’s Word in our hearts (v.11)—something many older believers depend on as life becomes more difficult. The verses also remind us to praise God, value His standards, meditate on Scripture, and delight in His teachings (vv.13-16).

Sometimes God surprises us with the way He speaks to us through His Word. He can even use an amazing grandfather-grandchild “coincidence” to put them, and us, face-to-face with some of His most precious promises.By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thank You for Your holy Book
To guide me day by day;
I cherish every promise
That helps me on my way.
—Lyle

God's Word is timeless—it speaks to every generation.

Psalm 119:13 With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth.  

  • I declared Ps 119:46,172 34:11 37:30 40:9,10 71:15-18 118:17 Mt 10:27 12:34 Ac 4:20 

Charles Bridges - 13. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth

We have seen the word hid in the heart; now we see it poured forth from the lips. The Lord has taught us his statutes; now we declare these judgments of his mouth; but who can declare them with unction and power, save those who are taught of God? Now we are introduced to the high and honorable privilege of becoming a witness for our Saviour!4 Our opportunities of service are our talents, and we trade with a large increase; for “to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance.”5 But—“our lips are our own,”6—is the proud language of the world. Blessed be God; “we know that we are not our own.”7 Mostgladly do we acknowledge, that he, who fashioned our lips, has the best claim to their service. And when he has added to the claim of creation the right of purchase,8 what further constraining can we need, to induce the consecration of all that we are, and all that we have, to his glory!

This is a family obligation—To declare the judgments of God’s mouth. Thus did Abraham obtain a blessing for his children.9 Heavenly blessings are the gracious reward of thus honoring our God.10 This also is the material of our general intercourse—fruitful in spiritual results. Thus did Andrew bring Peter,11 and the woman of Samaria, her neighbors,12 to Jesus. What might we not do for our fellow sinners, if our intercourse with them was the overflowing of a heart filled with love; guided by a single desire to glorify our Saviour, and to edify his church! Fearful indeed is the guilt of sinful silence; and those, who thus prove their unfaithfulness to God, may well tremble at his awful denunciations. And yet it is possible to be bold in speech for God, when in the closet, the family, or the world, our consciences justly convict us of insincerity.—“Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?”1 Let us seek therefore to have our hearts “filled with the Spirit;”2 else our “talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.”3

This subject illustrates the character of the Lord’s people—“The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment;”4 their resolution—“My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof;”5 their prayer—“O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise;”6 their blessing—“The lips of the righteous feed many. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life.”7 The example of the Saviour, here as everywhere, is our perfect and encouraging pattern: “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation; lo! I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.”8 In this spirit of their Master, the Apostles awed their persecutors into forbearance—“We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”9

How sinful is it to employ our lips for any but the Lord! Yet not less sinful is our reluctance to employ them for him! Surely the day—when perhaps we have been fluent in worldly conversation, and yet have neglected our opportunities for speaking a word for him, must be considered a lost day! Is there not much cause for watchfulness, prayer, and self-denial; lest our silence should deny him, whom by every obligation we are bound to confess? If our inability to bear a testimony for our Lord is not painful to us,10 must we not suspect, if not the sincerity, at least the strength of our attachment to his precious name? and we can do no better than retire into our closets with the prayer of contrition—“Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord.”11

4 Phil. 2:16.

5 Matt. 25:29.

6 Psalm 12:4.

7 1 Cor. 6:19.

8 1Co 6:20.

9 Gen. 18:19.

10 Deut. 11:18–21.

11 John 1:40–42.

12 Jn. 4:29, 30.

1 Romans 2:21.

2 Eph. 5:18, 19.

3 Prov. 14:23, with 10:19.

4 Ps. 37:30.

5 Ps. 71:15.

6 Ps. 51:15.

7 Prov. 10:21, 15:4.

8 Ps. 40:9, 10, with Luke 4:16–22.

9 Acts 4:20.

10 Compare Psalm 39:1, 2. Jer. 20:9.

11 Psalm. 143:2.

Psalm 119:14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.  

  • rejoiced Ps 119:47,72,77,111,127,162 19:9,10 112:1 Job 23:12 Jer 15:16 Mt 13:44 Ac 2:41-47 

Charles Bridges - 14. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches

How natural is it to be speaking of that which is our delight! The man of God was always declaring the Lord’s judgments, because they were his rejoicing. There is indeed a real joy in despising earthly joys. “How sweet,” said Augustine, refering to the period of his conversion, “was it in a moment to be free from those delightful vanities, to lose which had been my dread; to part with which was now my joy!”12 More satisfying is the believer’s rejoicing in the way of God, than that of the miser in his untold riches.13 Here he may safely say to his soul—“Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease.” And these are the only riches within the reach of all. If we are poor in this world, it is the Lord’s providence. If we are poor in grace it is our own fault. It is because we have despised our Lord’s counsel to buy of him, “gold tried in the fire, that we may be rich.”1 And what is this enriching portion?—“Things present and things to come:”2 something enjoyed, and much more expected: the mercies of eternity added to the blessings of time; the riches of both worlds—all assured to him by the covenant of grace “in the way of the Lord’s testimonies.” Is it not then most strange, that with such treasure in possession and in prospect, the child of God should be so careless in increasing his store, and in confirming his own interest in it? But the riches of God’s testimonies have this peculiar property, that they cease to rejoice the heart, when they are not uppermost there. Have there not been times, when we have actually rejoiced in the accession of some worldly good, or the accomplishment of some worldly desire, more than in this heavenly treasure? What then do we count our riches? To thrive in grace, or in the world? to be rich towards God, or for our own indulgence?

But though we would rejoice in the testimonies, and would not, for all this world can afford, lose a verse or letter of our Bibles, yet we cannot be satisfied with a general interest. Many texts—doctrinal, practical, or experimental—have been specially sealed by the Divine Spirit upon our hearts.3 This or that promise—yea, all the land of promise, as much as I can set my foot upon—is mine. Of these precious testimonies, shall we not increase our little stock, until we have apprehended the full enjoyment of the whole; if indeed the fulness of that which is called “unsearchable”4 can ever be, in this life at least, completely enjoyed?

But it is not so much in the Lord’s testimonies, as “in the way of them,” that David rejoiced—the way to God, of which they testify5—“the way of holiness,”6 in which they lead—the narrow way of the cross—so contrary to our natural desires and inclinations, that none but the true sheep of Christ can ever enter, or continue in it. Who that walks in these ways will fail to find them, in duties no less than in privileges, “paths of pleasantness and peace?” Our happiness is not withered, but flourishing. “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”7

12 “Quas amittere metus erat, jam dimittere gaudium fuit.”—Aug. Confess. Book ix. Never man in his unregenerate state, by his own confession, more strongly illustrated the truth of our Lord’s declaration—“Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (John 8:34, with 2 Peter 2:19.) He describes himself actually as “wallowing in the mire,” with as much delight as if he were rolling himself in a bed of spices, or perfuming himself with the most precious ointment. (“Volutare in cæno, tanquam cinnamonis et unguentis pretiosis.”) Yet when the word pierced his heart, and brought a new bias and taste into his soul, how delightfully is his language changed in the recollection of his past “excess of riot!” “Quam sauve est istis suavitatibus carere!”

13 Ps 119:72, 127.

1 Rev. 3:18.

2 1 Cor. 3:22.

3 “This is my Scripture,” Origen used to say of such texts.

4 Eph. 3:18.

5 John 14:6, with 5:39.

6 Isaiah 35:8.

7 Jer. 6:16.

Psalm 119:15 I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways.  

  • meditate Ps 119:23,48,78,97,131,148 1:2 Jas 1:25 
  • have respect Ps 119:6,117 

Charles Bridges - 15. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways

Our rejoicing in the testimonies of God will naturally flow in an habitual meditation in them.8 The thoughts follow the affections. They are no burden to the carnal man, so far as his heart is in them. But having no spiritual taste, he has no ability for spiritual meditation. Indeed many sincere Christians, through remaining weakness and depravity, are too often reluctant to it. They are content with indolent reading: and, with scarcely a struggle or a trial, yield themselves up to the persuasion, that they are unable sufficiently to abstract their minds for this blessed employment. But let the trial prove the work. Perseverance will accomplish the victory over mental instability, and the spiritual difficulty will give way to prayer—“Lord, help me.” The fruitfulness of this employment will soon be manifest. Does it not “stir up the gift of God that is in us,”1 and keep the energies of the heart in a wakeful posture of conflict and resistance? Besides this, it is the digestive faculty of the soul, which converts the word into real and proper nourishment: so that this revolving of a single verse in our minds is often better than the mere reading of whole chapters. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and the rejoicing of my heart.”2 Thus the mind becomes the instrument of faith and love—of joy and strength.

But this meditation not only includes the stated times of thought, but the train of holy thoughts, that passes through the mind during the busy hours of the day. This maintains an habitual flow of spiritual desires, and excites the flame of love within, till at length the Psalmist’s resolution becomes the inwrought habit of our minds—“I will meditate in thy precepts.”

Can we want a subject for meditation, if indeed the salvation of Jesus has been made known to our souls? While musing upon this glorious theme, does not “the fire burn”3 within, as if our hearts were touched with a live coal from the altar of God? Chide then, believer, thy dull and sluggish spirit, that suffers the precious manna to lie ungathered upon the ground, that is slow to entertain these heavenly thoughts, or rather that heavenly guest whose peculiar office it is to “help our infirmities,”4 and especially to “take of Christ’s, and show it unto us.”5

The exercise, however, of this, as of every other duty, may prove a barren form, that imparts neither pleasure nor profit.6 Let each of us then ask—What distinct experimental benefit have I received from the word? Do I endeavor to read it with prayerful meditation, until I find my heart filled with it?

But this communing with the word is not for contemplation, but for practice.7 By meditating on God’s precepts, we learn to have respect unto his ways—carefully “pondering the path of our feet,” that we “turn not aside.”1 Thy loving kindness is before mine eyes; and I have walked in thy truth.”2 “My foot,” saith Job, “hath held his steps; his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”3

8 Ps 119:97. Psalm 1:2.

1 2 Tim. 1:6.

2 Jer. 15:16. “Meditation is that exercise of mind, whereby it recalls a known truth, as some kinds of creatures do their food, to be ruminated upon, until the nutritious parts are extracted, and fitted for the purposes of life.”—Bishop Horne on this verse.

3 Ps. 39:3, and comp. Ps. 45:1.

4 Rom. 8:26.

5 John 16:14, 15.

6 “If a chapter be read with the eye merely, while the mind remains inattentive, and the book be shut as soon as the chapter is finished, and thus, what has been read immediately escapes the memory; what is there to surprise, if, after the whole Bible has been several times read through, we discover in ourselves no increase of piety and devotion?”

Professor Franck.

7 Joshua 1:8.

1 Prov. 4:26, 27.

2 Psalm 26:3.

3 Job 23:11, 12.

Psalm 119:16 I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.  

  • delight Ps 119:14,24,35,47,70,77,92 40:8 Ro 7:22 Heb 10:16,17 
  • not forget Ps 119:11,83,93,109,141,176 Pr 3:1 Jas 1:23,24 

I shall delight in Your statutes - Delight is that which gives pleasure or satisfaction. It describes that which is pleasing. 

I shall not forget Your word - And what is the best way not to forget God's Word? Memorizing His Word  (see also Memory Verses by Topic and Memorable). Are you? Are you memorizing His Word? Don't make excuses (too old, etc). Don't procrastinate (I'll begin tomorrow). Begin today. Pick a favorite passage. Write it on a card to carry around today. Ask God's Spirit to enable you to meditate on it. You won't regret it. And let this begin a habit. Try memorizing one verse each week, being sure to review the ones already memorized. Psalm 119:165 says "Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble." Psalm 119:130 says "The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple." Psalm 119:89 says "Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven." Very few things we do in this short life will endure forever, but God's Word does (Mt 24:35). So begin your adventure today. You will not regret it in eternity! 


One Amazing Letter

I will not forget Your word. —Psalm 119:16

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 119:9-16

Once in a while my wife and I open the mail to find a letter with no words on it. When we take the “letter” out of the envelope, we see a piece of paper with nothing more on it than a colorful mark made with a felt pen. Those “letters” warm our hearts because they’re from our preschool granddaughter Katie, who lives in another state. Even without words, these letters tell us that she loves us and is thinking about us.

We all cherish letters from those we love and those who love us. That’s why there is so much encouragement in the fact that our heavenly Father has given us a letter called the Bible. The value of Scripture goes beyond its words of power, challenge, and wisdom. Amid all of the stories, teaching, and guidance this Book provides, the overriding idea is that God loves us and has planned our rescue. It tells us of His love in overseeing our existence (Ps. 139), meeting our needs (Matt. 6:31-34), comforting us (2 Cor. 1:3-4), and saving us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus (Rom. 1:16-17).

You are loved beyond imagination. God says so in His inspired and inspiring message to you. No wonder the psalmist wrote, “I will not forget Your word” (Ps. 119:16). It is one amazing letter! By:  Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, help me to examine the Bible’s pages,
understand its truths, and apply its teachings to my
life. May I be as excited about Your letter to me as I
am about a letter, email, or Facebook posting by a friend.

The love of God for us is revealed in His letter to us—the Bible.


Charles Bridges - 16. I will delight myself4 in thy statutes; I will not forget thy word

As delight quickens to meditation5 so does the practical habit of meditation strengthen the principle of delight. In the enjoyment of this delight the Christian (however small his attainments may be) would rather live and die, than in the pursuit, and even in the possession of the most satisfying pleasures of a vain and empty world. But if it be a real “delight in the Lord’s statutes,” it will be universal—when they probe the secret lurking-places within, and draw out to the full light the hidden indulgences of a heart that is yet “carnal;”6 when they call for the entire crucifixion of every corrupt inclination, and the unreserved surrender of all to the self-denying service of our God. This spirit is very different from the delight of the hypocrite, which is rather “to know,” than to do the “ways of his God:”7 and therefore which is satisfied with outward conformity, with little or no desire to “understand the errors of his heart,” that he might be “cleansed from secret faults.”8 The spring of our obedience will therefore prove its sincerity; and the reality of our love will be manifested by its fruitfulness and active cheerfulness in our appointed sphere of duty.

We may also observe here an evidence of adoption, when obedience is not a burden, but a delight. The servant may perform the statutes of God, but it is only the Son who “delights in them.” But what—we may ask—is the spring of adoption? It is “the Spirit of the Son sent into our hearts, whereby we cry ‘Abba, Father.’ ”9 It is because we are at peace with God through Jesus Christ; because the statutes are the message of reconciliation through him, that they become delightful to those who are partakers of this great salvation. The spirit of adoption, therefore, as the principle of delight, is the spring of acceptable obedience in the Lord’s service.

And surely those who are serving him in this happy filial walk are not likely to “forget his word.” As the eye is continually turned to the object of its affection, so the eye of the soul, that has been fixed with delight on the ways of God, will be habitually resting upon them. As one of the wise heathens observed—“I never yet heard of a covetous old man, who had forgotten where he had buried his treasure.”10 The reason is abundantly evident. His heart is in it. And this explains the forgetfulness of the ungodly or the formalist. They have no delight in the statutes. And who is not glad to forget what is distasteful? But if we “have tasted that the Lord is gracious”—if we have found a treasure in the way of his testimonies—we cannot forget the sweetness of the experience, or where to go to refresh ourselves with the repetition of it.

Forgetfulness of the word is, however, to the Christian, a source of continual complaint, and sometimes also of most distressing temptation. Not that there is always a real charge of guilt upon the conscience. For, as Boston somewhat quaintly observes—“Grace makes a good heart-memory, even where there is no good head-memory.” But means must be used, and helps may be suggested. Watchfulness against the influence of the world is of the first importance. How much of the good seed is choked by the springing thorns!1 If our hearts are ever refreshed with spiritual delight, we should be as cautious of an uncalled-for advance into the world, as of exposing an invalid’s susceptible frame to a damp or unhealthy atmosphere. Whatever warmth had been kindled in spiritual duties, may be chilled by one moment’s unwary rush into an unkindly clime. We must also recommend increasing attention to the word, as the means of its preservation2—the exercise of “faith,” without which it will “not profit”3 the active habit of love, bringing with it a more habitual interest in the statutes4—all accompanied with unceasing prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit, made the express subject of promise for this purpose.5 Under this heavenly teaching and recollections, what delight will be found in the statutes! what blessed remembrance of his word! And what a happy spirit is their delight and remembrance of the word—the affections glowing—the memory pondering—the presence and manifestation of truth keeping the heart in close communion with God! “O Lord God, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the hearts of thy people and prepare their hearts unto thee.”6

4 “I will solace and recreate myself.”—Ainsworth. A beautiful illustration of the refreshment of the word, when the mind is tired out with the toilsome encumbering cares of the world.

5 Ps 119:14, 15.

6 See Rom. 7:14. 1 Cor. 3:1, 3.

7 Isaiah 58:2.

8 Psalm 19:12.

9 Gal. 4:6.

10 “Nec vero quenquam senum audivi oblitum, quo loco thesaurum obruisset.”—Cicero de Senectute. Compare Matt. 6:21.

1 Matt. 13:22.

2 Heb. 2:1.

3 Ib. 4:2.

4 Verse 15.

5 John 14:26.

6 1 Chron. 29:18.

Psalm 119:17 Gimel. Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word.  

  • Deal: Ps 119:65,124,132 13:6 116:7 Joh 1:16 2Co 9:7-11 Php 4:19 
  • I may live Ro 8:2-4 Eph 2:4,5,10 Tit 2:11,12 1Jn 2:29 5:3,4 

Gimel. Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word.  


Warren Wiersbe - Handling the Critics
 
Read Psalm 119:17-24
 
What do you do when people criticize you? What goes through your mind when you are in the presence of people who are unkind, especially people who don't believe the Word of God? The psalmist gives one answer: "Princes also sit and speak against me, but Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors" (Psalm 119:23,24).
 
Meditate on the Word of God. Get your mind fixed upon what God says. If we ponder and think about the things other people say, we will be agitated and anxious and uptight. But if we meditate on what God says, those things that are true and right and holy and beautiful, His peace will fill us.
 
Delight in the Word of God. "Your testimonies also are my delight" (Psalm 119:24). Some people delight in gossip. They enjoy listening to rumors about people. But the psalmist says, "While they were gossiping and telling lies, I was meditating on the Word of God, because I delight in it."
 
Obey the Word of God. "Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors" (Psalm 119:24). The Hebrew text means, "the men of my counsel." Authorities, friends and even enemies may want to give you counsel. But get your counsel from the Word of God.
 
* * *
Whatever your difficulty today, turn to the Bible and let it counsel you. Let it saturate your mind, heart and will. (Psalm 119:17-24 Handling the Critics)


Charles Bridges - 17. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word

This prayer appears to have been much upon David’s heart, and in the substance and object of it is again repeated.7 Nor does he fail to acknowledge the answer to it.1 The believer like David, is a man of large expectations. As regards himself—his own daily provocations and backslidings—he cannot stand upon his own ground. But when he brings with him the name, the blood, the intercession of Jesus, as soon could God deny his own beloved Son, as resist the supplication of those who present this all-prevailing plea.2 Nay—is not this his own gift to his children, as the pledge of every other gift?3 And what other pledge can they need, to encourage them to draw nigh with the largest desire, and the most heavenly expectation? We may indeed be too bold in our manner of approach to God;4 but we cannot be too bold in our expectations from him. Standing as we do upon such high and sure ground, it is equally dishonorable to him, and impoverishing to ourselves, to ask only a little of him. Rather let us, according to his own command, “open our mouths wide; and he will fill them.”5 Rather let us expect that he will deal—not only favorably—but bountifully with his servants—that, as “our God, he will supply all our need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”6

And, indeed, the most experienced believer cannot forget, that he is in himself still the same poor, weak, empty, helpless creature as at first. Nothing therefore short of a bountiful supply can answer his emergency. Such a supply is always at hand. The act of prayer increases the power to pray. The throne of grace is a well, which no power or malice of the Philistines can stop up.7

We need not say,—“We have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.”8 Faith will enable us “with joy to draw water out of this well of salvation.”9 Let us bring our empty vessels, until “there is not a vessel more.”10 Yes—believer—there is indeed a bountiful supply of grace—of every kind—suited to every want—grace to pardon—grace to quicken—grace to bless. Oh! see, then, that you come not empty away. Remember—who it is that pleads before the throne. Remember—that the grace you need is in his hand. From eternity he foreknew your case. He laid your portion by: He has kept it for the time of need; and now he only waits for an empty vessel into which to pour his supply. He is ready to show you, how infinitely his grace exceeds all thoughts—all prayers—all desires—all praises.

And say—what has been the fruit of your pleading, waiting expectancy at “the throne of grace?” Have you not returned thence with a fresh spring of devotedness in this service, with every selfish thought forgotten in the desire, that you “may live and keep his word.” Nothing touched or moved your reluctant heart, but the apprehension of bountiful redeeming love. This makes obedience easy—delightful—natural—in a manner unavoidable. It “constrains”11 to it. The man now lives—not the animal life of appetite—not the sensual life of vanity and pleasure—but the only life that deserves the name. He lives singly, supremely “to him that died for him, and rose again.”1 He “lives, and keeps his word.” His motto and character now is—“To me to live is Christ.”2 He values life only by its opportunities of serving his God.3 The first archangel knows not a higher object of existence. And how encouraging the reflection, that in this glorious object the meanest servant in the household of God is an equal participant with the most blessed inhabitant of heaven!

7 Ps 119:77.

1 Ps 119:65. Comp. Ps. 13:6; 116:7, 8.

2 John 16:23, 24.

3 Rom. 8:32.

4 A beautiful example of reverential approach, and of the acceptance manifested, is given in Abram’s history, (Gen. 17:3,) and is in some degree illustrated by the private records of Luther.—Note on verses 147, 148.

5 Psalm 81:10.

6 Phil. 4:19.

7 Com. Gen. 26:15.

8 John 4:11.

9 Isaiah 12:3.

10 Comp. 2 Kings 4:3–6.

11 2 Cor. 5:14.

1 2 Cor. 5:15.

2 Phil. 1:21. Comp. Acts 13:36.

3 Phil 1:20.

Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.  

  • Open Heb. Reveal, Isa 29:10-12,18 32:3 35:5 Mt 13:13 16:17 Joh 9:39 Ac 26:18 2Co 3:14-18 4:4-6 Eph 1:17,18 Rev 3:18 
  • wondrous Ps 119:96 Ho 8:12 2Co 3:13 Heb 8:5 10:1 

This is a simple but powerful prayer for spiritual illumination, asking God by His Spirit to remove the scales from our natural, spiritually blind eyes, that we might see and receive supernatural truth. Spiritual truth cannot be apprehended in a natural way, but requires a supernatural means.

J Vernon McGee on Ps 119:18 - This is the verse I used to begin the “Thru the Bible” program years ago when I first taught it in a little weather-beaten church on the side of a red clay hill in Georgia. I used this verse as a theme for many years. This is a good one—“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law [thy word].” (Thru the Bible commentary)

While the verb open is in the imperative form, in context as alluded to above, it is clearly the cry of a beggar who recognizes his abject spiritual poverty and his desperate need of spiritual bread 

The Bible is filled with spiritual truth that can only be seen with an eye opened by the Spirit of God.

Donald Williams - He must open us up and show us His wondrous things (Ps 119:18). Apart from this, in the words of Bob Dylan, “I’m a little too blind to see.” (The Preacher’s Commentary )

Kidner - To feel the force of this request, cf. the sight that met the opened eyes of Balaam (Num. 22:31) or of Elisha’s servant (2 Kgs 6:17, using another word). (Psalms 73–150: An Introduction and Commentary)

David Guzik - This reminds us that it isn’t the word that needs changing, as if it were obscure; we are the ones who are veiled and can’t understand the word of God apart from the work of the Spirit. Paul’s eyes were unveiled when he was converted (Acts 9:18); it was as if scales had dropped from his eyes....The Psalmist didn’t need new revelation; he needed to see the revelation that was already given. He didn’t need new eyes; he needed to see with the eyes he already had.

KJV Bible Commentary - As Thomas Manton observes, “The Hebrew phrase signifieth ‘unveil mine eyes’ … Paul’s cure of his natural blindness is a fit emblem of our cure of spiritual blindness: ‘Immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith …’ (Acts 9:18).

I love the way John Piper explains it "By inspiring some things hard to understand (2Pe 3:15-16), God has unleashed in the world desperation which leads to supplication—the crying out to God for help." (Ps 119:18)..."Seven times in one psalm the psalmist prays, “Teach me your statutes” (Ps 119:12, 26, 64, 68, 124, 135, 171)!" (Why God Inspired Hard Texts also quoted in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals- A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry

O beloved, how much more should we cry out for God's Spirit to illuminate the sacred pages!

Again Piper comments "One of the greatest privileges of having two good eyes is that we can read God’s word. But there is another set of eyes that have to be opened if the glory of God’s word is to shine in our hearts—namely, the eyes of our hearts." (cp Eph 1:18-19)  (The Shepherd, the Host, and the Highway Patrol)

Piper - The Word of God cannot be truly desired (Psalm 119:36) or spiritually comprehended (Psalm 119:18) or savingly spoken (2 Thessalonians 3:1) without the work of the Holy Spirit, whom we ask for by prayer. (All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God and Profitable)

Piper - So practically we must endeavor to forsake all self-reliance as we hear the Word of God, and seek the power of the Holy Spirit—not to tell us things that aren’t in the Scriptures, but to make us feel the wonder of what is in the Scriptures. “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalm 119:18). We should pray for ourselves the way Paul prayed for the Ephesians: “that God may enlighten the eyes of our hearts to know what is the hope to which he has called us, and what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Eph 1:18). (The Fruit of Hope- Love)

Piper - The same psalmist who said “How sweet are thy words to my taste” (Ps 119:103), said earlier, “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Ps 119:18). He prayed, because to have holy taste buds on the tongue of the heart is a gift of God. No man naturally hungers for and delights in God’s wisdom. (How to Delight in God’s Word - Devotional by John Piper)

Adrian Rogers applies Psalm 119:18 asking - Isn't that a beautiful prayer?....Have you ever prayed that? Have you ever thought, "Well, I can just go to the Bible, and I can pull the truth out of the Bible"? Let me tell you, friend: You cannot. You may know Greek and not know God; you may know Hebrew and not know Him. I don't care who you are in that seminary, or any other Sunday School class—unless you lay that intellectual pride in the dust and pray this prayer—"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things in thy law"—you'll not know the God of this book. I want to tell you, my friend: It took a supernatural miracle to reveal it; it took a supernatural miracle to write it; and, it'll take a supernatural miracle for you to understand it. Do you believe that? Do you believe that? Listen. Most of us don't believe it. If we really believed it, we would agonize before the Lord; we would pray before the Lord; and, we would be saying, "Lord, open Thou mine eyes."..."Oh, God, illumine me. Open my eyes that I might understand."....When God opens your eyes you're going to see things you never saw before, you're going to hear things you never heard before, you're going to know things you never knew before because God the Holy Spirit is going to teach you....What you need to do when you come to the Bible is to lay your pride of intellect and your brilliance of mind in the dust, and say, "Dear God, if You don't teach me, I won't understand it." You will never go into the Bible and, with a lexicon and with a mind of logic and with a callous hand, just reach in and rip the truth out of the Bible. Oh no—God's going to reveal that truth to you as you pray.....you need to pray when you open the Bible, "Lord, open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things in Thy law. Lord Jesus, help me to see You,"....(for) in order to see Jesus in the Bible, you need light, and you need sight."....That's the first thing that will happen. Your eyes will be opened. God will help you to see things that you have never seen. I can tell when I am walking in the Spirit when I'm reading the Word of God. There are truths that just jump up off the Bible into my heart."

Open (01540)(galah) means to uncover (sadly the first use = Noah uncovering himself after becoming drunk! - Ge 9:21, cp Lev 18:6 prohibiting "uncover nakedness" ~ sexual relations), to reveal (God revealed Himself to Jacob at Bethel, and thus the name El-Bethel - Ge 35:7. 2Sa 2:27), expose (Ex 20:26), open (God opened the eyes of Balaam to see the Angel of the LORD - Nu 22:31), reveal (Dt 29:29). Galah is used of not yet revealing the Word of the LORD to Samuel (1Sa 3:7) and of revealing Himself to Samuel (1Sa 3:21).

Galah is used in Amos 3:7 - "Surely the Lord GOD does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel (talk that is kept confidential, speaks of intimacy) to His servants the prophets."

The Septuagint (Lxx) translates galah in Ps 119:18 with the verb apokalupto in the aorist imperative (command - I am always amazed that finite men could in any sense "command" God which speaks of His amazing grace and incomprehensible condescension! cp Ps 8:3-6). The verb apokalupto (from apó = from + kalúpto = cover, conceal, English = apocalypse - see study of apokalupsis) literally means to remove the cover from and so the idea is to remove that which conceals something. Almost all of the NT uses have a figurative use, especially to some aspect of spiritual truth that was heretofore hidden but now has the "lid removed" so that it can be seen (understood). We are continually in desperate need for God to remove the lid from His Word, the Bible, so that we might see and understand and obey!

Moses uses this same verb to describe the opening of Balaam's eyes to spiritual realities! = "Then the LORD opened (galah; Lxx = apokalupto) the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground." (Nu 22:31) While I would not advocate following most of Balaam's example, his bowing down when the truth was revealed (I think he saw the pre-incarnate Christ - Angel of the LORD) is a good practice for God's children to imitate. We don't worship the word revealed but we do bow down to the God Who is the Word (Jn 1:1-3)!


John Newton - Ps 119:18.  Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Let me suppose a person to have a curious cabinet, which is opened at his pleasure, and not exposed to common view. He invites all to come and see it, and offers to show it to any one who asks him. It is hid, because he keeps the key, but none can complain, because he is ready to open it whenever he is desired. Some, perhaps, disdain the offer, and say, “Why is it locked at all?” Some think it is not worth seeing, or amuse themselves with guessing at the contents. But those who are simply desirous for themselves, leave others disputing, go according to appointment, and are gratified. These have reason to be thankful for the favor, and the others have no just cause to find fault. Thus the riches of Divine grace may be compared to a richly-furnished cabinet to which “Christ is the door.” The Word of God likewise is a cabinet generally locked up, but the key of prayer will open it. The Lord invites all, but He keeps the dispensation in His own hand. They cannot see these things, except He shows them; but then He refuses none that sincerely ask Him. The wise men of the world can go no further than the outside of this cabinet; they may amuse themselves and surprise others with their ingenius guesses at what is within; but a child that has seen it opened can give us satisfaction, without studying or guessing at all. If men will presume to aim at the knowledge of God, without the knowledge of Christ, Who is the way and the door; if they have such a high opinion of their own wisdom and penetration as to suppose they can understand the Scriptures without the assistance of His Spirit; or, if their worldly wisdom teaches them that those things are not worth their inquiring, what wonder is it that they should continue to be hid from their eyes?


Charles Bridges - 18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law

In order to keep God’s word, must we not pray to understand it? What then is the prayer? Not—give me a plainer Bible—but open mine eyes to know my Bible. Not—show me some new revelations beside the law—but make me behold the wonders of the law. David had acquired in the Divine school “more understanding than all his teachers;”4 yet he ever comes to his God under a deep sense of his blindness. Indeed, those who have been best and longest taught are always the most ready to “sit at the feet of Jesus,”5 as if they had everything to learn. It is an unspeakable mercy to know a little, and at the same time to feel that it is only a little. We shall then be longing to know more, and yet anxious to know nothing, except as we are taught of God. There are indeed in God’s law things so wondrous, that “the angels desire to look into them.”6 The exhibition of the scheme of redemption is in itself a world of wonders. The display of justice exercised in the way of mercy, and of mercy glorified in the exercise of justice, is a wonder, that must fill the intelligent universe of God with everlasting astonishment. And yet these “wondrous things” are hid from multitudes, who are most deeply interested in the knowledge of them. They are “hid,” not only from the ignorant and unconcerned, but “from the wise and prudent; and revealed” only “to babes;”7—to those who practically acknowledge that important truth, that a man “can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”8 External knowledge is like the child spelling the letters without any apprehension of the meaning. It is like reading a large and clear print with a thick veil before our eyes. Oh! how needful then is the prayer—‘Unveil9—“Open thou mine eyes:” let the veil be taken away from the law, that I may understand it; and from my heart, that I may receive it!’

But do not even Christians often find the word of God to be as a sealed book? They go through their accustomed portion, without gaining any increasing acquaintance with light, life and power, and without any distinct application of its contents to their hearts. And thus it must be, whenever reading has been unaccompanied with prayer for Divine influence. For we not only need to have our “eyes open to behold” fresh wonders, but also to give a more spiritual and transforming1 perception of those wonders, which we have already beheld.

But are we conscious of our blindness? Then let us hear the counsel of our Lord, that we “anoint our eyes with eye-salve, that we may see.”2 The recollection of the promises of Divine teaching are fraught with encouragement. The Spirit is freely and abundantly promised in this very character, as “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God.”3 If therefore we desire a clearer insight into these “wondrous things” of revelation—if we would behold the glorious beauty of our Immanuel—if we would comprehend something more of the immeasurable extent of that love, with which “God so loved the world, as to give his only-begotten Son”4—and of that equally incomprehensible love, which moved that Son so cheerfully to undertake our cause,5 we must make daily, hourly use of this important petition—“Open thou mine eyes.”

4 Ps 119:99, 100.

5 Luke 10:39.

6 1 Peter 1:12.

7 Matt. 11:25.

8 John 3:27.

9 “Revela oculos meos. Velamen detraha oculis meis.”—Poli Synopsis. Margin, Reveal. Compare 2 Cor. 3:14–16.

1 2 Cor. 3:18.

2 Rev. 3:18.

3 Eph. 1:17.

4 John 3:16.

5 Heb. 10:5–7.


TAPPING THE TREASURE

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. —Psalm 119:18

Stephen May discovered a treasure  while teaching literature at a university. In the library he found 150 boxes of letters, manuscripts, journals, outlines and notes given to the school by James A. Michener.

Surprisingly, no one was using those materials to write a biography of the Pulitzer Prize winning author, known for his historical novels. After years of research and writing, May produced a new account of the life of Michener from that great treasure.

Each day you and I are writing the story of our lives by what we say and do. Are we using the great, but often neglected, wealth of the Bible? The psalmist wrote: “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. . . . Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Ps. 119:14,18).

The Bible is the written record through which we get to know Jesus Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Its nuggets of truth are available to us all.

A life well lived is directly related to a Bible well read. As we live out our life story, let’s be sure to tap the treasure of God’s Word every day. David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

THE BIBLE’S TREASURES ARE FOUND BY THOSE WHO DIG FOR THEM.


Lord, I’m Excited!

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. —Psalm 119:18

Today's Scripture: Psalm 119:17-24

People use Our Daily Bread in many different ways. Small groups have informed me that they meet before work to read the online devotional on their laptops. Families read it together at a meal. Others reach for it on a break or during a quiet moment of the day.

A letter from one reader inspired me with her approach each morning: “As I open Our Daily Bread, I tell God that I am excited about what His Word is going to teach me. Then I read the Scripture (if it’s short, I include all the surrounding context), and I meditate [on it] and write what it is saying to me before I read what God gave the writer . . . . Since I am indexing my journal, both Scripture and topics, as I go along, I can refer back to pertinent topics at any time. I love it.”

What impressed me is her enthusiasm for the Word and the anticipation of what the Lord has for her in the Bible. She echoes the psalmist’s prayer, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Ps. 119:18).

A writer’s thoughts are no substitute for the powerful Word of God. It’s the only place to find spiritual nourishment and strength for each day. And that’s exciting! By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Help more people find Jesus this Easter.

Give me, O Lord, a strong desire
To look within Your Word each day;
Help me to hide it in my heart,
Lest from its truth my feet would stray. 
—Branon

The Bible is the Bread of Life, and it never becomes stale.


In A Fog

Read: Psalm 119:25-32 

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. —Psalm 119:18

My wife Shirley and I stayed 2 full days in Interlaken, Switzerland, and yet we never saw Jungfrau, one of the highest and most beautiful peaks in the Swiss Alps.

“What did you think of Jungfrau?” fellow tourists would ask. We couldn’t answer because we never got a glimpse of it.

How could we possibly miss such an immense and breathtaking natural wonder? Because a persistent fog had blanketed the entire peak.

Sometimes we may be “in a fog” when we try to understand the Bible. We struggle and strain, but we cannot see the beautiful truths that lie within the passage. It may even seem as if God is keeping them hidden from us.

Don’t forget that we always need the illuminating help of the Holy Spirit. It is not God who wants to keep us from grasping the wonderful truths of Scripture; it is His enemy. The devil knows that we can’t put into practice what we don’t comprehend.

We need to pray as the psalmist did, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Ps. 119:18). As we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance each day, He will clear away the fog so that we can see the marvelous truths within God’s Word.By David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
—Scott

Without the light of God's Spirit, we'll be in the dark about God's Word.

Psalm 119:19 I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.

  • a stranger Ps 39:12 Ge 47:9 1Ch 29:15 2Co 5:6 Heb 11:13-16 1Pe 2:11 
  • hide Ps 119:10 Job 39:17 Isa 63:17 Lu 9:45 24:45 

I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.


Charles Bridges - 19. I am a stranger in the earth; hide not thy commandments from me

Such is the condition of the child of God—a stranger in the earth! This confession, however, from a solitary wanderer would have had little comparative meaning. But in the mouth of one, who was probably surrounded with every source of worldly enjoyment, it shows at once the vanity of “earth’s best joys,” and the heavenly tendency of the religion of the Bible. This has been ever the character, confession, and glory of the Lord’s people.6 We “would not live always,”7 and gladly do we hear the warning voice that reminds us to “arise and depart, for this is not our rest.”8 And was not this especially the character not of David only, but of David’s Lord? Born at an inn9—not “having where to lay his head”10—suffering hunger11—subsisting upon alms12—neglected by his own13—“looking for some to take pity, but there was none, and for his comforters but he found none”14—might he not justly take up the confession—“I am a stranger in the earth?”

This verse exhibits the Christian in many most interesting points of view; distant from his proper home15—without a fixed residence16—with no particular interest in the world17—and submitting to all the inconveniences of a stranger on his journey homewards.18 Such is his state! And the word of God includes all that he wants—a guide, a guard, a companion—to direct, secure, and cheer his way. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.”19 Most suitable then is the stranger’s prayer—“Hide not thy commandments from me.” Acquaintance with the word of God supplies the place of friends and counsellors. It furnishes light, joy, strength, food, armor, and whatever else he may need on his way homewards.

The pilgrim-spirit is the pulse of the soul. All of us are travelling to eternity. The worldling is at home in the earth—a pilgrim only by constraint. His heart would say—‘It is good for me to be here. Let God dispose of heaven at his pleasure. I am content to have my portion in this life.’1 The child of God is a stranger in the earth. Heaven is the country of his birth.2 His kindred3—his inheritance4—his Saviour5—his hope6—his home7—is there. He is “a citizen of no mean city,” of the heavenly Jerusalem.8 There he is a pilgrim in affection no less than in character. How cheering is the thought, that here we have no continuing city, if in heart and soul we are “seeking one to come!”9

We know indeed, that we cannot—we would not—call this world our home, and that it is far better to be without it, than to have our portion in it. But do we never feel at home in the earth, thus forgetting our proper character and our eternal prospects? Do we always live, speak, and act as “strangers in the earth”—in the midst of earthly enjoyments sitting loose to them, as if our treasure was in heaven? Does our conversation in the society of the world savor of the home whither we profess to be going? Is the world gaining ascendency in our affections? Let the cross of Calvary be the object of our daily contemplation—the ground of our constant “glorying;” and the world will then be to us a “crucified” object.10 And lastly, let us not forget, that we are looking forward, and making progress towards a world, where none are strangers—where all are children of one family, dwelling in one eternal home. “In my Father’s house”—said our gracious Head—“are many mansions: I go to prepare a place for you.”11

6 Abraham, Gen. 23:4. Jacob, Gen. 47:9. David, Psalm 39:12. All Heb. 11:13.

7 Job 7:16.

8 Micah 2:10.

9 Luke 2:7.

10 Matt. 8:20.

11 Mt. 21:18.

12 Luke 8:3.

13 John 1:11.

14 Psalm 69:20.

15 Heb. 11:9.

16 1 Chron. 29:15.

17 Phil. 3:20.

18 Acts 14:23. Heb. 10:34.

19 Prov. 6:20–22.

1 Psalm 17:4. Compare Luke 6:24; 12:19, 20; 16:25.

2 Gal. 4:26.

3 Eph. 3:15.

4 Eph. 1:3, 11, 6. Matt. 25:34.

5 John 14:3. Cor. 3:1

6 Phil. 3:20.

7 2 Cor. 5:1–6.

8 Heb. 12:22.

9 Heb. 13:14.

10 Gal. 6:14.

11 John 14:2.

Psalm 119: 20 My soul is crushed with longing After Your ordinances at all times.  

  • soul Ps 119:40,131,174 42:1 63:1 84:2 Pr 13:12 Song 5:8 Rev 3:15,16 
  • at all times Ps 106:3 Job 23:11,12 27:10 Pr 17:17 

My soul is crushed with longing After Your ordinances at all times.  


THE EXPERIENCES OF A SOUL - James Smith

PSALM 119

1. Breaking (Ps 119:20).
2. Cleaving (Ps 119:Ps 119:25).
3. Melting (Ps 119:28).
4. Fainting (Ps 119:81).
5. Waiting (Ps 119:09).
6. Trusting (Ps 119:167).
7. Longing (Ps 119:175).


Charles Bridges - 20. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times

This intense desire and affection is the Christian’s answer to his prayers—Open thou mine eyes—Hide not thy commandments from me. For who that is conversant with this blessed revelation but longs to be filled with it? In contrasting this glow with the church of Laodicea, under a brighter dispensation “neither cold nor hot:”12—which state, we may ask, most nearly resembles our own? Observe also, not only the fervor, but the steady uniformity, of this religion. It was not a rapture, but a habit; constant and uniform; “at all times.” With us, such enjoyments are too often favored seasons, happy moments; alas! only moments—why not days, and months, and years? The object of our desires is an inexhaustible spring. The longing of the soul, can never overreach its object. The cherished desire therefore will become the established habit—the element in which the child of God lives and thrives.

This uniformity is the most satisfactory test of our profession. Often are the judgments prized in affliction, when all other resources fail: or under a pang of conscience, when the terror of the Lord “is frowning upon the sinner.”1 But the affection wears off the trouble, and the heart returns to its hardness. Often also the impulse of novelty gives a strong but temporary impression.2 This is very different from the Christian, whose study is stretching out its desires at all times; finding the judgments a cordial or a discipline—a support or a preservation—as his need may require.

Not less important is this habit as the test of the soul’s prosperity. We are not satisfied with occasional intercourse with a beloved friend. His society is the life of our life. We seek him in his own ways, where he is used to resort. We feel the blank of his absence. We look out for his return with joyous anticipation. Now is this the picture of our souls longing for communion with Jesus? We may feel his loss, should the stated seasons of prayer fail in bringing him near to us. But do we long for him at all times? Do we “wait for him in the way of his judgments,” where he is wont to be found?3 And when spiritual exercises are exchanged for worldly occupations, do we seize the leisure moment to catch a word—a glimpse—a look? Is not the heart dumb with shame in the recollection of the cold habit of external or occasional duty?

But whence this low ebbing of spiritual desire? Do we live near to the throne of grace? Have we not neglected prayer for the influence of the Spirit? Have we not indulged a light, vain, and worldly spirit, than which nothing more tends to wither the growth of vital religion? Or have not the workings of unbelief been too faintly resisted? This of itself will account for much of our dulness; since the rule of the kingdom of grace is—“According to your faith be it unto you.”4 Grace is indeed an insatiable principle. Enjoyment, instead of surfeiting, only serves to sharpen the appetite. Yet if we are content to live at a low rate, there will be no sensible interest in the consolation of the Gospel. We know, desire, and are satisfied with little: and therefore we enjoy but little. We live as borderers on the land, instead of bearing our testimony—“Surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.”5 This is not the thriving, the cheerfulness, the adoring of the Gospel. It is rather the obscuring of the glory of our Christian profession, and of the happiness of its attendant privileges.

Let not the fervor of desire here expressed be conceived to be out of reach; nor let it be expected in the way of some sudden manifestation or excitement. Rather let us look for it in a patient, humble, and persevering waiting upon the Lord. We may have still to complain of coldness and wanderings. Yet strength to wait will be imperceptibly given: faith will be sustained for the conflict: and thus our souls will “make their boast in the Lord,” even though an excited flow of enjoyment should be withheld. One desire will, however, tread upon another, increasing in fulness, as the grand object is nearer our grasp.

At all events, let us beware of resting satisfied with the confession of our lukewarmness to our fellow-creatures, without “pouring out our heart before the Lord.” There is a fulness of grace in our glorious Head to “strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die,” as well as at the beginning to “quicken” us when “dead in trespasses and sins.” Abundant, also, are the promises and encouragements to poor, dry, barren souls—“I will heal their backslidings; I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.”1 For what purpose are promises such as these given, but that they may be “arguments,” wherewith to “fill our mouth,” when in the contrition of faith we again venture to “order our cause before God?” And “will he plead against us with his great power?” No—but “he will put his strength in us;”2 and we shall yet again “run the way of his commandments”3 with an enlarged heart.

12 Rev. 3:15.

1 Isa. 26:16.

2 John 5:35.

3 Isa. 26:8; 64:5.

4 Matt. 9:29.

5 Num. 13:27.

1 Hosea 14:4–6.

2 Job 23:4–6.

3 Ps 119:32.

Psalm 119:21 You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, Who wander from Your commandments.  

  • rebuked Ps 119:78 138:6 Ex 10:3 18:11 Job 40:11,12 Isa 2:11,12 10:12 Eze 28:2-10 Da 4:37 5:22-24 Mal 4:1 Lu 14:11 18:14 Jas 4:6 1Pe 5:5 
  • cursed Ps 119:10,110,118 De 27:15-26 28:15 30:19 Ne 9:16,29 Isa 42:24 Isa 43:28 Jer 44:9-11,16,28,29 Ga 3:13 

You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, Who wander from Your commandments.


Charles Bridges - 21. Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments

Let the histories of Cain,4 Pharaoh,5 Haman,6 Nebuchadnezzar,7 and Herod,8 exhibit the proud under the rebuke and curse of God. He abhors their persons9 and their offerings;10 he “knows them afar off:”11 “he resisteth them:”12 “he scattereth them in the imaginations of their hearts.”13 Especially hateful are they in his sight, when, cloaking themselves under a spiritual garb—“they say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou: these are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.”14 Most of all is this sin an abomination in his own beloved people. David15 and Hezekiah16 are instructive beacons in the Church, that they, least of all, must expect to escape his rebuke—“Thou wast a God that forgavest them; though thou tookest vengeance on their inventions.”17 “Now they call the proud happy.”18 But will they be counted so, when they shall be manifestly under the curse of God; when “the day of the Lord shall be upon them to bring them low,” yea to “burn them in the oven” of his heavenly wrath?”19

Pride probably influences all, that “do err from the Lord’s commandments;” yet doubtless “the Righteous Judge” will make an infinite difference between errors of infirmity and of obstinate wilfulness.1 The confession of the man of God—“I have gone astray like a lost sheep”2—is widely different in character from the subjects of this awful rebuke and curse. “Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes; for their deceit is falsehood.”3

We wonder not at this expression of the mind of God concerning pride. There is no sin more abhorrent to his character. It is as if we were taking the crown from his head, and placing it upon our own. It is man making a god of himself,—acting from himself, and for himself. Nor is this principle less destructive to our own happiness. And yet it is not only rooted, but it often rears its head and blossoms, and bears fruit, even in hearts which “hate and abhor” its influence. It is most like its father, the Devil, in serpentine deceitfulness. It is always active—always ready imperceptibly to mix itself up with everything. When it is mortified in one shape, it rises in another. When we have thought that it was gone, in some unexpected moment we find it here still. It can convert everything into nourishment, even God’s choicest gifts—yea, the graces of his Spirit. Let no saint therefore, however near he may be living to God, however favored with the shinings of his countenance—consider himself beyond the reach of this temptation. Paul was most in danger, when he seemed to be most out of it; and nothing but an instant miracle of grace and power saved him from the “snare of the Devil.”4 Indeed, the whole plan of salvation is intended to humble the pride of man, by exhibiting his restoration to the Divine favor, as a free gift through the atoning blood of the cross. How hateful therefore is proud man’s resistance to this humbling doctrine of the cross, and the humbling requisitions of the life of faith flowing from it! This makes the sure “foundation” of the believer’s hope “a stone of stumbling” to the unbeliever’s ruin.5 As regards also the means of salvation—how can pride lift up its head in the view of the Son of God, “taking upon him the form of a servant,” that he might bear the curse of man?6 “Behold, the soul that is lifted up is not upright in him.”7

But can a sinner—can a saint—be proud?—one that owes everything to free and sovereign grace—one that has wasted so much time—abused so much mercy—so grieved the Spirit of God—that has a heart so full of atheism—unbelief—selfishness? Nay, the very pride itself should be the matter of the deepest daily humiliation. Thus the remembrance of it may, under Divine grace, prove an effectual means of subduing it in our hearts. We shall overcome corruption by its own workings, and meet our adversary with his own weapons. And if this cursed principle be not wholly destroyed, yet the very sight of its corruption, deepening our contrition, will be overruled for our spiritual advancement.

O blessed end! intended by the Lord’s dealings with us, to “humble and to prove us”—“to know,” and to make us know “what was in our heart, that he might do us good at the latter end!”1 Let us not frustrate his gracious intentions, or build again the things, which he would have destroyed. May we love to lie low—lower than ever—infinitely low before him! Lord! teach us to remember, that “that which is highly esteemed among men, is abomination in thy sight.”2 Teach us to bless thee for even thy sharp and painful discipline, which tends to subjugate this hateful pride of our hearts before our Saviour’s cross!

4 Gen. 4:5, 13–16.

5 Exod. 14:15–31.

6 Esther 7:7–10.

7 Dan. 4:29–33.

8 Acts 12:21–23.

9 Prov. 6:16, 17.

10 Luke 18:11, 12, 14.

11 Psalm 138:6.

12 1 Peter 5:5, with Prov. 3:34.

13 Luke 1:51.

14 Isa. 65:5, with Luke 18:11.

15 2 Sam. 24:1–15.

16 2 Kings 20:12–18; 2 Chron. 32:31.

17 Psalm 99:8.

18 Mal. 3:15.

19 Isaiah 2:12–17; Mal. 4:1.

1 Psalm 19:12, with 95:10.

2 Ps 119:176.

3 Ps 119:118.

4 See 2 Cor. 12:7

5 Rom. 9:32, 33. 1 Peter 2:7, 8.

6 Phil. 2:5–8.

7 Hab. 2:4.

1 Deut. 8:2, 16.

2 Luke 16:15.

Psalm 119:22 Take away reproach and contempt from me, For I observe Your testimonies.  

  • Remove Ps 119:39,42 39:8 42:10 68:9-11,19,20 123:3,4 1Sa 25:10,39 2Sa 16:7,8 Job 16:20 19:2,3 Heb 13:13 
  • for I have Ps 37:3,6 1Pe 2:20 3:16,17 4:14-16 

Take away reproach and contempt from me, For I observe Your testimonies.  


Charles Bridges - 22. Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies

The proud under the rebuke of God, are usually distinguished by their enmity to his people. They delight to pour upon them “reproach and contempt,” with no other provocation given, than that their keeping the testimonies of God condemns their own neglect.3 This must, however, be counted as the cost of a decided and separate, and consistent profession. Yet it is such a portion, as Moses valued above all the treasures of the world:4 it is that reproach, which our Master himself “despised,” as “reckoning it not worthy to be compared with” “the joy that was set before him.”5 For did he bear his cross only on the way to Calvary? It was laid for every step in his path: it met him in every form of suffering, of “reproach and contempt.” Look then at him, as taking up his daily cross in breathing the atmosphere of a world of sin, and “enduring the contradiction of sinners against himself.”6 Mark him consummating his course of “reproach and contempt,” by suffering without the gate—and can we hesitate to “go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach?”7

The trial, however, especially if cast upon us by those whom we have loved and valued, or by those whom we wish to love and value us, proves most severe: and the spreading our case, after David’s example, before the Lord, is the only preservation from faintness—“Remove from me reproach and contempt.”

Perhaps “contempt” is more hard to bear than “reproach.” Even our enemies think of us so much better than we deserve, that it strikes with peculiar poignancy. Yet when the submissive prayer of deprecation8 is sent up, doubtless some answer, and that the right answer, will be given; and whether the “reproach” be removed, or “grace” vouchsafed “sufficient” to endure it,9 the issue will prove alike for the glory of God, and the prosperity of our own souls.

But let us beware of that “way of escape” in returning to the world, which the insincere are ever ready to pursue. They dare not act to the full conviction of their consciences: they dare not confront their friends with the avowal of their full determination to form their conduct by the principles of the word of God. This is hard—this is impossible. They know not the “victory that over cometh the world:”10 and therefore cannot bear this mark upon their foreheads—“These are they, which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.”1 Far better, however, will be the heaviest weight of “reproach and contempt,” than any such endeavor to remove it from ourselves. The desire to escape the cross, convicts the heart of unfaithfulness, and makes way for tenfold difficulties in our path. Every worldly compliance against the voice of God is a step into the by-path, which deviates wider and wider from the straight and narrow way, brings discredit upon our profession, proves a stumbling-block in the way of the weak, and will cause us, if not actually to come short, at least to “seem to come short of the promised rest.”2

But is the weight of the cross really “above that we are able to bear?” He that bore it for us will surely enable us to endure it for him: and upheld by him, we cannot sink. It is a sweet exchange, by which the burden of sin is removed, and bound to his cross; and what remains to us is the lighter cross of “reproach and contempt,”—the badge of our discipleship.3 If then we have the testimony of our consciences, that in the midst of a persecuting world, we “have kept his testimonies,”4—here is our evidence of adoption, of our Father’s special love, of the indwelling, comforting, supporting Spirit.5 Here then is our warrant of hope, that the overwhelming weight will be removed from us; and that we shall be able to testify to our Master’s praise in the churches of God, that “his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.”6

3 Heb. 11:7.

4 Heb 11:24–26.

5 Heb. 12:2.

6 Heb 12: 3.

7 Heb 13:12, 13.

8 See Ps 119:134.

9 2 Cor. 12:8, 9.

10 See 1 John 5:4, 5.

1 Rev. 14:4.

2 Heb. 4:1.

3 Matt. 16:24.

4 Ps 119:61, 69, 87, 95, 110.

5 John 14:15–18, 21–23.

6 Matt. 11:30.

Psalm 119:23 Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes.  

  • Princes Ps 2:1,2 1Sa 20:31 22:7-13 Lu 22:66 23:1,2,10,11 
  • thy servant Ps 119:15 

Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes.  


Charles Bridges - 23. Princes also did sit and speak against me; but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes

David might well give his testimony to “the words of the Lord,” that they were “tried words:”7 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 giveth, give I unto you.”8 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;”9 so under similar circumstances of trial, this faithful servant of God, by meditation in the Lord’s statutes, extracted spiritual food for his support:10 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.”11

The children of Israel in Egypt;12 Daniel in Babylon;13 and the disciples of Christ in the early ages of the church,14 have severely found “this same affliction to be accomplished in themselves.” God is pleased to permit it, to show that “his kingdom is not of this world,”15 to wean his people from earthly dependencies—and to bring out before the world a more full testimony of his name.1 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 want 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,”2 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.”3 Christ has left it indeed as the portion of his people—“In the world ye shall have tribulation;” counterbalanced however, most abundantly, by the portion which they enjoy in him—“In me ye shall have peace.”4 If therefore the one half of this portion may seem hard, the legacy entire is such, as no servant of Christ can refuse to accept, or indeed will receive without thankfulness.

7 Ps. 12:7, Prayer-book Translation.

8 John 14:27.

9 Jn. 11:47, 54–57.

10 Comp. Psalm 94:19–22.

11 1 Peter 4:19.

12 Exodus 1:10.

13 Dan. 6:4–6.

14 Matt. 10:17, 18. Acts 4:27–29.

15 John 18:36.

1 Matt. 10:18.

2 Eph. 6:17.

3 Acts 28:15.

4 John 16:33. See the beautiful illustration of this whole declaration—Acts 16:22–25.

Psalm 119:24 Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors.

  • testimonies Ps 119:16,77,92,143,162 Job 27:10 Jer 6:10 
  • my counsellors Heb. men of my counsel, Ps 119:97-100,104,105 19:11 De 17:18-20 Jos 1:8 Pr 6:20-23 Isa 8:20 Col 3:16 2Ti 3:15-17 

Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors.


Thy testimonies … are … my counsellors. Boleslaus, one of the kings of Poland, carried about him the picture of his father; and when he was to do any great work, or set about any extraordinary design, he would look on the picture, and pray that he might do nothing unworthy of such a father’s name. The Scriptures are the picture of God’s will. Before a man engages in any business whatsoever, let him look there, and read what is to be done, and what to be omitted.


Charles Bridges - 24. Thy testimonies also are my delight, and my counsellors

What could we want more in a time of difficulty than comfort and direction? David had both these blessings. As the fruit of his “meditation in the Lord’s statutes,” in his distress they were his “delight;” in his perplexity they were his “counsellors.” He would not have exchanged his delight for the best joys of earth.5 And so wisely did his counsellors direct his course, that, though “princes sat and spake against him,” they “could find none occasion nor fault.”6 The testimonies of God were truly “the men of his counsel.”7 He guided his own conduct by the rules laid before him in the book of God, as if he were having recourse to the most experienced counsellors, or rather as if the prophets of his God were giving the word from his mouth.8 Thus the subjects as well as the Sovereign, had his counsel. On one side was Saul and his counsellors9—on the other side, David and the testimonies of his God. Which, think we, was better furnished with that “wisdom which is profitable to direct?” Subsequently, as a king, David was constrained to make “the testimonies of his God his counsellors10;” and probably, to his constant regard to their voice he owed much of his earthly prosperity.11

In such a dark world as this, beset with temptation at every turn, we pre-eminently need sound and wise counsel. But all of us carry an evil counsellor within us, and it is our folly to listen to the voice.1 God has given us his word as a sure counsellor, and “he that hearkeneth to its counsel is wise.”2

Now, do we value the privilege of this heavenly counsel? Every improvement must increase our delight in it; a heartless interest shuts out this blessing. But those who make the word their delight will always find it their counsellor. Yet a mere cursory reading will never realize to us its holy delight or counsel. It must be brought home to our own experience, and consulted on those trivial occasions of every day, when, unconscious of our need of divine direction, we are too often inclined to lean to our own counsel. The Christian is a man of faith every step of his way. And this habitual use and daily familiarity with the testimonies of God will show him the pillar and the cloud3 in all the dark turns of his heavenly road. The word will be to him as the “Urim and Thummim:”4 an infallible counsellor.

Sometimes, however, perplexity arises from the conflict, not between conscience and sinful indulgence, (in which case Christian sincerity would always determine the path,) but between duty and duty. When, however, acknowledged obligations seem to interfere with each other, the counsel of the word will mark their relative importance, connection, and dependence: the present path in providence: the guidance, which has been vouchsafed to the Lord’s people in similar emergencies; and the light which the daily life of our Great Examplar exhibits before us. The great concern, however, is to cultivate the habit of mind, which falls in most naturally with the counsel of the word. “Walking in the fear of the Lord,”5 in a simple spirit of dependence,6 and torn away from the idolatry of taking counsel from our own hearts, we cannot materially err; because there is here a suitableness between the disposition and the promise—a watchfulness against the impetuous bias of the flesh: a paramount regard to the glory of God, and a meek submission to his gracious appointment. If the counsel, however, should not prove infallible, the fault is not in the word, but in the indistinctness of our own perception. We want not a clearer rule, or a surer guide, but a more single eye. And if, after all, it may not mark every precise act of duty (for to do this, “even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written,”) yet it determines the standard, to which the most minute acting of the mind should be brought;7 and the disposition, which will reflect the light of the will of God upon our path.8

But let it be remembered, that any want of sincerity in the heart9—any allowance of self-dependence10—will always close the avenues of this Divine light and counsel. We are often unconsciously “walking in the light of our own fire, and in the sparks that we have kindled.”1 Perhaps we sought, as we conceived, the guidance of the Lord’s counsel, and suppose that we are walking in it. But, in the act of seeking, and as the preparation for seeking, did we subject our motives and inclinations to a strict, cautious, self-suspecting scrutiny? Was the heart schooled to the discipline of the cross? Was “every thought brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ?”2 Or was not our heart possessed with the object, before counsel was sought at the mouth of God?3 Oh! how careful should we be to walk warily in those uncertain marks of heavenly counsel, that fall in with the bias of our own inclination! How many false steps in the record of past experience may be traced to the counsel of our own hearts, sought and followed to the neglect of the counsel of God;4 while no circumstance of perplexity can befall us in the spirit of humility, simplicity, and sanctity, when the counsel of the Lord will fail!

An undue dependence upon human counsel,5 whether of the living or the dead, greatly hinders the full influence of the counsel of the word. However valuable such counsel may be, and however closely it may agree with the word, we must not forget, that it is not the word—that it is fallible—and therefore must never be resorted to in the first place, or followed with that full reliance, which we are warranted to place on the revelation of God. On the other hand, what is it to have God’s word as our “Counsellor?” Is it not to have himself—“the only wise God?” When our Bibles, in seasons of difficulty, are searched in a humble, prayerful teachable spirit, we are as much depending upon the Lord himself for counsel, as if we were listening to an immediate revelation from heaven. We want not a new revelation, or a sensible voice from above, for every fresh emergency. It is enough, that our Father has given us this blessed “word as a light to our feet, and a lamp to our path.”6

Let me then inquire what is the counsel of God, that speaks directly to myself? If I am an unawakened sinner, it warns me to turn from sin7—it invites me to the Saviour8—it directs me to wait upon God.9 If I am a professor, slumbering in the form of godliness, it shows me my real condition10—it instructs me in the all-sufficiency of Christ,11 and cautions me of the danger of hypocrisy.12 If through grace I am made a child of God, still do I need my Father’s counsel to recover me from perpetual backsliding13—to excite me to increased watchfulness,14 and to strengthen my confidence in the fulness of his grace,15 and the faithfulness of his love.16 Ever shall I have reason for the grateful acknowledgment—“I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel.”17 And every step of my way would I advance, glorifying my God and Father by confiding in his counsel unto the end—“Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.”1

5 Ps 119:14, 97, 103, 127, with Psalm 4:7.

6 1 Sam. 18:14. Psalm 101:2, with Dan. 6:4, 5.

7 Margin.

8 Comp. 2 Sam. 7:4, 5; also 16:23.

9 Ps 119:23.

10 Deut. 17:18–20.

11 2 Sam. 8:6, 14. Compare also his dying and most encouraging advice to Solomon on this subject, founded doubtless upon the recollection of his own experience, 1 Kings 2:3.

1 Prov. 28:26.

2 Pr. 12:15.

3 Numbers 9:15–23.

4 Nu. 27:21.

5 See Psalm 25:12, 14.

6 Ps. 25:4, 5, 9; 143:8.

7 1 Cor. 10:31. Col. 3:17.

8 Matt. 6:22, 23.

9 1 Sam. 28:6. Ezek. 14:2–4.

10 Prov. 3:5, 6.

1 Isaiah 1:11.

2 2 Cor. 10:5.

3 Jer. 42.

4 Josh. 9:14. Isa. 30:1–3.

5 Isa. 2:22.

6 Ps 119:105. Comp. Prov. 6:23.

7 Prov. 1:24–31. Ezek. 33:11.

8 Isa. 55:1. John 7:37.

9 Hosea 12:6.

10 Rev. 3:17.

11 Rev 3: 18.

12 Luke 12:1

13 Jer. 3:12, 13.

14 1 Thess. 5:6. Rev. 3:2.

15 Isaiah 26:4.

16 Heb. 12:5, 6.

17 Psalm 16:7.

1 Psalm 73:24.

Psalm 119:25 Daleth. My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. 

  • soul: Ps 22:15 44:25 Isa 65:25 Mt 16:23 Ro 7:22-24 Php 3:19 Col 3:2 
  • Revive: Ps 119:37,Ps 119:40,Ps 119:88,Ps 119:93,Ps 119:107,Ps 119:149,Ps 119:156,Ps 119:159 Ps 71:20 Ps 80:18 Ps 143:11 Ro 8:2,3 
  • according: De 30:6 2Sa 7:27-29 

Related Passages:

Psalm 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. 

Psalm 44:25  For our soul has sunk down into the dust; Our body cleaves to the earth.

Romans 7:22-24  For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

Psalm 119:37  Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways. 

Psalm 119:40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness. 

Psalm 119:88  Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth. 

Psalm 119:93  I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me. 

Psalm 119:107 I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word. 

Psalm 119:149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your ordinances. 

Psalms 119:156  Great are Your mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your ordinances. 

Psalm 119:159  Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness. 

Psalm 71:20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth. 

Psalm 80:18  Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. 

Psalm 143:11  For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble. 

GOD'S WORD
IT IS YOUR LIFE! 

My soul cleaves to the dust - Cleave is the Hebrew verb dabaq (Lxx =  kollao) which means to stick to, adhere to, cling to. The first use describes the supernatural union of a man and a woman in marriage (Ge 2:24). 

Revive me according to Your word - What does this teach us? God's Word has life! God's Word gives life! God's Word is our life! As Jesus clearly taught "“It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD." (Mt 4:4+, Dt 8:3+) Ask the LORD to feed you today, that your soul might be strengthened as you go forth into a culture that is becoming more godless by the day! 

In his parting words to Israel (last words are always worth listening to carefully) Moses declared 

Take (command) to your heart all the WORDS with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the WORDS of this law. 47 “For (term of explanation) IT (WHAT?) is not an idle (VAIN, EMPTY, USELESS; Lxx =  kenosWORD for you; indeed IT IS YOUR LIFE. And by this WORD you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.” (Deut 32:46-47)

Comment - Take in the Septuagint is  prosecho (pros = before, toward + echo = hold) which means literally to hold to, toward or before. Originally it was followed by the word "the mind" (nous) but at times "the mind" was omitted but still the idea of "the mind" was implied. Moses is saying apply your heart to the Word of God! Attach yourself to the Word of God! It is interesting that  Prosecho meant to moor a ship or tie it up, a good picture of every saint's life for we are like ships adrift of the waters of this world and need to be safely moored in the harbor of God's Word. Prosecho was also used to mean “to remain on course” another great picture of our lives staying "on course" because they are guided by the "true compass" of the Word of God! 

Take in the Septuagint is in the present imperative which is a command to make this one's habitual practice, to daily take God's Word to heart (our control center). And believers need to remember that they are daily in Need of the Holy Spirit to obey this command

THOUGHT - How do we take God's Word to heart? We are in it daily, daily reading it, so that becomes part of our very being, our LIFE! (Mt 4:4+, Lk 4:4+) We memorize it diligently, holding it fast in our memory, so it will hold us fast in trials and tribulations that otherwise might catch us off guard. And finally, we take it to heart by meditating on it night and day (Joshua 1:8+, Ps 1:2-3+). We take it to heart by imitating men like Job (Heb 6:12+) who declared "I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." (Job 23:12+)


Charles Bridges - 25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken thou me according to thy word

Sin is no trifle to a child of God. It is his heaviest sorrow. Thus David—thus the great Apostle—found it.2 And where is the believer, who has not full sympathy with their complaints? To have a soul cleaving to the dust, and not to feel the trouble, is the black mark of a sinner, dead in sins—dead to God. To “know the plague of our own heart,”3 to feel our misery, to believe and to apply the remedy,4 is the satisfactory evidence of a child of God. Dust is the portion of the world: and they wish for no better. But that the soul of the man of God should continually cleave to the dust, is most strange and humbling. And yet such is the influence of his evil nature—such the power of self-will and self-indulgence—such the regard to human praise, and cherishing of self-admiration, that were it not that he “abhors himself” for the very dust that cleaves to him, he would question the existence of a renewing change. He knows what he ought to be. He has tasted the blessedness of “mounting upward on eagles’ wings.”5 But every attempt to rise is hindered by the clogging weight that keeps him down. It is however the cleaving of his soul that is so painful,—not occasional, but constant—not like the bird of the morning that descends for a moment, and then soars his upward flight; but it seems as if, like the “serpent—dust was to be his meat;”6 as if the spiritual, heaven-born soul was to sink and grovel below. And then, as the dust of the summer-road blinds the eye, and obscures the prospect; how does this earthliness of soul darken the view of the Saviour, dim the eye of faith, and hide the glorious prospects, which, when beheld in the clear horizon, enliven the weary pilgrim on his way!

But this complaint is the language of conflict and humiliation—not of despondency—Mark the believer carrying it to the Lord—‘Here I lie in the dust, without life or power. Oh! thou Saviour, who “camest that I might have life, and that I might have it more abundantly”7—Quicken me. Breathe upon me thine own life, that I may rise from the dust, and cleave to thee.’ This cry for quickening grace is the exercise of faith. We have a covenant to plead. Faith is the hand, that takes hold of the promise—“according to thy word.” Can this word fail? “Sooner shall heaven and earth pass away, than one jot or one tittle pass” from the engagements of a covenant-keeping God. “He is faithful that hath promised.”1 The man who takes hold of this plea, is “a prince who has power with God, and prevails.”2

But how different is the character of the mere professor! ready probably to make the same confession, yet without humiliation, without prayer, without faith. Nothing is more common than to hear the complaint—‘ “My soul cleaveth unto the dust.” The world has such power over us—we are so cold—so dead to spiritual things;’ while perhaps the complaint is never once brought with wrestling supplication, but rather urged in indolent self-complacency, as an evidence of the good state of the heart before God. Yet it is not the complaint of sickness, but an application to the physician, that advances the recovery of the patient. We do not usually expect to better our condition, by mourning over its badness, or merely wishing for its improvement. Nor is it the confession of sin, but the application to the Great Physician that marks genuine contrition before God. That confession, which evaporates in heartless complaints, belongs not to the tenderness of a renewed heart. But the utterance of genuine prayer is the voice of God’s own “Spirit making intercession for us;” and then indeed how cheering the encouragement, that he “that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God!”3 Some are ready to give up or delay their duty, when they have been unable to bring their heart to it. Thus does ‘Satan get advantage of us’ by our ‘ignorance of his devices.’ Quickening grace is not the ground or warrant for duty. Indisposition to duty is not our weakness, but our sin—not therefore to be indulged, but resisted. We must mourn over the dulness that hinders us, and diligently wait for the ‘help we every moment need.’ God keeps the grace in his own hands, and gives it at his pleasure, to exercise our daily dependence upon him.4 The acting of grace strengthens the habit. Praying helps to pray. If the door is closed, “Knock, and it shall be opened.”5 Assuredly it will not long be shut to him, who has faith and patience to wait until it be opened.

Now let me sift the character of my profession. Is it an habitual, persevering, overcoming conflict with sin? Do I not sometimes indulge in fruitless bemoanings of my state, when I had far better be exercising myself in vigorous actings of grace? If I find “my soul cleaving to the dust,” am I not sometimes “lying on my face,”6 when I ought to be “taking heaven by violence,”7 by importunate petitions for quickening grace? Are my prayers invigorated by confidence in the word of God? Oh! let me remember that “they that wait upon the Lord,” shall shake off the dust to which they have cleaved so long, and “shall mount with wings like eagles,”1 to take possession of their heavenly home.

O Lord! make me more deeply ashamed, that “my soul should cleave to the dust.” Breathe upon me fresh influence from thy quickening Spirit. Help me to plead thy word of promise; and oh! may every fresh view of my sinfulness, while it prostrates me in self-abasement before thee, be overruled to make the Saviour daily and hourly more precious to my soul. For, defiled as I am in myself, in every service of my heart, what but the unceasing application of his blood, and the uninterrupted prevalence of his intercession, gives me a moment’s confidence before thee, or prevents the very sins that mingle with my prayers from sealing my condemnation? Blessed Saviour! it is nothing but thy everlasting merit, covering my person, and honoring my sacrifice, that satisfies the justice of an offended God, and restrains it from breaking forth as a devouring fire, to consume me upon my very knees!

2 Ps. 48:4. Rom. 7:24.

3 1 Kings 8:38.

4 Rom. 7:24, 25.

5 Isa. 40:31.

6 Ibid 65:25.

7 John 10:10.

1 Heb. 10:23, with Luke 21:33.

2 Gen. 31:28.

3 Rom. 8:26, 27.

4 Phil. 2:12, 13.

5 Matt. 7:7, 8.

6 Josh. 7:10.

7 Matt. 11:12.

1 Isaiah 40:31.

PSALM 119:25
C H SPURGEON

This portion has 'D' for its alphabetical letter: it sings of Depression, in the spirit of Devotion, Determination, and Dependence.

Ver. 25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust. 

He means in part that he was full of sorrow; for mourners in the east cast dust on their heads, and sat in ashes, and the Psalmist felt as if these ensigns of woe were glued to him, and his very soul was made to cleave to them because of his powerlessness to rise above his grief. Does he not also mean that he felt ready to die? Did he not feel his life absorbed and fast held by the grave's mould, half choked by the death dust? It may not be straining the language if we conceive that he also felt and bemoaned his earthly mindedness and spiritual deadness. There was a tendency in his soul to cling to earth which he greatly bewailed. Whatever was the cause of his complaint, it was no surface evil, but an affair of his inmost spirit; his soul cleaved to the dust; and it was not a casual and accidental falling into the dust, but a continuous and powerful tendency, or cleaving to the earth. But what a mercy that the good man could feel and deplore whatever there was of evil in the cleaving! The serpent's seed can find their meat in the dust, but never shall the seed of the woman be thus degraded. Many are of the earth earthy, and never lament it; only the heaven born and heaven soaring spirit pines at the thought of being fastened to this world, and bird limed by its sorrows or its pleasures.

Quicken thou me according to thy word. 

More life is the cure for all our ailments. Only the Lord can give it. He can bestow it, bestow it at once, and do it according to his word, without departing from the usual course of his grace, as we see it mapped out in the Scriptures. It is well to know what to pray for, David seeks quickening: one would have thought that he would have asked for comfort or upraising, but he knew that these would come out of increased life, and therefore he sought that blessing which is the root of the rest. When a person is depressed in spirit, weak, and bent towards the ground, the main thing is to increase his stamina and put more life into him; then his spirit revives, and his body becomes erect. In reviving the life, the whole man is renewed. Shaking off the dust is a little thing by itself, but when it follows upon quickening, it is a blessing of the greatest value; just as good spirits which flow from established health are among the choicest of our mercies. The phrase, "according to thy word, "means according to thy revealed way of quickening thy saints. The word of God shows us that he who first made us must keep us alive, and it tells us of the Spirit of God who through the ordinances pours fresh life into our souls; we beg the Lord to act towards us in this his own regular method of grace. Perhaps David remembered the word of the Lord in De 32:39, where Jehovah claims both to kill and to make alive, and he beseeches the Lord to exercise that life giving power upon his almost expiring servant. Certainly, the man of God had not so many rich promises to rest upon as we have, but even a single word was enough for him, and he right earnestly urges "according to thy word." It is a grand thing to see a believer in the dust and yet pleading the promise, a man at the grave's mouth crying, "quicken me, "and hoping that it shall be done.

Note how this first verse of the 4th octonary tallies with the first of the "Quicken me." While in a happy third (17). "That I may live"... "Quicken me." While in a happy state he begs for bountiful dealing, and when in a forlorn condition he prays for quickening. Life is in both cases the object of pursuit: that he may have life, and have it more abundantly.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.

The eight verses alphabetically arranged:

25. (D)epressed to the dust is my soul: quicken thou me according to thy word.

26. (D)eclared have I (to thee) my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

27. (D)eclare thou to me the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

28. (D)ropping (marg.) is my soul for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

29. (D)eceitful ways remove from me; and grant me thy law graciously.

30. (D)etermined have I upon the way of truth; thy judgments have I laid before me.

31. (D)eliberately I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.

32. (D)ay by day I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. Theodore Kubber.

Ver. 25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust. The Hebrew word for "cleaveth" signifies "is joined, ""has adhered, ""has overtaken, ""has taken hold, ""has joined itself." Our soul is a polypus: as the polypus readily adheres to the rocks, so does the soul cleave to the earth; and hardly can it be torn from the place to which it has once strongly attached itself. Though thy soul be now more perfect, and escaping from the waters of sin has become a bird of heaven, be not careless; earthly things are birdlime and glue; if you rub the wings against these thou wilt be held, and joined to the earth. Thomas Le Blanc.

Ver. 25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust, etc. The word rendered "cleaveth" means to be glued to; to stick fast. It has the sense of adhering firmly to anything, so that it cannot easily be separated from it. The word "dust" here may mean either the earth, and earthly things, considered as low, base, unworthy, worldly; or it may mean the grave, as if he were near to that, and in danger of dying. De Wette understands it in the latter sense. Yet the word cleave would hardly suggest this idea; and the force of that word would be better represented by the idea that his soul, as it were, adhered to the things of earth, that it seemed to be so fastened to them so glued to them that it could not be detached from them; that his affections were low, earthly, grovelling, so as to give him deep distress, and lead him to cry to God for Life and strength that he might break away from them. Albert Barnes.

Ver. 25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust, etc. The first clause seems intended to suggest two consistent but distinct ideas, that of deep degradation, as in Psalms 44:25, and that of death, as in Psalms 22:29. The first would be more obvious in itself, and in connection with the parallel referred to; but the other seems to be indicated as the prominent idea by the correlative petition for quickening in the last clause. "Quicken, "i.e., save me alive, or restore me to life, the Hebrew word being a causative of the verb to live. Joseph Addison Alexander.

Ver. 25. My soul cleaveth to the dust, etc. In this verse, David hath a complaint; "My soul cleaveth to the dust"; and a prayer; Quicken thou me according to thy word. The prayer, being well considered, shall teach us the meaning of the complaint; that it was not, as some think, any hard bodily estate which grieved him, but a very sore spiritual oppression (as I may call it), bearing down his soul; that where he should have mounted up toward heaven, he was pressed down to the earth, and was so clogged with earthly cogitations, or affections, or perturbations, that he could not mount up. His particular temptation he expresses not; for the children of God many times are in that estate that they cannot tell their own griefs, and sometimes so troubled, that it is not expedient, albeit they might, to express them to others.

And hereof we learn, how that which the worldling counts wisdom, to the Christian is folly; what is joy to the one, is grief to the other. The joy of a worldling is to cleave unto the earth; when he gripes it surest, he thinks himself happiest, for it is his portion: to take heed to his worldly affairs, and have his mind upon them (in his estimation) is only wisdom. For the serpent's curse is upon him, he creeps on the earth, and licks the dust all the days of his life. This is the miserable condition of the wicked, that even their heavenly soul is become earthly. Qui secundum corporis appetentiam vivit caro est, etiam anima eorum caro est; as the Lord spake of those who perished in the Deluge, that they were but flesh, no spirit in them; that is, no spiritual or heavenly motion.

But the Christian, considering that his soul is from above, sets his affection also on those things which are above: he delights to have his conversation in heaven; and it is a grief to him when he finds his motions and affections drawn down and entangled with the earth. His life is to cleave to the Lord; but it is death to him when the neck of his soul is bowed down to the yoke of the world. William Cowper.

Ver. 25. My soul cleaveth to the dust. "Look up now to the heavens." So once spake the Lord to Abraham his friend, and he speaketh thus to us also. Alas! why must it be so always that, when we come to know ourselves even but a little, we are constantly answering with the mournful sigh, "My soul cleaveth to the dust"? Ah! that is indeed the deepest pain of a soul which has already tasted that the Lord is merciful, when, although desiring to soar on high, it sadly feels how impossible it is to rise. There is much hidden pain in every heart of man even in the spiritual life; but what can deeper grieve us than the perception that we are chained as with leaden weights to things concerning which we know that they may weary but cannot satisfy us? Nay, we could never have supposed, when we first, heard the Psalm of the Good Shepherd, that it could issue from a heart that panteth after God so often and so bitterly; we could never have imagined that it could become so cold, so dry, so dark within a heart which at an earlier period had tasted so much of the power of that which is to come. Have we not formerly, with this same Psalm, been able to vaunt, "I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches"? But afterwards, but now perhaps... Oh sad hours, when the beams of the sun within seem quenched, and nothing but a blond red disc remains! The fervency of the first love is cooled; earthly cares and sins have, as it were, attached a leaden plummet to the wings of the soul which, God knows, would fain soar upwards. We would render thanks, and scarce can pray; we would pray, and scarce can sigh. Our treasure is in heaven, but our soul cleaves to the earth; at least earth cleaves on all sides so to it, and weighs it down, that the eye merely sees the clouds, the tongue can but breathe forth complaints. Ah, so completely can the earth fetter us, that the heavens appear to be only a problem, and our old man is like the Giant of Mythology, who, cast to the ground in the exhausting combat, receives by contact with his mother earth fresh strength. Oh, were it otherwise! Shall it not at last, at last be altered?

Dost thou really desire it, thou who out of the depths of thy soul so complainest, and canst scarcely find more tears to bewail the sorrow of thy heart? Well is it for thee if the pain thou sufferest teach thee to cry to God: "Quicken thou me, according to thy word." Yea, this is the best comfort for him who too well knows what it is to be bowed together with pain; this is the only hope for a heart which almost sinks in still despair. There is an atmosphere of life, high above this dust which streams to us from every side, and penetrates even the darkest dungeon. There is a spring of life by which the weary soul may be refreshed; and the entrance to this spring stands open, in spite of all the clouds of dust which obscure this valley of shadows here. There is a power of life which can even so completely make an end of our dead state, that we shall walk again before the face of the Lord in the land of the living, and, instead of uttering lamentation, we shall bear a song of praise upon our lips. Does not the Prince of life yet live in order also to repeat to us, "Awake and rejoice, thou that dwellest in the dust; "and the Spirit, that bloweth whither he listeth, can, will, shall he not in his own good time, with his living breath, blow from our wings the dust that cleaveth to them? But, indeed, even the gnawing pain of the soul over so much want of spirituality and dulness is ever an encouraging sign that the good work is begun in our hearts: that which is really dead shivers no more at its own cold. "My soul cleaveth to the dust, " sayest thou, with tears? thus wouldest thou not speak except that already a higher hand between the soul and this dust had cleft a hollow which was unknown to it before. No one has less cause for despair than he who has lost hope in himself, and really learns to seek in God that, which he deeply feels, he least of all can give himself.

Yes, this is the way from the deepest pain to procure the best consolation; the humble, earnest, persevering player, that he who lives would also give life to our souls, and continue to increase it, till freed from all dryness and deadness of spirit, and uprooted from the earth, we ascend to the eternal mount of light, where at last we behold all earthly clouds beneath us. This the God of life alone can work; but he is willing nay, we have his own word as pledge, that he promises and bestows on us true life. Only, let us not forget that he who will quicken us "according" to his word, also performs this through his word. Let us then draw from out the eternally flowing fountain, and henceforth leave it unconditionally to him, how he will listen to our cry, even though he lead us through dark paths! Even through means of death God can quicken us and keep us alive. Lo, we are here; Lord, do with us as seemeth good to thee! Only let our souls live, that they may praise thee, here and eternally! J. J. Van Oosterzee (1817-1882), in "The Year of Salvation."

Ver. 25. Cleaveth to the dust. Is weighed down by the flesh which itself is dust. James G. Murphy.

Ver. 25. The dust, is the place of the afflicted, the wounded, and the dead. Quicken me, viz., to life, peace, and joy. A. R. Fausset.

Ver. 25. Quicken thou me, etc. Seeing he was alive, how prays he that God would quicken him? I answer, The godly esteem of life, not according to that they have in their body, but in their soul. If the soul lacks the sense of mercy, and a heavenly disposition to spiritual things, they lament over it, as a dead soul: for sure it is, temporal desertions are more heavy to the godly than temporal death. According to thy word. This is a great faith, that where in respect of his present feeling he found himself dead, yet he hopes for life from God, according to his promise. Such was the faith of Abraham, who under hope, believed above hope. And truly, many times are God's children brought to this estate, that they have nothing to uphold them but the word of God; no sense of mercy, no spiritual disposition; but on the contrary, great darkness, horrible fears and terrors. Only they are sustained by looking to the promise of God, and kept in some hope that he will restore them to life again, because it is his praise to finish the work which he begins. William Cowper.

Ver. 25. Quicken thou me. This phrase occurs nine times, and only in this Psalm. It is of great importance, as it expresses the spiritual change by which a child of Adam becomes a child of God. Its source is God; the instrument by which it is effected is the word, Psalms 119:50. James G. Murphy.

Ver. 25 Quicken thou me according to thy word. Where there is life there will be the endeavour to rise the believer will not lie prone in his aspirations after God. From the lowest depths the language of faith is heard ascending to God most high, who performeth all things for the believer. The true child cannot but look towards the loving Father, who is the Almighty, All sufficient One. Have you not found it so? But will you mark the intelligence that shines around the believer's prayer? He prays that the Lord may quicken him according to his word. The word may be regarded in the light of the standard after which he is to be fashioned; or the Psalmist may have in view the requirements contained in the word regarding the believer's progress; or he may be thinking of the promises found therein in behalf of the poor and needy when they apply. Indeed, all these significations may be wrapped up in the one expression "according to thy word"  the standard of perfection, the requirements of the word, the promises concerning it. The great exemplar of the believer is Christ, of old it was the Christ of prophecy. Then the requirements of the Lord's will were scattered through the word. The Psalmist, however, may be dwelling upon the large promises which the Lord hath given towards the perfecting of his people. You see after what the spiritual nature aspires. It is quite enough to the natural man or the formalist that he be as the generally well behaved and esteemed among professors the spiritual man aspires beyond he aspires after being quickened according to God's word. Judge of yourselves. John Stephen.

Ver. 25. Quicken thou me according to thy word. By thy providence put life into my affairs, by thy grace put life into my affections; cure me of my spiritual deadness, and make me lively in my devotion. Matthew Henry.

Ver. 25. Quicken thou me according to thy word, Albeit the Lord suffer his own to lie so long low in their heavy condition of spirit, that they may seem dead; yet by faith in his word he keepeth in them so much life as doth furnish unto them prayer to God for comfort: "Quicken thou me according to thy word." David Dickson.

Ver. 25 Quicken thou me. To whom shall the godly fly when life faileth but to that Wellspring of all life? Even as to remove cold the next way is to draw near the fire, so to dispel any death, the next way is to look to him who is our root, by whom we live this natural life. All preservatives and restoratives are nothing, all colleges of physicians are vanity, if compared with him. Other things which have not life, give life as the instruments of him who is life, as fire burneth being the instrument of heat. "When heart and flesh fail, God is the strength of my heart." As a man can let a fire almost go out which had been kindled, and then blow it up, and by application of new fuel make it blaze as much as ever: so can God deal with this flame of life which he hath kindled. Paul Bayne.

Ver. 25. According to thy word. The word removes deadness of conscience and hardness. Is not this word a hammer to soften the heart, and is not this the immortal seed by which we are begotten again? Therefore David, finding his conscience in a dead frame, prayed, "My soul cleaveth to the dust; quicken thou me according to thy word." The word is the first thing by which conscience is purified and set right. John Sheffield, in "A Good Conscience the Strongest Hold, "1650.

Ver. 25. According to thy word. What word doth David mean? Either the general promises in the books of Moses or Job; which intimate deliverance to the faithful observers of God's law, or help to the miserable and distressed; or some particular promise given to him by Nathan, or others. Chrysostom saith, "Quicken me according to thy word: but it is not a word of command, but a word of promise." Mark here, he doth not say secundum meritum meum, but, secundum verbum tuum;the hope, or that help which we expect from God, is founded upon his word; there is our security, in his promises, not in our deserving: Prommittendo se fecit debitorem, etc.

When there was so little Scripture written, yet David could find out a word for his support. Alas! in our troubles and afflictions, no promise comes to mind. As in outward things, many that have less live better than those that have abundance; so here, now Scripture is so large, we are less diligent, and therefore, though we have so many promises, we are apt to faint, we have not a word to bear us up. This word did not help David, till he had lain so long under this heavy condition, that he seemed dead. Many, when they have a promise, think presently to enjoy the comfort of it. No, waiting and striving are first necessary. We never relish the comfort of the promises till the creatures have spent their allowance, and we have been exercised. God will keep his word, and yet we must expect to be tried.

In this his dead condition, faith in God's word kept him alive. When we have least feeling, and there is nothing left us, the word will support us: "And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief but was strong in faith, giving glory to God" (Romans 4:19-20). One way to get comfort is to plead the promise of God in prayer, Chirographa tua injiciebat tibi Domine, show him his handwriting; God is tender of his word. These arguments in prayer, are not to work upon God, but ourselves. Thomas Manton

Ver. 25. One does not wonder at the fluctuations which occur in the feelings and experience of a child of God at one time high on the mountain, near to God and communing with God, at another in the deep and dark valley. All, more or less, know these changes, and have their sorrowing as well as their rejoicing seasons. When we parted with David last, what was he telling us of his experience? that God's testimonies were his delight and his counsellors;but now what a different strain! all joy is darkened, and his soul cleaveth to the dust. And there must have been seasons of deep depression and despondency in the heart of David€” given as a fugitive and wanderer from his home, hunted as a partridge upon the mountains, and holding, as he himself says, his life continually in his hands. Yet I think in this portion of the Psalm there is evidence of a deeper abasement and sorrow of heart than any mere worldly suffering could produce. He had indeed said, "I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul"; but, even in that moment of weak and murmuring faith, he knew that he was God's anointed one to sit on the throne of Israel. But, here there is indication of sin, of grievous sin which had laid his soul low in the dust; and I think the petition in Psalms 119:29 gives us some clue to what that sin had been: "Remove me from the way of lying." Had David you may well ask in wonder had David ever lied? had he ever deviated from the strait and honourable path of truth I am afraid we must own that he had at one time gone so near the confines of a falsehood, that he would be but a poor casuist and a worse moralist who should attempt to defend the Psalmist from the imputation. We cannot read the 27th chapter of the 1st of Samuel without owning into what a sad tissue of equivocation and deceit David was unhappily seduced. Well might his soul cleave to the dust as he reviewed that period of his career; and though grace did for him what it afterwards did for Peter, and he was plucked as a brand out of the burning, yet one can well imagine that like the Apostle afterwards, when he thought thereon he wept, and that bitterly. Barton Bouchier.

HINTS TO PREACHERS.

Outlines Upon Keywords of the Psalm, By Pastor C. A. Davis.

Ver. 25-32. Quickening. Prayed for with confession (Psalms 119:25-26). When obtained shall be talked of (Psalms 119:27). Desired for the sake of strength (Psalms 119:28), of truthfulness (Psalms 119:29-31), and of activity (Psalms 119:32).

HINTS TO PREACHERS.

Ver. 25. 

1. Nature and its tendency.

2. Grace and its mode of operation.

3. Both truths in their personal application.

Ver. 25. Quicken thou me, etc.

1. There are many reasons why we should seek quickening.

(a) Because of the deadening influence of the world. "Thy

soul cleaveth, "etc.

(b) The influence of vanity (see Psalms 119:37).

(c) Because we are surrounded by deceivers (see

Psalms 119:87-88).

(d) Because of the effect of seasons of affliction upon us

(see Psalms 119:7).

2. Some of the motives for seeking quickening.

(a) Because of what you are a Christian; life seeks more

life.

(b) Because of what you ought to be.

(c) Because of what we shall be.

(d) In order to obedience (see Psalms 119:88).

(e) For your comfort (Psalms 119:107; Psalms 119:50).

(f) As the best security against the attacks of enemies

(Psalms 119:87-88).

(g) To invigorate our memories (Psalms 119:93).

(h) Consider (as a motive to seek this quickening) the

terrible consequences of losing spiritual life; or, in

other words, lacking it in its manifest display.

3. Some of the ways in which the quickening may be brought to us.

(a) It must be by the Lord himself. "Quicken me, O Lord."

(b) By the turning of the eyes (Psalms 119:37).

(c) By the word (Psalms 119:50).

(d) By the precepts (Psalms 119:93).

(e) By affliction (Psalms 119:107).

(f) By divine comforts.

4. Enquire where are our pleas when we come before God to ask for quickening.

(a) Our necessity (Psalms 119:107, etc.).

(b) Our earnest desire (Psalms 119:40).

(c) Appeal to God's righteousness (Psalms 119:40).

(d) To his lovingkindness (Psalms 119:88; Psalms 119:149; Psalms 119:156).

(e) The plea in the text: "according to thy word"

(Psalms 119:28; Psalms 119:107). See "Spurgeon's Sermons, "No. 1350:

"Enlivening and Invigorating."

Psalm 119:26 I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; Teach me Your statutes. 

  • I have told of my ways: Ps 119:106 Ps 32:5 Ps 38:18 Ps 51:1-19 Pr 28:13 
  • Teach me Your statutes: Ps 119:12 25:4,8,9 27:11 Ps 86:11 143:8-10 1Ki 8:36 

I have told (saphar) of my ways - Don't miss this! To whom is he speaking? Clearly to God ("You have answered me"). What is the context (soul cleaving to dust)? The psalmist is confessing to the LORD. He is owning his sin! He is coming clean to God. Sin is ever ready to pounce on us (Ge 4:7) and sometimes it is successful! It is then that we need to tell our ways to the LORD even though He already knows. 

John Trapp - "My sins and troubles; those Thou hast remitted, and these Thou hast remedied." 

C H Spurgeon elaborates on told of my ways writing "First, he is making his case known. I understand this to be, first, the language of a sinner confessing his sin: “I have declared my ways.” He is a sensible sinner, and therefore he is not in a confessional box with the human ear of a fellow-sinner to listen to him; he is a rational being, who has not degraded himself so low as that. But he is confessing his sin to the great High Priest who can be “touched with the feeling of our infirmities;” to him who cannot be defiled by listening to our tale of sin; to him to whom alone will it avail to confess our sins, for “he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,” if we confess them to him.

Can each one of us now say, in this sense, “I have declared my ways” to the Lord? For this should be done, not only at our first coming to him, but continually throughout the whole of our life. We should look over each day, and sum up the errors of the day, and say, “ ‘I have declared my ways,’—my naughty ways, my wicked ways, my wandering ways, my backsliding ways, my cold, indifferent ways, my proud ways;—the way of my words, the way of my thoughts, the way of my imagination, the way of my memory, for it has a treacherous way of remembering evil and forgetting good;—the way of my actions towards thee, my God, and there is much to regret there; the way of my actions in my family, in the world, and in the church.” What a sorrowful stock-taking each day would be to many professors if they were honest to themselves and to their God! Even those who “walk in the light, as God is in the light,” and have the closest fellowship with him, yet know that it is a very sweet and blessed thing even for them that “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin;” for even they still sin, and it is necessary for each one of them to say continually, “I have declared my ways.”

Do you try to hide your sin, dear friend? It is useless for you to attempt to do so, for God ever sees it. Why do you seek to conceal what is always before his eye? Better far to confess it to him, that he may then cast it behind his back (Isa 38:17), and remember it against you no more forever (Isa 43:25). I believe that, often, as sinners confessing to God, we miss much true comfort for want of making a clean breast of our transgressions. Yet the Lord knows what is in our heart even though we do not own it. It has been well observed that, when Moses tried to excuse himself to God for not wanting to go to deliver Israel, he said that he was slow of speech, and God met that objection by giving him Aaron his brother to speak for him; but the Lord, in his reply to Moses, also said, “All the men are dead who sought thy life.” (Ex 4:19) Moses had not said anything about that matter; but God knew that there was that fear in his heart, so he put his finger on the sore place at once. It is well when we can do that for ourselves; when, in our spirit, there is no guile; when we come, as David did, in the 51st Psalm, and confess the very sin which we have committed: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,” (Ps 51:14) calling it by its right name, then is it that the soul begins to get peace with God.

“But,” someone asks, “are we, then, to confess to God every sin in detail?” No, that would be impossible, and probably it would not even be useful; but there must be no wish to conceal any sin from God. Such a desire would be a vain one, for “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Heb 4:13, cf Pr 15:3) There must be an acknowledgment of the sins which we have not yet seen in their full heinousness. Each of us will do well to offer David’s prayer, “Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” (Ps 19:12) If we have committed faults which are hidden even from ourselves, we desire to be delivered from them so that they should not remain to our condemnation.

I do not suppose that any unregenerate sinner will act thus towards his God until the Holy Spirit has begun to work graciously within him. While the prodigal was wasting his substance with riotous living, he thought himself a fine gentleman; and even when he was feeding the swine, he only said, “I have had very bad luck.” But it was “when he came to himself” that he said, “I will arise and go to my father;” and it was when he felt his father’s warm kiss upon his cheek that he made the confession, “Father, I have sinned.” There is no contrition so deep as that of the man who can say concerning his sins,—

             “I know they are forgiven;
               But, still, their pain to me
             Is all the grief and anguish
               They laid, my Lord, on thee.”

So, then, our text is, first, the language of a sinner confessing his guilt to his God; but it is more than that. It is, next, the private talk of a patient with his doctor: “I have declared my ways.”

See, there is the little room upstairs, and there lies the patient whom the physician has come to try to cure. The doctor’s first work is to find out all he can about the patient’s disease, so he begins by asking concerning the various symptoms that have been noticed. He is sure to look at the sick man’s tongue, and you may learn a great deal, spiritually, of the condition of a man’s heart from the state of his tongue. The doctor will also sound the patient’s lungs, and test his heart, and take his temperature, and ask him a great many questions, not merely about what appears on the surface, but about his inmost self; and when, at last, the patient can say, “There, doctor, I have told you all, now will you prescribe for me?” he is in the condition of the psalmist when he said to the Lord, “I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.”

The text very accurately describes such a state of things as that which exists when a patient relates his symptoms to the physician, and then the physician prescribes for him; for, in addition to sin being a great evil in the sight of God, it is also a disease to which we are all prone, and from which only the great Physician can cure us. We cry out against it, and our better self fights against it, yet the old man within us, “the body of this death,” as Paul calls it, fights against the new nature, and we should be overcome were it not for divine grace. So it is well for us to declare our ways. Suppose I put it for myself or for you thus, “Lord, I find that, even when I am engaged in prayer, my thoughts wander. When I am in trouble, I get fretful and rebellious. When a little difficulty meets me in my business, I do not trust thee as I ought. I sometimes find that, when I try to be humble, I become desponding; and when I am joyful, I become presumptuous. I seem to be like a pendulum swinging too far this way, and then too far that way. I know not how to steer the ship of my life between the Scylla of this sin and the Charybdis of that. O my Master, I am but dust and ashes, I am less than nothing, and vanity! If thou dost ask me what I ail, I seem to have all manner of diseases upon me at once. Sometimes, I am hot with fever, and full of wrath; and, at other times, I shiver with ague as though I did not know what I believed, and could not lay hold of thy truth with a firm grip. Sometimes I fear that I have a fatal disease upon me; and, certainly, were it not for thine unfailing medicine—the great catholicon—my soul would pine away, and die. Yet, amid all these evil symptoms, there is one sign that, I trust, is for good. I do know where my help lies; and I look alone to thee for healing. I know that thy precious blood has cleansed me, and on that blood alone I do rely.” Thus the patient tells the good Physician, as far as he can, what he feels, and what is the disease from which he is suffering.

I think, too, that we might use another figure to illustrate the meaning of our text; it is like a client telling his advocate all about his affairs. It is a difficult case in law. There is an accuser who has come forward with very serious charges, and he brings witnesses to substantiate what he affirms, and the case is a very complicated one. The client says that he does not know how to plead for himself; he says that he is at his wits’ end, and he asks the advocate whether he has any argument that can avail for him. The advocate replies, “I must first know all about your case before I can advise you, so tell me everything.” Now, the Lord Jesus, your great Advocate, already knows all about you, yet he likes you to tell it all to him. It is always a good thing to— “Tell it all to Jesus, Comfort or complaint.”

Mind that you do tell it all to him; do not keep anything back. Tell him the complex part of your life, and tell him the black part of it; be sure to bring that out. Tell him that the accuser has good ground for his charges against you, and that he can bring abundant witnesses against you,—ay, that your own conscience will witness against you,—and that you do not know of any plea, on earth or in heaven, that can avail for you unless he will be your Advocate. Then, how dear that Advocate will be to you when he tells you that he can plead his righteousness, his life, his blood, and his death, for “if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

I do not think, however, that we have reached the very marrow of our text until we regard it as describing the intimate communion of friend with friend: “I have declared, my ways.” When two men become linked together in close friendship, they are in the habit of telling to one another all that happens in their lives; and if one of them is in a difficulty, he goes off to his friend, and tells him about it. They agree with Solomon that “two are better than one; for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow;” and, by mutual counsel, wisdom will be found. The one who is in trouble tells his friend about it, and his friend, perhaps, puts to him a number of questions, not out of prying curiosity, but in order that he may become acquainted with the whole case, and so be qualified to advise or to help. And we, beloved, if we really know the Lord in spirit and in truth, are exalted to the position of friends of Jesus. “Henceforth,” said he to his disciples, “I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.” The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” when he was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah; and we must hide nothing from our God. It ought to be the daily habit of the believer to commune with his God; we ought to make him our Confidant in all things. You will go amiss, depend upon it, if you do not wait upon the Lord for guidance. “Bring hither the ephod,” was David’s command to the priests when he was in perplexity, and knew not what he ought to do. Israel made a great mistake with regard to the Gibeonites because the case seemed so simple to them that they did not need to consult the Lord concerning it. Here were men with dry and mouldy bread, and with old shoes and clouted upon their feet; they said they had come from a far country, and the matter appeared so plain that the Israelites asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord, but took of their victuals, and made a treaty with them, as they would not have done if they had consulted the Lord. I do not think that God’s people often go astray in the most difficult cases, for they do take them to the Lord in prayer. It is in simple matters that we make our greatest blunders, because we think we know what to do, and therefore we do not wait upon the Lord for guidance. Yet he who leans to his own understanding is trusting to a broken reed which will be sure to fail him just when he most needs it. So let us, each one, say to the Lord, in the language of the text, “I have declared my ways.” (See Spurgeon's sermon on Ps 119:26 A Man of God Alone with God)

Teach me Your statutes - If our Teacher the Spirit (Jn 14:26, 1Jn 2:20, 27+) does not open our minds to spiritual truth, our attempts will be nothing more than an intellectual exercise. Is this your prayer when you open the Book, that He would open your heart and mind to the supernatural truths


Told (05608) (saphar) means to number, to recount, to relate and then to declare. The first OT use refers to numbering objects (Ge 15:5, cf Ps 48:12). In Ps 19:1 "their expanse is declaring...", proclaiming, enumerating, telling, making known ("if you were told" - Hab 1:5). As a participle = writer, scribe, secretary. To number = take account of = carefully observe & consider. Saphar/sapar basically speaks of mathematical activity as in Ge 15:5+  (Gen 32:12 - "too great to be numbered", cf Jer 33:22 = "cannot be counted", Hos 1:10 "numbered") "count the stars, if you are able to count them." (cf Lev 15:13). To "count up" or "take a census" ("numbered the people" = 2 Sa 24:10). Assigning people to particular jobs ("So Solomon assigned..." = 2 Chr 2:2) Count out according to a list ("he counted them out to Sheshbazzar," = Ezra 1:8). With the sense "taken account of" (Ps 56:8) Meaning to measure ("until he stopped measuring" = Ge 41:49). Fathers => teach children to recount God's miracles and mighty deeds (Ps 78:3) Every believer is to declare or tell of the miracles and mighty deeds of the delivering God (1Chr 16:24; cf. Ps 9:1, 14 Ps 26:7 Ps 73:28 Ps 75:1 Ps 107:22 Jer 51:10) and to declare his name (Ps 102:21 Ps 22:22 etc.). 

Saphar is used far more in psalms that anywhere else in the OT -Ps. 2:7; Ps. 9:1; Ps. 9:14; Ps. 19:1; Ps. 22:17; Ps. 22:22; Ps. 22:30; Ps. 26:7; Ps. 40:5; Ps. 44:1; Ps. 48:12; Ps. 48:13; Ps. 50:16; Ps. 56:8; Ps. 59:12; Ps. 64:5; Ps. 66:16; Ps. 69:26; Ps. 71:15; Ps. 73:15; Ps. 73:28; Ps. 75:1; Ps. 78:3; Ps. 78:4; Ps. 78:6; Ps. 79:13; Ps. 87:6; Ps. 88:11; Ps. 96:3; Ps. 102:21; Ps. 107:22; Ps. 118:17; Ps. 119:13; Ps. 119:26; Ps. 139:18; Ps. 145:6;


John Phillips (See Exploring Psalms: An Expository Commentary- Gleams Amid the Gloom What the Psalmist Realized (Ps 119:25-29)
God's Word:

  • In Conviction (Ps 119:25)
  • In Confession (Ps 119:26)
  • In Consecration (Ps 119:27)
  • In Contrition (Ps 119:28)
  • In Contrast (Ps 119:29)

What the Psalmist Resolved (Ps 119:30-32)

         A. His Decision to Live for God (Ps 119:30)

         B. His Determination to Live for God (Ps 119:31)

         C. His Desire to Live for God (Ps 119:32)

Some great sorrow has overtaken the singer. He is overwhelmed with grief. In his extremity he prays. This is the first of nine prayers in this psalm for God's "quickening" in his life. The psalmist finds a gleam amid the gloom in the fact that God is still on the throne, still mighty to save, still sovereign over all the situations and circumstances of life.

The psalm divides into two main parts. We have, first:
I. What the Psalmist Realized (Ps 119:25-29)
The psalmist realized that God's Word has the answer to every need. We see him applying God's Word to his life in five fundamental ways.

A. God's Word in Conviction (Ps 119:25)
"My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken Thou me according to Thy word." We don't know what it was that so prostrated the psalmist before God. It may have been an overwhelming sense of his own guilt (guilt will do that). And that, after all, is the first function of God's Word-to expose guilt. The Holy Spirit's first work in the soul is to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come.

There can be little doubt that the psalmist was in the grip of deep depression. He was flat on his face in the dust. He had come to the end of himself and his own resources.

At this point our society would advise us to see a psychiatrist, seek professional help. There may be times when a Christian psychologist can help, but that was not the solution the psalmist discovered.

Sometimes when people go to a psychiatrist, they are put into group therapy and encouraged to let it all "hang out." They are to talk openly about their problems to others, who have problems too. Everybody comments on the problems, criticizing hangups, attitudes, personality traits, weaknesses, and shortcomings. All that is supposed to help.

The psalmist makes a different suggestion. He says to the Lord, "Quicken Thou me." He was going to air his problems all right, but he was going to take them to the Lord. He was going to seek a counselor-the counsel of the Word of God. There are very few problems in this life that cannot be solved by a thorough-going, honest exposure of one's life to the Scriptures. To do that is the greatest therapy in the world.

The psalmist asked God to "quicken him," that is, to put new life into him. What he needed was a stiff dose of Scripture, taken with a mixture of faith, every day. Try it. Read your Bible consistently. Say with Samuel, "Speak, Lord, Thy servant heareth." The Bible is a book of people and principles. Sooner or later, God will confront us in the pages of His Book with the basic cause of our problem and with His inspired, infallible solution to that problem. The psalmist had discovered the best way of all to handle depression.
But we must be prepared. The Bible will not hedge or redefine sin. It will put its finger unerringly on the sin question, frequently at the root of other problems of life.

Next we have:

B. God's Word in Confession (Ps 119:26)
Confession is also marvelous therapy. "I have declared my ways, and Thou heardest me." The psalmist confessed his wrongdoing to the Lord.

Usually when we confess to somebody else, we succeed only in transferring the load from us to them. A young man came up to me once and said, "I have a confession to make to you." I said, "Oh, what is it?" He said, "I have never liked you." That came as rather a shock to me since I hardly knew him. To the best of my knowledge I had never done him any harm. I suppose telling me that did him some good, but it didn't do me any good at all. I found I had the greatest difficulty liking him after that! Fortunately, the acquaintance was only a very casual one and I soon forgot all about it as the events of life came crowding in and our paths diverged forever. Now I cannot even remember his name, and when I do occasionally think about him it is with an inward smile at how foolish we can be.

The psalmist took his problems to the Lord. He lay down, so to speak, on the Great Physician's couch and poured out his soul to Him. He took his confession to the Lord and, first and foremost, that is the place to take it.

Right from the beginning, the Bible teaches us that. When God came into the garden of Eden to confront Adam with his sin His first question was, "What hast thou done?" He said: "Now tell Me all about it. What has happened?" No permanent solution could be found to the shame and guilt of Adam's soul until he had confessed to God. No permanent solution can be found to a personality problem that leaves out confession to God. That is one reason why so much modern counseling falls short of the mark.

Jesus is far more interested in us than any psychiatrist could ever be. And He is far more knowledgeable too.

C. God's Word in Consecration (Ps 119:27)
"Make me to understand the way of Thy precepts: so shall I talk of Thy wondrous works." God does not let us off lightly. When God has finished listening to our confession and has exposed us to His Word, His counsel will be that henceforth we are to adjust our ways to His Word. It is not blind obedience that God commands. He wants to show us how His precepts work. The psalmist made an intelligent request. He said, "Make me to understand the way of Thy precepts."

We find an example in Leviticus 11 where God spelled out for Israel His dietary laws-what animals they could and could not eat. We understand, of course, that we are not under law any more in such matters. What we are interested in here is the way those precepts worked for godly Israelites who regulated their lives by God's commands. If they were observed in the right spirit, those dietary laws would lead the Israelite:

1. In the Way of a Healthy Life

God forbade, for instance, the eating of pork, rabbits, scavenger fish, crabs, lobsters, carrion fowl, and beasts of prey. We now know that, unless the greatest care is taken, pork can lead to intestinal parasitic invasion. Crab meat can cause serious allergies. God simply forbade the Israelites to eat such foods. Obeying God's law led to a healthy life. The same is true of most of God's laws. Breaking God's moral laws leads to guilt and worry which in turn, lead to ulcers and to all kinds of other physical ailments. So the way of God's law is the way of a healthy life.

Observing God's dietary laws would also lead the Israelite:

2. In the Way of a Holy Life

The body of the believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Leviticus 11, with its long list of dietary restrictions, contains the explanatory command, "Be ye holy for I am holy." The underlying principle of that chapter, as it bears on Christian life today, is that we are not to put into our body things that would grieve the indwelling Holy Spirit and hinder Him from having undisputed sway over us. Such enslaving things as alcohol, drugs, and tobacco should be avoided on principle by believers. The Holy Spirit says, "To make a difference between the clean and the unclean [holiness and unholiness] and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten [between health and ill health]."

In addition, those dietary laws would lead the Israelites:

3. In the Way of a Happy Life

A holy life-a life free from guilt, from the gnawings of conscience, from psychologically-based illnesses-is far more likely to be happy than a guilt-ridden, pain-wracked life.

No psychologist can adequately deal with guilt apart from the Word of God. Guilt can be washed away only in the blood of Christ.
The psalmist, then, asks God to make him understand the way of His precepts, how they work. He promises that he will then talk of God's wondrous works. He will spread the word.

Next we have God's Word:

D. In Contrition (Ps 119:28)
"My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen Thou me according unto Thy word." The word melteth is a poetic way of expressing weeping. Thus it was that Jesus wept, not for His own sins, but for ours. One lesson of the prophet Hosea is that sin breaks not only God's laws, it breaks His heart.

Jesus wept at Bethany over what sin had done to an individual. His friend Lazarus was dead and in his grave. Sin had slain him as it slays everybody who enters this world. Our progress is steadily from the womb to the tomb. Jesus wept over that.

He wept over Jerusalem, over what sin had done to a nation. It had caused the nation of Israel to reject Him, and eventually to crucify Him. That sin would be visited in horror on that nation. Within a generation those hills would be black with crosses. Jesus wept over that.
He wept in Gethsemane over what sin had done to the world. Sin had turned this fair paradise into a graveyard. The penalty of sin, which soon He must bear, was so terrible, so full of horror, so appalling in its issues that He wept.

So we well might weep over our sin. "My soul melteth for heaviness" cried the psalmist as the Word of God bit into his innermost being.
Finally we have God's Word:

E. In Contrast (Ps 119:29)

The psalmist now prays, "Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me Thy law graciously."

He doesn't simply pray, "Remove me from the way of lying," as though his feet were ensnared in a net. He prays, "Remove from me the way of lying." He was conscious of the deep things of Satan in his own soul, that it was bent, warped, and twisted by indwelling sin. His heart was deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. He needed to have the way of lying taken from his soul.

We are all prone to tell lies; nobody has to teach a child to lie. Some people lie occasionally, when they find themselves in a tight corner. Others will look you in the face and, with every outward evidence of sincerity, string together a whole pack of lies and swear on the Bible that they are telling the truth. They will do it so convincingly that, although you know better, you still believe them. They lie seemingly without a qualm of conscience, as though lying were their natural language-which it probably is. Today lying is a way of life, accepted almost without question. Nothing so betrays our fallen human nature.

School textbooks lie to us, politicians lie to us, businessmen lie to us, advertisers lie to us, newspapers lie to us, our children lie to us. Worst of all, when we get sick of it all and look for a way out, we find we are hedged around with religious lies. Buddhism is a lie. Islam is a lie. Much that passes for Christianity is a lie.

When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, He told the truth because He is the truth. Pilate, who had been lied to under oath many times, who had so often witnessed in court the perfidy and falsehood of the majority of men, who now scarcely expected the truth out of anybody, cynically demanded of Jesus,"What is truth?" And then, just as cynically, he walked away without waiting to be told.

The Word of God stands in contrast to the way of lying. The Bible tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. "Thy word is truth." The psalmist wanted God to straighten him out inside.

He saw, in God's Word, the answer to his need. He did not see God's law as something imposed on him governmentally, but as something imparted to him graciously. God's law to him was a blessing, not a burden.
Now the emphasis changes. We are told:

II. What the Psalmist Resolved (Ps 119:30-32)

The psalmist made three resolutions.

A. His Decision to Live for God (Ps 119:30)
"I have chosen the way of truth: Thy judgments have I laid before me." He has just asked God to remove from him the way of lying; now he deliberately chooses the way of truth. He records his decision to live for God.

A classic example of such an attitude is Daniel, who purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the king's meat. We can picture him alone in his room, that first night there in Babylon. He is overwhelmed with impressions. The grandeur and splendor of that capital city, paganism on every hand. He and his friends had been chosen by the king. Their obvious intelligence, high rank, and attractive persons had secured for them impressive prospects. They were to be groomed for high office. The world lay at their feet. Daniel was to go to school in Babylon, to be trained for an important position in the administration. He was to mix with the intelligentsia, the nobility, the social elite of Babylon-at a price. The price was the compromise of his convictions. Tomorrow he would be assigned his place at the table of his peers, along with scores of others. He would be offered the best food in Babylon, with rare dainties from the royal kitchens and viands from the king's own table. The king no doubt wanted these selected courtiers of his to be the picture of good health.

Daniel took out his Bible and began to read. Passages in the Mosaic Law spoke of what kind of meat could or could not be eaten and how that meat must be killed. It must contain no blood. Well he knew that the meat which would be placed before him the next day would not meet these rigid standards of the law. He saw before him two paths. He could dare the king's wrath or he could set aside the law of God. The one path led topromotion, the other to peril; one was the path of delight, the other the path of danger; one path entailed compromise, the other conviction; the one path demanded saying "yes" to the world; the other path demanded saying "yes" to the Word. He read the Scriptures, he prayed. He said, "I have chosen." He chose to live for God.

Sooner or later that choice faces every child of God, the choice between compromising some biblical principle and complete obedience to the Word of God-even if it means offending friends, family, or employer.

Further, the psalmist records:

B. His Determination to Live for God (Ps 119:31)
A decision to live for God is the crisis; a determination to live for God is the process. The psalmist uses an interesting expression to describe his determination. He says, "I have stuck unto Thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame." That word stuck means exactly what it says. It means "attached" or "adhered." It conjures up a picture of a man who has adhered himself to the Word of God. He is not stuck with it (as though it were some kind of a burden), he is stuck to it. He cannot be separated from it. Note also that he has stuck himself to it.

Every now and then we see an advertisement on television for super glue. We see someone put a spot of this glue on a two-thousand pound car, and a little dab on the end of a piece of wood suspended from a crane. Then the tip of the wood is brought in contact with the glue on the car and a fast bond is made. Then, wonder of wonders, the car is hauled thirty feet into the air, dangling from a piece of wood, stuck with super glue. That is how the psalmist was stuck to God's Word. Nothing could pry him loose.

"O Lord, don't let me down," he says. As though God ever could. Once adhere yourself to God's Word and He will see you through, no matter what happens. The bonding is perfect.

That is the kind of bonding we need nowadays. We send a young person off to college and the first thing one of his professors says to him is, "Now you can forget all your parents told you..." This psalmist says: "Not me! I've been glued to the Book!" That is the kind of young person to send to college. In fact, if that kind of bonding has not taken place it is probably best he or she stay out of a secular college. It is better for a person to spend life pumping gas or waiting tables than to lose one's soul in a college classroom. That is what Jesus meant when He said that it is possible to lose one's life for His sake and yet to find it.

Last, the psalmist records:

C. His Desire to Live for God (Ps 119:32)

"I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart." Sin narrows us. By nature we are chronically addicted to our own ways. God's wants and wishes do not appeal to us at all. Sin has narrowed our hearts so that our circle of desire is circumscribed by self. As for God's vast and eternal interests, we scarcely have a thought for them at all.

The psalmist realizes that if ever he is to have an enlarged horizon, he must first have an enlarged heart. God must enlarge his heart. Such things as the prayer meeting, the communion service, the demands of the mission field, the daily quiet time, the meeting place of the people of God, must all be interests God implants in the soul. The psalmist's desire is to live for God. He asks God to enlarge and increase that desire so that he will end up running eagerly in God's ways.


Ps. 119:26 Open, Obedient, Occupied
 
Read Psalm 119:25-32
 
An enlarged heart, in the physical sense, is dangerous. But spiritually speaking, an enlarged heart can be a blessing. "I will run in the way of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart" (Psalm 119:32). If you have an enlarged heart physically, you don't do much running. But if you have an enlarged heart spiritually, you are ready to walk and run with the Lord and accomplish His purposes. When an athlete is running, he is on a path and has a goal in mind, which gives him the energy to continue. That's what God wants for us today. He has a goal for us to reach and a path for us to follow. And He gives us His strength through His Word.
 
What does it mean to have an enlarged heart? First, an enlarged heart is open to God's truth. It's a heart that's honest and says, "Lord, I want Your truth even if it hurts."
 
Second, an enlarged heart is obedient to God's will. It's a humble heart that says, "O God, what You have said, I will do. I am the servant. You are the master."
 
Third, an enlarged heart is occupied with God's glory. It's a happy heart. Some people's hearts are small and narrow. They live in their own little world and have their own narrow view. What a wonderful thing it is to grow in grace and the knowledge of truth (2 Pet. 3:18)! Our horizons are expanded. We can see what we haven't seen before. We can hear what we haven't heard before. God gives us an enlarged life because we have an enlarged heart. 
 
* * *
Open your heart to God's truth and be obedient to His will. Every step of obedience expands your horizon of blessing and ministry. Most of all, be occupied with God's glory (Psalm 119:25-32 Open, Obedient, Occupied)


Charles Bridges - 26. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me; teach me thy statutes

A beautiful description of the “simplicity and godly sincerity” of the believer’s “walk with God!” He spreads his whole case before his God, “declaring his ways” of sinfulness,2 of difficulty,3 and of conduct.4 And indeed it is our privilege to acquaint our Father with all our care and need; that we may be pitied by his love, and guided by his counsel, and confirmed by his strength. Who would not find relief by unbosoming himself to his Father? This showing of ourselves to God—declaring our ways of sin before him without guile—is the short and sure way of rest. “Thou heardest me.” “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.”5 While the voice of ingenous confession was suppressed, cries and lamentations were disregarded. It was not the voice of the penitent child! and therefore “where was the sounding of his father’s bowels, and of his mercies towards him?”6 But now, on the first utterance of confession from his lips, or rather on the first purpose of contrition formed in his heart; “while he is yet speaking,”7 the full and free pardon, which had been signed in heaven, comes down with royal parental love to his soul—“I said, I will confess my transgression unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”8 Oh! what cannot he testify of the more than parental tenderness, with which “his transgression is forgiven, and his sin covered!”9 And yet how necessary to the free declaration of our ways is an acquaintance with the way of forgiveness! Had not our great “High Priest passed into the heavens,” how awful would have been the thought, that “all things were naked and opened unto the eyes of him, with whom we have to do!” We could only then have “covered our transgressions as Adam, by hiding our iniquity in our bosom.”1 But now, even though “our ways” are so defiled, so crooked, that we cannot but “abhor ourselves,” on account of them, we are yet encouraged “boldly” to “declare” them all before God, with the assurance of finding present acceptance, and seasonable grace.2

And now, having found the happy fruit of this sincere and child like spirit, then follows the obligation of walking worthy of this mercy.3 Hence our need of the prayer for continual teaching. The same heavenly guidance, that brought us into the way of return, we need for every successive step to the end—“Teach me thy way, O Lord: I will walk in thy truth.”4 “I have declared my” ignorance, my sinfulness, and my whole experience before thee, looking for thy pardoning mercy, thy teaching Spirit, and assisting grace—“And thou hast heard me.” O continue to me what thou has been, and teach me more of thyself!

The hypocrite may pray after his manner. But he never thus opens his heart, and declares his ways before his God. And are we sincere in our dealings with him? How often do we treat our Almighty friend as if we were weary of dealing with him! And even when we do “declare our ways” before him, are we not often content to leave the result as a matter of uncertainty? We do not watch for the answer to our prayer. It will come in the diligent exercise of faith, but not perhaps in our way. We may have asked for temporal blessings, and we receive spiritual.5 We may have “besought” deliverance from trial, and we receive “grace sufficient” to bear it.6 But this is the Lord’s wise and gracious answer—Thou heardest me. And how sweet are those mercies, which come to us manifestly marked with this inscription—“Received by prayer!” They are such encouragement to pray again.7 It is not our inevitable weakness,8 nor our lamented dulness,9 nor our abhorred wanderings,10 nor our opposed distractions,11 nor our mistaken unbelief;12 it is not any—no—nor all these—that can shut out our prayer. If “iniquity” is not “regarded in our heart,” we may always hear our Saviour’s voice—“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”13

2 Psalm 51:3.

3 Ps. 5:8; 27:11.

4 Ps. 143:8, 10; 69:5.

5 Ps. 32:3.

6 Isaiah 63:15.

7 Dan. 9:20.

8 Psalm 32:5. 2 Sam. 12:13. Comp. Jer. 3:12, 13.

9 Compare Psalm 32:1. Luke 15:18–22. Prov. 28:13.

1 Job 31:33.

2 Heb. 4:13–16.

3 Psalm 85:8.

4 Ib. 86:11.

5 Matt. 9:2.

6 2 Cor. 12:8, 9.

7 Psalm 116:1, 2.

8 Rom. 7:21.

9 Mark 14:38, 40.

10 Ps 119:113.

11 Psalm 86:11, last clause.

12 Mark 9:22, 24.

13 John 16:23, 24. Every way worthy of that great man, and a most instructive illustration of Christian sincerity, was the resolution of President Edwards: “Resolved to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz., with the greatest openness to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him—all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and everything, and every circumstance, according to Dr. Manton’s twenty-seventh sermon on the 119. Psalm.” Resol. 65. Extracted from his Diary. Works, vol. i. 16.

Psalm 119:27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders. 

  • So I will meditate on Your wonders: Ps 71:17 78:4 105:2 111:4 145:5,6 Ex 13:14,15 Jos 4:6,7 Ac 2:11 Rev 15:3 

Related Passages:

Revelation 15:3+  And they *sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ​“Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! 

Make me understand (bin/biy = a command) the way of Your precepts, so I will meditate (siyahon Your wonders (pala  - The simple meaning of this passage is that unless the Spirit sheds light on the precepts, our eye is blind to their hidden, but glorious truths. But as the psalmist says later " The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. ." (Ps 119:130) Make me understand in the Septuagint is sunetizo which means cause to understand or give insight and is in the aorist imperative, not as if we can bark a command at God, but expressing the urgency of the request = Unless You give understanding, it will not happen! 


Understand (discern) (0995bin/biyn  means to understand or perceive. Bin/biyn conveys the same idea as our word discrimination. It entails the idea of making a distinction as in 1Ki 3:9 where Solomon ask God for the ability "to discern (bin/biyn) between good and evil". Many of the OT uses of bin/biyn are translated "understanding," an understanding which is the result of comparative "study" or "mental separation".

Uses of bin/biyn in Psalms Ps. 5:1; Ps. 19:12; Ps. 28:5; Ps. 32:9; Ps. 33:15; Ps. 37:10; Ps. 49:20; Ps. 50:22; Ps. 58:9; Ps. 73:17; Ps. 82:5; Ps. 92:6; Ps. 94:7; Ps. 94:8; Ps. 107:43; Ps. 119:27; Ps. 119:34; Ps. 119:73; Ps. 119:95; Ps. 119:100; Ps. 119:104; Ps. 119:125; Ps. 119:130; Ps. 119:144; Ps. 119:169; Ps. 139:2; 

Meditate (07878 - verb) (07879 - noun)(siyah) has the basic meaning of to rehearse, go over matter in one's mind usually rendered "meditate " or "talk." Speak, talk, converse aloud, or even with oneself. Ponder. Muse. In Ps 119:27 siyah is rendered with the rare verb adolescheo which can mean to talk idly, to talk in general (Ps 69:12) and then to meditate (Ge 24:63). 

Wonders (miracles) (06381)(pala)   is a verb which means to be difficult, to be hard, to be extraordinary or amazing, be surpassing or to cause a wonderful thing to happen. To be beyond one’s power to do. To do something wonderful, extraordinary or difficult = Wonders, Marvels, Marvelous works. In Ps 119:27 the Septuagint has thaumasios which means wonderful, marvelous, excellent and describes that which is a cause of wonder or worthy of amazement. (Mt 21:5, Ex 3:20)


Charles Bridges - 27. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works

Mark the reiterated cries of the man of God for heavenly light—Teach me thy statutes—make me to understand the way of thy precepts. The need and the encouragement for these cries is equally manifest. Who has ever been known to understand the way of himself? And to whom—walking in a well-ordered conversation—has the Lord ever failed to show it?1 A man, untaught by the Spirit of God, may be able to criticise and even clearly to expound much of the word of God. But such a prayer as this has never ascended from his heart; the necessity of it has never been felt. And doubtless from this neglect of prayer have arisen those floating fancies and false and unscriptural doctrines, which crude, unexercised minds have too hastily embraced. Instead of humbly and simply asking—“Make me to understand”—men too often “lean to their understanding,” and are “vainly puffed up” by their fleshly mind, “not holding the Head.”2 Such men may obtain loose fragments of spiritual knowledge. But they will not be in the faith “grounded and settled.”3 They never know when they are upon safe ground; and being “unlearned and unstable, they wrest the Scriptures”—except the sovereign grace of God interpose—“unto their own destruction.”4

Never must we forget, that teaching from above is indispensable to a right knowledge of the most simple truths. Ignorance and prejudice pervert the understanding. “Spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned.”5 Divine doctrines can only be apprehended by Divine light.6 But under heavenly teaching, the deeper and more mysterious truths (so far as they are needful to be understood) are manifested with the same clearness, as the more elementary doctrines—“Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit. Now we have received—not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”7 Wondrous indeed is the spiritual revelation in the knowledge of himself; including “the hope of his calling—the riches of the glory of his inheritance in his saints—the exceeding greatness of his power” manifested to, and wrought in, his people—no other or less than that “which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.”8 In the understanding of the way, we would be progressing, until the new man “grows up unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”9 The smallest attainment in this knowledge is (as the great day will fully declare) of infinitely greater value than the highest intelligence in the field of earthly science.

But how important is it to grow in this knowledge!10 Theoretical attainment is at a stand. Spiritual and practical knowledge is always advancing. Little, indeed, comparatively, is necessary for salvation. But much for comfort and steadfastness—much also for the clear discernment of that narrow way of the precepts so difficult to trace, and when traced so difficult to maintain. Not less important is it to keep the object in constant view. Why do I desire to understand that way? That I may commend it to others—that I may talk of thy wondrous works. Abhorred be the thought of indulging in a self-complacent view of my attainments! But oh! let my God be more admired by me, and glorified in me.1 And may I advance both myself and others in his obedience and praise!

Often do we complain of restraint in religious conversation. But the prayer—Make me to understand while I talk—will bring “a live coal to our lips” from the altar of God—“Our mouths will then speak out of the abundance of the heart,”2 and “minister grace to the hearers.”3 Humility, teachableness, simplicity, will bring light into the understanding, influence the heart, “open the lips,” and unite our every member that we have in the service and praise of God.

1 See Psalm 50:23.

2 Col. 2:18, 19.

3 Ib. 1:24.

4 2 Peter 3:16.

5 1 Cor. 2:14.

6 Psalm 36:9.

7 1 Cor. 2:9, 10, 12.

8 Eph. 1:17–20.

9 Ib. 4:13.

10 2 Peter 3:18.

1 Gal. 1:24. Matt. 5:16.

2 Matt. 12:34.

3 Eph. 4:29.

Psalm 119:28 My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word. 

  • soul: Ps 22:14 107:26 Jos 2:11,24 
  • strengthen: Ps 27:14 29:11 De 33:25 Isa 40:29,31 Zec 10:12 Eph 3:16 Php 4:13 

My soul weeps because of grief - His soul is personified as being able to weep! 

Strengthen (command) me according to Your word - Strengthen is of course figurative referring to making my heart and mind and soul and spirit firm and sure, the Septuagint rendering it with bebaioo which means to establish, make sure, to strengthen inwardly, make unwavering and again is in the aorist imperative, not as if we are commanding God, but more of crying out in desperate, urgent need for His intervention. Note God's part is to strengthen internally (cf Eph 3:16+), but our part is not passive but is to be an active intake of the pure milk of the Word that by it we might grow in respect to salvation (including being spiritually strengthened). 


Charles Bridges - 28. My soul melteth for heaviness; strengthen thou me according unto thy word

Is this David “whose heart is as the heart of a lion, utterly melting?”4 But the sorrows, as the joys of the spiritual hope—dealing immediately with the Infinite and Eternal God—are beyond conception.5 Ordinary courage may support under the trials of this life; but when “the arrows of the Almighty are within us, the poison thereof drinketh up our spirit.”6 How then can the Christian’s lot be so enviable—when their souls thus melt for heaviness? But this—be it remembered—is only “for a season.” There is a “needs be” for it, while it remains: and in the end it will “be found unto praise, and honor, and glory.”7 Never perhaps are their graces more lively, or the ground of their assurance more clear, than in these seasons of sorrow. They complain, indeed, of the diversified power of indwelling sin. But their very complaints are the evidence of the mighty working of indwelling grace. For what is it but the principle of faith, that makes unbelief their burden? What but hope, that struggles with their tears? What but love, that makes their coldness a grief? What but humility, that causes them to loathe their pride? What but the secret spring of thankfulness, that shows them their unthankfulness, and shames them for it? And therefore the very depth of “that heaviness which melts their souls” away, is the exhibition of the strength of God’s work within, upholding them in perseverance of conflict to the end. Would not the believer then, when eyeing in his heaviest moments the most prosperous condition of the ungodly, say—“Let me not eat of their dainties?”8 Far better, and, we may add, far happier, is godly sorrow than worldly joy. In the midst of his misery, the Christian would not exchange his hope in the Gospel—though often obscured by unbelief, and clouded by fear—for “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.” “If the heart knoweth his own bitterness, a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.”1 Yet the bitterness is keenly felt. Sin displeases a tender and gracious Father.2 It has “pierced” the heart that loves him,3 and shed the blood that saves him. It “grieves”4 the indwelling Comforter of his soul. God expects to see him a mourner; and he feels he has reason enough to mourn—“My soul melteth for heaviness.”

But this cry of distress is sometimes the child under his Father’s needful chastisement. The world is dethroned, but not extirpated in the heart. Much dross is yet to be removed. The sources of the too attractive earthly joy must be embittered: and now it is that the discipline of the cross forces the cry—“my soul melteth for heaviness.” Yet in the midst of heaviness, the child of God cannot forget that he is loved—that he is saved; and the recollection of this sovereign mercy makes his tears of godly sorrow, tears of joy.

But this melting heaviness has not wrought its work, until it has bowed us before the throne of grace with the pleading cry of faith—strengthen thou me. For do we stand by the strength of our own resolutions or habits of grace? Unless the Lord renew his supply from moment to moment, all is frail and withering. But what burden or difficulty is too great for Almighty strength? “Fear not, thou worm Jacob; thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small.”5 And especially in our success, when the plea is drawn, as it is repeatedly in this Psalm6—according to thy word.” For what does that word assure us?—“As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”7 “Will he plead against me”—said Job—“with his great power? No; but he will put strength in me.”8 Thus David found it in his own case: “In the day when I cried, thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.”9 Thus also to the apostle was the promise given and fulfilled: “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”10 And is not “the God of Israel” still “he that giveth strength and power unto his people;”11 still the same “faithful God, who will not suffer them to be tempted above that they are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that they may be able to bear it?”12

When we are most sensible of our utter helplessness, and most simple in our reliance upon Divine strength, then it is, that the “soul, melting for heaviness,” is most especially upheld and established. “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop; but a good word maketh it glad.”1 And how reviving is that “good word” of the Gospel, which proclaims the Saviour, anointed to “give the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,”2 and gifted with “the tongue of the learned, that he might know how to speak a word in season unto him that is weary!”3 And no less encouraging is it to view Him “melting for heaviness”4—“sore amazed and very heavy”—under the accumulated weight of imputed guilt; learning by this bitter discipline, “in that he himself suffered being tempted, to succor them that are tempted.”5 Yet was he, like his faithful servant, strengthened according to his Father’s word, in the moment of his bitterest agony, by the agency of his own creation.6 And this faithful support, vouchsafed to the Head, is the seal and pledge of what every member in every trouble will most assuredly enjoy. “As the sufferings of Christ abound in his people, so their consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”7 The blessed word will supply all their need—life for their quickening, light for their direction, comfort for their enjoyment, strength for their support—“Strengthen thou me according unto thy word.”

Lord, may I ever be kept from despondency—regarding it as sinful in itself, dishonorable to thy name, and weakening to my soul; and though I must “needs be sometime in heaviness through manifold temptations,” yet let the power of faith be in constant exercise, that I may be able to expostulate with my soul—“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”8

4 2 Sam. 17:10. Comp. Josh. 7:5. Ps. 107:26.

5 See Job 34:29.

6 Job 6:4. Comp. Prov. 18:14.

7 1 Peter 1:6, 7. Comp. Ps. 30:5.

8 Psalm 141:4.

1 Prov. 14:10. “A good man lying on his bed of sickness, and being asked—which were the most comfortable days that he ever knew? cried out—O give me my mourning days; give me my mourning days again, for they were the joyfullest days that ever I had.”—Brooke’s Works.

2 Psalm 51:4.

3 Zech. 12:10.

4 Eph. 4:20.

5 Isa. 41:14, 15.

6 Verses 25, 41, 58, &c.

7 Deut. 33:25.

8 Job 23:6.

9 Ps. 138:3.

10 2 Cor. 12:9.

11 Ps. 68:35.

12 1 Cor. 10:13.

1 Prov. 12:25.

2 Isaiah 61:3.

3 Ib. 50:4.

4 Psalm 22:14.

5 Mark 14:33, with Heb. 2:18.

6 Luke 22:43, with 2 Cor. 12:8, 9.

7 2 Cor. 1:5.

8 Psalm 42:11.

Psalm 119:29 Remove the false way from me, And graciously grant me Your law. 

  • Remove : Ps 119:37,104,128,163 141:3,4 Pr 30:8 Isa 44:20 Jer 16:19 Jon 2:8 Eph 4:22-25 1Jn 1:8 2:4 Rev 22:15 
  • grant me: Ps 119:5 Jer 31:33,34 Heb 8:10,11 

Remove the false way from me, and graciously grant me Your law - It is impossible to truly receive and assimilate the truth (law) when we are encumbered by the false way. False is the Hebrew word sheqer which is a way of life walking completely contrary to God’s Law (Septuagint = adikia = wrongdoing, unrighteousness, wickedness). In Ps 119:26 he confessed his ways. Now he pleads for the way which is false to be removed, to be withdrawn, the Septuagint verb aphistemi (aorist imperative) conveying the cry to God to keep it away, in essence to cause (by the Spirit giving the desire and power - Php 2:13NLT+) one to abstain (as in 2Ti 2:19+). 


Charles Bridges -  29. Remove from me the way of lying; and grant me thy law graciously

Every deviation in principle and conduct from the strait and narrow path, is a way of lying. Every traveller in the way, “feedeth on the ashes” of his own delusion. Does it seem a marvel that the man of God should deprecate so earnestly the influence of gross sin?9 “The brand plucked out of the fire” retains a susceptibility of the fire. The oldest Christian in the family of God might at Any moment of unwatchfulness be captivated by the chain of his former sins. Might not the recollection of past compliances with this shameful sin10 naturally have suggested the prayer—Remove from me the way of lying. But even in the profession of the Gospel, should we “be removed from him that called us into the grace of Christ unto another gospel;”11 should erroneous doctrines find a place in our system; and—as the natural consequence of doctrinal errors—should any inconsistency be marked in our practice; should there be any allowed principles of sinful indulgence, self-righteousness, conformity to the world, or shrinking from the daily cross,—then, indeed, will the prayer naturally flow from our hearts—Remove from me the way of lying.

Most justly are ways such as these called “ways of lying.” They promise what it is impossible, in the nature of things, that they can ever perform: and prove to their deluded followers that “they that observe lying vanities, forsake their own mercy.”1 We can be at no loss to trace these “ways” to their proper source;—to him, who, “when he speaketh a lie, speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it.”2 A lie was his first, alas! too successful instrument of temptation, by which he “beguiled Eve through his subtlety,”3 and still does he lament, moreover, that he should still pursue the same deadly work throughout the world lying under his sway, beguiling the blinded “children of disobedience”4 into the awful deception of mistaking their God, and into the blind choice of preferring “broken cisterns” to “the fountain of living water.”5

The gracious knowledge of the law is the only means of the removal of this evil way. David—as a king—had it written by him.6 He wished it written on him. Not the book always before him—but on the heart. The external knowledge is the common benefit of all. The gracious knowledge is the covenant blessing of the Lord’s people7—the only effective principle of holiness. The law is still what it was—an enemy to the ungodly—forcing a hateful light upon their conscience—a delight to the servant of God—framing his will, and directing his conduct. Thus truth extirpates lying. Christ reigns instead of Belial.

Thus also we are enabled to “keep our hearts”—those leading wanderers, that mislead the rest.8 For wherever we see wandering eyes, wandering feet, and a wandering tongue, all flow from a heart, that has taken its own liberty in wandering from God. But with the law as our rule, and the Spirit as our guide, we shall be directed and kept in a safe and happy path.

Grant me thy law graciously. Grant me a clearer perception of its holy character—a more sensitive sprinkling from transgressing it—a more cordial approval of its spirit—a more entire conformity to its directions.

9 Isaiah 44:20.

10 1 Sam. 21:13; 27:10.

11 Gal. 1:6.

1 Jonah 2:8.

2 John 8:44.

3 Gen. 3:1–6, with 2 Cor. 11:3.

4 Rev. 12:9, with 2 Cor. 4:4. Eph. 2:2.

5 Jer. 2:13.

6 Deut. 17:18, 19.

7 Heb. 8:10.

8 Prov. 4:23.

Psalm 119:30  I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me. 

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me - The "faithful way" is the way of the Word, the path lit by the truth of God's Word, even as he says later writing "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." (Ps 119:105)


Charles Bridges - 30. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me

Only two ways lie before us for our choice—“the way of lying” and “the way of truth.” God by the light of his word guides us into one—Satan by his temptations allures us into the other. The way of lying is the natural choice of man. The choice of the way of truth is the Lord’s work in the hearts of his people—the seal of his special, eternal love. His teaching shows us the way;9 and his grace enables us to “choose” it.10 And who in his subsequent course has ever found reason to alter his first determination? Does Mary regret her choice of the “good part?”11 One, whose solid and reflecting judgment was not likely to make a rash or hasty choice tells us, of the outset of his course—“What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” The experience of twenty years—instead of bringing matter for repentance—only confirmed him in his choice; and he repeats his determination with increasing energy of expression; “Yea doubtless and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”1 In the same spirit one of the ancient fathers expresses himself: ‘If I have any possessions, health, credit, learning—this is all the contentment I have of them—that I may have something to despise for Christ, who comprises in his own person all and everything that is most desirable.’2

The connection of this verse with the preceding, well illustrates the bias of the believer’s heart. His experience of the deceitfulness of sin, Satan, and his own heart, stirs up the prayer—“Remove from me the way of lying.” But his choice is expressed in this verse—“I have chosen the way of truth.” The sincere desire to have “the way of lying removed from us,” is a clear evidence, that we have already “chosen the way of truth;” that “the spirit of truth hath guided us to him,”3 who is indeed “the way of truth”—the true and only way to God!4 And of all ways that could be set before the Christian, this is the way he would “choose”—as bringing most glory to his God, exalting the Saviour, honoring the spirit of God, and securing the salvation of his own soul. Whatever becomes of me—the Christian would feel—‘I would have no other way than this. Yea, though I should perish I would abide in it. So transcendent is the discovery of the glory of God—scarcely less clear than the glory of heaven itself!

The practical pathway, however, is often rugged—always narrow. We may have to encounter not only the reviling of an ungodly world, but even the suspicions of our brethren, who may not always understand our motives. Yet if our heart is upright with God, “none of these things will move us.” Our choice is made, and we are prepared to abide the cost.5

But that our choice may be daily established, let us not forget the treasury of our life, light, and grace. Let us lay the “judgments of God before us.” For we have always some new lesson to learn—some new duty to perform—some new snare to avoid. We must therefore walk by rule6—as under the eye of a jealous God, who enlightens and cheers our path—under the eye of the ungodly, who “watch for our halting”—under the eye of weak Christians, who might be stumbled by our unsteady walk—under the eye of established Christians, who will be yet further established by the testimony of our consistent profession. The Gospel affords all the material for this strict and accurate walk. All is given that is needed. The obedience that is enjoined is secured. “God working in us,”1 enables us to work for him; and while we are humbly looking for further supplies, and diligently improving what has been already bestowed, he is pledged by promise to assist,2 as we are bound by duty to obey.

What then—let me inquire—is the choice which I have made? I would remember that it is for eternity. And if, through the grace that has first chosen me, “I have chosen the way of truth,”—is the effect of this choice daily visible in a life and conversation well-ordered according to the word of God? If it is good to “hide that word in my heart,”3 as a safe-guard against sin; it is good also “to lay it before” my eyes, as the chart to guide my course—the model to direct my work—the support to uphold my weakness.4

9 Ps. 25:4; 32:8. Is. 48:17.

10 Ps. 110:3. Is. 44:3–5.

11 Luke 10:42.

1 Phil. 3:7, 8.

2 ‘Totus desirabilis et totum desirabile.’—Greg. Naz. Orat. i

3 John 16:13, 14.

4 Jn. 14:6.

5 Luke 14:28. Acts 20:24.

6 See Gal. 6:16. Phil. 3:16.

1 Phil. 2:12, 13. Isaiah 26:12.

2 Isaiah 41:10. Zech. 10:12.

3 Ps 119:11.

4 Joshua 1:8.

Psalm 119:31 I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame! 

  • I cling to Your testimonies): Ps 119:48,115 De 4:4 10:20 Pr 23:23  Joh 8:31 Ac 11:23 
  • do not put me to shame: Ps 119:6,80 25:2,20 Isa 45:17 49:23 Jer 17:18 Ro 5:5 1Jn 2:28 

I cling to Your testimonies - Cling (dabaq in perfect tense - speaks of his "state") means I am "stuck like glue" to God's truth, God's testimonies. He follows close and hard after God's testimonies which speaks of close contact with God's Word. This is our daily need. 

O LORD, do not put me to shame! (bosh) - Sin brings shame, so this is another prayer out of a desperate, broken heart. The psalmist senses his deep need for the cleansing waters of God's forgiveness because of his sins. 

The root meaning of shame (bosh) is “to become pale” or “to blush.” When sin occurs, there is a disconcerting feeling, a flushing of the face (unless we have so numbed our conscience that we no longer even know how to blush! Jer 6:15, 8:12). The word often occurs in contexts of humiliation and shattered human emotions. It is the feeling of public disgrace. Bosh is the confusion, embarrassment, or dismay when things do not turn out as expected. The Septuagint translates bosh with the verb Kataischuno in the present tense - continually to be disgraced, dishonored, humiliated, put to shame. 


Shame (put to shame) (0954)(bosh) according to Strong means "properly to pale and by implication to be ashamed, disappointed or delayed." The TWOT says the primary meaning is "to fall into disgrace, normally through failure, either of self or of an object of trust." The word has overtones of being or feeling worthless. It is a "key word" in the psalms (but also common in the major prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah where Israel is confronted with her sins against the LORD) - 

Gen. 2:25; Exod. 32:1; Jdg. 3:25; 2 Sam. 19:5; 2 Ki. 2:17; 2 Ki. 8:11; 2 Ki. 19:26; Ezr. 8:22; Ezr. 9:6; Job 6:20; Job 19:3; Ps. 6:10; Ps. 14:6; Ps. 22:5; Ps. 25:2; Ps. 25:3; Ps. 25:20; Ps. 31:1; Ps. 31:17; Ps. 35:4; Ps. 35:26; Ps. 37:19; Ps. 40:14; Ps. 44:7; Ps. 53:5; Ps. 69:6; Ps. 70:2; Ps. 71:1; Ps. 71:13; Ps. 71:24; Ps. 83:17; Ps. 86:17; Ps. 97:7; Ps. 109:28; Ps. 119:6; Ps. 119:31; Ps. 119:46; Ps. 119:78; Ps. 119:80; Ps. 119:116; Ps. 127:5; Ps. 129:5; Prov. 10:5; Prov. 12:4; Prov. 14:35; Prov. 17:2; Prov. 19:26; Prov. 29:15; Isa. 1:29; Isa. 19:9; Isa. 20:5; Isa. 23:4; Isa. 24:23; Isa. 26:11; Isa. 29:22; Isa. 30:5; Isa. 37:27; Isa. 41:11; Isa. 42:17; Isa. 44:9; Isa. 44:11; Isa. 45:16; Isa. 45:17; Isa. 45:24; Isa. 49:23; Isa. 50:7; Isa. 54:4; Isa. 65:13; Isa. 66:5; Jer. 2:26; Jer. 2:36; Jer. 6:15; Jer. 8:9; Jer. 8:12; Jer. 9:19; Jer. 10:14; Jer. 12:13; Jer. 14:3; Jer. 14:4; Jer. 15:9; Jer. 17:13; Jer. 17:18; Jer. 20:11; Jer. 22:22; Jer. 31:19; Jer. 46:24; Jer. 48:1; Jer. 48:13; Jer. 48:20; Jer. 48:39; Jer. 49:23; Jer. 50:2; Jer. 50:12; Jer. 51:17; Jer. 51:47; Jer. 51:51; Ezek. 16:52; Ezek. 16:63; Ezek. 32:30; Ezek. 36:32; Hos. 2:5; Hos. 4:19; Hos. 10:6; Hos. 13:15; Joel 1:11; Joel 2:26; Joel 2:27; Mic. 3:7; Mic. 7:16; Zeph. 3:11; Zech. 9:5; Zech. 10:5; Zech. 13:4

Gilbrant adds -  The Qal stem conveys the sense of "to feel shame" or "to be ashamed" (of something); to feel shame in general (Isa 19:9; 23:4; 45:6; etc.); to be ashamed of something, where the object of shame is governed by the preposition min (HED #4263). Such objects include nations (Isa. 20:5; Jer 2:36); harvest (Jer. 12:13); idolatry (Isa. 1:29; Jer. 48:13); one's own ways (Ezek. 36:32).

The word may also mean to be ashamed of some behavior, where the behavior is expressed by an infinitive. One may be ashamed to ask for protection (Ezra 8:22); be frustrated (Jer 14:3); humiliated (Jer 22:22); disgraced (Isa 41:11; 45:16, 17; Ezek. 16:52) or confused (Ps. 35:4).

The Polal stem conveys the sense of "to delay" (because of shame). Moses delayed to descend from Mt. Sinai because of his anticipated shame over the idolatry of Israel (Exo. 32:1). Sisera's mother thought he (literally, his chariot) delayed to come home because of the shame of defeat (Judg. 5:28).

The Hiphil stem conveys the sense of to put (someone) to shame, to cause (someone) shame, or to act shamefully: to put someone to shame (2 Sam. 19:6; Prov. 10:5; 14:35; 19:26; 29:15; Jer. 2:26); to cause someone shame (Prov. 12:4; 17:2), or to act shamefully (Hos. 2:7). At times, the Hiphil stem conveys nearly the same sense as the Qal.

The Hithpolel stem conveys the sense of being ashamed of oneself before others. Adam and Eve both were "naked and were not ashamed" (Gen. 2:25). (Complete Biblical Library)


Charles Bridges - 31. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame

We have just seen the choice of the man of God, and the rule by which he acted upon it. Now we see his perseverance—first choosing the way—then sticking to it. While he complained of his soul cleaving to the dust,5 he would yet say—I have stuck unto thy testimonies—illustrating the Apostle’s delineation of the Christian’s two hearts (as a converted African expressed it) “I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”6 In the midst, however, of the most painful conflicts, the child of God holds fast his confidence. He feels that he hates the sin that he commits, and loves the Saviour, whom, in spite of himself, he dishonors; so that, with all his sins and unworthiness, he fears not to put in his claim among the family of God.

But, reader, seriously ask yourself—How did you become a Christian? Was it by birth and education, or by choice? If indeed by grace you have been enabled to “choose the way of truth,” then be sure you firmly stick to it, or better, far better, that you had not made it at all. “No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. It had been better for you not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after you have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto you.”1 Yet praised be God for the security of perseverance! He that enabled you to “put your hand to the plough” will keep it there in the habit of faith, firm and steadfast. “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth you.”2

Yet this cleaving to the Lord3 can only be maintained by unceasing conflict. The length and weariness of the way,4 and the slowness of your progress, are sources of constant and harassing trial. Revert then to the ground of your original choice. Was it made under the Lord’s light and direction? This reason may well bind you to “stick to” it: are not the ways of God as pleasant—Is not Christ as lovely—heaven as desirable—as at the beginning? Nay—have you not even more reason to adhere to your choice than you had to make it? It was formed before at least you could fully know for yourself. Now “you have tasted”5—you have the seal of experience. Is not the crown more joyous in the nearer prospect?

Backslider! “Has God been unto you a wilderness, and a land of darkness,”6 that you virtually give your testimony after trial,—‘Satan is the better master, and I return to him?’—The world is the happiest path: and I will walk in it. This is indeed choosing a murderer in the stead of a Father—“forsaking the fountain” for the “broken cistern.”7 Oh! must there not be repentance in this path? May it be before it be too late! Ponder who it was that befriended you in the moment of awful extremity, and snatched you as a brand from the burning. Ponder the endearing proofs of his love—condescending to become a man—“a man of sorrows,”8 and to die in the agony of the cross, bearing for you the eternal curse of God.9 And does not gratitude remind you, what returns of faithful service are due from a creature so infinitely indebted to him? Surely the steadfast perseverance with which his heart clave to his costly work,10 may serve to put to shame your unsteadiness in “sticking to his testimonies.”

Believer! you are determined to abide by your choice—but not in your own strength. Remember him, who one hour declared, that he would sooner die with Christ than deny him; and the next hour denied him with oaths and curses.11 Learn then to follow up your resolution with instant prayer—“O Lord, put me not to shame.” Leave me not to myself, lest I become a shame to myself and an offence to thy church. “I will keep thy statutes; O forsake me not utterly.”12 Dependence upon the Lord, in a deep sense of our weakness, is the principle of perseverance. Never will he shut out the prayer of his faithful servant. He hath promised—“My people shall never be ashamed;”13 and therefore, taking firm hold of his promise, you may “go on your way rejoicing.”

5 Ps 119: 25.

6 Rom. 7:22, 23, 25. Thus does Augustine graphically describe this conflict in his own mind—“The new will which began to be in me, whereby I would love thee, O my God! the only certain sweetness, was not yet able to overcome my former will, confirmed by long continuance. So my two wills, the one old, the other new; the one carnal, the other spiritual, conflicted between themselves, and rent my soul by their disagreement. Then did I understand by my own experience what I had read, how the ‘flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit lusteth against the flesh.’ I was myself on both sides, but more in that which I approved, than in that which I condemned, in myself, because for the most part I suffered reluctantly what I did willingly.”—Confess. Book viii. ch. 5. Compare Rom. 7:15–20.

1 Luke 9:62. John 8:31. 2 Peter 2:21.

2 Ps. 128:5.

3 Acts 11:23.

4 Numb. 21:4.

5 1 Peter 2:3.

6 Jer. 2:31.

7 Jer. 2:13.

8 Isaiah 53:3.

9 Gal. 3:13.

10 Compare Matt. 16:23. Luke 12:50. Heb. 12:2, 3.

11 Matt. 26:55, 74.

12 Ps 119:8.

13 Joel 2:27.

Psalm 119:32 I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart. 

  • run: Song 1:4 Isa 40:31 1Co 9:24-26 Heb 12:1 
  • enlarge: Ps 119:45 18:36 1Ki 4:29 Job 36:15,16 Isa 60:5 61:1 Lu 1:74,75 Joh 8:32,36 2Co 3:17 6:11 1Pe 2:16 

Related Passages:

Isaiah 40:31+  Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength (MORE LITERALLY EXCHANGE THEIR "STRENGTH" FOR HIS STRENGTH!); They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart - This is speaking figuratively of "running" the race of life as in Hebrews 12:1+ "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," And how do we run? We run by fixing our eyes on the only One Who every ran the race perfectly, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ (Heb 12:2+). To encourage you to run to win the prize play this great little song based on Hebrews 12 - Run Like Heaven

This verse also reminds me of Paul's sobering declaration upon which every servant of Christ would do well to meditate (frequently)...

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) in such a way (THIS IS A RUNNING THAT WILL NOT WIN) that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified (adokimos). (1Co 9:24-27+)


Charles Bridges - 32. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart

A glowing picture of the Christian’s delight in the ways of God! If we “have chosen the way of God’s commandments,” and have been able to “stick unto” this way, surely we shall wish to “run in it” with constancy and cheerfulness. We shall want to mend our pace. If we walk, we shall long to “run.” There is always the same reason for progress, that there was for setting out. Necessity, advantage, enjoyment, spur us on to the end. Whatever progress we have made, we shall desire to make more; we shall go on praying and walking, and praying that we may walk with a swifter motion: we shall be dissatisfied, yet not discouraged—“faint, yet pursuing.”1 Now this is as it should be. This is after the pattern of the holy apostle—“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do; forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”2 But the secret as well as the pattern of Christian progress is—looking beyond the Apostle, and the “so great cloud of witnesses with which we are encompassed”—and “looking unto Jesus.”3 Faith is the principle of life, and supplies the daily motion of life; directing our eye to him as “the Author,” until he “becomes the Finisher,” of our faith. This is at once our duty, our privilege, our happiness, and our strength. This is the point at which we begin to run. Hitherto, the shackles of sin, self-righteousness, and unbelief, had hindered us; now we “so run, that we may obtain.”4

But in “the way of God’s commandments” how are we “sore let and hindered” by a straitened heart! And how often do we feel the heart, as it were, “shut up, and it cannot get forth:”5 faith so low—desires so faint—hopes so narrow, that it seems impossible to make progress! Perhaps we “did run well,” and have been “hindered.”6 Perhaps the soul has been asleep in carelessness or self-indulgence; or unbelief in some of its varied forms has prevailed; and thus, while we “are not straitened” in God, we “are straitened in our own bowels.”7 If then the rich fool thought of enlarging his barns, when his stores had increased upon him,8 much more should we be sending up the petition—“O that thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast!”9 Whatever cause we have to cry out—“My leanness, my leanness,”10—still, let us in the exercise of faith and prayer, be waiting for a more cheerful ability to love, serve, and praise. Let us be restless, till the prison-doors are again opened, and the command is issued to the prisoners—“Go forth; and to them that are in darkness—Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.”11 Who knoweth but the Lord will once more shine upon us, once more unloose our fetters, and renew our strength?

Yet must every motion begin with God.12 I will run,—but how? not in mine own strength, but by “the good hand of my God upon me,”1 delivering and enlarging my heart. He does not say—I will make no efforts, unless thou work for me; but if thou wilt enlarge—I will run. Weakness is not the plea for indolence, but for quickening grace. “Draw me”—saith the Church—“we will run after thee.” “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”2 The secret of Christian energy and success is a heart enlarged in the love of God.

Let me then begin betimes—make haste—keep straight on—fix my eye on the mark—“endure unto the end.” I may yet expect in the joy of blessed surprise to exclaim—“Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.”3 Godly sorrow had made me serious. Now let holy joy make me active. “The joy of the Lord is my strength;”4 and I am ready, under the power of constraining love,5 to work and to toil—to run without weariness, to “march onward” without fainting;6 not measuring my pace by my own strength, but looking to him who “strengtheneth with all might by his Spirit in the inner man.”7

Happy fruit of wrestling prayer and diligent waiting on God! Joy in God, and strength to walk with him, with increasing knowledge of him, increasing communion with him, and increasing confidence in him.

1 Judges 8:4.

2 Phil. 3:13, 14.

3 Heb. 12:1, 2.

4 1 Cor. 9:24.

5 Psalm 88:8.

6 Gal. 5:7.

7 2 Cor. 6:12.

8 Luke 12:16–19.

9 1 Chron. 4:10.

10 Isaiah 24:16.

11 Isa. 49:9.

12 Prov. 16:1.

1 Ezra 7:9.

2 Song. 1:4. 2 Cor. 3:17.

3 Song. 6:12.

4 Neh. 8:10.

5 2 Cor. 5:14.

6 Isaiah 40:31, “march onward.”—Bishop Lowth’s Version.

7 Eph. 3:16.


Warren Wiersbe - Open, Obedient, Occupied  Psalm 119:25-32
An enlarged heart, in the physical sense, is dangerous. But spiritually speaking, an enlarged heart can be a blessing. "I will run in the way of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart" (Psalm 119:32). If you have an enlarged heart physically, you don't do much running. But if you have an enlarged heart spiritually, you are ready to walk and run with the Lord and accomplish His purposes. When an athlete is running, he is on a path and has a goal in mind, which gives him the energy to continue. That's what God wants for us today. He has a goal for us to reach and a path for us to follow. And He gives us His strength through His Word.

What does it mean to have an enlarged heart?

First, an enlarged heart is open to God's truth. It's a heart that's honest and says, "Lord, I want Your truth even if it hurts."

Second, an enlarged heart is obedient to God's will. It's a humble heart that says, "O God, what You have said, I will do. I am the servant. You are the master."

Third, an enlarged heart is occupied with God's glory. It's a happy heart. Some people's hearts are small and narrow. They live in their own little world and have their own narrow view. What a wonderful thing it is to grow in grace and the knowledge of truth (2 Pet. 3:18)! Our horizons are expanded. We can see what we haven't seen before. We can hear what we haven't heard before. God gives us an enlarged life because we have an enlarged heart. 

* * *
Open your heart to God's truth and be obedient to His will. Every step of obedience expands your horizon of blessing and ministry. Most of all, be occupied with God's glory

Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of Thy statutes, And I shall observe it to the end. (PRAYER)

NET  Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O LORD, the lifestyle prescribed by your statutes, so that I might observe it continually.

LXE  Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thine ordinances, and I will seek it out continually.

NLT  Psalm 119:33 Teach me your decrees, O LORD; I will keep them to the end.

KJV  Psalm 119:33 HE. Teach <03384> (08685) me, O LORD <03068>, the way <01870> of thy statutes <02706>; and I shall keep <05341> (08799) it unto the end <06118>.

ESV  Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.

NIV  Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end.

ASV  Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O Jehovah, the way of thy statutes; And I shall keep it unto the end.

CSB  Psalm 119:33 Teach me, LORD, the meaning of Your statutes, and I will always keep them.

NKJ  Psalm 119:33 HE. Teach <03384> (08685) me, O LORD <03068>, the way <01870> of Your statutes <02706>, And I shall keep <05341> (08799) it to the end <06118>.

NRS  Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end.

YLT  Psalm 119:33 He. Show me, O Jehovah, the way of Thy statutes, And I keep it -- to the end.

NAB  Psalm 119:33 LORD, teach me the way of your laws; I shall observe them with care.

NJB  Psalm 119:33 Teach me, Yahweh, the way of your will, and I will observe it.

GWN  Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O LORD, how to live by your laws, and I will obey them to the end.

BHT  Psalm 119:33 hôrëºnî yhwh(´ädönäy) Deºrek Huqqʺkä wü´eccüreºnnâ `ëºqeb

BBE  Psalm 119:33 HE O Lord, let me see the way of your rules, and I will keep it to the end.

  • Teach: Ps 119:12,26,27 Isa 54:13  Joh 6:45 
  • I shall observe: Ps 119:8,112 Mt 10:22 24:13 1Co 1:7,8 Php 1:6 1Jn 2:19,20,27 Rev 2:26 

Teach me, O LORD, the way of Thy statutes - This is a great prayer to utter frequently, because we are all like the hymnist who portrayed us as "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, O take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above." (See short clip on Robert Robinson's conviction by his own hymn). 

THOUGHT - Would we be so prone to wander if we prayed this prayed (sincerely, not ritualistically) each morning of the new day? We are always at risk of wandering but God's grace in answer to this prayer will help "stabilize the rudder" of our vessel! 

Septuagint (Lxx) = Teach (aorist imperative -see note below) (3549)(nomotheteo from nomos = a law + títhemi = to put, set) literally means to put a law and means to enact laws, make laws, give laws or establish as law (legislate) (Only 2 NT uses - Heb 7:11, Heb 8:6). There are 11 uses of nomotheteo in the Lxx (Ex 24:12; Dt 17:10; Ps. 25:8, 12; 27:11; 84:6; 119:33, 102, 104) and in 8/11 uses it translated yarah (to instruct) and thus conveys the sense of to instruct or to teach

And I shall observe it to the end - 

NET NOTE - Hebrew "and I will keep it to the end." The prefixed verbal form with vav (w) conjunctive indicates purpose/result after the preceding imperative. The Hebrew term bq,[e ('eqev) is understood to mean "end" here. Another option is to take bq,[e ('eqev) as meaning "reward" here (see Ps 19:11) and to translate, "so that I might observe it and be rewarded." 


Warren Wiersbe - You Become What You See
 
Read Psalm 119:33-40
 
Outlook determines outcome. What you are seeing helps to determine what you are becoming. So you'd better be careful what you look at. It's no wonder that the psalmist prays, "Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way" (Psalm 119:37). Worthless things here literally means "vanity." Much of what we see every day in the media, for example, is worthless and false. It doesn't come from God, who is Truth; it comes from Satan and the world. And it doesn't last; it's all vanity. The word for vanity means "emptiness"--what is left after you break a soap bubble.
 
Look at the Word of God. It is truth. It is God's treasure. It will endure forever. "Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven" (Ps. 119:89). When we fill our lives with the Word of God, we fight vanity. When we turn our eyes upon the pages of the Bible, we grow in truth and value and are in touch with eternity. It's an interesting coincidence that we find the letters "T" and "V" in Psalm 119:37 (in the words turn and vanity). I think a lot of people need to put this verse on their television sets. You may say, "TV is just harmless entertainment." But so much of what you see goes right into your mind and heart, making you cheap, false, worthless and temporary. The Bible tells us that "he who does the will of God abides forever" (I John 2:17).
 
* * *
So much of what the world offers is trivial, false and worthless. Don't build your life on the world's foundations. Build your life instead on the Word of God, for it endures forever.  (Psalm 119:33-40 You Become What You See)


Charles Bridges - 33. Teach me, O Lord, the way of the statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end

We need no instruction in the way of sin. That has been our way, ever since Adam “sought out his own invention.”8 The ungodly “desire no knowledge of the way of God’s statutes.”9 The heart leads the judgment, and “their heart is enmity to the law of God.”10 But for a child of God, this is a prayer for daily use. For the more he is taught, the more he feels his need of teaching, and the more earnest are his cries for this invaluable blessing. We know nothing spiritually, except as we are taught of God. The blind man must be led the plainest and most direct, as well as in the more difficult and rugged paths. And thus do we need the shining of light from above—not only in “the deep things of God”—but for the reception of the most elementary truths. And yet we want not this knowledge for its own sake—to feed pride or speculation—but for its practical influence. For of what avail is the discovery even of important truth, if we be not moulded into its likeness, and constrained “into the obedience of faith?” The connection of every thought with Christian practice, here directed to its proper end, is a most striking proof of the Divine origin of the statutes. The most clear instructions for the regulation of our conduct flow from single sentences or expressions in these “statutes!” and this clearly proves an infinite wisdom in their distribution, a reference in the eternal mind to every detail of practical duty, and a Divine power and unction, applying the word to the several circumstances of daily conduct! For, indeed, what mind but the mind of God could have comprehended in so small a compass such a vast system of instruction? In this view, therefore, the Lord’s teaching becomes the spring of obedience. For how can we “keep” a way which we do not understand? And who was ever “taught the way of the Lord’s statutes,” who had not his heart constrained and directed by their spiritual beauty and sweetness? In this path we realize union with the Saviour;1 “the love of God is perfected in us;”2 and our confidence is established before God.3

The object nearest to the believer’s heart, and which causes him many an anxious and too often—many an unbelieving thought—is the grace of perseverance. Now the Lord’s teaching is the principle of perseverance. It is “the light of life”4—enlightening the mind, and quickening the heart. Under this influence therefore we live—we endure—we cannot fail of keeping the way unto the end.5 Thus the end crowns the work. For with this blessing of perseverance, is sealed to us the hope of victory over our spiritual enemies, and the participation of our Saviour’s glory.6 Confidence, indeed, without prayer and dependence upon our glorious Head, is most daring presumption; but that “well-ordered and sure covenant,” which “is all our salvation, and all our desire,” engages for our continuance in “the way of the Lord’s statutes!” I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”7

8 Eccl. 7:29. Isa. 53:6.

9 Job 21:14.

10 Rom. 8:7.

1 1 John 3:24.

2 1Jn 2:5.

3 1Jn. 3:22.

4 John 1:4; 8:12.

5 1 John 2:27.

6 Rev. 2:26–28.

7 Jer. 32:40; 31:33; with 2 Sam. 23:5.


Hold everything! Wait a minute! Have you read the Scripture for today? It's only eight short verses, and it will take you only 45 seconds. No, don't lay this booklet down and mumble to me, "I'm in a hurry and you're delaying me." I see you're eating breakfast this morning even though you're late. You take time to feed your body, but you were going to starve your soul. Take 45 seconds and read Psalm 119:33-40. If you don't read the rest of this devotional, that's okay--as long as you read the Bible. 
    These articles in Our Daily Bread are not designed to be a substitute for the Bible; they are meant to stimulate your desire to read more of the Bible. If reading this booklet has caused you to neglect the Word of God, please throw this booklet in the wastebasket! 
    Job said, "I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job23:12). Jesus taught, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Mt4:4). 
    Yes, you may have had a rough day yesterday and you're way behind. But why should you be surprised that it was such a bad day if you started it without God's Word? Don't make the same mistake today. Take time to read. --M. R. De Haan, M.D. (founder of RBC Ministries) 

  • Read Ps 119:33-40 and make its words your prayer: 
  • Teach me (Ps 119:33). Give me (Ps 119:34). 
  • Make me (Ps 119:35). Incline me (Ps 119:36). Turn me (Ps 119:37). 
  • Establish me (Ps 119:38). Spare me (Ps 119:39). Revive me (Ps 119:40).

If you're too busy to read the Bible, you're too busy!

Psalm 119:34  Give me understanding, that I may observe Thy law, And keep it with all my heart. (PRAYER)

NET  Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding so that I might observe your law, and keep it with all my heart.

LXE  Psalm 119:34 Instruct me, and I will search out thy law, and will keep it with my whole heart.

NLT  Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.

KJV  Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding <0995> (08685), and I shall keep <05341> (08799) thy law <08451>; yea, I shall observe <08104> (08799) it with my whole heart <03820>.

ESV  Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.

NIV  Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.

ASV  Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; Yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

CSB  Psalm 119:34 Help me understand Your instruction, and I will obey it and follow it with all my heart.

NKJ  Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding <0995> (08685), and I shall keep <05341> (08799) Your law <08451>; Indeed, I shall observe <08104> (08799) it with my whole heart <03820>.

NRS  Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.

YLT  Psalm 119:34 Cause me to understand, and I keep Thy law, And observe it with the whole heart.

NAB  Psalm 119:34 Give me insight to observe your teaching, to keep it with all my heart.

NJB  Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding and I will observe your Law, and keep it wholeheartedly.

GWN  Psalm 119:34 Help me understand so that I can follow your teachings. I will guard them with all my heart.

BHT  Psalm 119:34 hábînënî wü´eccürâ tô|räteºkä wü´ešmüreºnnâ bükol-lëb

BBE  Psalm 119:34 Give me wisdom, so that I may keep your law; going after it with all my heart.

  • Give me: Ps 119:73 111:10 Job 28:28 Pr 2:5,6 John 7:17 Jas 1:5 Jas 3:13-18 
  • I may observe Thy law: Dt 4:6 Mt 5:19 7:24 Jas 1:25 2:8-12 4:11 
  • I shall keep it: Ps 119:10,58,69 

Give me understanding - Understanding is biyn which means insight, discernment (Ps 19:12, Ps 73:17), ability to distinguish between good and evil (1 Ki 3:9). Lxx for understanding is sunetizo (aorist imperative) which means to cause to understand

Septuagint (Lxx) = Understanding (Sunetizo, cf sunetos = intelligent, wise) means to cause to understand, to instruct. Not found in the NT. Notice the concentration in Psalm 119 - Neh. 8:7; Neh. 8:9; Neh. 9:20; Ps. 16:7; Ps. 32:8; Ps. 119:27; Ps. 119:34; Ps. 119:73; Ps. 119:125; Ps. 119:130; Ps. 119:144; Ps. 119:169; Dan. 8:16; Dan. 9:22; Dan. 10:14

that I may observe Thy law  - 

And keep it with all my heart.


Charles Bridges - 34. Give me understanding, and I will keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart

‘He that is his own teacher’—says Bernard—and one greater than Bernard,8 ‘has a fool for his master.’ Man cannot teach what he does not know; and of God, and of his law, he knows nothing. Therefore the beginning of wisdom is a consciousness of ignorance, a distrust of our own understanding, and the heart-felt prayer—“Give me understanding.” The spiritual understanding is the gift of Jesus Christ.9 He directs us to himself, as its fountain—“I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’10 This understanding differs from mere intellectual discernment or speculative knowledge. It is the spring of spiritual activity in our walk with God;1 so that our obedience is not outward and reluctant, but filial delight and wholeness of heart:—we desire not only to keep the law of God to the end, but every day to the end—“with our whole heart.”—Such are our obligations towards him, that we ought to study very accurately the character of our walk with him; always remembering that service without the heart—the whole heart—is hateful in his sight,2 and that what is now wilfully withheld, will gradually draw away the rest in apostasy from him. Now are we seeking more “engagedness of heart” for him. Then will this prayer be a suitable expression of our need, and the utterance of a humble, resolute petitioner. It is not, however, enough that we have once received, unless we are constantly receiving. We must ask, that we may receive; but after we have received, we must ask again. Yet is this prayer never offered up, until the soul has in part received what it is here seeking for. The natural man is “wise in his own conceit,” and has therefore no idea of his need of Divine teaching.

But we must not be satisfied with even a clear apprehension of the doctrines of the Bible, and of the “truth as it is in Jesus.” “Give me understanding”—‘not only that I may believe these doctrines, but that I may keep and observe them.’ In every path of duty, this cry is repeated, with an importunity that is never wearisome to the ears of our gracious Father. And in how many unnoticed instances has the answer been vouchsafed when some clear and heavenly ray, darting unexpectedly into the mind, or some providential concurrence of unforeseen circumstances, has disentangled a path before intricate and involved, and marked it before us with the light of a sunbeam! How many whispers of conscience! how many seasonable suggestions in moments of darkness and perplexity may the observant child of God record, as the answer to this needful prayer—“Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.”3 Nor will our growth in spiritual understanding fail to evidence itself in the steady consistency of a well-ordered conversation—“Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”4 If then knowledge is valuable according to its usefulness, one ray of this practical knowledge—the result of prayer for heavenly teaching,—is more to be prized than the highest attainments of speculative religion—flowing from mere human instruction.

8 Prov. 28:26.

9 1 John 2:20; 5:20.

10 John 8:12; also 12:46.

1 See Col. 1:9, 10.

2 Isaiah 1:11–15. Hosea 10:2. Acts 5:1–10.

3 Psalm 107:43.

4 James 3:13.


Give me understanding. - John Flavel
Prayer is a proper means for the increase of knowledge. Prayer is the golden key that unlocks that treasure. When Daniel was to expound the secret contained in the king’s dream, about which the Chaldean magicians had racked their brains to no purpose; what course did Daniel take? “He went to his house,” Dan. 2:17, 18, “and made the thing known to Hananiah, Michael, and Azariah, his companions; that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning his secret.” And then was the secret revealed to Daniel.

Psalm 119:35  Make me walk in the path of Thy commandments, For I delight in it. (PRAYER)

NET  Psalm 119:35 Guide me in the path of your commands, for I delight to walk in it.

LXE  Psalm 119:35 Guide me in the path of thy commandments; for I have delighted in it.

NLT  Psalm 119:35 Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.

KJV  Psalm 119:35 Make me to go <01869> (08685) in the path <05410> of thy commandments <04687>; for therein do I delight <02654> (08804).

ESV  Psalm 119:35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.

NIV  Psalm 119:35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.

ASV  Psalm 119:35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; For therein do I delight.

CSB  Psalm 119:35 Help me stay on the path of Your commands, for I take pleasure in it.

NKJ  Psalm 119:35 Make me walk <01869> (08685) in the path <05410> of Your commandments <04687>, For I delight <02654> (08804) in it.

NRS  Psalm 119:35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.

YLT  Psalm 119:35 Cause me to tread in the path of Thy commands, For in it I have delighted.

NAB  Psalm 119:35 Lead me in the path of your commands, for that is my delight.

NJB  Psalm 119:35 Guide me in the way of your commandments, for my delight is there.

GWN  Psalm 119:35 Lead me on the path of your commandments, because I am happy with them.

BHT  Psalm 119:35 hadrîkënî bintîb miswötey käkî-bô häpästî

BBE  Psalm 119:35 Make me go in the way of your teachings; for they are my delight.

  • Make me: Ps 119:27,36,173 Eze 36:26,27 Php 2:13 Heb 13:21 
  • for I delight in it.: Ps 23:3 Pr 3:17 4:11,18 8:20 Isa 2:3 48:17 
  • or I delight in it.: Ps 119:16 Isa 58:13,14 Ro 7:22 1Jn 5:3 

Make me walk in the path of Thy commandments,

For I delight in it.


Charles Bridges - 35. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight

We are equally ignorant of the path of God’s commandments, and impotent to go in it. We need therefore double assistance. Our mind must be enlightened; our hearts constrained; else our knowledge of this humbling path would make us shrink from it. But under the complete influence of Divine grace, when understanding has been given to discern the beauty of it, the soul’s warmest desire is fixed upon it—Conscious helplessness looks upward—Make me to go; and he who said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thy house,” speaks the same word of quickening life and power to the soul, “giving heed,” “expecting to receive something of him.”1 It is delightful to acknowledge of this work, that “All is of God”—that “it is he that worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”2 To him only can it belong. For since the natural inclination “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be;”3 Almighty power must introduce a new and active bias—“Turn thou me, and I shall be turned”4—“Make me to go in the path of thy commandments.”

But even when brought into this path, still we want accelerated motion to run with increasing alacrity. We want to take “the Lord God for our strength; and he shall make our feet like hind’s feet, and shall make us to walk upon our high places.”5 The path, indeed, is uninviting to the eye of sense. This distorted vision brings all its difficulties into full view; hiding all its counterbalancing enjoyments. Let us, however, exercise that “faith, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”6 Let us exhibit our proper character, “walking by faith, and not by sight,”7 and our discernment of unseen things will be more clear, and our enjoyment of them more permanent. The prayer will then be with increasing earnestness—“Make me to go in the path of thy commandments.”

But we must not be content with walking in this way; we must seek to “delight in it.” Delight is the marrow of religion. “God loveth a cheerful giver,”8 and accepts obedience only when it is given, not when it is forced. He loves the service of that man, who considers it his highest privilege to render it, and whose heart rejoices in the way, “as a giant to run his race.”9 Fervent prayer and cheerful obedience, mark the experience of the thriving Christian. As a true “child of Zion, he is joyful in his king;”10 he loves his service, and counts it “perfect freedom”—the rule of love, mercy, and grace.

But is the self-condemned penitent distressed by this description of a child of God? He cannot find the same marks in himself; and he too hastily concludes, that he does not belong to the heavenly family; not considering, that his very grief is caused by his love to, and “delight in” that way in which he is so hindered, and in which he daily prays—“Make me to go.” It was probably the same sense of weakness and inability, “to go in the path of God’s commandments,” which urged David’s prayer; and if it urges yours, poor trembling penitent,—if it sends you to a throne of grace, you will, ere long, receive an answer of peace, and “go on your way rejoicing.”

This delight in the path is not only following the “man after God’s own heart;” but it is the image of David’s Lord, and our forerunner in this path. He could testify to his Father—“I delight to do thy will, O my God:”1 and to his disciples, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work:”2 and as a proof of the intenseness of his delight, he could to their great amazement, “go before them”3 to Jerusalem, unappalled by the “baptism” of blood which awaited him; yea, even “straitened” with the unquenchable ardor of his love, “until it was accomplished.”4

1 Matt. 9:6, with Acts 3:4, 5.

2 2 Cor. 5:18. Phil. 2:13.

3 Rom. 8:7.

4 Jer. 31:18.

5 Hab. 3:19.

6 Heb. 11:1.

7 2 Cor. 5:7.

8 2 Cor. 9:7.

9 Psalm 19:5; 112:1.

10 Ps. 149:2.

1 Psalm 40:8, with Heb. 10:7.

2 John 4:32, 34.

3 Mark 10:32.

4 Luke 12:50.


Make me to go in the path of thy commandments.

  • The path of fellowship—with God.
  • The path of holiness—before God.
  • The path of obedience—after God.

Psalm 119:36  Incline my heart to Thy testimonies, And not to dishonest gain. (PRAYER)

NET  Psalm 119:36 Give me a desire for your rules, rather than for wealth gained unjustly.

LXE  Psalm 119:36 Incline mine heart to thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

NLT  Psalm 119:36 Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!

KJV  Psalm 119:36 Incline <05186> (08685) my heart <03820> unto thy testimonies <05715>, and not to covetousness <01215>.

ESV  Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!

NIV  Psalm 119:36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

ASV  Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, And not to covetousness.

CSB  Psalm 119:36 Turn my heart to Your decrees and not to material gain.

NKJ  Psalm 119:36 Incline <05186> (08685) my heart <03820> to Your testimonies <05715>, And not to covetousness <01215>.

NRS  Psalm 119:36 Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain.

YLT  Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, And not unto dishonest gain.

NAB  Psalm 119:36 Direct my heart toward your decrees and away from unjust gain.

NJB  Psalm 119:36 Bend my heart to your instructions, not to selfish gain.

GWN  Psalm 119:36 Direct my heart toward your written instructions rather than getting rich in underhanded ways.

BHT  Psalm 119:36 hat--libbî ´el-`ëdwötey kä we´al ´el-bäsa`

BBE  Psalm 119:36 Let my heart be turned to your unchanging word, and not to evil desire.

REQUEST FOR A
"DIVINE REBOOT"

The leaning of the heart
is the way in which the life will lean.

--Spurgeon

If Spurgeon's words are true (and they are), it behooves each of us to frequently pray Psalm 119:36. Think of it this way. What do we usually do when our computer freezes up? We have to reboot it so that it works properly. Similarly, out heart frequently needs a "divine reboot" that we might choose to order our steps in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord and not pursuing the path of this passing world (1 Jn 2:17+).

Incline my heart to Thy testimonies - The verb incline is found only one other time in Ps 119:112 "I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, even to the end," where the end (eqeb) can mean reward or recompense, which we will all experience at the end of this earthly life. The same Hebrew word (eqeb) is used in the prayer in Ps 119:33+ "And I shall observe it to the end." Simplistically, our human hearts are inclined one of two ways, either toward God or away from God. Is that not true? Jesus alludes to this when He teaches "“No one (absolutely no one) can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." (Mt 6:24+)

NOTE ON THE IMPERATIVE IN PRAYER - Usually when an imperative is spoken or stated, it comes from one who is superior and is spoken to one who is an inferior. For example, in Mark 5:8+ Jesus confronts the demoniac and commands the demon "Come out (aorist imperative) of the man, you unclean spirit!" Then in Mark 5:12+ the unclean spirit "commands" Jesus "Send (aorist imperative) us into the pigs." Clearly Jesus has unequaled Authority, for the unclean spirit know he must obey Jesus' command to come out and yet he still speaks a command. And this is relevant in both the Old and New Testaments, for even the Disciple's model prayer has six commands (all in aorist imperative)! (Mt 6:9-14+). So what is the answer? When we recite the "Disciple's Prayer" with its six aorist imperatives, we are not being presumptuous or prideful toward God. In fact, in this context the imperative is what is known as a "weakened imperative," which functions to turn the verb into a request. (as shown in Mt 6:9-14+) Inherent in this request is the idea that we are expressing our faith that God is willing and able to fulfill our request (Sometimes He say yes, sometimes no and sometimes wait a while but He always answers). Does that help you understand the "commands" in the prayers directed to the God? This is important to understand because "weakened imperatives" are very common in the prayers in Psalm 119.

Incline (05186)(natah) means to stretch out, to extend; to pay attention. It has 3 primary nuanes  (1) spreading or stretching things (2 Sa 21:10, Jer 43:10, et al). (2) To turn aside - alteration in the present course of action (Nu 20:17, 21, Nu 22:23, 2 Sa 3:27, Ge 38:16 a bad turning aside!). "Turn aside justice (pervert) (Ex 23:6) (3) To bend (Ge 24:14, Ge 49:16, Hos 11:4, 2 Sa 22:10, Ps 144:5). 

Most usages are figurative. One's heart may "turn away" (Solomon in 1 Ki 11:2-4, 9, 2 Sa 19:14). On the other hand one's heart may be inclined to God and his commands (Josh 24:23; 1 Ki 8:58; Ps 119:36). Also common is the expression "to incline the ear" (listen with intent to obey God) (Jer 7:24, 26; Jer 11:8; Jer 17:23 et al.). God inclining His ear toward men (2 Ki 19:16; Isa 37:17; Da 9:18). Men inclining their ear to the words of a sage (Pr 4:20; Pr 5:1, 13; Pr 22:17). Natah is used  meaning "decline" = a shadow (2 Ki 20:10), day (Jdg 19:8-9), rapid physical decline (Ps 102:11; Ps 109:23).The Lord extends His arm or hand to deliver His people (Ex. 6:6; Dt. 4:34; Jer. 32:21); or to bring judgments on them and the nations (Isa. 5:25; 23:11; Ezek. 6:14).  .A measuring line is "stretched over" a city (2 Ki 21:13; Zech. 1:16; cf. Isa 44:13).

Inclining one's heart a certain way, of giving attention -- of turning from being loyal (1 Ki. 2:28); turning from righteousness or justice (Ex. 23:2; 1 Sa 8:3); or preventing it (Pr 18:5). Turning one's heart  in a certain direction (1 Sa 14:7); of being loyal (Josh. 24:23);  to turn, to show love (ḥesed̠) to someone (Ezra 7:28). Natah is used of iniquities and sin turning away the good benefits of God from His people (Jer. 5:25). There are those who turn aside, away, to twisted, crooked ways (Ps. 125:5).

Outstretched arms often represent power and the miraculous in the OT (Ex 6:6, Ex 7:5).  Stretching out something: a hand, an arm is extended or a staff,  javelin (Josh 8:18, 26) or sword (Ezekiel 30:25). Moses "stretched out" his hand (or his rod) over the waters of Egypt (Ex 7:19), over the land of Egypt (Ex 10:13), toward heaven (Ex 9:23; Ex 10:21-22) and over the Red Sea (Ex 14:16, 21, 26-27). A woman displays her pride with an "outstretched neck" (Isa 3:16). God's call to stretch out the curtains of their tents, was symbolic of growth and prosperity (Isa. 54:2). The idiom, to stretch out one's hand against someone, means to act in a hostile manner toward that person (Job 15:25).

207 verses - afternoon*(1), bend down(1), bent(1), bent down(1), bow(1), bowed(3), came to stumbling(1), cast down(1), decline(1), defraud(1), deprive(2), deviated(1), distort(1), distorts(1), entices(1), extend(1), extended(3), extends(2), followed*(2), held high(1), incline(27), inclined(7), intended(1), leaning(1), lengthen(1), lengthened(1), lengthens(1), let down(1), offer(1), outstretched(17), pervert(4), perverted(1), pitch(1), pitched(11), push aside(1), spread(3), stretch(28), stretched(32), stretched-out(1), stretches(5), stretching(2), thrust aside(1), took aside(3), turn(6), turn back(1), turn aside(9), turn away(3), turned(3), turned aside(6), turned away(4), turned...away(1), turning(1), turns(1), visited(1).

Gen. 12:8; Gen. 24:14; Gen. 26:25; Gen. 33:19; Gen. 35:21; Gen. 38:1; Gen. 38:16; Gen. 39:21; Gen. 49:15; Exod. 6:6; Exod. 7:5; Exod. 7:19; Exod. 8:5; Exod. 8:6; Exod. 8:16; Exod. 8:17; Exod. 9:22; Exod. 9:23; Exod. 10:12; Exod. 10:13; Exod. 10:21; Exod. 10:22; Exod. 14:16; Exod. 14:21; Exod. 14:26; Exod. 14:27; Exod. 15:12; Exod. 23:2; Exod. 23:6; Exod. 33:7; Num. 20:17; Num. 20:21; Num. 21:15; Num. 21:22; Num. 22:23; Num. 22:26; Num. 22:33; Num. 24:6; Deut. 4:34; Deut. 5:15; Deut. 7:19; Deut. 9:29; Deut. 11:2; Deut. 16:19; Deut. 24:17; Deut. 26:8; Deut. 27:19; Jos. 8:18; Jos. 8:19; Jos. 8:26; Jos. 24:23; Jdg. 4:11; Jdg. 9:3; Jdg. 16:30; Jdg. 19:8; 1 Sam. 8:3; 1 Sam. 14:7; 2 Sam. 2:19; 2 Sam. 2:21; 2 Sam. 3:27; 2 Sam. 6:10; 2 Sam. 6:17; 2 Sam. 16:22; 2 Sam. 19:14; 2 Sam. 21:10; 2 Sam. 22:10; 1 Ki. 2:28; 1 Ki. 8:42; 1 Ki. 8:58; 1 Ki. 11:2; 1 Ki. 11:3; 1 Ki. 11:4; 1 Ki. 11:9; 2 Ki. 17:36; 2 Ki. 19:16; 2 Ki. 20:10; 2 Ki. 21:13; 1 Chr. 13:13; 1 Chr. 15:1; 1 Chr. 16:1; 1 Chr. 21:10; 1 Chr. 21:16; 2 Chr. 1:4; 2 Chr. 6:32; Ezr. 7:28; Ezr. 9:9; Job 9:8; Job 15:25; Job 15:29; Job 23:11; Job 24:4; Job 26:7; Job 31:7; Job 36:18; Job 38:5; Ps. 17:6; Ps. 17:11; Ps. 18:9; Ps. 21:11; Ps. 27:9; Ps. 31:2; Ps. 40:1; Ps. 44:18; Ps. 45:10; Ps. 49:4; Ps. 62:3; Ps. 71:2; Ps. 73:2; Ps. 78:1; Ps. 86:1; Ps. 88:2; Ps. 102:2; Ps. 102:11; Ps. 104:2; Ps. 109:23; Ps. 116:2; Ps. 119:36; Ps. 119:51; Ps. 119:112; Ps. 119:157; Ps. 125:5; Ps. 136:12; Ps. 141:4; Ps. 144:5; Prov. 1:24; Prov. 2:2; Prov. 4:5; Prov. 4:20; Prov. 4:27; Prov. 5:1; Prov. 5:13; Prov. 7:21; Prov. 17:23; Prov. 18:5; Prov. 21:1; Prov. 22:17; Isa. 3:16; Isa. 5:25; Isa. 9:12; Isa. 9:17; Isa. 9:21; Isa. 10:2; Isa. 10:4; Isa. 14:26; Isa. 14:27; Isa. 23:11; Isa. 29:21; Isa. 30:11; Isa. 31:3; Isa. 34:11; Isa. 37:17; Isa. 40:22; Isa. 42:5; Isa. 44:13; Isa. 44:20; Isa. 44:24; Isa. 45:12; Isa. 51:13; Isa. 54:2; Isa. 55:3; Isa. 66:12; Jer. 5:25; Jer. 6:4; Jer. 6:12; Jer. 7:24; Jer. 7:26; Jer. 10:12; Jer. 10:20; Jer. 11:8; Jer. 14:8; Jer. 15:6; Jer. 17:23; Jer. 21:5; Jer. 25:4; Jer. 27:5; Jer. 32:17; Jer. 32:21; Jer. 34:14; Jer. 35:15; Jer. 43:10; Jer. 44:5; Jer. 51:15; Jer. 51:25; Lam. 2:8; Lam. 3:35; Ezek. 1:22; Ezek. 6:14; Ezek. 14:9; Ezek. 14:13; Ezek. 16:27; Ezek. 20:33; Ezek. 20:34; Ezek. 25:7; Ezek. 25:13; Ezek. 25:16; Ezek. 30:25; Ezek. 35:3; Dan. 9:18; Hos. 11:4; Amos 2:7; Amos 2:8; Amos 5:12; Zeph. 1:4; Zeph. 2:13; Zech. 1:16; Zech. 12:1; Mal. 3:5

Septuagint (Lxx) = Incline (aorist imperative) (2827)(klino) literally means to slant, slope, incline, bend. In the Septuagint, klino is often used of a prayer to God to "Incline His ear". It is used figuratively of inclining one's heart (Ps 119:36, 112 

THOUGHTS:

  • Have I prayed for a heart inclined toward God, the things of eternity, the things that bring glory and honor to His Name?
  • What will my reward be? Have I abided in the Vine (Jn 15:5)?
  • Have I carried out the works that were prepared for me in Christ (Eph 2:10)?
  • Have I done it enabled by the Spirit of Christ (Eph 5:18, cf Gal 5:22-23)?
  • Have I sought earnestly to redeem the time for the glory of the Lord? (Eph 5:16)
  • Have I sought by the enabling power of the Spirit to store up for myself (and for His glory) treasure in Heaven where moth and rust will not destroy and thief will not break in and steal? (Mt 6:19-21).

Spurgeon Incline my heart unto thy testimonies. Does not this prayer appear to be superfluous, since it is evident that the Psalmist's heart was set upon obedience? We are sure that there is never a word to spare in Scripture. After asking for active virtue it was meet that the man of God should beg that his heart might be in all that he did. What would his goings be if his heart did not go? It may be that David felt a wandering desire, an inordinate leaning of his soul to worldly gain (Ed: Can we not identify dear reader? And do we not oft times need to utter this prayer?), -- possibly it even intruded into his most devout meditations, and at once he cried out for more grace. The only way to cure a wrong leaning is to have the soul bent in the opposite direction.

Holiness of heart is the cure for covetousness. What a blessing it is that we may ask the Lord even for an inclination. Our wills are free, and yet without violating their liberty, grace can incline us in the right direction. This can be done by enlightening the understanding as to the excellence of obedience, by strengthening our habits of virtue, by giving us an experience of the sweetness of piety, and by many other ways.

If any one duty is irksome to us it behooves us to offer this prayer with special reference thereto: we are to love all the Lord's testimonies, and if we fail in any one point we must pay double attention to it. The leaning of the heart is the way in which the life will lean: hence the force of the petition, "Incline my heart." Happy shall we be when we feel habitually inclined to all that is good. This is not the way in which a carnal heart ever leans; all its inclinations are in opposition to the divine testimonies.

And not to dishonest gain 

Spurgeon And not to covetousness. This is the inclination of nature, and grace must put a negative upon it. This vice is as injurious as it is common; it is as mean as it is miserable. It is idolatry, and so it dethrones God; it is selfishness, and so it is cruel to all in its power; it is sordid greed, and so it would sell the Lord himself for pieces of silver. It is a degrading, grovelling, hardening, deadening sin, which withers everything around it that is lovely and Christlike. He who is covetous is of the race of Judas, and will in all probability turn out to be himself a son of perdition. The crime of covetousness is common, but very few will confess it; for when a man heaps up gold in his heart, the dust of it blows into his eyes, and he cannot see his own fault. Our hearts must have some object of desire, and the only way to keep out worldly gain is to put in its place the testimonies of the Lord. If we are inclined or bent one way, we shall be turned from the other: the negative virtue is most surely attained by making sure of the positive grace which inevitably produces it.


Charles Bridges - 36. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies,—and not to covetousness

But what “makes us to go in the path of God’s commandments?” The force of his Almighty love effectually inclines the will, as with a Divine touch. “The day of his power, in which he makes us willing,” is a time of love. “I drew them”—saith he—“with cords of a man, and with bands of love.”5 Every man, who is conscious of the counteracting bias within, will deeply feel the need of this prayer—“Incline my heart.” The native principle of man draws him to his own self—to his own indulgence—pleasure—covetousness—assuming a thousand forms of gratifying self, at the expense of love to God. Few but are ready to condemn this principle in others, while perhaps it may be their own “easily besetting sin.” When the mind is grasping after the world, as if it were our portion, we have the greatest reason to “take heed” to our Lord’s admonition, and “beware of covetousness.”6 When we invest earthly gratifications with any inherent excellency—virtually putting them in the place of God—then will be a season for special supplication—Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

There is probably no principle so opposed to the Lord’s testimonies. It casts out the principle of obedience, since the love of God cannot co-exist with the love of the world;7 and the very desire to serve Mammon is a proof of unfaithfulness to God.8 We mark the deadly influence in direct breaches of the law of God. Balaam, in the indulgence of this propensity, set his will in mad contradiction to God.9 Ahab was tempted to murder.10 David to murder and adultery.11 Achan to steal.12 Judas—both to steal from his fellows and to betray his master.13 Gehazi and Ananias to lying.14 And besides—what is the matter of common but painful observation—how much of the good seed of the kingdom, that was springing up with the promise of a plentiful harvest, has this weed of rank luxuriance “choked, that it has become unfruitful!”1 Out Lord’s parables therefore2—his providence3—his promises4—his terms of discipleship5—his counsels6—his own example of poverty and renunciation of this world’s comforts7—all are directed against this destructive principle. The power of the love of Christ delivered Matthew8 and Zaccheus9 from its influence, and “inclined their hearts to the testimonies of God.” And has not faith still the same power to turn the heart from the world, from sin, from self to Christ? Learn then to rest upon the promises of his love,10 and to delight in his testimonies. Earthly cares will be cast upon him, and earthly prospects will lose their splendor.11 This life of faith—living in union with a heavenly Saviour, involves the only effective principle of resistance. Those who are risen with Christ will be temperate in earthly things, “setting their affections on things above.” Such—such alone—will “mortify the members that are upon the earth—evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”12

We desire to sit loose to our earthly comforts.13 Are we enabled to check our natural discontent with the Lord’s dealings with us, and to restrain our eagerness to “seek great things for ourselves”14 by the recollection of his word—“Seek them not?”15

Let us not forget, that the inclination—even if it is not brought into active and perceptible motion, is fatally destructive of the life of religion. “They that will be rich16 fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” Awful warning to professors!—“The love of money is the root of all evil; which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”17 A most important exhortation to the people of God!—“But thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness.”18 If the Lord loves you, he will not indeed lose you; but unless you “take heed, and beware of covetousness,” he will not spare you. In the midst therefore of temptation without, and a world of sin within, go onwards with the pilgrim’s19 prayer indelibly fixed on your heart—“Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.”

5 Psalm 110:3. Ezek. 16:8. Hosea 11:4.

6 Luke 12:15.

7 1 John 2:15.

8 Matt. 6:24.

9 Numb. 22:15–21. 2 Peter 2:14–16.

10 1 Kings 21:1–13.

11 2 Sam. 11:2–17.

12 Joshua 7:21.

13 John 12:6. Matt. 26:14–16.

14 2 Kings 5:20–26. Acts 5:1, 8.

1 Mark 4:19.—The example of the rich young man, Matt. 19:21, 22. Demas, 2 Tim. 4:10.

2 Luke 12:16–21; 16:14, 19, &c.

3 Matt. 6:25–31.

4 Mt. 5:33. Psalm 34:9, 10. Isaiah 33:15, 16. 1 Peter 5:7.

5 Matt. 16:24; 19:27–29. Luke 14:33.

6 1 Cor. 7:29–31. Phil. 4:5.

7 Matt. 8:20.

8 Mt. 9:9.

9 Luke 19:1–10.

10 Heb. 13:5.

11 Compare Luke 12:15, with parallel verses 16–21.

12 Col. 3:1–5.

13 Gen. 3:5, 6.

14 Jer. 6:13.

15 Jer. 45:5.

16 Οι Βουλομενοι πλουτειν. 1 Tim. 6:9.—The very inclination to be rich is alienation from him, who by just right claims the supreme undisputed whole—“My son, give me thine heart.” Prov. 23:26.

17 1 Tim. 6:10.

18 1Ti. 11.

19 1 Peter 2:11.


Fifteen-Minute Challenge

Turn my heart toward your statutes. Psalm 119:36

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 119:33–40

Dr. Charles W. Eliot, longtime president of Harvard University, believed that ordinary people who read consistently from the world’s great literature for even a few minutes a day could gain a valuable education. In 1910, he compiled selections from books of history, science, philosophy, and fine art into fifty volumes called The Harvard Classics. Each set of books included Dr. Eliot’s Reading Guide titled “Fifteen Minutes A Day” containing recommended selections of eight to ten pages for each day of the year.

What if we spent fifteen minutes a day reading God’s Word? We could say with the psalmist, “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word” (Ps. 119:36–37).

Fifteen minutes a day adds up to ninety-one hours a year. But for whatever amount of time we decide to read the Bible each day, consistency is the secret and the key ingredient is not perfection but persistence. If we miss a day or a week, we can start reading again. As the Holy Spirit teaches us, God’s Word moves from our minds to our hearts, then to our hands and feet—taking us beyond education to transformation.

“Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end” (v. 33). By:  David C. McCasland  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I turn to You, the Author, to teach me as I read Your Word today. I want to hear from You, to know You, and to grow closer to You.

Join the Fifteen-Minute Bible Reading Challenge! Visit Facebook.com/ourdailybread.

The Bible is the only Book whose Author is always present when it is read.

SOME OTHER USES
OF NATAH

Ps 17:6 I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; Incline (Imperative. Heb = natah; Lxx = klino) Your ear to me, hear my speech.

Spurgeon: Incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Stoop out of heaven and put thine ear to my mouth; give me thine ear all to myself, as men do when they lean over to catch every word from their friend. The Psalmist here comes back to his first prayer, and thus sets us an example of pressing our suit again and again, until we have a full assurance that we have succeeded.


Ps 18:9 He bowed (Heb = natah; Lxx = klino) the heavens also, and came down With thick darkness under His feet.

NET Bible Note: The Hebrew verb natah can carry the sense "[cause to] bend, bow down." For example Ge 49:15 pictures Issachar as a donkey that "bends" its shoulder or back under a burden. Here the LORD causes the sky, pictured as a dome or vault, to sink down as He descends in the storm.

Spurgeon: He bowed the heavens also, and came down. He came in haste, and spurned everything which impeded His rapidity. The thickest gloom concealed His splendour, and darkness was under His feet; He fought within the dense vapours, as a warrior in clouds of smoke and dust, and found out the hearts of His enemies with the sharp falchion of his vengeance. Darkness is no impediment to God; its densest gloom He makes His tent and secret pavilion. See how prayer moves earth and heaven, and raises storms to overthrow in a moment the foes of God's Israel. Things were bad for David before he prayed, but they were much worse for his foes so soon as the petition had gone up to heaven. A trustful heart, by enlisting the divine aid, turns the tables on its enemies. If I must have an enemy let him not be a man of prayer, or he will soon get the better of me by calling in his God into the quarrel.


Psalm 78:1 A Maskil of Asaph. Listen, O My people, to My instruction; Incline (Imperative. Heb = natah; Lxx = klino) your ears to the words of My mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, (Note: A number of the uses of klino in Lxx of the Psalms refer to a call for God to incline His ear. The repetition suggests that this would be a good prayer for modern saints to utter! And see especially Ps 119:36 below)

Spurgeon: Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. Give earnest attention, bow your stiff necks, lean forward to catch every syllable. We are at this day, as readers of the sacred records, bound to study them deeply, exploring their meaning, and laboring to practice their teaching. As the officer of an army commences his drill by calling for "Attention," even so every trained soldier of Christ is called upon to give ear to His words. Men lend their ears to music, how much more then should they listen to the harmonies of the gospel; they sit enthralled in the presence of an orator, how much rather should they yield to the eloquence of Heaven.

Incline your ears. Lay them close to my lips, that no parcel of this sacred language fall to the ground by your default. John Trapp.


Psalm 86:1 A Prayer of David. Incline (Imperative. Heb = natah; Lxx = klino) Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.

SpurgeonBow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me. In condescension to my littleness, and in pity to my weakness, "bow down thine ear, O Lord." When our prayers are lowly by reason of our humility, or feeble by reason of our sickness, or without wing by reason of our despondency, the Lord will bow down to them, the infinitely exalted Jehovah will have respect unto them. Faith, when she has the loftiest name of God on her tongue, and calls him Jehovah, yet dares to ask from him the most tender and condescending acts of love. Great as he is he loves his children to be bold with him.

For I am poor and needy -- doubly a son of poverty, because, first, poor and without supply for my needs, and next needy, and so full of wants, though unable to supply them. Our distress is a forcible reason for our being heard by the Lord God, merciful, and gracious, for misery is ever the master argument with mercy. Such reasoning as this would never be adopted by a proud man, and when we hear it repeated in the public congregation by those great ones of the earth who count the peasantry to be little better than the earth they tread upon, it sounds like a mockery of the Most High. Of all despicable sinners those are the worst who use the language of spiritual poverty while they think themselves to be rich and increased in goods.


Pr 21:1 The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand (speaks of power) of the LORD; He turns (Heb = natah; Lxx = klino) it wherever He wishes.

NET Bible Note: The farmer channels irrigation ditches where he wants them, where they will do the most good; so does the LORD with the king. No king is supreme; the LORD rules.

Psalm 119:37  Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Thy ways. (PRAYER)

NET  Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes away from what is worthless! Revive me with your word!

LXE  Psalm 119:37 Turn away mine eyes that I may not behold vanity: quicken thou me in thy way.

NLT  Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.

KJV  Psalm 119:37 Turn away <05674> (08685) mine eyes <05869> from beholding <07200> (08800) vanity <07723>; and quicken <02421> (08761) thou me in thy way <01870>.

ESV  Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

NIV  Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

ASV  Psalm 119:37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, And quicken me in thy ways.

CSB  Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.

NKJ  Psalm 119:37 Turn away <05674> (08685) my eyes <05869> from looking <07200> (08800) at worthless <07723> things, And revive <02421> (08761) me in Your way <01870>.

NRS  Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.

YLT  Psalm 119:37 Remove mine eyes from seeing vanity, In Thy way quicken Thou me.

NAB  Psalm 119:37 Avert my eyes from what is worthless; by your way give me life.

NJB  Psalm 119:37 Avert my eyes from pointless images, by your word give me life.

GWN  Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things. Give me a new life in your ways.

BHT  Psalm 119:37 ha`ábër `ênay mër´ôt šäºw´ Bidräkeºkä Hayyëºnî

BBE  Psalm 119:37 Let my eyes be turned away from what is false; give me life in your ways.

  • Turn away: Nu 15:39 Jos 7:21 2Sa 11:2 Job 31:1 Pr 4:25 23:5 Isa 33:15 Mt 5:28 1Jn 2:16 
  • Revive me: Ps 119:25,40 

TWO PRAYERS THAT WILL
LEAD TO PERSONAL REVIVAL!

Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity - Literally "Make my eyes pass by from looking at what is worthless." As men of God we need God's power to turn away our eyes for the plethora of temptations now found everywhere in a nation that has jettisoned morality and accepted wanton immorality! Help us O God! Amen. This is the prayer of a humble heart, the heart of a man who realizes he is always one step away from falling into sin (cf 1 Cor 10:12). In English vanity describes the quality of being valueless, empty or futile. It is interesting that 

Turn (05674)('abar) is used of movement as a rule it is the movement of one thing in relation to some other object which is stationary, moving, or motivating. Abar figuratively indicates a specific spiritual concept. Men transgress the covenant or the law, i.e. move outside or beyond the requirements of the covenant or law by committing adultery and practicing idolatry (Deut. 17:2) or other sin. Moses uses the word when charging the people with disobeying and overstepping the Lord's commands (Num. 14:41; Josh. 7:11, 15). Esther 3:3 depicts Mordecai's transgressing of the king's command.

Septuagint Turn away (in aorist imperative) (654)(apostrepho from apo = away from, a marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association and indicates separation, departure, cessation, reversal + strepho = turn quite around, twist, reverse, turn oneself about) means literally to turn back or away. Classic use of apostrepho - turn, turn to, turn oneself, turn round. Describes a largely intentional turning of the body, or thoughts, to a person or thing.

Looking (07200)(ra'ah) means to see especially to see with the eyes (Ge 27:1) which various nuances such as to see so that one can learn to know, whether it be another person (Dt. 33:9) or God (Dt. 1:31; 11:2), to experience (Jer 5:12; 14:13; 20:18; 42:14), to perceive (Ge 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31; Ex. 3:4), to see by volition or personal choice of one's will (Ge 9:22, 23; 42:9, 12); to look after or to visit (Ge 37:14; 1 Sa 20:29); to watch (1 Sa 6:9); to find (1 Sa 16:17); to select (2 Ki 10:3); to be concerned with (Ge 39:23).

Vanity (worthless, deceitful, empty, false) (07723)(shav) means deceit, lie, or falsehood.

THOUGHT - A good example of something that is deceitful and full of lies is idolatry. Idols were declared worthless (shav) in Jeremiah 18:15 ("worthless gods"). These idols led the people of God to forget Him, because God tolerates no usurpers (see Mt 6:24+). Have you ever considered some of the things you are looking at (at times with lustful eyes) are in effect idols?! We don't normally think that way in the 21st century, but idols are absolutely everywhere today! And since they deceive and lie, they will promise one thing (e.g., pleasure, cf Heb 11:25+), but will steal from our life. The NT warnes us repeatedly "Do not be deceived (in the form of a command ) - read these passages in context - 1 Co. 6:9; 1 Co. 15:33; Gal. 6:7+; Jas. 1:16+ (cf Hebrews 3:13b+). 

Septuagint - Vanity (3153)(mataiotes from mataios = vain, empty <> derived from maten = to no purpose or in vain) means emptiness, vanity, nonsense, nothingness! Thayer says mataiotes is a "purely Biblical and ecclesiastical word" which describes "what is devoid of truth and appropriateness". It defines the inability to reach a goal or achieve a purpose. Mataiotes describes the state of being without use or value, emptiness, futility, purposelessness, transitoriness. It has the quality of being empty, fruitless, nonproductive, useless. Mataiotes speaks of want of attainment with the idea of aimlessness or of leading to no object or end. As discussed above  "vain things" was a Jewish name for the Gentile idols, which represented ideas and conceptions of a god that had no intrinsic value or correspondence to the real truth about the Living God. The heathen are concerned with empty things which do not matter in the eternal scheme of things. Their mind was void of useful aims or goals (eternally speaking).

A good verse to memorize which parallels this passage is Psalm 101:3 -

 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me. 

Comment - Notice the personal pronouns (I, my, I, me). David is not saying he could do this in his strength. He knew about setting worthless things before his eyes, experiencing their power to fasten a grip on his heart (adultery with Bathsheba)! While each of us is personally responsible for what we allow before our eyes, God's Spirit today is in us to give us the desire and power to accomplish this objective (see Php 2:13NLT+). Note the word fasten is dabaq which means to stick like glue (first use in Ge 2:24 is poignant = "be joined" or cleave)! Beware what you watch or it will stick like glue! 

And revive me in Thy ways - This prayer indicates the psalmist senses his need for revival. And it is linked with God's Spirit causing him to turn from looking at vain, empty, worthless things. You (I) don't wrestle continually with your eyes, do you? (A rhetorical question of course!) In our visually stimulating society where youtube videos go viral, where cell phones allow viewing of all manner of visual stimuli, our eyes are bombarded hundreds, if not thousands of times a day! If you don't think you need revival you won't pray this prayer. If you don't think you need revival, you are prideful, deluded and in desperate need of humility, for as  James says "He gives a greater grace (AND GRACE IS OUR GREAT NEED!). Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” (James 4:6+) The Greek translates "revive" in Ps 119:37 with the verb zao which means to live and it is not a shy asking of God but is in the aorist imperative which is a desperate cry for God's Spirit to breathe new life into our hearts! 


Charles Bridges - 37. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way

So strongly does the man of God deprecate temptation to self-indulgence, that he prays to be kept at the greatest possible distance from it. That his heart may not be inclined to it; he desires that his eyes may be turned from beholding it. Keeping the eye is a grand means of “keeping the heart.”1 Satan has infused his poison into all the objects around us, that all furnishes fuel for temptation, and the heart—naturally inclined to evil and hankering after vanity—is stolen away in a moment. Vanity includes “all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.” All is sin, because “it is not of the Father, but is of the world.”2 Of all that belongs to earth—“the preacher, the son of David”—standing on the vantage-ground, and having taken within his view the widest horizon of this world’s excellency, has pronounced his judgment—“Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities! all is vanity.”3 We have just mentioned the lusts of other things choking many a promising profession. Our Lord’s solemn caution to his own disciples implies their injury to a sincere profession—“Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life; and so that day come upon you unawares.”4 Some indeed seem to walk, as if they were proof against temptation. They venture to the very edge of the precipice, under a vain assurance that no danger is to be apprehended. But such a confidence is upon the brink of a grievous fall.5 The tender-hearted child of God, trusting in the promise, that “Sin shall not have dominion over him,” knows that he can only enjoy the security of it, while he is shrinking from every occasion of sin.6 He “hates even the garment spotted by the flesh;”7 and, remembering how often his outward senses have ministered to the workings of his weak and treacherous heart,8 he continues in prayer—“Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.”

Probably the recollection of the circumstance of his own sin,9 would to the end of his life remind David of his special need of this prayer. Yet who that is conscious of his own weakness and corruption, will find the prayer unsuitable to his circumstances of daily temptation? But we must watch as well as pray. For as watchfulness without prayer is presumption, so prayer without watchfulness is self-delusion. To pray that “our eyes” may be “turned from vanity,” without “making a covenant with our eyes,”10 that they should not behold it, is like “taking fire in our bosoms,” and expecting “not to be burnt,”11 because we have prayed that we might not be burnt. If we pray not to be “led into temptation,” we must “watch, that we enter not into it.”1 The sincerity of our prayer will be proved by the watchfully avoiding the circumstances and occasions of temptation. The fear of sin will manifest itself by a fear of temptation to sin. “The knife will be put to the throat, if we be given to appetite.”2 We shall be afraid of the wine sparkling in the glass.3

But where is the harm of beholding vanity, if we do not follow it? When Eve beheld the forbidden fruit, perhaps she did not think of taking it: and when she took it, she did not think of eating it: but the beginning of sin “is as the letting out of water,” whose progress once opened, beats down all before it.4 And who, after our “beguiled mother,” has not found the eye an inlet to sin?5 When Bunyan’s pilgrims were obliged to pass through Vanity Fair, beset on every side with temptations and allurements, they stopped their eyes and ears, and quickening their pace, cried—“Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.” A striking reproof to us, who too often loiter and gaze, until we begin to covet those vanities, to which, as Christians, we “are dead!”6

Is it asked—What will most effectually “turn my eyes from vanity?” Not the seclusion of contemplative retirement—not the relinquishment of our lawful connection with the world; but the transcendent beauty of Jesus unveiled to our eyes, and fixing our hearts. This will “turn our eyes from vanity” in its most glittering forms! The sight of the “pearl of great price”7 dims the lustre of the “goodliest pearls” of earth; at once deadens us to the enticements of the world, and urges us forward in the pursuit of the prize. And is not this our object? It is not enough that through special mercy I am preserved from temptations. I want to be quickened to more life, energy, delight, and devotedness in the way of my God. The secret of Christian progress is simplicity and diligence. “This one thing I do—forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forth to those things that are before; I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”8 The spirit leaves no wish of the heart for beholding vanity. The world, with all its flowery paths, is a dreary wilderness: and Christ and heaven are the only objects of desire—“He that shutteth his eyes from seeing evil, he shall dwell on high; his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him, his water shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.”9—Precious promises to those that flee from temptation, and desire to walk in the ways of God!

1 Nu. 15:39. Job 31:1.

2 John 2:16.

3 Eccl. 1:2; also 2:1–12.

4 Luke 21:34.

5 Prov. 16:18.

6 Rom. 6:14.

7 Jude 23.

8 See Prov. 23:33. Josh. 7:21.

9 2 Sam. 11:2.

10 Job 30:1.

11 Prov. 6:27, 28.

1 Compare Matt. 6:13, with 26:41.

2 Prov. 23:2.

3 Verses 31, 32.

4 Gen. 3:6, with Prov. 17:14.

5 Lot’s wife; Gen. 19:26. Shechem; 34:2. Potiphar’s wife; 39:7. Joshua 7:21. Samson; Judges 16:1. Even the man after God’s own heart; 2 Sam. 11:2. Comp. Prov. 6:25. Matt. 5:28. 2 Peter 2:14.

6 See Col. 3:2, 3.

7 Matt. 13:46.

8 Phil. 3:13, 14.

9 Isaiah 33:15–17.


Watch What You Watch

Read: 1 Corinthians 6:9-20

Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things. —Psalm 119:37

Is your living room the site of daily murders? Do you routinely entertain guests who swear at you and make fun of your faith? Have you ever had somebody drop by and try to convince you that sexual sin is a joking matter and that violence is entertaining?

You’ve had all these things happen in your house if you’ve watched many of the programs on TV. This is not late-breaking news. The moral content of television has been on the decline for years. But that doesn’t mean we have to go down with it.

The psalmist, who knew as much about TV as most of us know about tending sheep, said, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things” (Ps. 119:37). That’s a good verse to post over our TV set.

For the most part, the entertainment world is serious about casting off restraints. Just as seriously, we should protect our minds. These guidelines can help:

  • Avoid jokes about sex (1 Cor. 6:18; Eph. 5:3-4,12).
  • Don’t listen to vulgar language (Eph. 5:4).
  • Don’t let ads cause you to covet (Ex. 20:17; Col. 3:5).
  • Don’t let your eyes cause you to sin (Mt. 18:9).

Honor God with your viewing habits. When it comes to entertainment, watch what you watch.By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Temptation's face is young and soft
And smooth in its appeal;
But when it's through it ruins lives
With velvet fists of steel.
—Gustafson

Use self-control with your remote control.


Failing Memory

Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. —Psalm 119:37

Today's Scripture: Psalm 119:33-40

A New York Times article linked the increase of computer storage with the decrease of data in the human mind. Our electronic aids now remember phone numbers, driving directions, and other information we used to learn by repeated use. In schools, memorization and oral recitation are disappearing from the curriculum. We have become, according to the Times, “products of a culture that does not enforce the development of memory skills.”

Yet never have we as followers of Christ been in greater need of hiding God’s Word in our hearts (Ps. 119:9-11). Scripture memory is more than a helpful mental exercise. The goal is to saturate our minds with God’s truth so that our lives will conform to His ways. The psalmist wrote: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. . . . Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” (Ps. 119:33,37).

Why not begin committing Scripture to memory? Daily consistency and review are keys to success. And just like physical exercise, this spiritual discipline is enhanced when done with a small group or with a friend.

Let’s not forget to remember and follow the life-giving wisdom of God’s Word. By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God’s Word will change your life
If you will do your part
To read, to study, and obey,
And hide it in your heart.
—Sper

Let the Bible fill your mind, rule your heart, and guide your life.

REVIVAL:
Definitions & Descriptions

Vance Havner defined REVIVAL  as "a work of God's Spirit among His own people . . . what we call revival is simply New Testament Christianity, the saints getting back to normal.''

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "The essence of revival is that the Holy Spirit comes down upon a number of people together; upon a whole church, a number of churches, districts or perhaps a whole country. It is a visitation or outpouring of the Holy Spirit - God has come down among them."

True revival is marked by powerful and often widespread outpourings of the Spirit. Many times preaching has to cease because the hearers were prostrate or because the voice of the preacher was drowned by cries for mercy. "The Holy Spirit FELL ON all them which heard the Word." (Acts 10:44)

Jonathan Edwards son-in-law David Brainherd who prayed in the snow until it melted around him and was stained by his blood as he coughed away his life with T.B. prevailed in prayer for revival among the American Indians. Before he died he describes in his journal how it finally began in 1745:     "The power of God seemed to descend on the assembly 'like a rushing mighty wind' and with an astonishing energy bore all down before it. I stood amazed at the influence that seized the audience almost universally and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent . . . Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together and scarce one was able to withstand the shock of the astonishing operation." 

Brian Edwards comments: "Someone has described revival as 'the top blowing off' and that is very true. But the top does not blow off before the bottom has fallen out." (Brian H. Edwards: Revival: A People Saturated With God" p.130)

Arthur Wallis in his classic study "In The Day Of Thy Power" points out the word is determined by its usage. It had historical consistency of meaning up until recent years, where (especially in America) it began to take on a lesser, more limited sense.Nevertheless, he says:  "Numerous writings on the subject preserved confirm that revival is Divine intervention in the normal course of spiritual things. It is God revealing Himself to man in aweful holiness and irresistible power. It is such a manifest working of God that human personalities are overshadowed and human programmes abandoned. It is man retiring into the background because God has taken the field. It is the Lord . . . working in extraordinary power on saint and sinner."

J. Edwin Orr, a prolific writer and eminent authority of both scholarship and experience in the subject defined a spiritual awakening as "a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the Church of Christ and its related community." It may significantly change an individual, a group of believers, a congregation, a city, a country or even eventually the world but it accomplishes "the reviving of the Church, the awakening of the masses and the movement of uninstructed peoples towards the Christian faith; the revived church by many or few is moved to engage in evangelism, teaching and social action."

A.W. Tozer defined revival as that which "changes the moral climate of a community."

Revival is essentially manifestation of God; it has the stamp of Deity on it which even the unregenerate and uninitiated are quick to recognize. Duncan Campbell described it as a "community saturated with God." Revival must of necessity make an impact on the community and this is one means by which we may distinguish it from the more usual operations of the Holy Spirit." (Wallis,op. cit.) John Dawson points out that the community of the twentieth century is different from that of previous ages; modern communities are "linked vocational villages of communication" not necessarily geographically connected. A revival in the 18th Century affected your neighbor who probably lived next door; a revival that affects your neighbor in the Twentieth Century may touch neighbors in touch with you who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away, and are linked not by geographic location but by common vocation and communication. Revival is what the church first experiences; evangelism is then what she engages in. Revival is periodic; evangelism is continuous. Revival cannot last; evangelism must not stop.

Do we want a revival? Do we really? James Burns writing in "Revival, Their Laws and Leaders" said in 1909: "To the church, a revival means humiliation, a bitter knowledge of unworthiness and an open and humiliating confession of sin on the part of her minsters and people. It is not the easy and glorious thing many think it to be, who imagine it fills pews and reinstates the church in power and authority. "It comes to scorch before it heals; it comes to condemn ministers and people for their unfaithful witness, for their selfish living, for their neglect of the cross, and to call them to daily renunciation, to an evangelical poverty and to a deep and daily consecration. That is why a revival has ever been unpopular with large numbers within the church. Because it says nothing to them of power such as they have learned to love, or of ease, or of success; it accuses them of sin, it tells them they are dead, it calls them to awake, to renounce the world and to follow Christ."
    "The inevitable and constant preliminary to revival has always been a thirst for God, a thirst, a living thirst for a knowledge of the living God and a longing and a burning desire to see Him acting, manifesting himself and his power, rising and scattering his enemies . . . The thirst for God and longing for the exhibition of His glory are the essential preliminaries." D.M. Lloyd-Jones: Revival pp.90-91)

SUDDENNESS  "and suddenly there came . . ." v.2.

Revival is a Divine attack on society. In revival God's work may be sudden and unexpected; often even believers are caught unawares, while fear and astonishment grip unbelievers hearts: "There was nothing, humanly speaking to account for what happened" noted Joseph Kemp of Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh in 1905. "Quite suddenly, upon one and another came an overwhelming sense of the reality and awfulness of His Presence and of eternal things. Life, death and eternity seemed suddenly laid bare."
    Revival is God springing a convicting surprise on His creation: "I have declared the former things from of old; yea they went forth out of My mouth and I shewed them; SUDDENLY I did them and they came to pass, and new things do I declare; before they SPRING FORTH I tell you of them." (Isa 42:9; 2 Chron.29:36)
    "The effect of the sudden working of the Spirit in revival is very striking in the conviction of sinners. Often without any preparatory concern or even thought for spiritual things, a sinner will be suddenly seized with overwhelming conviction of sin."
    (Acts 3:19 - "seasons of refreshing . . . from the presence of the Lord") . . . "a movement bears this mark of spontaneity when men cannot account for what has taken place in terms of personalities, organizations, meetings, preachings, or any other consecrated activity; and when the work continues unabated without any human control. As soon as a movement becomes controlled or organized, it has ceased to be spontaneous - it is no longer a revival. The course of the 1904 revival has been outlined thus: "God began to work; then the Devil began to work in opposition; then God began to work all the harder; then man began to work and the revival came to an end."
The spirit of revival is the consciousness of God. Men were "pricked in their heart" (Acts 3:7) "fear came on every soul" (v.43) "The effects of such manifestations of God are twofold; men are made aware both of His power and His holiness. This manifestation . . . was intensely personal.". . . It is God moving in power and holiness toward you; God coming for you, and calling your name! "Here is an outstanding feature of revival; it is easy to see why it results in overwhelming conviction both among the saved and the lost whenever there is unjudged sin . . . At such times man is not only conscious God is there; but that He is there, it seems to deal with him alone, until he is oblivious of all but his own soul in the agonizing grip of a holy God. If these facts are bourne in mind, the extraordinary effects of past revivals will not seem incredible. The ruthless logic of Jonathan Edwards famous discourse "Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God" could not have produced the effect it did had not God been in the midst.""When they went into the meeting house the appearance of the assembly was thoughtless and vain; the people scarcely conducted themselves with common decency." recorded Trumbull, but goes on to describe the effects of the sermon: "the assembly appeared bowed with an awful conviction of their sin and danger. There was such a breathing of distress and weeping that the preacher was obliged to speak to the people and desire silence that he might be heard." Conant says, "Many of the hearers were seen unconsciously holding themselves up against the pillars and the sides of the pews as though they already felt themselves sliding into the pit."

This overwhelming sense of God bringing deep conviction of sin is perhaps the outstanding feature of true revival. Its manifestation is not always the same; to cleansed hearts it is heaven; to convicted hearts it is Hell.

Spurgeon noted "If you read the story of the Reformation, or the later story . . . of Whitefield and Wesley, you are struck with the singular spirit that went with the preachers. The world said they were mad; the caricaturists drew them as being fanatical beyond all endurance; but there it was, their zeal was their power. Of course the world scoffed at that of which it was afraid. The world fears enthusiasm, the sacred enthusiasm kindled by the thought of the ruin of men and by the desire to pluck the firebrands from the flame, the enthusiasm which believes in the Holy Ghost, which believes God is still present with His church to do wonders.""Dislike of enthusiasm," said D.M.Lloyd-Jones "is to quench the Spirit. Those . . . familiar with the history of the Church and in particular the history of revivals will know this charge of enthusiasm is one always brought against people most active in a period of revival. (Revival op. cit p.72)

SEVEN ''REVIVALS'' IN THE OT: Dr. Wilbur Smith notes seven "outstanding revivals" in the Old Testament in addition to the
one under Jonah. 

1) In Jacob's household (Gen. 35:1-15); 
2). Under Asa (2 Chron.15:1ff); 
3). Jehoash (2 Kings 11,12; 2 Chron 23,24); 
4. Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4-7; 2 Chron. 29:31)
5). Josiah (2 Kings 22,23; 2 Chron. 34,35) 
6&7). Two revivals after the Exile under Zerubbabel (Ezra 5,6) in which Haggai and Zechariah play a prominent part and finally in Nehemiah's time in which Ezra was the outstanding figure (Neh.9:9; 12:44-47)

NINE CHARACTERISTICS OF THESE REVIVALS:
(1) They occurred in a day of deep moral darkness and national depression
(2) They began in the heart of one consecrated servant of God who became the energizing
power behind it, the agent used of God to quicken and lead the nation back to faith in and obedience to Him
(3) Each revival rested on the Word of God and most were the result of preaching and proclaiming Gods law with power
(4) All resulted in a return to the worship of Jehovah
(5) Each witnessed the destruction of idols where they existed 
(6) In each revival there was a recorded separation from sin.
(7) In every revival they returned to offering blood sacrifices
(8) Almost all recorded show restored great joy and gladness
(9) Each revival was followed by a period of great national prosperity. 

 The Greek equivalent of the OT word for revive is only used five times in the NT. "Why is it not more of a N.T. word? For the simple reason that New Testament Christianity IS revived Christianity." (Spurgeon On Revival: Eric W. Hayden). This Greek word-- anazao (G 326) is used for the restoration of the prodigal son (Luke 15:24,32) the resurrection of Christ (Rom. 14:9) and the physical resurrection of the dead in the last days (Rev.20:5) but also for the deadly effect of sin (Rom. 7:9).
    The primary aim is to lead souls to repentance . . . There is so much emphasis today on believing,receiving, deciding and so on and so little on the vital step of repenting . . . the men dealt faithfullywith the question of sin that the conscience might be aroused." 
    "It was a precept of Wesley to his evangelists in unfolding their message to speak first in  general of the love of God to man; then with all possible energy so as to search the conscience to its depths, to preach the law of holiness; and then, and not till then, to uplift the glories of the gospel of pardon and of life. Intentionally or not, his directions follow the lines of the epistle to Romans."
    (Bishop Hadley Moule on Romans) John Nelson records of Wesley at Moorfields, "His countenance struck such an awful dread upon me before I heard him speak that it made my heart beat like the  pendulum of a clock; and when he did speak, I thought his whole discourse was aimed at me." (Wesley, Pollock p.154)

Try this little survey:
1). How many of you know we NEED a revival? 
Almost everyone raises their hands here. The knowledge of this fact hardly takes scholarship or devotion.

2). How many of you WANT a revival? 
Again, a majority opinion in church groups. And in the 80's so did around 80% of the country according to George Gallup Jr. Even the lost know we need a revival!

3). How many of you know WHAT a revival is?
The number drops off alarmingly now. Here is something we all want, we all know we need, but we don't have a clue what it is!

4). How many of you have ever EXPERIENCED a real revival? 
And here, very few if any, ever respond. "Another generation arose that did not know the mighty works of the Lord".
And that, friend, is the reason for this book. Jdg 2:10 

Psalm 119:38  Establish Thy word to Thy servant, As that which produces reverence for Thee. (PRAYER)

NET  Psalm 119:38 Confirm to your servant your promise, which you made to the one who honors you.

LXE  Psalm 119:38 Confirm thine oracle to thy servant, that he may fear thee.

NLT  Psalm 119:38 Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you.

KJV  Psalm 119:38 Stablish <06965> (08685) thy word <0565> unto thy servant <05650>, who is devoted to thy fear <03374>.

ESV  Psalm 119:38 Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.

NIV  Psalm 119:38 Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared.

ASV  Psalm 119:38 Confirm unto thy servant thy word, Which is in order unto the fear of thee.

CSB  Psalm 119:38 Confirm what You said to Your servant, for it produces reverence for You.

NKJ  Psalm 119:38 Establish <06965> (08685) Your word <0565> to Your servant <05650>, Who is devoted to fearing <03374> You.

NRS  Psalm 119:38 Confirm to your servant your promise, which is for those who fear you.

YLT  Psalm 119:38 Establish to Thy servant Thy saying, That is concerning Thy fear.

NAB  Psalm 119:38 For your servant fulfill your promise made to those who fear you.

NJB  Psalm 119:38 Keep your promise to your servant so that all may hold you in awe.

GWN  Psalm 119:38 Keep your promise to me so that I can fear you.

BHT  Psalm 119:38 häqëm lü`abDükä ´imräteºkä ´ášer lüyir´äteºkä

BBE  Psalm 119:38 Give effect to your word to your servant, in whose heart is the fear of you.

  • Establish: Ps 119:49 2Sa 7:25-29 2Co 1:20 
  • that which produces reverence for Thee: Ps 103:11,13,17 145:19 147:11 Jer 32:39-41 

Establish Thy word to Thy servant, As that which produces reverence for Thee - This is a great prayer to pray to God. Servant acknowledges our submission to Him and His will for our life. The effect of God's Word should be to produce a holy, reverential fear of God, and an associated dread of committing sin which grieves Him. 

Spurgeon - That is, “Make thy word to me real and true. Put away my natural skepticism, my proneness to question, my tendency to doubt.” “Stablish thy word.” “Make me to know how firm, how true, how real it is, for I would love it more and more. I do believe it, for I am devoted to thy fear, but I long to be still further established in the faith.”


Charles Bridges - Often—instead of being quickened in the way—I am fainting under the pressure of unbelief. What then is my resource? Only the word of promise. Lord! seal—stablish thy word unto thy servant—devoted as I am—as I would be—to thy fear. If “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”1—a “treasure”2—a “strong confidence”3—“a fountain of life”4—how wise—how rich—how safe—how happy—is he that “is devoted to” it! “Blessed” indeed is he—with the favor of his God,5 the secret of his love,6 the teaching of his grace,7 and the mercy of his covenant.8 The promises of the Old Testament are generally connected with the fear of God, as in the New Testament they are linked with faith. But in truth, so identified are these two principles in their operation, that the faith, by which we apprehend the forgiveness of God, and the privileges of his kingdom, issues in a godly, reverential, filial fear?9 To be devoted to this fear, completes the character of a servant of God—the highest honor in the universe—the substantial joy of heaven itself.10 It is an obedience of choice, of reverence, and of love. “Joining himself to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord,—to be his servant.”11 Yes, gracious Lord, I had rather be bound than looked. I only wished to be loosed from the bonds of sin, that I might be bound to thee for ever. My heart is treacherous; lay thine own bonds upon me. “O Lord, truly I am thy servant: thou hast loosed my bonds;”12 I am “devoted to thy fear.” Is this my desire, my mind, my determination, my character? Then let me plead my title to an interest in the promises of the word—rich and free, “exceeding great and precious”13—all mine—“yea, and amen in Christ Jesus”14 let me plead, that every word may be “established” in my victory over sin, advancing knowledge of Christ, experience of his love, conformity to his image, and finally, in my preservation in him unto eternal life.

1 Psalm 111:10.

2 Isaiah 33:6.

3 Prov. 14:26.

4 Prov 14: 27.

5 Psalm 33:18.

6 Ps 25:14.

7 Ps 25:12.

8 Ps 103:17.

9 Ps 130:4. Compare Jer. 33:8, 9. Hosea 3:5; also Heb. 12:28.

10 Rev. 7:15; 22:3.

11 Isaiah 56:6.

12 Psalm 116:16.

13 2 Peter 1:4.

14 2 Cor. 1:20.

But how far has the fear of God operated with me as a safe guard from sin,15 and an habitual rule of conduct?16 David’s confidence in the promises of God, far from lessening his jealousy over himself, only made him more “devoted to the fear” of God. And if my assurance be well-grounded, it will be ever accompanied with holy fear; the influence will be known by “standing more in awe of God’s word;”17 having a more steady abhorrence of sin, and a dread of “grieving the Holy Spirit of God.” Thus this filial fear produces a holy confidence; while confidence serves to strengthen fear: and their mutual influence quickens devotedness to the work of the Lord.

It is interesting to remark, that the Christian privilege of assurance is not confined to the New Testament dispensation. David’s pleading to have the “word of his God stablished unto him,”1 was grounded upon the tried foundations of faith. And this direct act of faith, as it regards God in Christ, his engagements, and his promises, cannot be too confident. The promises are made to the whole Church, that we might each look for our part and interest in them. God loves to have his own seal and hand-writing brought before him. “Put me in remembrance”—saith he: “let us plead together.” “He cannot deny himself.”2 This is the exercise and the power of faith. I bring my wants. I bring thy word of promise. Stablish thy word unto thy servant. Thou hast bought me with a precious price: thou hast made me thine: thou hast subdued my heart to thyself, so that it is now “devoted to thy fear.” Whatsoever, therefore, thy covenant has provided for my sanctification, my humiliation, my chastisement, my present and everlasting consolation—“Stablish this word:” let it be fulfilled in me; for I am “thy servant, devoted to thy fear.”

15 Gen. 39, 9. Neh. 5:15. Prov. 16:6.

16 Prov. 23:17.

17 Ps 119:161.

1 Mark this petition, drawn out by David into a full pleading with his God, 2 Sam. 7:25, 28, 29. The expression also of the same confidence will afterwards be noticed. Verse 49.

2 Isaiah 43:26. 2 Tim. 2:13.

Psalm 119:39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Thine ordinances are good. (PRAYER)

NET  Psalm 119:39 Take away the insults that I dread! Indeed, your regulations are good.

LXE  Psalm 119:39 Take away my reproach which I have feared: for thy judgments are good.

NLT  Psalm 119:39 Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good.

KJV  Psalm 119:39 Turn away <05674> (08685) my reproach <02781> which I fear <03025> (08804): for thy judgments <04941> are good <02896>.

ESV  Psalm 119:39 Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good.

NIV  Psalm 119:39 Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good.

ASV  Psalm 119:39 Turn away my reproach whereof I am afraid; For thine ordinances are good.

CSB  Psalm 119:39 Turn away the disgrace I dread; indeed, Your judgments are good.

NKJ  Psalm 119:39 Turn away <05674> (08685) my reproach <02781> which I dread <03025> (08804), For Your judgments <04941> are good <02896>.

NRS  Psalm 119:39 Turn away the disgrace that I dread, for your ordinances are good.

YLT  Psalm 119:39 Remove my reproach that I have feared, For Thy judgments are good.

NAB  Psalm 119:39 Turn away from me the taunts I dread, for your edicts bring good.

NJB  Psalm 119:39 Avert the taunts that I dread, for your judgements are generous.

GWN  Psalm 119:39 Take away insults, which I dread, because your regulations are good.

BHT  Psalm 119:39 ha`ábër HerPätî ´ášer yägöºrTî Kî mišPä†Êºkä †ôbîm

BBE  Psalm 119:39 Take away the shame which is my fear; for your decisions are good.

  • run: Song 1:4 Isa 40:31 1Co 9:24-26 Heb 12:1 
  • enlarge: Ps 119:45 18:36 1Ki 4:29 Job 36:15,16 Isa 60:5 61:1 Lu 1:74,75 Joh 8:32,36 2Co 3:17 6:11 1Pe 2:16 

Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Thine ordinances are good.


Charles Bridges - There is a reproach, that we have no cause to fear, but rather to glory in. It is one of the chief privileges of the Gospel3—the honorable badge of our profession.4 But it was the “reproach” of bringing dishonor upon the name of his God, that David feared,5 and deprecated with most anxious importunate prayer. The fear of this reproach is a practical principle of tender watchfulness and circumspection, and of habitual dependence upon an Almighty upholding power. “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe”6—will be the constant supplication of one that fears the Lord, and fears himself. We do not perhaps sufficiently consider the active malice of the enemies of the Gospel “watching for our halting;”7 else should we be more careful to remove all occasions of “reproach” on account of inconsistency of temper or conversation. None therefore that feel their own weakness, the continual apprehension of danger, the tendency of their heart to backslide from God, and to disgrace “that worthy name by which they are called,”8 will think this prayer unseasonable or unnecessary—“Turn away my reproach which I fear.”

Perhaps also the conflicting Christian may find this a suitable prayer. Sometimes Satan has succeeded in beguiling him into some worldly compliance, or weakened his confidence, by tempting him to look to himself for some warrant of acceptance, (in all which suggestions he is aided and abetted by his treacherous heart:) and then will this “accuser of the brethren” turn back upon him, and change himself into “an angel of light,” presenting before him a black catalogue of those very falls, into which he had successfully led him. Bunyan does not fail to enumerate these “reproaches” as amongst the most harassing assaults of Apollyon. In his desperate conflict with Christian, he taunts him with his fall into the Slough of Despond, and every successive deviation from his path, as blotting out his warrant of present favor with the king, and blasting all hopes of reaching the celestial city. Christian does not attempt to conceal or palliate the charge. He knows it is all true, and much more besides; but he knows this is true also—“Where sin abounded, grace hath much more abounded.” “The blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God cleanseth from all sin.”1 Believers! In the heat of your conflict remember the only effective covering. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”2 Do you not hate the sins, with which you have been overtaken?

3 Matt. 5:10–12. Compare Phil. 1:29.

4 Acts 5:41; 24:5; 28:22. Heb. 13:13. 1 Pet. 4:12–16.

5 2 Sam. 12:14. We find Saul strongly deprecating this reproach,—“I have sinned; yet honor me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel.” (1 Sam. 15:30.) But how different the principle in these two instances under a similar trial! The one tremblingly alive, that the name of God might not be reproached through his shameful fall. The other earnest only to secure his own reputation.

6 Ps 119:1.

7 Jer. 20:10.

8 James 2:7.

1 Rom. 5:20. 1 John 1:7.

2 Ephes. 6:16.

Are you not earnestly longing for deliverance from their power? Then even while the recollections of their guilt and defilement humble you before the Lord, take fresh hold of the Gospel, and you shall “overcome by the blood of the Lamb.”3 Victory must come from the cross. And the soul that is directing its eye thither for pardon, strength, and consolation, may sigh out the prayer with acceptance—“Turn away my reproach which I fear.”

But how deeply is the guilt of apostasy or backsliding aggravated by the acknowledgment which all are constrained to make—“Thy judgments are good!” How affecting is the Lord’s expostulation with us!—“What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? O my people, what have I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense.”4 No, surely we have nothing to complain of our Master, of his work, or of his wages; but much, very much, to complain of ourselves, of our watchfulness, neglect, backsliding, and to humble ourselves on account of the consequent reproach upon our profession.

Never, however, let us cease to cry, that all the reproach which we fear on account of our allowed inconsistencies of profession, may for the Church’s sake, be “turned away from us.” Meanwhile, “let us accept it as the punishment of our iniquity;”5 and in the recollection of the “goodness of the Lord’s judgments,” still venture to hope and look for the best things to come out of it, from our gracious Lord.

3 Rev. 12:9–11.

4 Jer. 2:5. Micah 6:3. Isaiah 43:23

5 Lev. 26:41.

Psalm 119:40 Behold, I long for Thy precepts; Revive me through Thy righteousness. (PRAYER)

NET  Psalm 119:40 Look, I long for your precepts. Revive me with your deliverance!

LXE  Psalm 119:40 Behold, I have desired thy commandments: quicken me in thy righteousness.

NLT  Psalm 119:40 I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness. Waw

KJV  Psalm 119:40 Behold, I have longed <08373> (08804) after thy precepts <06490>: quicken <02421> (08761) me in thy righteousness <06666>.

ESV  Psalm 119:40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!

NIV  Psalm 119:40 How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.

ASV  Psalm 119:40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: Quicken me in thy righteousness.

CSB  Psalm 119:40 How I long for Your precepts! Give me life through Your righteousness.

NKJ  Psalm 119:40 Behold, I long <08373> (08804) for Your precepts <06490>; Revive <02421> (08761) me in Your righteousness <06666>.

NRS  Psalm 119:40 See, I have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life.

YLT  Psalm 119:40 Lo, I have longed for Thy precepts, In Thy righteousness quicken Thou me,

NAB  Psalm 119:40 See how I long for your precepts; in your justice give me life.

NJB  Psalm 119:40 See how I yearn for your precepts; in your saving justice give me life.

GWN  Psalm 119:40 I long for your guiding principles. Give me a new life in your righteousness.

BHT  Psalm 119:40 hinnË Tä´aºbTî lüpiqqùdʺkä Bücidqätkä Hayyëºnî

BBE  Psalm 119:40 See how great is my desire for your orders: give me life in your righteousness.

  • I long: Ps 119:5,20 Mt 26:41 Ro 7:24 2Co 7:1 Ga 5:17 Php 3:13,14 
  • Revive: Ps 119:25,37,88,107,149,156,159 Mk 9:24 Joh 5:21 10:10 1Co 15:45 Eph 2:5 3Jn 1:2 

Behold, I long for Thy precepts - Long for is (Qal Perfect) and only other use is Ps 119:174 " I long for Your salvation, O LORD."

Septuagint (Lxx) = Long for (1937)(epithumeo from epí = upon, used intensively + thumós = passion) is literally one's passion upon, to have a strong desire, to desire greatly, in this case God's precepts! The idea is he had fixed his desire upon God's precepts. It is interesting that the preposition epi can express motion toward or upon and thus one lexicon defines it as to set one's heart upon. In sum, epithumeo describes a strong impulse toward something so that one's passions or affections directed toward some object, thing or person. Jesus used epithumeo with its evil connotation here in Mt 5:28+, where epithumeo describes a husband's lustful passion directly toward a woman who is not his wife. 

THOUGHT Notice that the use of epithumeo in Ps 119:40 gives us a great pattern as to how we can fight the good fight against the sinful longing Jesus warned about in Mt 5:28+. What is the pattern? In context it is to "long for Thy precepts!" This powerful principle is also known as the Expulsive Power of a New Affection the new longing directed toward the Lord in effect negating the longing of the Old Man for gratification of the flesh!

Revive me through Thy righteousness - Note the juxtaposition of God's precepts and revival. As David said in Psalm 19:7 "The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul." This recalls the earlier prayer by the psalmist "My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word." (Psalm 119:25, cf Ps 119:107, Ps 119:149) 

THOUGHT Note that the word "revive" appears only 18x in the entire OT but Psalm 119 has 11 uses!  Ps. 119:25; Ps. 119:37; Ps. 119:40; Ps. 119:50; Ps. 119:88; Ps. 119:93; Ps. 119:107; Ps. 119:149; Ps. 119:154; Ps. 119:156; Ps. 119:159. Given this concentration of the word "revive" in Psalm 119 and our dire need for daily revival because of the "spiritual leakage" inherent in living in a godless world, it behooves all God's children to frequently immerse themselves in the living waters of Psalm 119! When was the last time you read and meditated on some of the verses in this life giving psalm?


Charles Bridges - Behold! An appeal to the heart-searching God—“Thou knowest that I love”1 thy precepts! The heart-felt acknowledgment of their goodness naturally leads to long after them.2 The professor longs after the promises, and too often builds a delusive—because an unsanctifying hope upon them. The believer feels it to be his privilege and safety to have an equal regard to both—to obey the precepts of God in dependence on his promises, and to expect the accomplishment of the promises, in way of obedience to the precepts. The utmost extent of the professor’s service is the heavy yoke of outward conformity. He knows nothing of an inward delight, and “longing after them.” Of many of them his heart complains, “This is a hard saying: who can hear it?”3 The Christian can give a good reason for his delight even in the most difficult and painful “precepts.” The moments of deepest repentance are his times of the sweetest “refreshing from the presence of the Lord.”4 Whatever be the pleasure of indulgence in sin, far greater is the ultimate enjoyment arising out of the mortification of it.5 Most fruitful is our Saviour’s precept, which inculcates on his followers self-denial and the daily cross.6 For by this wholesome discipline we lose our own perverse will; the power of sin is restrained, the pride of the heart humbled; and our real happiness fixed upon a solid and permanent basis. So that, whatever dispensation some might desire for breaking the precept without forfeiting the promise, the Christian blesses God for the strictness that binds him to a steady obedience to it. To him it is grievous, not to keep it, but to break it. A “longing” therefore “after the precepts,” marks the character of the child of God, and may be considered as the pulse of the soul. It forms our meetness and ripeness for heaven.

There are indeed times, when the violence of temptation, or the paralyzing effect of indolence, hide the movements of the “hidden man of the heart.” And yet even in these gloomy hours, when the mouth is shut, and the heart dumb, before God—“so troubled that it cannot speak,”7—even then, acceptable incense is ascending before the throne of God. We have a powerful intercessor “helping our infirmities”—interpreting our desires, and crying from within, “with groanings that cannot be uttered;”8 yet such as being indited by our advocate within, and

1 Compare John 21:17.

2 Compare the same acknowledgment, Rom. 7:12, connected with similar delight, 22.

3 John 6:60.

4 Acts 3:19. Luther says the practice of repentance was ever sweeter to him, after hearing the expression of an old divine—“That is kind repentance, which begins from the love of God.”

5 See David’s lively expression of gratitude—first to his God—then to the instrument employed by him—(Abigail) in restraining him from the gratification of most unjustifiable revenge.—1 Sam. 25:32, 33.

6 Luke 9:23.

7 Psalm 77:4.

8 Rom. 8:26.

presented by our Advocate above,9 are cheering earnests of their fulfilment. “He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.”1

These longings might seem to betoken a vigorous exercise of grace. But shall I be satisfied, while the most fervent desires are so disproportioned to their grand object—so overborne by the corruption of the flesh2—and while a heartless state is so hateful to my Saviour?3 Idle confessions and complaints are unseemly and unfruitful. Let me rather besiege the mercy-seat with incessant importunity4—“Quicken me in thy righteousness.” “I plead thy righteousness—thy righteous promise for the reviving of my spiritual life. I long for more lively apprehensions of thy spotless righteousness. Oh! let it invigorate my delight, my obedience, my secret communion, my Christian walk and conversation.” Such longings, poured out before the Lord for a fresh supply of quickening grace, are far different from “the desire of the slothful which killeth him,”5 and will not be forgotten before God. “Delight thyself in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”6 O for a more enlarged expectation, and a more abundant vouchsafement of blessing; that we may burst forth and break out, as from a living fountain within,7 in more ardent longings for the Lord’s precepts!

But it may be asked—What weariness in, and reluctancy to duties, may consist with the principle and exercise of grace? Where it is only in the members, not in the mind—where it is only partial, not prevalent—where it is only occasional, not habitual—where it is lamented and resisted, and not allowed—and where, in spite of its influence, the Christian still holds on the way of duty—“grace reigns” in the midst of conflict, and will ultimately and gloriously triumph over all hindrance and opposition. But in the midst of the humbling views of sin that present themselves on every side, let me diligently inquire—Have I an habitual “hungering and thirsting after righteousness?” And since, at the best, I do but get my longings increased, and not satisfied, let the full satisfaction of heaven be much in my heart. ‘As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”8

And what an expectation is this to pretend to! To think what the infinitely—eternally blessed God is—and what “man is at his best estate”9—then to conceive of man the worm of the dust—

9 Heb. 9:24. Rev. 8:3, 4.

1 Psalm 145:19.

2 Rom. 7:18–24.

3 Rev. 3:16.

4 Matt. 11:12.

5 Prov. 21:25.

6 Psalm 37:4

7 John 4:14; 7:38.

8 Psalm 17:15.

9 Ib. 39:5.

the child of sin and wrath—transformed into the likeness of God—bow weighty is the sound of this hope! What then must its substantiation be? If the initial privilege be glorious,10 what will the fulness be!11 Glory revealed to us! transfused through us! becoming our very being? To have the soul filled—not with evanescent shadows—but with massive, weighty, eternal glory!12 Worlds are mere empty bubbles compared with this our sure, satisfying, unfading inheritance.

10 2 Cor. 3:18.

11 1 John 3:2.

12 2 Cor. 4:17.

Psalm 119:41 Vav. May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LORD, Your salvation according to Your word; 

  • Ps 119:58,76,77,132 69:16 106:4,5 Lu 2:28-32 

Vav. May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LORD, Your salvation according to Your word; 


Warren Wiersbe -  Real Freedom
Read Psalm 119:41-48
Many people have the strange idea that God's Law and man's liberty are enemies. They say, "I want freedom. I want to do my own thing." How wrong they are. God's Law and your liberty go hand-in-hand, and Psalm 119:45 makes this clear. "And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts." Now, the world would write that verse like this: "And I will walk at liberty, for I reject and break Thy precepts. I'm going to do my own thing, my own way."
Let's get down to basics. What is freedom? Some may say freedom means the privilege of doing what you want to do. But that is not freedom. In fact, that's the worst kind of slavery in the world--to be controlled only by your impulses and inclinations. Real freedom is a life controlled by God's truth and motivated by His love.
This is true in every area of life. If we obey the traffic laws, we have the freedom to drive on the streets and highways. If we obey the laws of truth, we have the freedom to speak, and people will believe us. If we obey the laws of science, we won't blow up the laboratory. If the airplane pilot obeys the laws of aerodynamics, he will be able to fly his plane. You see, we have the freedom to enjoy the power of the Law when we have yielded to the commandment of the Law. So when I submit myself to the will of God, I am taking my first step toward freedom. As Charles Wesley wrote, God "braks the power of canceled sin; He sets the prisoner free." He says, "If you submit to me, together we will enjoy truth and love."
* * *
Are you enjoying real freedom in your Christian life? If not, you may have real freedom by submitting to the will of God. He gives us His Word so that we may know His will. Submit to Him and take your first step toward freedom (Psalm 119:41-48 Real Freedom)


Charles Bridges - Footnotes follow each section

A prayer of deep anxiety—large desire—simple faith! It is a sinner—feeling his need of mercy—yea mercies—abundant mercy1—mercies for every moment—looking for them only in the Lord’s salvation—to be dispensed according to his word. Out of Christ we know only a God of justice and holiness. In Christ we behold a just God, and yet a Saviour:2 and in “his salvation mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”3 Therefore general notions of mercy without a distinct apprehension of “salvation”—have their origin in presumption, not in warranted faith. For can there be any communication of mercy from an unknown God? Can there be any intercourse with an angry God? “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee”4—“The Lord’s mercies, even his salvation.”

This prayer, however, is peculiarly suitable to the believer, longing to realize that which sometimes is clouded to his view—his personal interest in the Lord’s salvation! It must come to me; or I shall never come to it. I want not a general apprehension—I am not satisfied with the description of it. Let it come to me—let thy mercies be applied, so that I can claim them and rejoice in them. I see thy salvation come to others. Who needs it more than I? Let it come also unto me. Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou used to do to those that love thy name. “Remember me, O Lord, with the favor that thou bearest to thy people; O visit me with thy salvation; that I may see the felicity of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.”5

Now, are we seeking the assurance of this salvation? Are we waiting to realize its present power, saving us from sin—Satan—the world—ourselves—and “blessing us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus?” Should a trial of faith and patience be ordained for us, yet in the end we shall find an enriching store of experience from His wise dispensations. That he has kept us from turning our backs upon his ways, when we had no comfort in them; that he has upheld us with secret supplies of strength—is not this the work of his own Spirit within, and the pledge of the completion of the work? That he has enabled us, against all discouragements, to “continue instant in prayer,” is surely an answer to that prayer, which in our apprehensions of it had been cast out. That in waiting upon him, we have found no rest in worldly consolation, is an assurance that the Lord himself will be our soul-satisfying and eternal portion. And who is there now in the sensible enjoyment of his love, who does not bless that Divine wisdom, which took the same course with them that has been taken with us, to bring them to these joys?

1 Psalm 51:1.
2 Isa. 45:21.
3 Psalm 85:9, 10. Comp. Rom. 3:26.
4 Job 22:21.
5 Ps 119:132. Psalm 106:4, 5.

When did a weeping seed-time fail of bringing a joyful harvest!1

But let not the ground of faith be forgotten—“According to thy word,”—that it shall come fully—freely—eternally—to him that waiteth for it.2 “Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness; those that remember thee in thy ways.”3 Many indeed are satisfied with far too low a standard of spiritual enjoyments. It is comfortless to live at a distance from our Father’s house, when we might be dwelling in the secret of his presence, and rejoicing in the smiles of his love. But let us not charge this dishonorable state upon the sovereignty of the Divine dispensations. Let us rather trace it to its true source—want of desire—want of faith—want of prayer—want of diligence. What infinite need have we of heavenly influence! What gracious encouragement to seek it! The way was blocked up—mercy has cleared the path, opened our access.—“The golden sceptre is always held out.”4 Earnest prayer will bring a sure answer. The blessing is unspeakable. Let thy mercies—thy salvation—come unto me, O Lord.

1 Psalm 126:5, 6.
2 Psalm  33:22. Compare Ps 5:1.
3 Isaiah 64:5.
4 Esther 5:2.

Psalm 119:42  So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word. 

  • So shall (KJV): Ps 3:2 42:10 71:10,11 109:25 Mt 27:40-43,63 
  • have wherewith (KJV): etc. or, answer him that reproacheth me in a thing, 2Sa 16:7,8 19:18-20 
  • for I trust (KJV): Ps 119:49,74,81 56:4,10,11 89:19-37 2Sa 7:12-16 1Ch 28:3-6 Ac 27:25 

So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word - We trust the Bible about everything, because it is right about everything (v128). It is true and can be trusted wholly. To argue with the Bible is to argue with God. We test every other book by what God says in His Word. 


Charles Bridges - What is the salvation which he had just been speaking of? The whole gift of the mercy of God—redemption from sin, death, and hell—pardon, peace, and acceptance with a reconciled God—constant communication of spiritual blessings—all that God can give or we can want; all that we are able to receive here, or heaven can perfect hereafter. Now, if this “comes to us”—comes to our hearts—surely it will furnish us at all times with “an answer to him that reproacheth us.” The world casts upon us the reproach of the cross. “What profit is there to walk mournfully before the Lord of Hosts?”5 What is there to counterbalance the relinquishment of pleasure, esteem, and worldly comfort? The professor can give no answer. He has heard of it, but it has never come to him. The believer is ready with his answer, I have found in the Lord’s salvation pardon and peace—“not as the world giveth”—and such as the world cannot take away. Here therefore do I abide, finding it my happiness not to live without the cross, and testifying in the midst of abounding tribulation, that there are no comforts like Christ’s comforts. This was David’s answer, when family trials were probably an occasion of reproach, “Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation and all my desire.”1

But there is a far heavier reproach than that of the world—when the grand accuser injects hard thoughts of God—when he throws our guilt and unworthiness—our helplessness and difficulties in our face. And how severe is this exercise in a season of spiritual desertion! Except the believer can stay his soul upon “a God that hideth himself, as still the God of Israel, the Saviour,”2 he is unprepared with an answer to him that reproacheth him. Such appears to have been Job’s condition,3 and Heman’s,4 not to speak of many of the Lord’s most favored people, at different stages of their Christian life. Most important therefore is it for us to pray for a realizing sense of the Lord’s mercies—even of his salvation—not only as necessary for our peace and comfort—but to garrison us against every assault, and to enable us to throw down the challenge, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.”5 Free grace has saved me—an unspotted righteousness covers me—an Almighty arm sustains me—eternal glory awaits me. Who shall condemn? “Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?”6

Now for this bold front to our enemies, nothing is wanted beyond the reach of the weakest child of God. No extraordinary holiness—no Christian establishment in experience—nothing but simple, humble faith, “For I trust in thy word.” Faith makes this salvation ours, in all its fulness

5 Malachi 3:14.

1 2 Sam. 23:5.

2 Isaiah 45:15.

3 Job 6, 7, 9.

4 Ps. 88.

5 Micah 7:8.

6 Rom. 8:33–39.

and almighty power; and therefore our confidence “in the word” will make us “ready always to give an answer to every one that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us, with meekness and fear.”7 “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that riseth against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord; and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.8

But how often is our Christian boldness paralyzed by our feeble apprehensions of the salvation of God! Clear and full evangelical views are indispensable for the effective exercise of our weighty obligations. Any indistinctness here, from its necessary mixture of self-righteousness and unbelief, obscures the warrant of our personal interest, and therefore hinders that firm grasp of Almighty strength. Coldness and formality also deaden the power of Christian boldness. Much need therefore have we to pray for a realized perception of the freeness, fulness, holiness, and privileges of the Gospel. Much need have we to use our speedy diligence, without delay; our painful diligence, without indulgence; our continual diligence, without weariness; that we be not satisfied with remaining on the skirts of the kingdom; that it be not a matter of doubt, whether we belong to it or not; but that, grace being added to grace, “so an entrance may be ministered to us abundantly into”1 all its rich consolations and everlasting joys.

7 1 Peter 3:15.

8 Isaiah 54:17.

1 2 Peter 1:5–11.

Psalm 119:43 And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I wait for Your ordinances. 

  • take not (KJV): Ps 119:13 50:16 51:14,15 71:17,18 Isa 59:21 Eph 1:13 Jas 1:18 
  • for I have (KJV): Ps 119:52,120,175 7:6-9 9:4,16 43:1 1Pe 2:23 

And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I wait for Your ordinances. 


Charles Bridges  - For the sake of the Church and the world, not less than for our own sakes, let us give diligence to clear up our interest in the Gospel, that “the joy of the Lord may be our strength” in his service. The want of personal assurance not only brings a loss to our soul’s own experience, but a hindrance to our own usefulness. Not only is our answer feeble to “him that reproaches us;” but our attempts to “strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees”2 of our brethren are unavailing. The dread of the charge of hypocrisy—the absence of the only “constraining” principle—“the love of Christ,”3 or the indulgence of worldly habits and conversation—stops the utterance of the word of truth, and obscures our character as a “saint of God,”4 and a witness for his name.5 Justly indeed might he punish our unfaithfulness by forbidding us to speak any more in his name; and therefore in deprecating this grievous judgment, the child of God, conscious of guilt, casts himself at the footstool of mercy—“Take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth.” Not only take it not out of my heart; but let it be ready in my mouth for a confession of my master.

This is a valuable prayer to preserve us from denying Christ in worldly intercourse. Let the whole weight of Christian obligation be deeply felt—faith in the heart, and confession with the mouth6—the active principle, and the practical exercise. Should we be content with the dormant principle, where would be the Church—the ordinances—the witness for God in the world? Shall we shrink from the bold confession of him who “despised the shame of the cross for us?”7 Would not this imply a distrust of our own testimony—the word of truth?

Wisdom is indeed required to know when, as well as what, to speak. There is indeed “a time to keep silence,” “and the prudent shall keep silence in that time.”8 But too often a judicious caution is a self-deluding cover for the real cause of restraint—the want of apprehension of the Lord’s mercy to the soul. It will always therefore be made to examine, whether it is our cross to be “dumb with silence”—whether, when we “hold our peace even from good, our sorrow is stirred,” and our “heart hot within us, and the fire burning.”9

Sometimes the Lord may see it needful to straiten our spirits, for the discovery of our weakness, for our deeper humiliation, and more simple dependence on himself. But then will the cry—“Take not the word utterly out of my mouth”—be heard and answered. And a word spoken in weakness may be a word of Almighty power to one of the Lord’s “little ones.” Many opportunities also in our connections with the world will unexpectedly offer for the improvement

2 Isaiah 35:3.

3 2 Cor. 5:14.

4 Psalm 145:10–13.

5 See Isaiah 43:10.

6 Rom. 10:9, 10.

7 Heb. 12:2.

8 Eccl. 3:7. Amos 5:13.

9 Psalm 39:2, 3.

of the wakeful heart. The common topics of earthly conversation may furnish a channel for heavenly intercourse; so that our communications even with the world may be like Jacob’s ladder, whose foot rested upon the earth, but the top reached unto the heavens.1 And oh! what a relief is it to the burdened conscience, if but a few words can be stammered out for God, even though there are no sensible refreshings of his presence upon the soul!

But in order that the word of truth may come out of our mouth, it must be well stored in the heart. “Let then the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom;” that it may be ready for every opportunity of usefulness.2 When the heart is full, the mouth will flow.3 When “the heart is inditing a good matter, speaking of the things touching the king,” “our tongue will be the pen of a ready writer.”4 This prayer is the same confidence of faith that was expressed in the preceding verse, “For I have hoped in thy judgments,” an acceptable spirit of approach to God, and an earnest of the revival of life and comfort in the Lord’s best time and way.

1 Gen. 28:12. “Why do I make any of my visits to any of my neighbors, or countenance their visits unto me? Lord, I desire to let fall something, that may be for the good of the company; even, that more may be known of thee, and done for thee, from what passes in it. And when I propose to ingratiate myself unto any people by the civilities of conversation, it shall be, that I may gain thereby the better advantages to prosecute purposes upon them. In conversation, I would especially lay hold on all advantages to introduce as much as I can of a lovely Christ into the view of all that I come near unto.”—Cotton Mather, Student and Pastor, pp. 74, 75.

2 Col. 3:16.

3 Matt. 12:34. Comp. Ps. 116:10.

4 Ps. 45:1, 2.

Psalm 119:44 So I will keep Your law continually, Forever and ever. 

  • So shall (KJV): The language of this verse is very emphatic.  Perfect obedience will constitute a large proportion of heavenly happiness to all eternity; and the nearer we approach to it on earth, the more we anticipate the felicity of heaven.
  • keep (KJV): Ps 119:33,34 Rev 7:15 22:11 

So I will keep Your law continually, Forever and ever.

Charles Bridges  -  The heaping up of so many words in this short verse, appears to be the struggle of the soul to express the vehemency of its longings to glorify its Saviour. And indeed the Lord’s return to us, unsealing the lips of the dumb, and putting his word again into our mouth, brings with it a fresh sense of constraining obligation. This fresh occupation in his praise and service is not only our present privilege, but an antepast of our heavenly employment, when the word will never more “be taken out of our mouth,” but we shall “talk of his wondrous works”5 “for ever and ever.” The defects in the constancy and extent of our obedience (as far as our hearts are alive to the honor of God,) must ever be our grief and burden; and the prospect of its completeness in a better world, is that which renders the anticipation of heaven so delightful. There we shall be blest with suitable feelings, and therefore be enabled to render suitable obedience—even one unbroken consecration of all our powers to his work. Then “shall we keep his law continually for ever and ever.” Once admitted to the throne of God, we “shall serve him day and night in his temple,”1—without sin—without inconstancy,—without weariness,—without end! We speak of heaven; but oh! to be there! To be engaged throughout eternity in the service of love to a God of love! In one day’s continuance in the path of obedience even here, in the midst of the defilement which stains our holiest services, how sweetly do the minutes roll away! But to be for ever employed for him, in that place, where “there shall in no wise enter anything that defileth”2—this gives an emphasis and a dignity to the heavenly joy, which may well stamp it as “unspeakable and full of glory.”3 May we not then encourage the hope, that the Lord is making us meet for heaven, by the strength and constancy of our desires to “keep the laws of God?” And is it not evident that heaven itself can afford no real delight to one, who feels the service of God on earth to be irksome? He stands self-excluded by the constitution of his nature, by the necessity of the case. He has no heart for heaven, no taste for heaven, no capacity for the enjoyment of heaven—“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”4

Heavenly, gracious Father! who and what are we, that our hearts should be made the unworthy recipients of thy grace? that our wills should be subdued into “the obedience of faith?” and that we should be permitted to anticipate that blessed period, when we shall “keep thy law continually for ever and ever!” May this prospect realize the happiness of our present obedience! May he, who has “bought us with a price” for his glory, reign in our hearts, and live upon our lips; that each of us may have his mark upon our foreheads—the seal of his property in us, and of our obligation to him—“Whose I am, and whom I serve!”5

5 Ps 119:27.

1 Rev. 7:15.

2 Rev 21:27.

3 1 Peter 1:8.

4 Rev. 22:11.

5 Acts 27:23.

Psalm 119:45  And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. 

  • And I will (KJV): Ps 119:133 Lu 4:18 Joh 8:30-36 Jas 1:25 2:12 2Pe 2:19 
  • at liberty (KJV): Heb. at large, Ps 119:32 
  • for I seek (KJV): Ps 119:19,71,94,148,162 Pr 2:4,5 18:1 Ec 1:13  Joh 5:39 Eph 5:17 

And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. A law that gives liberty—what a paradox! Sin would have dominion over us (v133), but the Word sets us free (Jn 8:32 cp Ro6:2ff). True liberty comes in obeying God’s will. His Word is “the perfect law of liberty” (Ja1:25).

Charles Bridges - Not only perseverance but liberty, is the fruit of the Lord’s mercy to our souls—not the liberty of sin—to do what we please—but of holiness—to do what we ought; the one, the iron bondage of our own will;6 the other, the easy yoke of a God of love. It was a fine expression of a heathen, “to serve God is to reign.”7 Certainly in this service David found the liberty of a king. The precepts of God were not forced upon him; for he sought them. “More to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honey-comb.”8 The way of the Lord, which to the ungodly is beset with thorns and briers, is the King’s highway of liberty. The child of God walks here in the gladness of his heart and the rejoicing of his conscience. Even in “seeking these precepts,” there is “liberty” and enlargement of heart; a natural motion, like that of the sun in his course, “going forth as a bridegroom, and rejoicing as a strong man to run a race.”1 What must it be then, to walk in the full enjoyment of the precepts! “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” “They shall sing in the ways of the Lord”—“for how great is his goodness how great is his beauty!”2

Are we then obeying the precepts as our duty, or “seeking” them as our privilege? Do we complain of the strictness of the law or the corruption of the flesh? Are the precepts or our own hearts our burden? Is sin or holiness our bondage? The only way to make religion easy is to be always in it. The glow of spiritual activity, and the healthfulness of Christian liberty are only to be found in a persevering and self-denying pursuit of every track of the ways of God—“If ye continue in my word, then ye are my disciples indeed: and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”3 To have the whole stream of all our thoughts, actions, motives, desires, affections, carried in one undivided current towards God, is the complete and unrestrained influence of his love upon our hearts.

The corrupt and rebellious inclinations will “last”4 to the end. But as long as indulgence is denied, conflict excited, and the constant endeavor maintained to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”5 our liberty is established, even where it is not always

6 “I gave my will to mine enemy,” said Augustine, “and he made a chain, and bound me with it.”—Confess. viii. 5.

7 “In regno vivimus. Deo servare est regnare.”—Seneca. When the female martyr Agatha was upbraided, because, being descended of an illustrious parentage, she stooped to mean and humble offices—“Our nobility,” she replied, “lies in this; that we are the servants of Christ.”—Bishop Sumner’s Evidences, pp. 359, 360.

8 Psalm 19:10, 11.

1 Psalm 19:5.

2 2 Cor. 3:17. Psalm 138:5. Zech. 9:17.

3 John 8:31, 32, 36.

4 Gal. 5:17.

5 2 Cor. 10:5.

enjoyed. Every fresh chain, by which we bind ourselves to the Lord, makes us feel more free.6 While, then, they that “promise us liberty are themselves the servants of corruption,”7 let us live as the children of God—the heirs of the kingdom—grateful—free—blood-bought souls—remembering the infinite cost, at which our liberty was purchased: and the moment of extreme peril, when we were saved. When the flesh was weak, and the “law weak through the flesh,”8 and no resolutions of ours could break us from the yoke of sin—then it was that “Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and living,”9 “delivering us from the hand of our enemies, that we might serve him without fear.”10 And then indeed do we “walk at liberty,” when we “break the bands” of all other lords “asunder,” and consecrate ourselves entirely to his precepts. “O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us; but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.”11

6 Jugum Christi non deterit, sed honestat colla.—Bernard.

7 2 Peter 2:19. Compare John 8:34.

8 Rom. 8:3.

9 Ib. 14:9.

10 Luke 1:74.

11 Isaiah 26:13. An incident in the history of ancient Rome may furnish an illustration of that full liberty and entireness of heart which forms the act of acceptable surrender to the Lord. When the people of Collatia were negotiating an unconditional capitulation to the Romans, Egerius, on the part of the Romans, inquired of the ambassadors—“Are the people of Collatia in their own power?” When an affirmative answer was given, it was next inquired—“Do you deliver up yourselves—the people of Collatia—your city, your fields, your waters, your boundaries, your temples, your utensils, all your property, divine and human, into my power and the power of the Roman people?” “We surrender all.” “And so,” said he, “I accept you.”—Livy, Book i. Such may my surrender be to the Lord! Disentangled from every other yoke, under no bonds that ought to bind me, Lord, I offer myself, and all that belongs to me, without exception or reserve, at thy feet. “But who am I, that I should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee, and of thine own have I given thee.” 1 Chron. 29:14.

Psalm 119:46  I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings And shall not be ashamed. 

  • speak (KJV): Ps 138:1 Da 3:16-18 4:1-3,25-27 Mt 10:18,19 Ac 26:1,2,24-29 
  • will not (KJV): Mk 8:38 Ro 1:16 Php 1:20 2Ti 1:8,16 1Pe 4:14-16 1Jn 2:28 

 I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings And shall not be ashamed. 

Charles Bridges - “Liberty in walking” in the Lord’s ways will naturally produce boldness in “speaking” of them. Compare the conduct of the three unshaken witnesses of the truth before the Babylonish monarch.1 Mark the difference of the spirit displayed by the Apostles, and especially by Peter, before and after the day of Pentecost.2 Look at Stephen before the council,3 and Paul before Felix,4 Festus,5 and Agrippa.6 “God had not given to them the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”7 Hear the great Apostle testifying of himself—“I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also,”—at the metropolis of the world, in the face of all opposition and contempt, and at the imminent hazard of my life—“For,” says he, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.”8 In the same determination of soul, he exhorts his dear son in the faith—“Be not thou ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me his prisoner.”9 To how many does “the fear of man bring a snare?”10 Many a good soldier has faced the cannon’s mouth with undaunted front, and yet shrunk away with a coward’s heart from the reproach of the cross, and been put to the blush even by the mention of the Saviour’s name. Far better—the son of man “strengthening you”—to brave the fiery furnace or the den of lions in his service, than like Jonah, by flinching from the cross, incur the sting of conscience and the frown of God.11

Professing Christians! Are we ready to bear our testimony for Jesus, against the sneer and ridicule of the ungodly? We are not likely to “be brought before kings and rulers for the Son of Man’s sake.”12 Yet no less do we need Divine help and strong faith in withstanding the enmity of a prejudiced relative or scornful neighbor. Young people! you are perhaps in especial danger of being ashamed of your Bible, your religion, your Saviour. You may be brought under the “snare” of the “fear of man,” and be tempted to compromise your religion, and to sacrifice your everlasting all from a dread of “the reproach of Christ.” But remember him, who for your sake

1 Dan. 3:16–18.

2 Contrast Matt. 26:56, 69, 75, with Acts 2, 3, 4, 5. We can scarcely believe that the same persons are alluded to. But the explanation of the difficulty had been given by anticipation. John 7:39.

3 Acts 6, 7.

4 Ib. 24.

5 Ib. 25.

6 Ib. 26.

7 2 Tim. 1:7.

8 Rom. 1:15, 16.

9 2 Tim. 1:8.

10 Prov. 29:25.

11 Dan. 3:16–18; 6:16–22, with Jonah 1:1–15.

12 Luke 21:12. Mark 13:9.

“before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;”1 and shall the dread of a name restrain you from sharing his reproach, and banish the obligations of love and gratitude from your hearts? Have you forgotten, that you once owned the service of Satan? and will you not be as bold for Christ, as you were for him? Were you once “glorying in your shame;” and will you now be ashamed of your glory? Oh! remember who hath said, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”2 Think much and often of this word. Think on this day. Think on the station of “the fearful and unbelieving” on the left hand on that day. Think on their eternal doom.3 What is a prison to hell? What need to pray and tremble! If you are sincere in your determination, and simple in your dependence, then will the “love of Christ constrain you,”4 not to a cold, calculating, reluctant service; but to a confession of your Saviour, bold, unfettered, and “faithful even unto death.”5 Every deviation from the straight path bears the character of being ashamed of Christ. How much have you to speak in behalf of his testimonies, his ways, his love! When in danger of the influence of the fear of man, look to him for strength. He will give to you—as he gave to Stephen—“a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist.”6 Thus will you, like them, be strengthened “to profess a good profession before many witnesses.”7

1 1 Tim. 6:13.

2 Mark 8:38.

3 Rev. 21:8.

4 2 Cor. 5:14.

5 Rev. 2:10.

6 Luke 21:15, with Acts 6:10.

7 1 Tim. 6:12.

Psalm 119:47 I shall delight in Your commandments, Which I love. 

  • I will delight (KJV): Ps 119:16,24 112:1  Joh 4:34 Php 2:5 1Pe 2:21 
  • which (KJV): Ps 119:48,97,127,140,167,174 19:7-10 Job 23:11,12 Ro 7:12,16,22 

I shall delight in Your commandments, Which I love (Ps 119:47, 48, 97,113, 119,127,159,163,167)


Charles Bridges - It is but poor comfort to the believer to be able to talk well to others upon the ways of God, and even to “bear the reproach” of his people, when his own heart is cold, insensible, and dull. But why does he not rouse himself to the active exercise of faith—“I will delight myself in thy commandments?” That which is the burden of the carnal heart is the delight of the renewed soul. The former “is enmity against God; and therefore is not, and cannot be, subject to his law.”8 The latter can delight in nothing else If the Gospel separates the heart from sinful delights, it is only to make room for delights of a more elevated, satisfying, and enduring nature.9 Satan indeed generally baits his temptations with that seductive witchery, which the world calls pleasure. But has he engrossed all pleasure into his service? Are there no pleasures besides “the pleasures of sin?” Do the ways of the Lord promise nothing but difficulty and trial? What means then the experience of him, who could “rejoice in them, as much as in all riches,” and who “loved them above gold, yea, above fine gold?”10 The “fatted calf” of our Father’s house is surely a most gainful exchange for “the husks” of the “far country.”1 The delights of holiness go deeper than sensual pleasures.2 The joy of the saint is not that false, polluted, deadly joy, which is all that the worldling knows, and all that he has to look for; but it flows spontaneously from the fountain of living waters, through the pure channel of “the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” Nay, so independent is it of any earthly spring, that it never flourishes more than in the desolate wilderness or the sick-bed solitude; so that, “although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, yet we will rejoice in the Lord, we will joy in the God of our salvation.”3 The world see what religion takes away, but they see little of what it gives;4 else they would reproach—not their own folly—but their own blindness. “Thus saith the Lord God, Behold my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.”5

The love and complacency of the soul first fixes on the commandments. Then how natural is the flow of delight in them! even at the very time that we are “abhorring ourselves in dust and ashes” for our neglect of them; and God never has our hearts, until something of this delight is felt and enjoyed. But do we complain of the dulness of our hearts, that restrains this pleasure? Let us seek for a deeper impression of redeeming love. This will be the spring of grateful obedience and holy delight. Let us turn our complaints into prayers, and the Lord will quickly turn them into praises. Let us watch against everything, that would intercept our communion with Jesus. Distance from him must be accompanied with poverty of spiritual enjoyment—“They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life; and in thy light shall we see light.”6

8 Rom. 8:7.

9 “Delectationes non amittimus, sed mutamus,” was the expression of one of the ancients. “I live a voluptuous life,” said the excellent Joseph Alleine to his wife; “but it is upon spiritual dainties, such as the world know not, nor taste not of.”

10 Ps 119:14, 127.

1 Luke 15:13–24.

2 Psalm 4:7.

3 Hab. 3:17, 18.

4 Cyprian, in one of his Epistles, (ad Donat.) mentions the great difficulty he found in overcoming the false view of the gloom of religion—little suspecting that the cause of the gloom was in himself—not in the gospel. But this is explained, Matt. 6:23.

5 Isa. 65:13, 14.

6 Ps. 36:8, 9.


LOVE OF GOD'S WORD - The story is told of a poor, blind French girl who obtained a Braille copy of Mark and learned to read it with her fingers. But eventually her fingers became so calloused she could no longer distinguish letters and words. In desperation for the Word, she cut the calluses in an attempt to restore the sense of touch, but sadly the scarring had the opposite effect. Faced with the reality that she must give up her beloved Book, with weeping she pressed the Braille copy of Mark to her lips, lamenting “Farewell, farewell, sweet Word of my Heavenly Father!” To her surprise, she discovered that her lips were even more sensitive to touch than her fingers had been! And from that moment on she "read" the Bible with her lips, and doubtless offered praises like the psalmist who cried "Let my lips utter praise, for You teach me Your statutes." (Ps 119:171)


When Mary Jones was 10 years old, she began saving money for something special she wanted to buy. She babysat, tended neighbors' gardens, and sold eggs from her own chickens. By the time she was 16, she had accumulated enough money to get what she so desperately wanted. Was it a new car? A fresh wardrobe? A Nintendo? No, Mary Jones was 16 in the year 1800, and what she had been saving for was a Bible. But there was no place to buy one in the tiny Welsh village where she lived, so she walked to Bala--25 miles away. There Rev. Thomas Charles had one Bible left to sell, and after some convincing, Mary talked him into selling it to her. 

Because of Mary's hunger for the Bible, Rev. Charles and others began discussing the need of making the Scriptures more readily available. The British and Foreign Bible Society was started, and during the next 100 years it distributed more than 200 million copies of God's Word worldwide. To Mary, nothing was more important than the Bible, and her persistence paid huge spiritual dividends. 

Do we treasure God's Word as much? How often do we even walk across the room to pick up the Bible and read it?  Lord, help us to cherish Your Word. --JDB (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

    Cling to the Bible--this wonderful treasure
    Brings life eternal and saves fallen man;
    Surely its value no mortal can measure--
    Seek for its blessing, O soul, while you can.
--Anon.

Many people store the Bible on a shelf instead of in their heart

Psalm 119:48 And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, Which I love; And I will meditate on Your statutes. 

hands (KJV): Ps 10:12 Eze 44:12 Mic 5:9 
unto thy (KJV): Mt 7:21  Joh 13:17 15:14 Jas 1:22-25 
and I will (KJV): Ps 119:15 1:2 

And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, Which I love - An expression of praise and adoration from a heart of love.

And I will meditate on Your statutes. (Ps 119:15, 23, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148): Meditation is to the soul what digestion is to the body. To meditate means to “turn over” God’s Word in the mind and heart, to examine it, to compare Scripture with Scripture, to “feed on” its wonderful truths. In this day of noise and confusion, such meditation is rare but so needful. Meditation is impossible without memorization.Reading the Bible without meditating on it is like eating without chewing. See Meditation

We must read 

    Scripture every day
    And meditate on what God said
    To fight temptation from the world
    And live a life that's Spirit led.
--Sper

WHICH I LOVE: AHAB: 

  • Ps 1:1,2;19:7-11;Ps 119:16,24,35,47,
  • Ps 119:48,72,92,97,103,
  • Ps 119:111,113,127,159,167,174;Jer. 15:16).

Charles Bridges - Scarcely any expression seems to be equal to set forth the fervency of David’s love and delight in the ways and word of God. Here we find him “lifting up his hands” with the gesture of one, who is longing to embrace the object of his desire with both hands and his whole heart.7 Perhaps also in “lifting up his hands unto the commandments,” he might mean to express his looking upward for assistance to keep them, and to live in them.8 But how humbling this comparison with ourselves! Alas! how often, from the neglect of this influence of the Spirit of God, do our “hands hang down,” instead of being “lifted up” in these holy ways! We are too often content with a scanty measure of love: without any sensible “hungering and thirsting after righteousness;” neither able to pray with life and power, nor to hear with comfort and profit, nor to “do good and to communicate” with cheerfulness, nor to meditate with spiritual delight, nor to live for God with zeal and interest, nor to anticipate the endurance of the cross with unflinching resolution—the soul being equally disabled for heavenly communion, and active devotedness. Shall we look for ease under the power of this deadening malady? Let us rather struggle and cry for deliverance from it. Let us subscribe ourselves before God as wretched, and helpless, and guilty. He can look upon us, and revive us. Let us then “take hold upon his covenant,” and plead, that he will look upon us. Let us “put him in remembrance” of the glory of his name, which is much more concerned in delivering us out of this frame, by his quickening grace, than in leaving us, stupid, corrupt, and carnal, in it. Professor! awake: or beg of the Lord to awaken you! For if your cold sleeping heart is contented with the prospect of a heaven hereafter, without seeking for a present foretaste of its joy, it may be a very questionable matter whether heaven will ever be yours.

Delight, however, will exercise itself in an habitual “meditation in the statutes.”1 The breathing of the heart will be, “O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”2 It is in holy meditation on the word of God, that all the graces of the spirit are manifested. What is the principle of faith, but the reliance of the soul upon the promises of the word? What is the sensation of godly fear, but the soul trembling before the threatenings of God?3 What is the object of hope, but the apprehended glory of God? What is the excitement of desire or love, but longing, endearing contemplations of the Saviour, and of his unspeakable blessings? Hence we can scarcely conceive of the influence of grace separated from spiritual meditation on the word. It is this which, under Divine teaching, draws out its hidden contents, and exhibits them to the soul, as the objects upon which the principles and affections of the Divine life are habitually exercised. Not that any benefit can be expected from meditation, even upon the word of God, as an abstract duty. If not deeply imbued with prayer, it will degenerate into dry speculative study. Without some distinct practical application, it will be unedifying in itself, and unsatisfactory for its important ends—the discerning of the mind of God, and feeding upon the rich provision of the Gospel.

Let it be a matter of daily inquiry, Does my reading of the word of God furnish food for my soul, matter for prayer, direction for conduct? Scriptural study, when entered upon in a prayerful spirit, will never, like many other studies, be unproductive. The mind that is engaged in it, is fitly set for bearing fruit; it will “bring forth fruit in due season.”1 Meditation kindles love, as it is the effect of love, “While I was musing, the fire burned.”2 “Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, this man is blessed in his deed.”3 But let us take heed, that the root of religion in the soul is not cankered by the indulgence of secret sin. The largest supply of Christian ordinances will fail to refresh us, except the heart be kept right with God in simplicity of faith, love, and diligence in the service of Christ.

Come then, Christian, let us set our hearts to a vigorous, delighting devotedness to the statutes of our God. To regard some of them, would be to obey our own will, not God’s. Let us lift up our hands to them all. How shadowy is the joy of speculative contemplation, if it does not draw the heart to practical exercise! Let faith return our obligations in the full apprehension of the Lord’s mercy. And then will love constrain us to nothing less than “a living sacrifice”4 to his service. If the professor sleeps in national godliness, let us employ our active meditation, in searching for the mine that lies not on the surface, but which never fails to enrich diligent, patient, persevering labor.5

7 See Ps 63:4; 143:6.

8 See Ps. 28:2.

1 See Psalm 1:2.

2 Ps 119:97.

3 Ps 119:120.

1 Psalm 1:2, 3.

2 Ps 29:3.

3 James 1:25.

4 Rom. 11, 12:1.

5 Prov. 2:4, 5.

Psalm 119:49  Zayin. Remember the word to Your servant, In which You have made me hope. 

  • Remember: Ps 105:2,42 106:4,45 Ge 8:1 32:9 Job 7:7 Isa 62:6 *marg:
  • in which: Ps 119:43,74,81,147 71:14 2Sa 5:2 7:25 Ro 15:13 1Pe 1:13,21 

Zayin. Remember the word to Your servant, In which You have made me hope - NLT = Remember your promise to me, for it is my only hope.


Warren Wiersbe - Sing the Law
 
Read Psalm 119:49-56
 
I enjoy classical music. I often tune my radio to classical music while I'm studying. I also enjoy going to concerts. Before a concert begins, I browse through the concert program to see what will be played. I might read that the orchestra is going to play Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique." Or perhaps I will hear a Bordin string quartet. But what if, right in the middle of the program, I read that the choir is going to sing the local housing code? I'd ask, "What is going on? Choirs don't sing the law. What musician would waste time putting the housing code to music?" Look at verse 54: "Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage." The psalmist says, "I sing the Law."
 
This verse presents three different attitudes toward life. To a child, life is like a prison, with nothing but rules. "Don't do this. Don't do that. Don't go there." We have to protect children so they can grow up and live their own lives. To adolescents, life is a party. They don't want statutes. "Don't tell me what to do," they say. They just want the songs. But when we become mature adults, we realize that life is not a prison or a party. It's a pilgrimage. We make this pilgrimage in obedience to God's Word. I don't know where I would have been during all these years of my life without the guidance of the Bible. God's Word is not a burden; it's a blessing. Duty becomes delight when you are yielded to the will of God.
 
I hope you are not trying to run away from the will of God and turn life into one continual party. Realize that your life is a pilgrimage and that, as a pilgrim and a stranger in this world, you need the guidance of Scripture.
 
* * *
Are you having difficulty today on the pilgrim road? Take the mature view--yield to God's will and seek guidance in His Word. Without it, you will lose your way  (Psalm 119:49-56 Sing the Law)


Charles Bridges - What is faith? It is hope upon God’s word. The warrant of faith is therefore the word. The spring of faith is he that causeth us to hope. He has not forgotten—he cannot forget his word. But he permits—nay, commands his servants to remind him of it,6 in order to exercise their faith, diligence, and patience. Often indeed “hope deferred maketh the heart sick.”7 But it is not needless delay8—not ignorance of the fittest time9—not forgetfulness10—not changeableness11—not weakness.12 Meanwhile, however, constantly plead the promise—Remember the word unto thy servant. This is the proper use of the promises, as “arguments, wherewith to fill our mouths, when we order our cause before God.”13 When thus pleaded with the earnestness and humility of faith, they will be found to be the blessed realities of unchanging love.

Now—have not circumstances of Providence, or the distinct application of the Spirit, made some words of God especially precious to your soul? Such words are thus made your own, to be laid up against some future time of trial, when you may “put your God in remembrance”1 of them. Apply this exercise of faith to such a word as this, “Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.”2 Then plead your interest in it as a coming sinner, “Lord, I hope in this thy word.” “Thou hast caused me to hope” in it. “Remember this word unto thy servant.” Thus is prayer grounded upon the promise, which it forms into a prevailing argument, and sends back to heaven; nothing doubting, but that it will be verified in God’s best time and way.3

Take another case. God has engaged himself to be the God of the seed of believers. His sacramental ordinance is the seal of this promise.4 The believer brings his child to this ordinance, as the exercise of his faith upon the faithfulness of God. Let him daily put his finger upon this promise, Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is, as Augustine said of his mother, ‘bringing before God his own handwriting.’ Will he not remember his word? Faith may be tried, perhaps long tried. “But he abideth faithful. He cannot deny himself.”5 Faith trusts—not what the eye sees, but what the word promises.

Again—Have we ever found God’s word hoped on, a covering and strength against besetting sin? This will surely be an encouragement to cry under the same temptation, Remember thy word, “He who hath delivered, doth deliver, and will even to the end deliver.”6 He “hath done great things for us.” And is not this an earnest of continued mercy? “Because thou hast been my help, therefore under the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.”7 Thus may we confidently receive a promise as the distinct message to our soul, where we are conscious of a readiness to receive the whole word as the rule of our life. And does it not set an edge upon prayer to eye a promising God, and to consider his promises, not as hanging in the air, without any definite direction or meaning, but as individually spoken and belonging to myself as a child and servant of God? This is the experience and comfort of the life of faith. This unfolds the true secret of living to God; ending at last with the honorable death-bed testimony, “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth; and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things, which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you; and not one thing hath failed thereof.”8

6 Isa. 62:6, M. R.

7 Prov. 13:13.

8 Hab. 3:3.

9 Isa. 30:18.

10 Psalm 112:5.

11 Mal. 3:6.

12 1 Sam. 15:29.

13 Job 23:4.

1 Isaiah 43:26.

2 John 6:37.

3 We may observe Jacob making precisely this use of the word of promise to great advantage, at a time of personal extremity. Gen. 32:9, 10, 12, with 31:3, 13, 28:13–15. Was not this in fact pleading—“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope?” Compare also verse 38 of this Psalm.

4 Gen. 17:7, 10, with Acts 2:38, 39.

5 2 Tim. 2:13.

6 2 Cor. 1:10.

7 Psalm 63:7.

8 Joshua 23:14.

Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me. 

BGT  Psalm 118:50 αὕτη με παρεκάλεσεν ἐν τῇ ταπεινώσει μου ὅτι τὸ λόγιόν σου ἔζησέν με

KJV  Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

NET  Psalm 119:50 This is what comforts me in my trouble, for your promise revives me.

CSB  Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction: Your promise has given me life.

ESV  Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.

NIV  Psalm 119:50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

NLT  Psalm 119:50 Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.

NRS  Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my distress, that your promise gives me life.

RSV  Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction that thy promise gives me life.

YLT  Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in mine affliction, That Thy saying hath quickened me.

NKJ  Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.

NJB  Psalm 119:50 It is my comfort in distress, that your promise gives me life.

NAB  Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in affliction, your promise that gives me life.

LXE  Psalm 119:50 This has comforted me in mine affliction: for thine oracle has quickened me.

  • This: Ps 27:13 28:7 42:8,11 94:19 Jer 15:16 Ro 5:3-5 15:4 Heb 6:17-19 Heb 12:11,12 
  • That your word Ps 119:25 Eze 37:10 Joh 6:63 Jas 1:18 1Pe 1:3 2:2 

This is my comfort in my affliction (oniy) -  [Cp Ps 119:67, 71, 75, 92 v50, 76, 82, 92): More than sixty verses in this psalm mention trial and persecution (Ps 119:22, 50-53, 95, 98, 115, etc.). The believer who obeys the Word will have trials in this world, but the Bible gives him lasting comfort. The Comforter, the Spirit of God, takes the Word of God and applies it to our hearts to comfort us.

The Hebrew word for affliction (oniy) is translated in the Septuagint with tapeinosis meaning humiliation (Ac 8:33; Jas 1:10),as a state of low status, humility, lowly condition  (Lk 1:48; Phil 3:21; Heb 11:20)

That Your word has revived me - The source of revival for the psalmist and for every believer of every age! See note on Ps 119:25.

Canadian missionary J. Goforth:  his young budding faith was subjected to a severe testing. His (secular) teacher was a blatant follower of the infidel Tom Paine, and his classmates, influenced by the teacher, made his life miserable by their jeers and mockery. The foundations seemed to be giving way and in a mood of desperation Jonathan turned to God's Word. In consequence of an earnest, day-and-night search of the Word, his faith was firmly established and all his classmates, also his teacher, were brought back from infidelity. 


Affliction (06040)(oniy from anah = to be bowed down) describes the state of pain caused by affliction miser, a state of oppression or extreme discomfort, physically, mentally, or spiritually. 

Oniy - 37v - afflicted*(1), affliction(33), great pains(1), misery(2). Gen. 16:11; Gen. 29:32; Gen. 31:42; Gen. 41:52; Exod. 3:7; Exod. 3:17; Exod. 4:31; Deut. 16:3; Deut. 26:7; 1 Sam. 1:11; 2 Sam. 16:12; 2 Ki. 14:26; 1 Chr. 22:14; Neh. 9:9; Job 10:15; Job 30:16; Job 30:27; Job 36:8; Job 36:15; Job 36:21; Ps. 9:13; Ps. 25:18; Ps. 31:7; Ps. 44:24; Ps. 88:9; Ps. 107:10; Ps. 107:41; Ps. 119:50; Ps. 119:92; Ps. 119:153; Prov. 31:5; Isa. 48:10; Lam. 1:3; Lam. 1:7; Lam. 1:9; Lam. 3:1; Lam. 3:19

Gilbrant - Jacob complained to Laban about the affliction of the constantly changing wages imposed on him (Gen. 31:42). Leah hoped that the birth of her son Reuben would end the affliction of being Jacob's unloved wife (Gen. 29:32). The angel of the Lord spoke to Hagar of the mistreatment she suffered from Sarah (Gen. 16:11). Hannah asked God to reverse her woeful situation of barrenness (1 Sam. 1:11). And David described his experience of being cursed by Shimei as an affliction (2 Sam. 16:12).

The most obvious instance of affliction in the OT was Israel's enslavement in Egypt (Exo. 3:7, 17; 4:31; Deut. 16:3; 26:7). Nehemiah 9:9 recalls the nation's predicament at the Red Sea.

Job, of course, could speak of his affliction (Job 10:15; 30:16, 27). And Psalms speaks both of the distress of the righteous (Ps 9:13; 25:18; 44:24; 88:9; 119:153) and of the deliverance of the Lord (Ps 31:7; 107:41; 119:50, 92).

When the armies of Babylon swept over the defenses of Jerusalem, the nation reached its lowest depths of misery. Lamentations depicts the distress (1:3, 9; 3:1, 19) and recalls the contrast of Israel's former days of peace (1:7).

The word is used in a vivid idiom to describe the pains (and possible frustration) involved in King David's massive stockpiling of building materials for his son's construction of the Temple (1 Chr. 22:14) (Complete Biblical Library)


Charles Bridges - David was encouraged to plead the word of promise in prayer, from the recollection of its “comfort in his affliction.” Never, indeed, are we left unsupported in such a time, or called to drink a cup of unmingled tribulation. In the moments of our bitterest sorrow, how are we compelled to stand amazed at the tenderness, which is daily and hourly exercised toward us! We have always some word exactly suited to our affliction, and which we could not have understood without it; and “a word” thus “spoken in due season, how good is it!” One word of God, sealed to the heart, infuses more sensible relief, than ten thousand words of man.1 When therefore the word assures us of the presence of God in affliction;2 of his continued pity and sympathy in his most severe dispensations;3 and of their certain issue to our everlasting good;4 must not we say of it, “This is our comfort in our affliction?” How does the Saviour’s love stream forth from this channel on every side; imparting life, refreshment, and strength to those, who but for this comfort would have “fainted,”5 and “perished in their affliction!”6 This indeed was the end, for which the Scriptures were written;7 and such power of consolation have they sometimes administered to the afflicted saint, that tribulation has almost ceased to be a trial, and the retrospect has been the source of thankful recollection.

But those only, who have felt the quickening power of the word, can realize its consolations. Be thankful, then, reader, if, when dead in sins, it “quickened you:”8 and, when sunk in trouble, once and again it has revived you.9 Yet think not, that it is any innate power of its own, that works so graciously for you. No. The exhibition of the Saviour is the spring of life and consolation. It is because it “testifies of him,”10 “the consolation of Israel,”11—“afflicted in all our afflictions,”12—and never failing to uphold with “grace sufficient for us.”13 It is not, however, the word without the Spirit, nor the Spirit generally without the word; but the Spirit by the word—first putting life into the word,14 and then by the word quickening the soul. The word then is only the instrument. The Spirit is the Almighty agent. Thus the work is the Lord’s; and nothing is left for us, but self-renunciation and praise.

1 Prov. 15:23. “I will show you a privilege that others want, and you have in this case. Such as are in prosperity, and are filled with earthly joys, and increased with children and friends; though the word of God is indeed written for their instruction, yet to you who are in trouble, and from whom the Lord hath taken many children, and whom he hath otherwise exercised, there are some chapters, some particular promises in the word of God, made in an especial manner, which would never have been yours, so as they now are, if you had had your portion in this world like others. It is no small comfort that God hath written some scriptures to you, which he hath not to others. Read these, and think God is like a friend, who sendeth a letter to a whole house and family, but who speaketh in his letter to some by name, that are dearest to him in the house.”—Rutherford’s Letters.

2 Isa. 43:1, 2.

3 Exod. 3:7.

4 Rom. 8:28.

5 Psalm 27:13

6 Verse 92.

7 Rom. 15:4.

8 James 1:18. 1 Peter 1:23.

9 Verses 81, 82.

10 John 5:39.

11 Luke 2:25.

12 Isa 63:9.

13 2 Cor. 12:9.

14 John 6:63.

Psalm 119:51 The arrogant utterly deride me, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law. 

  • proud (KJV): Ps 119:21,69 123:3,4 Jer 20:7 Lu 16:14,15 23:35 
  • yet have (KJV): Ps 119:31,157 44:18 Job 23:11 Isa 38:3 42:4 Ac 20:23,24 Heb 12:1-3 

The arrogant utterly deride me, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law. 


Charles Bridges - 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.”1 Not even David—though a king—a man of wisdom and prudence, and therefore not likely to provoke 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.2 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 worlding. 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.”3 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 amidst “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,”4 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.5 Above all, the contemplation of the great sufferer himself—meeting this poignant trial in meekness,6 compassion, and prayer7—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.”8 The mere professor knows not this refuge; he, possesses not this armor; so that “when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately he is offended.”9 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.

1 2 Tim. 3:12. Comp. 1 Cor. 4:13.

2 Psalm 35:15, 16; 123:3, 4.

3 2 Sam. 6:20–22.

4 Col. 3:16.

5 Such is the benediction of the Saviour, Luke 6:22, 23, confirmed by the recorded experience of the Lord’s most favored servants, the apostles, Acts 5:41. Paul especially, 2 Cor. 12:10; Col. 1:24,—the disciples of Thessalonica, 1 Thess. 1:6,—the Hebrew Christians, Heb. 10:34.

6 Psalm 22:6–8. Luke 23:35. 1 Peter 2:23.

7 Luke 23:34.

8 Isaiah 25:4.

9 Mark 4:17.

Psalm 119:52 I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O LORD, And comfort myself. 

  • remembered (KJV): Ps 77:5,11,12 105:5 143:5 Ex 14:29,30 Nu 16:3-35 De 1:35,36 De 4:3,4 2Pe 2:4-9 

 I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O LORD, And comfort myself. 


Charles Bridges - The Lord’s dealings with his people were a frequent subject of meditation to the Psalmist,1 and now were his present support under “the scourge of the tongue.”2 Evidently they are put upon record for the encouragement of future generations.3 We are ready to imagine something peculiar in our own case, and to think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try us, “as though some strange thing happened unto” us; but when we “remember the Lord’s judgments of old,” with his people, we “comfort ourselves” in the assurance, that “the same afflictions are accomplished in our brethren, that have been in the world;”4 and that “as the sufferings of Christ have abounded in them, so their consolation also abounded by Christ.”5 They also encountered the same “derision of the proud,” and always experienced the same support from the faithfulness of their God. We do not sufficiently consider the mercy and gracious wisdom of God, in occupying so much of his written word with the records of his “judgments of old.” One class will pay a prominent attention to the preceptive, another to the doctrinal, parts of Revelation—each forgetting that the historical records comprise a full and striking illustration of both, and have always proved most supporting grounds of consolation to the Lord’s people. The important design in casting so large a portion of the small volume of Revelation into a historical form, is every way worthy of its Author. “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning; that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope;”6 and how admirably adapted the means are to the end, the diligent student in the Scripture-field will bear ample witness. Wilfully therefore to neglect the historical portion of the sacred volume, from the idea of confining our attention to what we deem the more spiritual parts of Scripture—would show a sad deficiency of spiritual apprehension, and deprive ourselves of the most valuable instruction, and most abundant comfort. This neglect would exclude us from one eminent means of increasing “patience,” in the example of those “who through faith and patience inherit the promises;” of receiving “comfort,” in the experience of the faithfulness of God manifested in every age to his people; and of enlivening our “hope,” in marking the happy issue of the “patience of the saints,” and the heavenly support administered unto them.7 So far, therefore, are we from being little interested in the scriptural records of past ages, that it is evident, that the sacred historians, as well as the prophets, “ministered not unto themselves, but unto us, the things which are now reported.”1

Let us select one or two instances as illustrative of this subject. Why were the records of the deluge, and of the overthrow of the cities of the plain, preserved, but as exhibitions to the Church, that “the Lord”—the Saviour of Noah, the eight persons, and the deliverer of just Lot—“knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished?”2 What a source of comfort then to the tempted people of God is the “remembrance of these judgments of old!” And thus the Church remembers the wonderful overthrow of the Egyptians, and the consequent deliverance of ancient Israel, as a ground of assurance and expectation of the same grand display of Divine faithfulness and love under similar trials. And if we instance the wonderful history of the overthrow of the Egyptians, and the consequent deliverance of God’s ancient people, we may continually observe the Church recollecting this interposition as a ground of assurance, that under similar circumstances of trial, the same illustrious displays of Divine faithfulness and love may be confidently expected. She looks back upon what the “arm of the Lord hath done in ancient days, and in the generation of old,” as the pattern of what he ever would be, and ever would do, for his purchased people.3 Thus also God himself recalls to our mind this overthrow and deliverance as a ground of present encouragement and support, “According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things”4—and the Church echoes back this remembrance in the expression of her faith, gratitude, and expectation for spiritual blessings: “He will subdue our iniquities! and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”5 Such is the interesting use that may be made of the historical parts of Scripture. Such is the “comfort” to be derived from the “remembrance of the Lord’s judgments of old!” And is not the recollection of his “judgments of old” with ourselves, productive of the same support? Does not the retrospect of his dealings with our own souls serve to convince us, that “all his paths are mercy and truth?”6 And that the assurance is therefore warranted alike by experience and by Scripture, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”7

1 Psalm 77:5, 11, 12; 143:5.

2 Job 5:21.

3 Psalm 44:1–3; 78:3–8; 105:5, 6; 145:4. Joel 1:3.

4 1 Peter 4:12; 5:9.

5 2 Cor. 1:5.

6 Rom. 15:4.

7 In this view, the recollection of the Lord’s judgments of old “puts a new song into the mouth” of the Church, of “thanksgiving unto her God.” Isaiah 25:1–4.

1 1 Peter 1:12.

2 2 Peter 2:5–9.

3 Isaiah 51:9–11.

4 Micah 7:15

5 Micah 7:19.

6 Psalm 25:10.

7 Rom. 8:28.

Psalm 119:53 Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, Who forsake Your law. 

  • horror (KJV): {Zilaphah} properly signifies the pestilential burning wind called by the Arabs {Simoom,} (see Ps 11:6.)  It is here used in a figurative sense for the most horrid mental distress; and strongly marks the idea the Psalmist had of the corrupting, pestilential, and destructive nature of sin. Ps 119:136,158 Ezr 9:3,14 10:6 Jer 13:17 Da 4:19 Hab 3:16 Lu 19:41,42 Ro 9:1-3 2Co 12:21 Php 3:18 

Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, Who forsake Your law. 

Charles Bridges - The remembrance of the Lord’s judgments of old, while it brings comfort to his people as regards themselves, stirs up a poignancy of compassionate reeling for the ungodly. And indeed to a feeling and reflecting mind, the condition of the world must excite commiseration and concern! A “whole world lying in wickedness!”1 lying therefore in ruins! the image of God effaced! the presence of God departed! “Horror hath taken hold of me!” to see the law of Him, who gave being to the world, so utterly forsaken! so much light and love shining from heaven in vain! The earthly heart cannot endure that any restraint should be imposed; much less that any constraint, even of love, should be employed to change its bias, and turn it back to its God. Are you then a believer? then you will be most tender of the honor of the law of God. Every stroke at his law you will feel as a stroke at your own heart. Are you a believer? then will you consider every man as your brother; and weep to see so many of them around you, crowding the broad road to destruction, and perishing as the miserable victims of their own deceivings. The prospect on every side is, as if God were cast down from his throne, and the creatures of his hand were murdering their own souls.

But how invariably does a languor respecting our own eternal interest affect the tenderness of our regard for the honor of our God; so that we can look at “the wicked that forsake God’s law” with comparative indifference! Awful indeed is the thought, that it ever can be with us a small matter, that multitudes are sinking! going down into perdition! with the name of Christ—under the seal of baptism—partakers of the means of Gospel grace—yet perishing! Not indeed that we are to yield to such a feeling of “horror” as would paralyze all exertion on their behalf. For do we owe them no duty—no prayer—no labor?2 Shall we look upon souls hurrying on with such dreadful haste to unutterable, everlasting torments; and permit them to rush on blinded, unawakened, unalarmed! If there is a “horror” to see a brand apparently fitting for the fire, will there not be a wrestling endeavor to pluck that brand out of the fire? Have we quite forgotten in our own case the fearful terrors of an unconverted state—the Almighty power of wrath and justice armed against us—the thunder of that voice—“Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord?”3 Oh! if the love of the Saviour and the love of souls were reigning with more mighty influence in our hearts, how much more devoted should we be in our little spheres of labor! how much more enlarged in our supplications, until all the kingdom of Satan were subject to the obedience of the Son of God, and conquered by the force of his omnipotent love!

But if the spirit of David, renewed but in part, was thus filled with horror in the contemplation of the wicked, what must have been the affliction—what the intensity of His sufferings, “who was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners”4—yea, “of purer eyes than to behold iniquity”5—during thirty-three years of continued contact with a world of sin? What shall we say of the condescension of his love, in wearing “the likeness of sinful flesh”6—dwelling among sinners—yea, “receiving sinners, and eating with them!”1

Blessed Spirit! impart to us more of “the mind that was in Christ Jesus!” that the law of God may be increasingly precious in our eyes, and that we may be “exceedingly jealous for the Lord God of Hosts!” Help us by thy gracious influence, to plead with sinners for God, and to plead for sinners with God!

1 1 John 5:19.

2 Acts 17:16–18.

3 Heb. 10:30, with Deut. 32:35.

4 Heb. 7:26.

5 Hab. 1:13. Compare Psalm 5:5.

6 Rom. 8:3.

1 Luke 15:2.

Psalm 119:54 Your statutes are my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. 

  • Ps 89:1 10:1 Ge 47:9 Heb 11:13-16 

Your statutes are my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. 

Charles Bridges - Come, Christian pilgrim, and beguile your wearisome journey heavenward by “singing the Lord’s song in this strange land”.2 With “the statutes of God” in your hand and in your heart, you are furnished with a song for every step of your way—“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”3 How delightfully does this song bring before you Him, who having laid down his life for you, engages himself as your Provider, your Keeper, your Guide, your faithful and unchangeable friend! Such a song therefore will smooth your path, and reconcile you to the many inconveniences of the way; while the recollection, that this is only “the house of your pilgrimage” and not your home; and that “there remaineth a rest for the people of God,”4 will support the exercise of faith and patience to the end. How striking the contrast between the wicked that forsake the law, and the Christian pilgrim, who makes it the subject of his daily song, and the source of his daily comfort! Yes, these same statutes, which are the yoke and burden of the ungodly, lead the true servant of the Lord from pleasure to pleasure; and, cherished by their vigorous influence, his way is made easy and prosperous. Evidently, therefore, our knowledge and delight in the Lord’s statutes will furnish a decisive test of our real state before him.

But what reason have we every moment to guard against the debasing, stupefying influence of the world, which makes us forget the proper character of a pilgrim! And what an habitual conflict must be maintained with the sloth and aversion of a reluctant heart to maintain our progress in the journey towards Zion! Reader! have you entered upon a pilgrim’s life? Then what is your solace and refreshment on the road? It is dull, heavy, wearisome, to be a pilgrim without a “song.” And yet it is only the blessed experience of the Lord’s statutes that will tune our “song.” “If therefore you have tasted that the Lord is gracious,”5 if “he has thus put a new song into your mouth,”1 oh! do not suffer any carelessness or neglect to rob you of this heavenly anticipation And, that your lips be not found mute, seek to keep your heart in tune. Seek to maintain a lively contemplation of the place whither you are going—of Him, who as your “forerunner is for you entered”2 thither—and of the prospect, that, having “prepared a place for you, he will come again, and take you to himself; that where he is, there you may be also.”3 In this spirit, and with these hopes before you, you may take up your song—“O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing, and give praise. I will bless the Lord at all times—his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”4 Thus may you go on your pilgrimage, “singing in the ways of the Lord,”5 and commencing a song below, which in the world of praise above, shall never, never cease.6

2 Ps. 137:4.

3 Ps. 23.

4 Heb. 4:9.

5 1 Pet. 2:3.

1 Ps. 40:3.

2 Heb. 6:20.

3 John 14:2, 3.

4 Ps. 108:1; 34:1

5 Ps 138:5.

6 Rev. 4:8.

Psalm 119:55  O LORD, I remember Your name in the night, And keep Your law. 

  • night (KJV): Ps 42:8 63:6 77:6 139:18 Ge 32:24-28 Job 35:9,10 Isa 26:9 Lu 6:12 Ac 16:25 
  • kept (KJV): Ps 119:17,34 Joh 14:21 15:10 

O LORD, I remember Your name in the night, And keep Your law. 

Charles Bridges - How did this man of God live in the statutes of God! In the day they were his pilgrim song—in the night his happy meditation.7 And truly if we can ever spend the waking moments of the night with God, “the darkness is no darkness with us, but the night shineth as the day.” Many a tried believer has found this cordial for the restlessness of a wakeful night more restorative to the quiet and health of his earthly frame, than the most sovereign specifics of the medical world. “So he giveth his beloved sleep.”8 And if in any “night” of affliction we feel the hand of the Lord grievous to us, do we not find in “the remembrance of the Lord” a never-failing support? What does our darkness arise from, but from our forgetfulness of God, blotting out for awhile the lively impressions of his tender care, his unchanging faithfulness, and his mysterious methods of working his gracious will? And to bring up as it were from the grave, the remembrance of God’s name, as manifested in his promises, and in the dispensation of his love; this is indeed the “light that is sown for the righteous,”9 and which “springeth up out of darkness.”10 It is to eye the character of the Lord as All-wise to appoint, Almighty to secure, All-compassionate to sympathize and support. It is to recollect him as a “father pitying his children;”11 as a “friend that loveth at all times,”12 and that “sticketh closer than a brother.”13 And even in those seasons of depression, when unwatchfulness or indulgence of sin have brought the darkness of night upon the soul, though “the remembrance of the name of the Lord” may be grievous, yet it opens the way to consolation. It tells us, that there is a way made for our return; that “the Lord waiteth, that he may be gracious;”14 and that in the first step of our return to our father, we shall find him full of mercy to his backsliding children.15 Thus, though “weeping may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning.”16

Study the Lord’s revelation of his own name, and what more full perception can we conceive of its support in the darkest midnight of tribulations? “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him, (Moses,) and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed—The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.”1 Can we wonder that such a name as this should be exhibited as a ground of trust? “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe.” “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.”2 Even our suffering Lord appears to have derived support from “the remembrance of the name of the Lord in the night” of desertion—“O my God, I cry in the day-time, and thou hearest not; and in the night-season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”3 And from the experience of this source of consolation, we find the tempted Saviour directing his tempted people to the same support—“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.”4

The main principles of the Gospel are involved in this remembrance of the Lord’s name. Memory is the storehouse, in which the substance of our knowledge is treasured up. Recollections without faith are shadowy notions. But we have confidence that our God in himself—and as engaged to us—is all that the Bible declares him to be. How vast then are our obligations to his dear Son—the only medium by which his name could be known or remembered—“who hath” so “declared him!”5 And there is the spring of practical religion. We shall “keep his law,” when we “remember his name.” A sense of our obligations will impel us forward in diligence, heavenly-mindedness, and self-devotedness in our appointed sphere. Obedience will partake far more of the character of privilege than of duty, when an enlightened knowledge of God is the principle of action.

7 Ps. 63:5, 6.

8 Ps 127:2.

9 Ps. 97:11.

10 Ps. 112:4.

11 Ps 103:13.

12 Prov. 17:17.

13 Pr. 18:24.

14 Isa. 30:18.

15 See Luke 15:20–24.

16 Ps. 30:5.

1 Exod. 34:5–7.

2 Prov. 18:10. Ps. 9:10.

3 Ps. 22:2, 3.

4 Isaiah 50:10.

5 John 1:18; also Jn 14:6. Matt. 11:27.

Psalm 119:56 This has become mine, That I observe Your precepts. 

  • because (KJV): Ps 119:165 18:18-22 1Jn 3:19-24 

This has become mine, That I observe Your precepts. 


Charles Bridges - How is it, believer, that you are enabled to “sing of the Lord’s statutes”—and to “remember his name?” This you have, because you keep his precepts. Thus you are able to tell the world, that “in keeping his commandments there is great reward”6—that the “work of righteousness is peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever.”7 Christian! let your testimony be clear and decided—that ten thousand worlds cannot bestow the happiness of one day’s devotedness to the service of your Lord. For is it not in this path that you realize fulness of joy in “fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ?” “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him—my Father will love him; and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”1 If you were walking more closely with God in “the obedience of faith,” the world would never dare to accuse religion as the source of melancholy and despondency. No man has any right to the hope of happiness in a world of tribulation, but he that seeks it in the favor of his God. Nor can any enjoy this favor, except as connected, in the exercise of faith, with conformity to the will, and delight in the law, of his God. Thus not only are “the statutes of the Lord right,” but they “rejoice the heart.”2 There is a sweetness and satisfaction in the work, as well as a good flowing out of it—a current as well as a consequent privilege—cheering the soul in the act of exercise, just as the senses are regaled at the very instant with the object of their gratification.

But let us remark how continually David was enriching his treasury of spiritual experience with some fresh view of the dealings of God with his soul; some answer to prayer, or some increase of consolation, which he records for his own encouragement, and for the use of the Church of God. Let us seek to imitate him in this respect; and we shall often be enabled to say as he does, “This I had”—this comfort I enjoyed—this support in trouble—this remarkable manifestation of his love—this confidence I was enabled to maintain—not this I hoped for—but “this I had”—it was made my own, “because I kept thy precepts.” And how important, in the absence of spiritual enjoyment, to examine, “is there not a cause?” and what is the cause? Have not “strangers devoured my strength; and I knew it not?”3 Is the Lord “with me as in months past?4—with me in my closet?—with me in my family?—with me at my table?—with me in my daily employments and intercourse with the world? When I hear the faithful people of God telling of his love, and saying, “This I had,” must I not, if unable to join their cheerful acknowledgment, trace it to my unfaithful walk, and say, “This I had” not, because I have failed in obedience to thy precepts; because I have been careless and self-indulgent; because I have slighted thy love; because I have “grieved thy Holy Spirit,” and forgotten to ask for the “old paths, that I might walk therein, and find rest to my soul?”5 Oh let this scrutiny and recollection of our ways realize the constant need of the finished work of Jesus, as our ground of acceptance, and source of strength. This will bring healing, restoration, increasing devotedness, tenderness of conscience, circumspection of walk, and a determination not to rest, until we can make this grateful acknowledgment our own. At the same time, instead of boasting that our own arm, our own diligence, or holiness, “have gotten us” into this favor, we shall cast all our attainments at the feet of Jesus, and crown him Lord of all for ever.

6 Psalm 19:11.

7 Isaiah 32:17.

1 John 14:21, 23, with 1 John 1:3, 4; 3:24.

2 Psalm 19:8.

3 Hosea 7:9.

4 Job 29:2.

5 Jer. 6:16.

Psalm 119:57 Heth. The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. 

BGT  Psalm 118:57 η᾽ ηθ μερίς μου κύριε εἶπα φυλάξασθαι τὸν νόμον σου

KJV  Psalm 119:57 CHETH. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.

NET  Psalm 119:57 The LORD is my source of security. I have determined to follow your instructions.

CSB  Psalm 119:57 The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words.

ESV  Psalm 119:57 The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep your words.

NIV  Psalm 119:57 You are my portion, O LORD; I have promised to obey your words.

NLT  Psalm 119:57 LORD, you are mine! I promise to obey your words!

NRS  Psalm 119:57 The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep your words.

RSV  Psalm 119:57 The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep thy words.

YLT  Psalm 119:57 Cheth. My portion is Jehovah; I have said -- to keep Thy words,

NKJ  Psalm 119:57 HETH. You are my portion, O LORD; I have said that I would keep Your words.

NJB  Psalm 119:57 My task, I have said, Yahweh, is to keep your word.

NAB  Psalm 119:57 My portion is the LORD; I promise to keep your words.

LXE  Psalm 119:57 Thou art my portion, O Lord: I said that I would keep thy law.

ASV  Psalm 119:57 Jehovah is my portion: I have said that I would observe thy words.

DBY  Psalm 119:57 CHETH. My portion, O Jehovah, I have said, is to keep thy words.

GWN  Psalm 119:57 You are my inheritance, O LORD. I promised to hold on to your words.

BBE  Psalm 119:57 CHETH The Lord is my heritage: I have said that I would be ruled by your words.

  • my portion: Ps 16:5 Ps 73:26 Ps 142:5 Jer 10:16 La 3:24 
  • I have: Ps 119:106,115 66:14 De 26:17,18 Jos 24:15,18,21,24-27 Ne 10:29-39 

Related Passages:

Psalm 16:5  The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. 

Psalm 73:26  My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

Psalm 142:5  I cried out to You, O LORD; I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. 

A PORTION AND
A PROMISE

The LORD is my portion  - Portion is the first word in the Hebrew sentence! Literally "My Portion O Yahweh." 

When we are His, He is ours, forever.

Lam 3:24  "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."

Comment on Jeremiah's declaration - This statement reflects an absolute dependence upon God. Jeremiah is saying that the Lord alone is enough. It is God who sustains and satisfies, even in the midst of deep disappointment. This passage challenges us all to believe that relationship with God is more satisfying than the things of the world. This is a truth to which most of us quickly give mental assent. But when we look at our lives, we find that too often we simply do not believe it. We often turn instead to the empty idols of the world in a futile search of satisfaction. David repeatedly attests in the psalms to the satisfaction he experienced in his relationship with God  (Ps63:4,v5 16:11 cp 73:25,26). Jeremiah also discovered this crucial difference between hoping for something from God and hoping in Him. Hope by its very nature captivates both our hearts and heads. It evokes deep emotion. It moves in and makes itself at home in our souls. It takes up residence at the very core of who we are. That is why it is so vital that we begin to place our hope in the Lord. Hoping in the Lord means recognizing that the things of this world aren’t going to satisfy the ache in our souls, no matter how good they are or how much we long to believe they will. Christian hope is not a hope so, but a hope sure!  Hope in the Lord = Ps. 31:24; Ps. 130:7; Ps. 131:3

Portion (02506) (cheleq from chalaq = to divide, share) commonly refers to a share in an inheritance, share, lot. Early in OT is used with a technical nuance of share of land given to all the tribes when they entered the land. Cheleq may refer to a "portion" or "share" of booty divided among competitors (Gen. 14:24; 1 Sam. 30:24), or it may be a share of property or possession. "A share, a piece of territory in many ways: a part of booty or spoil (Gen. 14:24; Num. 31:36); of food (Lev. 6:17[10]); a tract or portion of land (Josh. 19:9; Hos. 5:7; Mic. 2:4); of Israel as a possession of the Lord (Deut. 32:9). It is used metaphorically of a person's doing his or her part in something (Job 32:17); of one's association or part or sharing in another group or way of life (Ps. 50:18; Isa. 57:6); or of the portion or share of fortune that the Lord gives to persons (Job 31:2). The portion or proper share for the wicked is punishment or calamity (Isa. 17:14)." (Complete Word Study Dictionary OT)

Gilbrant - Meaning "lot," "share" or "portion," this noun occurs sixty-two times in the OT. It is derived from the verb chālaq, "to be smooth" or "to divide." It is attested in Middle Hebrew, Jewish Aramaic and derived dialects. Cheleq may refer to a "portion" or "share" of booty divided among competitors (Gen. 14:24; 1 Sam. 30:24), or it may be a share of property or possession. Ephraim and Manasseh did not give a portion of land to the Levites, only cities to live in (Josh. 14:4). This same use occurs in the plural "lots of property" (Josh. 18:5-9). The concept of a share of land in the Promised Land became an important concept for the Jew. The land of the inheritance was to be to the east of the Jordan. Those tribes living outside this area were believed to have been denied their "portion of the Lord" (Josh. 22:25ff). "Portion" became a metaphor for the relationship of God and humans. Deuteronomy 32:9 says that God's "portion" or "inheritance" is his people. The psalmist, in turn, claims the Lord as his portion (Ps. 16:5). Even the wicked person has a portion from God, though it is not one of prosperity (Job 20:29). Thus, the concept of portion was integral to both the physical existence of Israel in the land of Palestine, which is their portion, and the spiritual portion they had in God. (Complete Biblical Library)

Cheleq - 62 verses - associate(1), catch(1), divisions(2), equal portions(1), farm land(1), inheritance(1), land(1), legacy(1), lot(1), portion(36), portions(4), property(2), reward(4), share(9), territory(1). Gen. 14:24; Gen. 31:14; Lev. 6:17; Num. 18:20; Num. 31:36; Deut. 10:9; Deut. 12:12; Deut. 14:27; Deut. 14:29; Deut. 18:1; Deut. 18:8; Deut. 32:9; Jos. 14:4; Jos. 15:13; Jos. 18:5; Jos. 18:6; Jos. 18:7; Jos. 18:9; Jos. 19:9; Jos. 22:25; Jos. 22:27; 1 Sam. 30:24; 2 Sam. 20:1; 1 Ki. 12:16; 2 Ki. 9:10; 2 Ki. 9:36; 2 Ki. 9:37; 2 Chr. 10:16; Neh. 2:20; Job 17:5; Job 20:29; Job 27:13; Job 31:2; Job 32:17; Ps. 16:5; Ps. 17:14; Ps. 50:18; Ps. 73:26; Ps. 119:57; Ps. 142:5; Eccl. 2:10; Eccl. 2:21; Eccl. 3:22; Eccl. 5:18; Eccl. 5:19; Eccl. 9:6; Eccl. 9:9; Eccl. 11:2; Isa. 17:14; Isa. 57:6; Isa. 61:7; Jer. 10:16; Jer. 51:19; Lam. 3:24; Ezek. 45:7; Ezek. 48:8; Ezek. 48:21; Hos. 5:7; Amos 7:4; Mic. 2:4; Hab. 1:16; Zech. 2:12

Translated in the Septuagint with Part (share) (3310)(meris) refers to (1) a portion of a whole that has been divided ("district" in Acts 16:12). (2) a share or an assigned portion (Lk 10:42, 2Co 6:15, Acts 8:21, Col 1:12). In the OT, God’s people had an earthly inheritance, the land of Canaan, and each tribe received its portion of the lot. Christians have a spiritual inheritance in Christ (cf prayer of the hymn "Be Thou My Vision"). Crossing the Jordan to Canaan is unfortunately often portrayed as a picture of heaven but this is not an accurate portrayal for there will be no battles or defeats in heaven. More accurately, Canaan can be considered a picture of our present inheritance in kingdom of God's beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

I have promised to keep Your words - Have you ever promised to keep His words saying "I'll never do that sin against God again?" That's a glass house we all live in. No one except Jesus kept God's words perfectly. We will never achieve perfection, but they should evidence direction (Heaven-ward rather than Hell-ward!) only possible as we daily are filled with His Spirit, relying on Him to give us the desire and the power to work out our salvation in fear and trembling (Php 2:12+, Php 2:13NLT+).


Warren Wiersbe - Choosing Your Friends
Read Psalm 119:57-64
All of us enjoy having friends. We need them. The psalmist says that the Word of God pertains to our friendships. "I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts" (Psalm 119:63). He let the Word of God guide him in his choice of friends and associates. We have many acquaintances but few real friends. A friend is someone you don't have to talk to all the time. You can be together for long periods without saying a word, yet your hearts are united. At the other extreme, a friend is someone you aren't afraid to talk to. You can unburden your heart, and you are a better person for having been with him.
God is our best friend. Abraham was called the friend of God, and we can be His friends also. Jesus said to His disciples, "I'm not going to call you slaves. I'm going to call you friends" (John 15:15).
Friends talk to each other. And if we talk to God and let Him speak to us through His Word, we will be a companion of those who fear Him and keep His commandments.
One of the most important tests of friendship is what my friend's attitude is toward the Bible. Does he accept it? Does he receive the Word of God as truth? Does he fear God with a reverential awe and love for Him?
If I am in a right relationship to God through His Word, I will be in a right relationship with people. My friends will be God's friends. The Bible calls this separation--not isolation, but separation. It's the blessed by-product of a life lived in Scriptures.
* * *
Choose your friends carefully. Do they fear God? Do they receive the Word of God in their hearts? Use your friends' attitudes toward the Bible as an important test of friendship. Relationships are investments of our time and other resources. Make them count for eternity. (Psalm 119:57-64 Choosing Your Friends) (Ed: See Jesus' Command to "Make Friends" who will welcome you into eternity in the future! Luke 16:9 - comments. See also comments under "Vertical Vision")


Charles Bridges - Man, as a dependent being, must be possessed of some portion. He cannot live upon himself. He must also have a large portion, because the powers and capacities to be filled are large. If he has not a satisfying portion, he is a wretched empty creature. But where and how shall he find this portion? “There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us!”1 Oh! the goodness of the Lord, in having offered himself as the portion of an unworthy sinner, and having engaged to employ his perfections for his happiness! Oh! the folly, and madness, and guilt, of the sinner, in choosing his “portion in this life;”2 as if there were no God on the earth, no way of access to him, or no happiness to be found in him! That such madness should be found in the heart of man, is a most affecting illustration of his departure from God; but that God’s own people should commit these two evils—forsaking the fountain of living waters, and hewing out broken cisterns for themselves—is the fearful astonishment of heaven itself.3

But we cannot know and enjoy God as our portion, except as he has manifested himself in his dear Son. And in the knowledge and enjoyment of him, can we envy those, who “in their lifetime receive their good things,”4 and therefore have nothing more to expect? Never indeed does the poverty of the worldling’s portion appear more striking than when contrasted with the enjoyment of a child of God5—“Soul,” said the rich fool, “thou hast much goods laid up for many years.” But God said, “This night thy soul shall be required of thee.”6 Augustine’s prayer was, “Lord, give me thyself!”7 And thus the believer exults, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire but thee. Return unto thy rest, O my soul. The Lord himself is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup. Thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the Lord who hath given me counsel.”8

Elsewhere the believer makes this confession to himself—“The Lord is my portion—saith my soul.”1 Here, as if to prove his sincerity, he “lifts up his face unto God.”2—“Thou art my portion, O Lord.” And surely the whole world cannot weigh against the comfort of this Christian confidence. For it is as impossible, that his own people should ever be impoverished, as that his own perfections should moulder away. But a portion implies not a source of ordinary pleasure, but of rest and satisfaction, such as leaves nothing else to be desired. Thus the Lord can never be enjoyed, even by his own children—except as a portion—not only above all, but in the place of all. Other objects indeed may be subordinately loved; but of none but himself must we say—“He is altogether lovely.”4 “In all things he must have the pre-eminence”3—one with the Father in our affections, as in his own subsistence.5 The moment that any rival is allowed to usurp the throne of the heart, we open the door to disappointment and unsatisfied desires.

But if we take the Lord as our “portion,” we must take him as our king. “I have said—this is my deliberate resolution,—that I would keep thy words.” Here is the Christian complete—taking the Lord as his “portion,” and his word as his rule. And what energy for holy devotedness flows from the enjoyment of this our heavenly portion! Thus “delighting ourselves in the Lord, he gives us our heart’s desire;”6 and every desire identifies itself with his service. All that we are and all that we have, are his; cheerfully surrendered as his right, and willingly employed in his work. Thus do we evidence our interest in his salvation; for “Christ became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”7

Reader! inquire—was my choice of this Divine portion considerate, free, unreserved? Am I resolved that it shall be steadfast and abiding? that death itself shall not separate me from the enjoyment of it? Am I ready to receive a Sovereign as well as a Saviour?8 Oh! let me have a whole Christ for my portion! Oh! let him have a whole heart for his possession. Oh! let me call nothing mine but Him.

1 Psalm 4:6.

2 Ps 17:14.

3 Jer. 2:12, 13.

4 Luke 16:25; 6:24.

5 Comp. Psalm 17:14, 15.

6 Luke 12:19, 20.

7 Da mihi te, Domine.

8 Psalm 73:25; 116:7; 16:5–7.

1 Lam. 3:24.

2 John 21:17. Job 22:26.

4 Col. 1:18.

3 Song 5:16.

5 John 10:30.

6 Psalm 37:4.

7 Heb. 5:9.

8 See Acts 5:31.


he Best Portion of All

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Philippians 4:12

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 73:21–28

“His piece is bigger than mine!”

When I was a boy my brothers and I would sometimes bicker about the size of the piece of homemade pie mom served us. One day Dad observed our antics with a lifted eyebrow, and smiled at Mom as he lifted his plate: “Please just give me a piece as big as your heart.” My brothers and I watched in stunned silence as Mom laughed and offered him the largest portion of all.

If we focus on others’ possessions, jealousy too often results. Yet God’s Word lifts our eyes to something of far greater worth than earthly possessions. The psalmist writes, “You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart” (Ps. 119:57–58). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the writer conveyed the truth that nothing matters more than closeness to God.

What better portion could we have than our loving and limitless Creator? Nothing on earth can compare with Him, and nothing can take Him away from us. Human longing is an expansive void; one may have “everything” in the world and still be miserable. But when God is our source of happiness, we are truly content. There’s a space within us only God can fill. He alone can give us the peace that matches our hearts.By:  James Banks (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Loving Lord, thank You that nothing and no one can meet my every need like You can.

When we are His, He is ours, forever.

You have made us for yourself, Lord. Our hearts are restless until they can find rest in You. --Augustine of Hippo

Psalm 119:58  I sought Your favor with all my heart; Be gracious to me according to Your word. 

  • I entreated (KJV): Ps 119:10 4:6 51:1-3 86:1-3 Ho 7:14 Heb 10:22 
  • favour (KJV): Heb. face, Ps 27:8 Job 11:19 *marg:
  • be merciful (KJV): Ps 119:41,65,76,170 56:4,10 138:2 Mt 24:35 

 I sought Your favor with all my heart; Be gracious to me according to Your word. 

Charles Bridges - Delight in the Lord as our “portion,” naturally leads us to “entreat his favor” as “life,”9 and “better than life,”10 to our souls. And if we have “said, that we would keep his words,” we shall still “entreat his favor” to strengthen and encourage us in his way. We shall “entreat it with our whole hearts,” as though we felt our infinite need of it, and were determined to wrestle for it in Jacob’s spirit—“I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”11 If we have known what unspeakable happiness it is to be brought into the favor of God, “by the blood of Christ;”12 and if “by him also we have access unto that grace wherein we stand,”1 how shall we prize the sense of Divine favor, the light of our Father’s countenance! We shall never be weary of this source of daily enjoyment. It is to us as the light of the sun, which shineth every day with renewed and unabated pleasure. We “joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”2 Mercy, however, is the source of that “favor which we entreat;” and the word is the warrant of our expectation—“Be merciful unto us, according to thy word.” As sinners, we need this “favor.” As believers, we “entreat” it in the assurance that praying breath, as the breath of faith, will not be spent in vain. Any indulged indolence, or neglect, or unfaithfulness—relaxing our diligence, and keeping back the “whole heart” from God—will indeed never fail to remove the sunshine from the soul. But the blood of Christ still opens the way of return to the backslider, even though he may have wandered, as it were, to the ends of the earth. For “if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thine heart and all thy soul.”3 “A whole heart,” in seeking the Lord, is the seal of the Lord’s heart in returning to us—“I will rejoice over them,” saith he, “to do them good: and I will plant them in this land assuredly, with my whole heart and with my whole soul.”4

Reader! if you are a child of God, the favor of God will be to you the “one thing needful.” In other things, you will not venture to choose for yourself; “for who knoweth what is good for man in this life?”5 But in this choice you will be decided. This grand, incomparable desire will fill your heart. This will be to you as the portion of ten thousand worlds. Nothing will satisfy besides.

9 Psalm 30:5.

10 Ps . 63:3.

11 Gen. 32:26.

12 Eph. 2:13.

1 Rom. 5:1, 2.

2 Ro  5:11.

3 Deut. 4:29.

4 Jer. 32:41.

5 Eccl. 6:12.

Psalm 119:59 I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies. 

  • thought (KJV): La 3:40 Eze 18:28,30 Hag 1:5,7 Lu 15:17-20 2Co 13:5 
  • turned (KJV): De 4:30,31 Jer 8:4-6 31:18,19 Eze 33:14-16,19 Joe 2:13 2Co 12:21 

I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies. 

Charles Bridges 

The Psalmist’s determination, lately mentioned, to keep God’s word, was not a hasty impulse, but a considerate resolve, the result of much thinking on his former ways of sin and folly. How many, on the other hand, seem to pass through the world into eternity without a serious “thought on their ways!” Multitudes live for the world—forget God and die! This is their history. What their state is, is written as with a sunbeam in the word of truth—“the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”6 When “no man repenteth him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done?”7—this banishing of reflection is the character and ruin of an unthinking world. Perhaps one serious thought might be the new birth of the soul to God—the first step of the way to heaven. For when a man is arrested by the power of grace, he is as one awaking out of sleep, lost in solemn and serious thought,—‘What am I?8 where am I? what have I been? what have I been doing? I have a soul, which is my everlasting all—yet a soul without a Saviour—lost—undone. What is my prospect for its happiness? Behind me is a world of vanity, an empty void. Before me a fearful unknown eternity. Within me an awakened conscience, to remind me of an angry God, and a devouring hell. If I stay here, I perish; if I go forward, I perish; if I return home to my offended Father, I can but perish.’1 The resolution is formed, ‘ “I will arise,”2 and fight my way through all difficulties and discouragements to my Father’s house.’ Thus does every prodigal child of God “come to himself;” and this his first step of return to his God3 involves the whole work of repentance. The wanderer thinks on his own ways, and turns his feet unto the testimonies of his God; witnessing, to his joyful surprise, every hindrance removed, the way marked with the blood of his Saviour, and his Father’s smiles in this way welcoming his return homeward. This turn is the practical exercise of a genuine faith; and “because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live—he shall not die!”4

But this considerate exercise is needed not only upon the first instance into the ways of God, but in every successive step of our path. It will form the habit of daily “communion with our own heart;”5 without which, disorder and confusion will bewilder our steps. Probably David did not know how far his feet had backslidden from the ways of his God, until this serious consideration of his state brought conviction to his soul—so imperceptible is the declining of the heart from God! Nor is it a few transient thoughts or resolutions, that will effect this turn of the heart to God. A man may maintain a fruitless struggle to return to God for many years in sincerity and earnestness; while, the simple act of faith in the power and love of Jesus will at once bring him back. Thus while “thinking on his ways,” let him walk in Christ as the way of return—and he will walk in the way of God’s testimonies with acceptance and delight. In this spirit of simplicity, he will be ready to listen to the first whisper of the convincing voice of the Spirit, which marks the early steps of secret declension from God.6 He will also thankfully accept the chastening rod, as the Lord’s appointed instrument of restoring his wandering children to himself. For so prone are they to turn their feet away from the Lord—so continually are they “turning aside like a deceitful bow,”7—and so deaf are they from the constitution of their sinful nature, to the ordinary calls of God, that in love and tender faithfulness to their souls, is he often constrained by the stroke of his heavy hand to arrest them in their career of thoughtlessness, and turn them back to himself. Most suitable then for such a state is the prayer of Basil—“Give me any cross, that may bring me into subjection to thy cross; and save me in spite of myself!”

6 Psalm 9:17.

7 Jer. 8:6.

8 How utterly unmeaning was the celebrated aphorism of antiquity, “Know thyself,” until explained and illustrated by the light of Revelation!

1 Compare 2 Kings 7:4.

2 Luke 15:18.

3 Lk 15:17.

4 Ezek. 18:28.

5 Psalm 4:4.

6 See Isa. 30:21.

7 Psalm 78:57.


If enough people believe that a wrong thing is right, does that make it so? For instance, if people from all educational levels persist in writing it's when they mean its, does that make it correct? From executive memos to newspaper articles to billboard ads, the misuse of it's goes on. To be correct, you would use it's for a contraction of it is. (It's a nice day.) And you would use its to denote a possessive of it. (The dog wagged its tail.) It seems that more people use this construction incorrectly than correctly. Does that mean we should condone its improper use? I hope not. The same is true of biblical teachings that are twisted so often we might consider not making such a big deal about them. 

For instance, what if people continually suggest that hell is not a real place and that people without Jesus are not really lost? (Mt. 5:22; Lk. 12:5). Should we reconsider the accuracy of what Scripture teaches about hell? Or what about the common practice of lying? Should we redefine biblical teaching about honesty? (Ps. 51:6; Prov. 19:5). Do we live by majority rule, setting life patterns by what we see others doing, or do we live by God's standards? It's a question that answers itself if we want to please Him. --JDB 

When reading God's Word, take special care
To find the rich treasures hidden there;
Give thought to each line, each precept clear,
Then practice it well with godly fear.
--Anon.

Trust God's authority--not man's majority.

Psalm 119:60 I hastened and did not delay To keep Your commandments.

  • made (KJV): Ps 95:7,8 Eze 10:6-8 Pr 27:1 Ec 9:10 Ga 1:16 

I hastened and did not delay To keep Your commandments. We live in a day of instant foods, instant service and instant this and that. Instant obedience to the revealed will of God is something to ponder—and to produce.


Charles Bridges - A superficial conviction brings with it a sense of duty without constraining to it. Men stand reasoning and doubting, instead of making haste. But a sound conviction sweeps away all excuses and delays. No time will be lost between making and performing resolutions. Indeed, in a matter of life and death—of eternal life and eternal death1—the call is too clear for debate, and there is no room for delay. Many a precious soul has been lost by waiting for “a more convenient season”2—a period, which probably may never arrive, and which the wilful neglect of present opportunity provokes God to put far away. To-day is God’s time. To-morrow ruins thousands. To-morrow is another world. “To-day—while it is called to-day; if you will hear his voice”3—“make haste, and delay not.” Resolutions, however sincere, and convictions, however serious, “will pass away as the morning cloud and as the early dew,”4 unless they are carefully cherished, and instantly improved. The bonds of iniquity will soon prove too strong for the bonds of your own resolutions; and in the first hour of temptation, convictions, left to chance to grow, will prove as powerless as the “seven green withs” to bind the giant Samson.5 If ever delays are dangerous, much more are they in this concern of eternity. If, therefore, convictions begin to work, instantly yield to their influence. If any worldly or sinful desire is touched, let this be the moment for its crucifixion. If any affection is kindled towards the Saviour, give immediate expression to its voice. If any grace is reviving, let it be called forth into instant duty. This is the best—the only—expedient to fix and detain the motion of the Spirit now striving in the heart: and who knoweth but the improvement of the present advantage may be the moment of victory over difficulties hitherto found insuperable, and may open the path to heaven with less interruption, and more steady progress?

It is from the neglect of this “haste” that convictions often alternately ebb and flow so long, before they settle in a sound conversion. Indeed the instant movement—“making haste and delaying not”—marks the principle of the spiritual life. Thus was the prodigal’s resolution no sooner formed than in action. He said, “I will arise and go to my father—and he arose, and came to his father.”6 When Matthew heard the voice—“Follow me—he left all, rose up and followed him.”7 When Zaccheus was called from the top of the sycamore-tree, “Make haste, and come down, for to-day I must abide at thy house—he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.”8

Ah! as you prize a hope for eternity; as you wish to “flee from the wrath to come,” and to “flee for refuge to the hope set before you”—beware of smothering early convictions. They may prove the first dawn of eternal day upon the soul—the first visit of the quickening spirit of the heart. Guard them with unceasing watchfulness. Nourish them with believing prayer. “Exercise” them “unto” practical “godliness.”1 “Quench not the Spirit.”2 Let not the spark be extinguished by opposition of the world. Let it not expire for want of the fuel of grace. Let it not lie dormant or inactive. “Stir up the gift of God which is in thee.”3 Every exercise, every motion, adds grace to grace, and increases its vigor, health, and fruitfulness. The more we do, the more we find we can do. The withered hand, whenever stretched forth in obedience to the Saviour’s word, and in dependence on his grace, will never fail of a supply of spiritual strength.4 Every successive act strengthens the disposition, until a continued succession has formed a ready and active habit of godliness. Thus the Lord works in setting us to work. Therefore think—determine—turn—“make haste, and delay not; and we wish you God speed;” “we bless you in the name of the Lord.”5

Professor! did you realize eternity, would you hover as you do between heaven and hell? If you were truly alive and awake, no motion would be swift enough for your desire to “flee from the wrath”—to “flee for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before you.”6 If ever God should touch your heart, to feel the heavenly sweetness of communion with him, will there be no regret that the privilege was not sooner sought and enjoyed? Had I betaken myself earlier to a hearty interest in the ways of God, how much more knowledge, experience and comfort should I have attained! how much more honor should I have brought to God! how much more profit to my fellow-sinners! Remember—every day of carnal pleasure or lukewarm formality is a day lost to God—to your own happiness—to eternity.

A word to the believer—Have you any doubts to clear up, any peace to regain in the ways of the Lord? “Make haste” to set your heart to the work. Make haste to the blood of atonement. Be on the watch to “hear the shepherd’s voice,”7 even if it be the voice of reproof. Promptness is a most important exercise of the habit of faith. Delay brings guilt to the conscience. The blessing of conviction—the comfortable sense of acceptance—the freedom of the Lord’s service is sacrificed to sloth and procrastination. The work that is hard to-day will be harder still to-morrow, by the resistance of this day’s convictions. A greater cost of self-denial, a heavier burden of sorrow and increasing unfitness for the service of God, will be the issue of delay. Be continually, therefore, looking for some beam of light to descend, and some influence of grace to flow in upon you from your exalted Head. A simple and vigorous faith will quickly enliven you with that love, delight, rejoicing in the Lord, readiness to work, and cheerfulness to suffer, which will once again make the ways of God “pleasantness and peace” to your soul.

1 See Deut. 30:18.

2 Acts 24:25.

3 Heb. 4:7.

4 Hosea 6:4.

5 Judges 16:9.

6 Luke 15:18–20.

7 Luke 5:27, 28. Comp. Matt. 4:18–22.

8 Luke 19:5, 6. Compare also the example of Paul, Gal. 1:15, 16.

1 1 Tim. 4:7.

2 1 Thess. 5:19.

3 2 Tim. 1:6.

4 Mark 3:5.

5 Psalm 129:8.

6 Matt. 3:7. Heb. 6:18.

7 John 10:27.

Psalm 119:61 The cords of the wicked have encircled me, But I have not forgotten Your law. 

  • The bands (KJV): or, The companies, Ps 119:95 3:1 1Sa 30:3-5 Job 1:17 Ho 6:9 
  • but I (KJV): Ps 119:176 1Sa 24:9-11 26:9-11 Pr 24:29 Ro 12:17-21 

The cords of the wicked have encircled me - Wicked are those hostile to God & His people (cp: Jn 15:18,19,20) Encircled is Piel Perf:  The snares & cords of those hostile to God have ensnared me, have bound me, have surrounded me, bind me with ropes (NIV), have wrapped me round; have laid a trap for me (TEV);have tried to drag me into sin (TLB);The cords of evil-doers are round me (BBE).

But I have not forgotten Your law. 


Charles Bridges - Are we not too apt to cull out the easy work of the Gospel, and to call this love to God? Whereas true love is supreme, and ready to be at some loss, and to part with near and dear objects, knowing that he “is able to give us much more than” our love for him.1 Our resolution to keep his commandments will soon be put to the test. Some trial to the flesh will prove whether we flinch from the cross, or study to prepare ourselves for it. Few of us, perhaps, have literally known this trial of David.2 But the lesson to be learnt from his frame of mind under it, is of great importance to all who profess to have their “treasure in heaven.” It teaches us, that only exercised faith will sustain us in the time of trouble. This faith will enable us instantly to recollect our heavenly portion, and to assure our interest in it, in a remembrance of the law of our God. Had David “forgotten God’s law,” no other resource of comfort opened before him. But it was ready—substantiating to his mind “the things that were not seen and eternal.”3 Look again at the Apostle’s deliberate estimate of this very trial—not only bearing his loss, but absolutely forgetting it in the enjoyment of his better portion. “Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things; and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”4

The temper of mind under such trials as this serves indeed most clearly to discover the real bent of the heart. If we are in possession of a spiritual and heavenly portion, we shall bear to be “robbed by the bands of the wicked,” and yet, “hold fast our profession.” David, under this calamity, “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”5 Job under the same visitation, “fell down upon the ground, and worshipped.”6 The blessings indeed we lose, are but as a feather compared with the blessings which we retain. The Providence of God is abundant support for his children. Their prospects (not to speak of their present privileges) effectually secure them from ultimate loss, even in the spoiling of their worldly all.7 Thus the early Christians suffered “the bands of the wicked to rob them”—nay—they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods; knowing in themselves, that they had in heaven a better and an enduring substance.”8 We have indeed little reason to be frightened from religion by the anticipation of its trials. The exchange of the world for God, and of the service of sin for the ways of heaven, leaves no room for regret in life, in death, or in eternity. The Christian’s darkest hour is ten thousand times brighter than the brightest day of the ungodly. The hope of the crown will enable us to bear the cross, and to realize its sanctifying support as a matter for unbounded praise.

But how desolate are the poor votaries of the world in the hour of trouble! Ignorant of the all-sufficiency of the refuge of the Gospel; instead of being driven to it by the gracious visitations of God, they would rather retreat into any hiding-place of their own, than direct their steps backward to him. Their circumstances of distress are most intensely aggravated by the sullen rebellion of the heart, which refuses to listen to those breathings of the Saviour’s love, that would guide them to himself, as their sure, and peaceful, and eternal rest!1 Would that we could persuade them to cast their souls in penitence and faith before his blessed cross!2 The burden of sin, as Bunyan’s pilgrim found, would then drop from their backs. And this burden once removed—other burdens before intolerable would be found comparatively light; nay—all burdens would be removed in the enjoyment of the Christian privilege of casting all—sin—care—and trouble—upon Jesus. Contrast the state of destitution without him, with the abundant resources of the people of God. We have a double heaven—a heaven on earth, and a heaven above—one in present sunshine—the other in “the city, which hath no need of the sun”3—where our joys will be immediate—unclouded—eternal. Thus our portion embraces both worlds. Our present “joy no man taketh from us;”4 and we have “laid up treasure in heaven,” where the bands of the wicked can “never break through, nor steal.”5

Christian! Does not your faith realize a subsistence of things not seen? The only reality in the apprehensions of the world are “the things that are seen, and are temporal.” Your realities are “the things that are not seen, and are eternal.” Then remember—if you be robbed of your earthly all, your treasure is beyond the reach of harm. You can still say—“I have all and abound.”6 You can live splendidly upon your God, though all is beggary around you. You confess the remembrance of the law of your God to be your unfailing stay—“Unless thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished in my affliction.”7

1 2 Chron. 25:9. Comp. Job 42:10–12.

2 See 1 Sam. 30:1–3.

3 2 Cor. 4:18. Heb. 11:1.

4 Phil. 3:8.

5 1 Sam. 30:6.

6 Job 1:13–17, 20.

7 See Mark 10:29, 30.

8 Heb. 10:34.

1 See Matt. 11:28.

2 1 Peter 5:7.

3 Rev. 21:23.

4 John 16:22.

5 Matt. 6:20.

6 Phil. 4:18; also 2 Cor. 6:10.

7 Ps 119:92.

Psalm 119:62  At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You Because of Your righteous ordinances. 

  • midnight (KJV): Ps 119:147,164 42:8 Mk 1:35 Ac 16:25 
  • thy (KJV): Ps 119:7,75,106,137 19:9 De 4:8 Ro 7:12 

At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You Because of Your righteous ordinances. 

TO GIVE THANKS: YADAH: overlaps in meaning with a number of other Hebrew words implying "praise," such as halal (whence halleluyah). The usual context seems to be public worship, where the worshipers affirm and renew their relationship with God. An affirmation or confession of God's undeserved kindness throws man's unworthiness into sharp relief. 

THY RIGHTEOUS ORDINANCES: TSEDEQ MISHPAT: verdict favorable or unfavorable pronounced judicially, esp. a sentence or formal decree

Mt Henry: Though the Psalmist, in this psalm, much in prayer, yet he did not neglect the duty of thanksgiving; for those that pray much will have much to give thanks for. 
1. How much God's hand was eyed in his thanksgivings. He does not say, "I will give thanks because of thy favours to me, which I have the comfort of," but, "Because of thy righteous judgments, all the disposals of thy providence in wisdom and equity, which thou hast the glory of." We must give thanks for the asserting of God's honour and the accomplishing of his word in all he does in the government of the world. 
2. How much his heart was set upon his thanksgivings. He would rise at midnight to give thanks to God. Great and good thoughts kept him awake, and refreshed him, instead of sleep; and so zealous was he for the honour of God that when others were in their beds he was upon his knees at his devotions. He did not affect to be seen of men in it, but gave thanks in secret, where our heavenly Father sees. He had praised God in the courts of the Lord's house, and yet he will do it in his bed-chamber. Public worship will not excuse us from secret worship. When he found his heart affected with God's judgments, he immediately offered up those affections to God, in actual adorations, not deferring, lest they should cool. Yet observe his reverence; he did not lie still and give thanks, but rose out of his bed, perhaps in the cold and in the dark, to do it the more solemnly. And see what a good husband he was of time; when he could not lie and sleep, he would rise and pray.


Charles Bridges - Another exercise of sacred pleasure is the ways of the Lord! His portion was always satisfying to this holy man, and he was daily feeding upon it with fresh delight. There was no occasion for the painful restrictions and mortifications of a monastery to oblige him to self-denying observances. Much less was there any desire, by these extraordinary services, to work out a righteousness of his own, to recommend him to the favor of God. His diligence in this heavenly work was the spontaneous effusion of a heart “filled with the Spirit.”8 Presenting the morning and evening service “seven times a day,”9 was not enough for him; but he must “rise at midnight,” to continue his song of praise. These hours sometimes had been spent in overwhelming sorrow.10 Now they were given to the privileged employment of praise.1 Indeed it seems to have been his frequent custom to stir up his gratitude by a midnight review of the Lord’s daily manifestations of mercy.2 A most exciting example—especially for the child of sorrow, when “wearisome nights are appointed to him,” and he “is full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day!”3 Thus “let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds.”4 We observe this Christian enjoyment under circumstances of outward trial. When “at midnight—their feet made fast in the stocks—Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to God;”5 they gave thanks, because of his righteous judgments.

We often complain of our want of spirituality in the Divine life—how much our body hinders the ascent of the soul heavenwards—how often drowsiness overcomes our evening communion with our God; the “weakness of the flesh” overpowering the “willingness of the Spirit.”6 But after making all due allowances for constitutional infirmity, how far are we “instant in season and out of season” in the “mortification of the flesh?”7 Do we earnestly seek for a heart delighting in heavenly things? The more the flesh is denied for the service of God, the more we shall be elevated for the enjoyment, and realize the privilege of the work; and instead of having so often to mourn that our “souls cleave unto the dust,”8 we shall “mount upwards with eagles’ wings,”9 and even now by anticipation, take our place before “the throne of God and the Lamb.” Such is the active influence of self-denial in exercising our graces and promoting our comfort! Oh! how much more ferrent would be our prayers—how much more fruitful in blessings—were they enlivened with more abundant delight in the ‘angelical work of praise.’10 The theme is always before us. The subject of the heavenly song should constantly engage our songs on earth—Jesus and his love—the worthiness of the Lamb that was slain—his “power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”11 Midnight wakefulness would be far sweeter than slumber; yea, night itself would be turned into day, did “the judgments of God,” as manifested in the glory of the Saviour, thus occupy our hearts.12 Lord, tune my heart to thy praise, and then no time will be unseasonable for this blessed employment. Time thus redeemed from sleep will be an antepast of the unwearied service of heaven.13

8 Eph. 5:18.

9 See Ps 119:147, 148, 164.

10 See Ps. 77:3, 4.

1 Ps. 42:8. Comp. Job 35:10.

2 Ps 139:17, 18.

3 Job 7:3, 4.

4 Ps. 149:5.

5 Acts 16:24, 25.

6 Matt. 26:41.

7 1 Cor. 9:27.

8 Ps 119:25.

9 Isaiah 40:31.

10 Baxter.

11 Rev. 5:12.

12 See Rev 15:3, 4.

13 Rev 4:8.

Psalm 119:63  I am a companion of all those who fear You, And of those who keep Your precepts. 

  • a companion (KJV): Ps 119:79,115 16:3 101:6 142:7 Pr 13:20 Mal 3:16-18 2Co 6:14-17 1Jn 1:3 3:14 

I am a companion of all those who fear You, And of those who keep Your precepts.  Knowing and obeying the Bible will bring into your life the very finest friends. Those who love God’s Word are friends indeed. There are false friends who may dazzle you with their worldly wisdom and wealth, but their friendship will lead you astray. Stick with those who “stick” with the Bible (v31).


Charles Bridges - Those that love the Lord’s service naturally associate with kindred spirits—with those that fear him, and keep his precepts.14 These two features identify the same character; as cheerful obedience is always the fruit of filial fear. These then are the Lord’s people; and union with him is in fact union with them. Sometimes the society of the refined and intelligent of this world may be more congenial to our natural taste. But ought there not be a restraint here? Ought not the Christian to say, “Surely the fear of God is not in this place;”1 and “should I love them that hate the Lord?”2 Let those of us, who live in close, and to a certain degree necessary, contact with the world, subject their hearts to an evening scrutiny on this subject. ‘Has the society of this day refreshed my soul, or raised my heart to spiritual things? Has it promoted a watchful temper? Or has it not rather “quenched the spirit” of prayer and restrained my intercourse with God?’ To meet the Christian in ordinary courtesy, not in unity of heart, is a sign of an unspiritual walk with God. Fellowship with God is “walking in the light.” “Fellowship one with another” is the natural flow. “The communion of saints” is the fruit and effect of communion with God.3

The calls of duty, or the leadings of providence, may indeed unavoidably connect us with those, who “have no fear of God before their eyes.” Nor should we repel them from religiously affecting a sullen or uncourteous4 habit. But such men, whatever be their attractions, will not be the companions of our choice. Fellowship with them, is to “remove the ancient land-mark;”5 to forget the broad line of separation between us and them; and to venture into the most hazardous atmosphere. If indeed our hearts were ascending, like a flame of fire, with a natural motion heavenwards, and carrying with them all in their way, the choice of the companions of our pilgrimage would be a matter of little importance. But so deadening to our spirit is the conversation of the men of this world, (however commanding their talents, or interesting their topics,) that even if we have been just before enlivened by the high privilege of communion with God, the free and self-indulgent interchange of their society will benumb our spiritual powers, and quickly freeze them again. To underrate therefore the privileged association with “them that fear God,” is to incur—not only a most awful responsibility in the sight of God; but also a most serious hazard to our own souls.

If then we are not ashamed to confess ourselves Christians, let us not shrink from walking in fellowship with Christians. Even if they should exhibit some repulsive features of character, they bear the image of Him, whom we profess to love inexpressibly and incomparably above all. They will be our companions in an eternal home: they ought therefore to be our brothers now. How sweet, and holy, and heavenly is this near relation to them in our common Lord! Shall we not readily consent to his judgment, who pronounced “the righteous to be more excellent than his neighbor?”6 “Iron sharpeneth iron.”7 If then “the iron be blunt,” this will be one of the best means of “whetting the edge.”8 The most established servants of God gladly acknowledge the sensible refreshment of this union of heart.1 It is marked in the word of God, as the channel of the communication of heavenly wisdom2—as a feature in the character of the citizens of Zion3—and as that disposition, which is distinguished with manifest tokens of the Saviour’s presence;4 and which the great day will crown with the special seal of his remembrance. “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened and heard” it; “and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day, when I make up my jewels.’5

14 Compare Psalm 103:17, 18.

1 Gen. 20:11.

2 2 Chron. 19:2.

3 See 1 John 1:3–7.

4 See 1 Pet. 3:6.

5 Prov. 22:28.

6 Pr 12:26.

7 Pr  27:17.

8 See Eccl. 10:10.

1 Comp 1 Sam. 23:16. Psalm 16:3. Acts 28:15. Rom. 1:11, 12. 2 Cor. 7:6, 7.

2 Prov. 13:20.

3 Psalm 15:1, 4. Comp. Psalm 16:3, and especially 1 John 3:14.

4 Luke 24:15, 32.

5 Mal. 3:16, 17.

Psalm 119:64 The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes. 

  • earth (KJV): Ps 33:5 104:13 145:9 
  • teach (KJV): Ps 119:12,26 27:11 Isa 2:3 48:17,18 Mt 11:29 

The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes. 


Charles Bridges - What full provision is made for man’s happiness! The first creation was full of mercy. God knew that he had created a being full of want. Every faculty wanted some suitable object, as the source of enjoyment in the gratification—of suffering in the denial; and now has he charged himself with making provision for them all—so perfect, that no want is left unprovided for.

But what a picture does the earth now present on every side—a world of rebels! yet a world “full of the mercy of the Lord!” “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom has thou made them all. The earth is full of thy riches. The eyes of all wait upon thee, and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”6 And how does the contemplation of the Lord’s “mercy” in providence encourage our faith, in the expectancy of spiritual privileges! “O Lord! thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wing. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.”7 ‘As thou dost largely bestow thy blessings upon all creatures according to their nature and condition, so I do desire the spiritual blessings of the lively light of thy law and word, which are fitting and convenient for the being and happiness of my soul.’8 As an ignorant sinner, “what I see not, teach thou me.”9 “Teach me thy statutes,” that which thou hast appointed, as the way of duty and the path to glory—that path which I am utterly unable to discover, or when discovered, to walk in, without the help of thy grace. And indeed the hearts of his people are the vessels, into which the Lord is continually pouring more and more of himself, until they shall “be filled with all the fulness of God.”1 Every good, according to its character and degree, is diffusive. And thus the goodness or mercy of God pervades his whole universe—natural—plentiful—free—communicative.2

Yet none but a believer will understand how to use the plea which is here employed. The mercy that he sees on every side, is to him a pledge and earnest of that mercy, which his soul needs within. The world indeed in its present falling state, when seen through the medium of pride and discontent, exhibits a picture of misery, not of mercy; and only ministers occasion for complaint against the Creator. But the believer—feeling the infinite and eternal desert of sin—cannot but know that the lowest exercise of goodness in God is an act of free undeserved mercy. No wonder then that he sees mercy in everything—in every part of the universe of God—a world “full of mercy.” The very food we eat, our raiment, our habitations, the contrivances for our comfort, are not mere displays of goodness, but manifestations of mercy. Having forfeited all claim upon the smallest consideration of God, there could have been no just ground of complaint, had all these blessings been made occasions of suffering, instead of comfort and indulgence.

Indeed is it not a marvel, that when man—full of mercy—is lifting up his hand against his God—employing against him all the faculties which his mercy gave and has preserved—that God should be so seldom provoked to strike by their aggravated provocations? What multitude—what weight—what variety of mercy doth he still shower upon us! Even our hair—though seemingly so unimportant—the seat of loathsome, defiling, and even mortal disease, is the object of his special care.3 All the limbs of the body—all the faculties of the mind—all the affections of the heart—all the powers of the will: keeping us in health—capable of acting for our own happiness—how does he restrain them from those exercises or movements which might be fatal to our happiness!

And then the question naturally recurs—and to a spiritual mind will never weary by its recurrence—Whence flows all this mercy? Oh! it is delightful indeed to answer such an inquiry—delightful to contemplate him, “in whom” we are not only “blessed with all spiritual blessings;”4 but who is also the medium, through which our temporal comforts are conveyed to us. How sweet to eye these mercies, as bought with the most precious blood that ever was known in the world, and to mark the print of the nails of our crucified friend stamped upon the least of them! We allow it to add a relish to our enjoyments, that we can consider them as provided by some beloved friend; and should not our mercies be doubly sweet in the remembrance of that munificent Friend, who purchased them for us so dearly; who bestows them upon us so richly; yea, who gives himself with them all?

Have we heard of this mercy of God? And do we feel the need of it for ourselves—for every moment? Then let us apply to the throne of grace in the free and open way of acceptance and access. Let us go to the King (as Benhadad’s servants to the King of Israel1) in the spirit of self-condemnation and faith. Our acceptance does not depend (as in the case referred to) upon a “peradventure;” but it rests upon the sure word of promise, “Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.”2

6 Psalm 104:24; 145:15, 16.

7 Ps 36:6–8.

8 Diodati. “It is worthy of especial notice, how often, and in what varied connections, David in this Psalm prays to be taught the statutes of God, though he seems to have been more intimately acquainted with the sacred oracles, as then extant, than almost any other man; but he knew that Divine teaching alone could enable him rightly to understand the Scriptures, and to apply general rules to all the variety of particular cases, which occurred in the course of his life.”—Scott.

9 Job 34:32.

1 Eph. 3:19.

2 Ps 119:68.

3 Matt. 10:30.

4 Eph. 1:3.

1 Comp. 1 Kings 20:31.

2 John 6:37.

Psalm 119:65 Teth. You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Your word. 

  • dealt well (KJV): Ps 119:17 13:6 16:5,6 18:35 23:5,6 30:11 116:7 1Ch 29:14 

Teth. You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Your word. 


Warren Wiersbe - True Riches
 
Read Psalm 119:65-72
 
"The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver" (Psalm 119:72). Can we honestly say that we would rather have God's Word than money?
 
Many people in the Bible had that testimony. For example, Abraham led his army to a great victory. He brought back all of the captives and all the spoil. The King of Sodom showed up and said, "Abraham, you can have all this spoil. Just give me the people." But Abraham said, "Before this battle started, I lifted my hand to the Lord and said, 'When I win this battle, I'm not taking one thing from these people.' I would rather have the Word of God than have thousands of shekels of gold and silver" (see Gen. 14). Abraham kept his testimony clean.
 
But I also think of Achan in Joshua 7. God had commanded that no spoil be taken from Jericho. But Achan stole some silver and gold and clothing and buried them under his tent. He thought no one knew, but God knew. Achan wanted riches rather than God. Judas made the same mistake. He sold Jesus Christ, the greatest Treasure in the universe, for 30 pieces of silver.
 
If we love the Word of God, we'll read it, meditate on it and seek to obey it. If the Bible does not change our values, it will not change our lives. Jesus was the poorest of the poor. He made Himself poor to make us rich. We, in turn, should make ourselves poor to make other people rich, for we have the riches of the Word of God.
 
* * *
You have a choice to make today: you can seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, or you can bow down to the kingdom of man and seek riches. Would you rather have the temporal possessions of this world or the spiritual riches of God's Word? (Psalm 119:65-72 True Riches)


Charles Bridges - There is a time for all things in the believer’s experience—for confession, prayer, praise. This Psalm mostly expresses the professions and prayers of the man of God—yet mingled with thankful acknowledgment of mercy. He had prayed, “Deal bountifully with thy servant.”3 Perhaps here is the acknowledgment of the answer to his prayer, “Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according unto thy word.” And who among us has not daily reason to make the same acknowledgment? Even in those trials, when we have indulged hard thoughts of God, a clearer view of his judgments, and a more simple dependence upon his faithfulness and love, will rebuke our impatience and unbelief, and encourage our trust.4 Subsequent experience altered Jacob’s hasty view of the Lord’s dealings with him. In a moment of peevishness, the recollection of the supposed death of a beloved son, and the threatened bereavement of another, tempted him to say, “All these things are against me.”5 At a brighter period of his day, when clouds were beginning to disperse, we hear that “the spirit of Jacob revived. And Jacob said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive, I will go and see him before I die.”6 And when his evening sun was going down almost without a cloud, in the believing act of “blessing the sons of” his beloved “Joseph,”7 how clearly does he retract the language of his former sinful impatience.—“God before whom my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, did walk—the God which fed me all my life long unto this day—the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.”1 This surely was in the true spirit of the acknowledgment, Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word.

And how is it that any of us have ever harbored a suspicion of unbelief? Has God in any one instance falsified his promise? Has “the vision” failed to come at the end? Has it ever “lied?”2 Has he not “confirmed his promise by an oath,” “that we might have two immutable things” as the ground of “strong consolation?”3 Any degree less than the full credit that he deserves, is admitting the false principle, that God is a man that he should lie, and the son of a man that he should repent. It weakens the whole spiritual frame, shakes our grasp of the promise, destroys our present comfort, and brings foreboding apprehensions of the future. Whereas, if we have faith and patience to wait,—“in the mount the Lord shall be seen.”4 “All things” may seem to be “against us,” while at the very moment under the wonder-working hand of God, they are “working together for our good.”5 When therefore we “are in heaviness through manifold temptations,” and we discover a “needs be” for it all, and “the trial of faith is found unto praise and honor and glory”6—when we are thus reaping the fruitful discipline of our Father’s school,7 must we not put a fresh seal to our testimony, “Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord?” But why should we delay our acknowledgment till we come out of our trial? Ought we not to give it even in the midst of our “heaviness?”8 Faith has enabled many, and would enable us, to “glorify God in the fires;”9 to “trust” him, even when “walking in darkness, and having no light;”10 and, even while smarting under his chastening rod, to acknowledge, that he “has dealt well with us.”

But if I doubt the reasonableness of this acknowledgment, then let me, while suffering under trial, endeavor to take up different language. ‘Lord, thou hast dealt ill with thy servant; thou hast not kept thy word.’ If in a moment of unbelief my impatient heart, like Jacob’s, could harbor such a dishonorable suspicion, my conscience would soon smite me with conviction—‘What! shall I, who am “called out of darkness into marvellous light”—shall I, who am rescued from slavery and death, and brought into a glorious state of liberty and life, complain? Shall I, who have been redeemed at so great a price, and who have a right to “all the promises of God in Christ Jesus,”11 and who am now an “heir of God, and joint heir with Christ”12—murmur at my Father’s will? Alas, that my heart should prove so foolish, so weak, so ungrateful! Lord! I would acknowledge with thankfulness, and yet with humiliation, “Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, according to thy word.” But how sinfully do we neglect these honorable and cheering acknowledgments! Were we habitually to mark them for future remembrance, we should be surprised to see how their numbers would multiply. “If we should count them, they are more in number than the sand.”1 And truly such recollections—enhancing every common, as well as every special mercy—would come up as a sweet savor to God “by Christ Jesus.”2 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name; and forget not all his benefits.”3

3 Ps 119:17.

4 “If all the sad losses trials, sicknesses, infirmities, griefs, heaviness, and inconstancy of the creature be expounded to be, as I am sure they are, the rods of the jealousy of a Father in heaven, contending with all your lovers on earth, though there were millions of them, for your love, to fetch it home to heaven, single, unmixed, you will forgive (if we may use that word) every rod of God, and ‘let not the sun go down upon your wrath’ against any messenger of your afflicting and correcting Father.”—Rutherford’s Letters.

5 Gen. 42:36.

6 Ge 45:27, 28.

7 Heb. 11:21.

1 Gen. 48:15, 16.

2 Hab. 2:3.

3 Heb. 6:17, 18.

4 Gen. 22:14. See Scott in loco.

5 Rom. 8:28.

6 1 Peter 1:6, 7.

7 Heb. 12:11.

8 Ps 119:71, 75. “In everything (therefore including affliction) by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving,” &c. Phil. 4:6. Compare also 1 Thess. 5:18.

9 Isaiah 24:15.

10 Isa. 50:10.

11 2 Cor. 1:20.

12 Rom. 8:17.

1 Psalm 139:18.

2 Heb. 13:15.

3 Psalm 103:1, 2.

Psalm 119:66 Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments. 

  • Teach me (KJV): Ps 119:34 72:1,2 1Ki 3:9,28 Pr 2:1-9 8:20 Isa 11:2-4 Jud 3:15 Mt 13:11 Php 1:9 Jas 3:13-18 
  • I Have (KJV): Ps 119:128,160,172 Ne 9:13,14 

Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments. 

TEACH ME: LAMAD: Piel Imp: has the idea of training as well as educating. The training aspect can be seen in the derived term for "oxgoad," malme'd. The principle use is in Ps119:12, 26, 64, 66, 68, 108, 124, 135, 171.) Greek uses two different words for "to learn" (manthano) and "to teach" (didasko), each having its own content, goal, and methods, Hebrew uses the same root for both words because all learning and teaching is ultimately to be found in the fear of the Lord. Each of the following passages has some variation of the phrase "learn (LAMAD) to fear Jehovah":  (Dt 4:10,14:23,17:19, 31:12,13 )

GOOD DISCERNMENT: TUWB TA'AM: The root of "tuwb" is "towb/tob" which means "to be pleasing". Ta'am literally means "taste" which fig gives the idea of discerning. This is an excellent prayer in a day when "absolutes" are absolutely "politically incorrect"! Some things are easy to "taste" -- they are foul, rotten, spoiled, but others are more subtle and thus we stand in constant need of God's grace to be able to discern so that we do not "eat" of the world's fetid, false fare but partake only of God's good Word.  Cp to the subtlety of the deception in the last days in Mt 24:24.

AND KNOWLEDGE: DA'ATH: experiential knowledge of the living God. Knowledge of His written Word cannot be separated from personal knowledge of God. To know God is to live in harmony with His will, and to live in harmony with His will we must know His will. Loss of the knowledge of God leaves a destructive vacuum in personal and national life. 
    Compare to Isa 5:13,(Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge...) Hos 4:6. (My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.) Thus this prayer is a "life & death" prayer. God show me(us) Your Truth that I may discern good from evil. (Heb 5:14)

FOR I BELIEVE IN: AMAN: Hiphil Perf: trusted, leaned on God's commandments. At the heart of the meaning of the root is the idea of certainty. Faith is not a blind leap into  the dark. 

THY COMMANDMENTS: MITSVAH: 


Charles Bridges - If the perception of the Lord’s merciful dealings with my soul is obscure—Teach me good judgment and knowledge. Give me a clear and enlarged apprehension, that I may be ready with my acknowledgment—All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth.4 Or even with an enlightened assurance of his wise and faithful dispensations, still would I urge this petition before him, as needful for every step of my path. Indeed this prayer illustrates the simplicity and intelligence of Christian faith—always desiring, asking, and expecting the most suitable blessings. For what blessings can be more suitable to an ignorant sinner, than good judgment and knowledge: “knowledge” of ourselves, of our Saviour, of the way of obedience—and “good judgment,” to apply this knowledge to some valuable end? These two parts of our intellectual furniture have a most important connection and dependence upon each other. “Knowledge” is the speculative perception of general truth. “Judgment” is the practical application of it to the heart and conduct. No school, but the school of Christ, no teaching, but the teaching of the Spirit—can ever give this “good judgment and knowledge.” Solomon asks it for himself5—Paul for his people.6 Both direct us to God as the sole fountain and author.7

We cannot fail of observing a very common defect in Christians—warm affections connected with a blind or loose judgment. Hence too often a lightness in religion, equally unsteady in profession and in practice—easily satisfied with a narrow compass in the vast field of Scripture, instead of grasping a full survey of those truths, which are so intimately connected with our Christian establishment and privilege. Much perplexing doubt, discouragement, and fear; much mistaken apprehension of important truth, much coldness and backsliding of heart and conduct, arises from the want of an accurate and full apprehension of the scriptural system.

This prayer has a special application to the tender and sensitive child of God. The disease of his constitution is too often a scrupulous conscience—one of the most active and successful enemies to his settled peace and quietness.1 The faculty of conscience partakes with every other power of man of the injury of the fall; and therefore, with all its intelligence, honesty, and power, is liable to misconception. Like a defect of vision, it often displaces objects: and, in apparently conflicting duties, that which touches the feeling, or accords with the temper, is preferred to one, which though more remotely viewed, really possessed a higher claim. Thus it pronounces its verdict from the predominance of feeling, rather than from the exercise of judgment—more from an indistinct perception of the subject presented to the mind, than from a simple immediate reference “to the law and testimony.” Again—matters of trivial moment are often insisted upon, to the neglect of important principles.2 External points of offence are more considered, than the habitual mortification of the inward principle. Conformity to the world in dress and appearance is more strongly censured than the general spirit of worldliness in the temper and conduct of outward non-conformists; while the spirit of separation from the world (which may exist in a somewhat wider range of Christian liberty, than the narrow perception of some professors has conceived,3) is totally disregarded. Thus are non-essentials confounded with fundamentals—things indifferent with things unlawful, from a narrow misconception of what is directly forbidden and allowed.4 Conscience, therefore, must not be trusted without the light of the word of God; and most important is the prayer, “Teach me good judgment and knowledge.”

The exercises of this state of feeling are both endless and causeless. In the well-intended endeavor to guard against a devious track, the mind is constantly harassed with an over-anxious inquiry, whether the right path is accurately discovered; and thus at once the pleasure and the progress of the journey are materially hindered. The influence, therefore, of this morbid sensibility is strenuously to be resisted. It renders the strait way more strait. It retards the work of grace in the soul. It is usually connected with self-righteousness. It savors of, and tends to produce, hard thoughts of God. It damps our cheerfulness in his service, and unfits us for the duty of the present moment. What, however, is more than all to be deprecated, is, that it multiplies sin; or, to speak more clearly, it superinduces another species of sin, besides the actual transgression of the law of God. For opposition to the dictates of conscience in any particular is sin, even though the act itself may be allowed by the law of God. We may, therefore, sin in the act of doing good, or in obedience to the liberty and enjoyment of the Gospel, as well as in the allowed transgression of the law. Indeed, under the bondage of scrupulous conscience, we seem to be entangled in the sad necessity of sinning. The dictates of conscience, even when grounded upon misconception, are authoritative.1 Listening to its suggestions may be sinning against the liberty, wherewith Christ has made us “free,” and in which we are commanded to “stand fast.”2 No human authority can free from its bonds. Resistance to its voice is disobedience to God’s vicegerent, and therefore, in a qualified sense at least, disobedience to God himself. And thus it is sin, even when that which conscience condemns may be innocent.3

The evil of a scrupulous conscience may often be traced to a diseased temperament of body, to a naturally weak or perverted understanding, to the unfavorable influence of early prejudice—to a want of simple exercise of faith, or perception of the matters of faith. In these cases faith may be sincere, though weak; and the sin, such as it is, is a sin of infirmity, calling for our pity, forbearance, prayer, and help. In many instances, however, wilful ignorance, false shame that will not inquire, or a pertinacious adherence to deep-rooted opinion is the source of the disease. Now such persons must be roused, even at the hazard of wounding the conscience of the more tenderly scrupulous. But as the one class decidedly sin, and the other too frequently indulge their infirmity, the excitement will probably be ultimately useful to both. Both need to have the conscience enlightened; and to obtain “a right judgment in all things”—by a more diligent “search in the Scriptures”—by “seeking the law at the mouth of the priest”4—and, above all, by earnest prayer with the Psalmist—“Teach me good judgment and knowledge.” Thus they will discern between what is imperative, and what is indifferent: what is lawful, and what is expedient. If “whatsoever is not of faith is sin,” then the only prospect of the removal of the doubt will be increase of faith—that is, a more full persuasion of the Divine warrant and instruction.1 “Howbeit there is not in every one this knowledge;”2 yet the exhortation speaks alike to all—“Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”3 Indeed the most favorable symptoms of scrupulosity (except where the disease originates in external causes) partake of the guilt of wilful ignorance; because none can be said sincerely to ask for “good judgment and knowledge” who do not diligently improve all means of obtaining it. If, therefore, the scrupulous shrink from honestly seeking the resolution of their difficulties in private conferences (where they are to be had) with ministers or experienced Christians, so far they must be considered as wilfully ignorant. We would indeed “receive them,” “bear with their infirmities,”4 and encourage them to expect relief from their hard bondage in the way of increasing diligence, humility, and prayer. While their minds are in doubt concerning the path of duty, their actions must be imperfect and unsatisfactory. Let them, therefore, wait, inquire, and pray, until their way be made plain. This done, let them act according to their conscience, allowing nothing that it condemns, neglecting nothing which it requires. The responsibility of error (should error be eventually detected) will not be—the too implicit following of the guidance of conscience—but the want of due care and diligence for its more clear illumination. Generally, however, the rule will apply—“If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”5

But, besides the scrupulous conscience, the imperfectly enlightened conscience presents a case equally to be deprecated. Often does it charge to a sinful source those incessant variations of feeling, which originate in bodily indisposition, or accidental influence of temptation. Sins of infirmity are confounded with sins of indulgence; occasional with habitual transgressions of duty. Only a part of the character is brought under cognizance; and while short comings or surprisals are justly condemned; yet the exercise of contrition, faith, love, and watchfulness, is passed by unnoticed. Thus the Gospel becomes the very reverse of the appointment of its gracious Author.6 It brings ashes for beauty, mourning for the oil of joy, and the spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise. If this evil is “not a sin unto death,” it is “a sore evil under the sun,” which may often give occasion for the prayer—“Teach me good judgment and knowledge;” that, in the simplicity of faith, I may be blessed with a tender conscience, and be delivered from the bondage of a scrupulous, and from the perplexity of an unenlightened conscience. Let my heart never condemn me where it ought not. Let it never fail to condemn me where it ought.

But alas! the perception of our need of this “good judgment and knowledge,” is far too indistinct and uninfluential. We need to cry for these valuable blessings with deeper earnestness, and more diligent and patient waiting upon God. Divine wisdom is a treasury, that does not spend by giving; and we may ask to be enriched to the utmost extent of our wants, “in full assurance of faith.” But this faith embraces the whole revelation of God—the commandments as well as the promises. And thus it becomes the principle of Christian obedience. For can we believe these commandments to be as they are represented—“holy, just, and good,” and not delight in them?1 “In those is continuance”—saith the prophet—“and we shall be saved.”2 Convinced of their perfection, acknowledging their obligations, loving them, and living in them, we shall “come to full age” in the knowledge of the Gospel, and, “by reason of use have our senses exercised to discern good and evil.”3

4 Ps. 25:10.

5 1 Kings 3:9.

6 Phil. 1:9, 10. Col. 1:9.

7 Prov. 2:6. 1 Cor. 1:5. 2 Tim. 1:7. It is recorded of one of the Reformers, that, when he had well acquitted himself in a public disputation, a friend begged to see the notes, which he had been observed to write, supposing that he had taken down the arguments of his opponents, and sketched the substance of his own reply. Greatly was he surprised to find that they consisted simply of these ejaculatory petitions—“More light, Lord,—more light,—more light!” How fully was the true spirit of prayer compressed in these short aspirations! Could they fail of success? “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. Greenham, being asked his judgment of some important matters, answered: “Sir, neither am I able to speak, nor you to hear; for we have not prayed. I may indeed talk, and you may answer, as natural men; but we are not now prepared to confer as children of God.” Works, p. 19.

1 “Scruple,” as Bishop Taylor justly observes, “is a little stone in the foot. If you set it on the ground, it hurts you. If you hold it up, you cannot go forward. It is a trouble, when trouble is over; a doubt, when doubts are resolved; a little party behind the hedge when the main army is broken and cleared; and when conscience is instructed in its way, and girt for action, a light trifling reason, or an absurd fear, hinders it from beginning the journey, or proceeding in the way, or resting at the journey’s end.” Duct. Dubitant. Book i. chap. vi. See Calvin’s lively description of scrupulosity in Scott’s Analysis of his Institutes.—Continuation of Milner, iii. 563.

2 Col. 2:18.

3 See 1 Cor. 8:4, 7.

4 “Measuring actions by atoms is the way, not to govern, but to disorder, conscience.—Bishop Taylor, ut supra.

1 See Rom. 14:14. “To him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, (though clean by the express appointment of God. Acts 10:9–15, 1 Tim. 4:3–5, and only “unclean” therefore by the misconception of conscience,) to him it is unclean,”—i.e., he must not touch it upon the ground of conscience, though the Gospel allowed the use of it, and it was an infringement of Christian liberty to abstain from it. Thus did his ignorance make to himself an occasion of sin.

2 Gal. 5:1, with 4:9, 10.

3 Compare Rom. 14:20–23.

4 Mal. 2:7. See the example of the primitive church, Acts 15:1, 2.

1 Rom. 14:5.

2 1 Cor. 8:7.

3 2 Peter 3:18.

4 Rom. 14:1; 15:1.

5 Matt. 6:22. Compare Prov. 24:5. For a similar view of this case, see Baxter’s Christian Directory, Book i. chap. iii. The sacrifices appointed for sins of ignorance under the law, (Lev. 4,) mark God’s sense of this case; while the frequent breaches of Christian unity and forbearance arising from it may well justify this extended consideration of it.

6 Compare Isaiah 61:3.

1 Rom. 7:12, with 22.

2 Isa. 64:5.

3 Heb. 5:14.

Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word. 

THE PURIFYING EFFECT
OF AFFLICTIONS

Before I was afflicted I went astray, Qal Impf: Before I was bowed down, humbled. God's discipline has divine purpose. Parallels [2Co12:9,10 Ja4:6 See Ps 119:50, 71, 75, 92] law of God comforts in lowliness; 

But now - 'ATTAH: Praise the Lord for the fact that we even can exclaim about the "but now's" in our life. The truth is our sin demands death but in His mercy, He has afforded us "but now's" that we might return & repent & receive the times of refreshing (Ac 3:19).

I keep Your word. hedge about as with thorns so as to preserve God's Word. (NIV =  now I obey Your word.)

TIMES OF AFFLICTION: Lieutenant Paul Galanti, a US Navy pilot, spent 6 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. The experience has given him a heightened sense of ordinary privileges that most of us take for granted. Speaking of his life today, nearly three decades after being released, Galanti says, "There's no such thing as a bad day when there's a doorknob on the inside of the door." After 2,300 straight days in a locked cell, you might consider the privilege of walking outside whenever you please to be one of life's greatest luxuries. 

The writer of Ps 119 makes the startling statement, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes" (v71). From a time of suffering, the psalmist gained a greater love for God and an increased appreciation for His commands. "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your Word" (v67). Perhaps you can identify with the words of the psalmist. You've "been there" and you know what he means. Or you may be in the middle of a great hardship today. When the days are dark and relief is out of sight, we need to cling to what we know to be true about the goodness and faithfulness of God. And then, when He brings us out into the light, we too will see the results and thank God for the legacy of affliction. —DCM 

In times of greatest trouble,
I've learned to trust God's Word;
For through the Spirit's teaching
My Savior's voice I've heard.
—Fitzhugh

Tough times teach trust.


Charles Bridges - The teaching of good judgment and knowledge will lead us to deprecate, instead of desiring, a prosperous state. But should the Christian, by the appointment of God, be thrown into this seductive atmosphere, he will feel the prayer that is so often put into his lips, most peculiarly expressive of his need—“In all time of our wealth—Good Lord! deliver us!”4 A time of wealth is indeed a time of special need. It is hard to restrain the flesh, when so many are the baits for its indulgence. Such mighty power is here given to the enemy, while our perception of his power is fearfully weakened! Many and affecting instances are recorded of the heart of the Lord’s people, in the deadening influence of a proud and worldly spirit.5 But the unmitigated curse to the ungodly is written as with a sunbeam for our warning—“When Jeshurun waxed fat, he kicked—I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear.”6 But how awful will be the period, when the question shall speak to the conscience with all the poignancy of self-conviction—“What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?” What is the end of this flowery path? “Death?”7 “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castest them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors!”8 “the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.”9

Our Saviour’s allotment for his people—“In the world ye shall have tribulation”10—marks not less his wisdom than his love. This is the gracious rod, by which he scourges back his prodigal children to himself. This is the wise discipline, by which he preserves them from the poisoned sweetness of carnal allurements, and keeps their hearts in a simple direction towards himself, as the well-spring of their everlasting joy. With all of them this one method has been pursued. All have been taught in one school. All have known the power of affliction in some of its varied forms of inward conflict or outward trouble. All have found a time of affliction a time of love. All have given proof, that the pains bestowed upon them have not been in vain. Thus did Manasseh in affliction beseech “the Lord, and humble himself greatly before the Lord God of his fathers.”1 Thus also in afflictions the Lord “heard Ephraim bemoaning himself;”2 and beheld Israel “seeking him early,”3 and the forlorn wandering child casting a wishful, penitent look towards his Father’s house, as if the pleasures, that had enticed his heart from home, were now embittered to the soul.4

And thus the Christian can give some account of the means by which his Father is leading and preparing him for heaven. Perhaps he did not at first see the reason.5 It was matter of faith, not of consciousness. But in looking back, how clear the path, how valuable the benefit—Before I was afflicted, I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. I never prized it before. I could, indeed, scarcely be said to know it. I never understood its comfort until affliction expounded it to me. I never till now saw its suitableness to my case. But what an heightened aggravation of guilt, when these especial mercies fail of their gracious end—when vanity, worldliness, and sin still reign with uncontrolled sway! Ah! when sinners are unhumbled “under the mighty hand of God”—when they are afflicted, and not purged by affliction—when it is said of them—“They received not correction”6—it seems the forerunner of that tremendous judgment—“Why should ye be stricken any more.”7

Heavenly Father! keep thy poor weak erring child from this fearful doom. Let not that measure of prosperity, which thou mayest be pleased to vouchsafe, prove my curse. But especially let every cross, every affliction, which thou art pleased to mingle in my cup, conform me more to my Saviour’s image, restrain my heart from its daily wanderings, and give thy holy ways and word to my soul, and give me sweeter anticipations of that blessed home, where I shall never wander more, but find my eternal happiness in “keeping thy word.”

4 Litany.

5 The histories of David, 1 Chron. 21:1–4; Solomon, 1 Kings 11:1–8; Uzziah, 2 Chron. 26:16; and Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 32:25–32, will readily occur to the mind.

6 Deut. 32:15. Jer. 22:21.

7 Rom. 6:21.

8 Psalm 73:18, 19.

9 Prov. 1:32.

10 John 16:33. Acts 14:22. 1 Thess. 3:3.

1 2 Chron. 33:12. Compare Dan. 4:36, 37.

2 Jer. 31:18, 19.

3 Hosea 5:15; 6:1, 2.

4 Luke 15:16, 17.

5 See Heb. 12:11.

6 Zeph. 3:2.

7 Isaiah 1:5.

 


Spurgeon - An old Puritan said, “God’s people are like birds; they sing best in cages, they sing best when in the deepest trouble.” Said old Master Brooks, “The deeper the flood was, the higher the ark went up to heaven.” So it is with the child of God: the deeper his troubles the nearer to heaven he goeth, if he lives close to his Master. Troubles are called weights; and a weight, you know, generally cloggeth and keepeth down to the earth; but there are ways, by the use of the laws of mechanics, by which you can make a weight lift you; and so it is possible to make your troubles lift you nearer heaven instead of making them sink you. Ah! we thank our God, He has sometimes opened our mouth when we were dumb; when we were ungrateful, and did not praise Him, He has opened our mouth by a trial; and though when we had a thousand mercies we did not bless Him, when He sent a sharp affliction, then we began to bless Him....Often our trials act as a thorn-hedge to keep us in the good pasture; but our prosperity is a gap through which we go astray.


John Butler - Sermon Starters -  SANCTIFYING AFFLICTION Psalm 119:67

“Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept thy word” (Psalm 119:67).

This text will help us view our trials and troubles with a positive perspective, not a negative perspective.

FIRST—THE SIN BEFORE THE AFFLICTION

“Before I was afflicted … I went astray.” The Psalmist confesses his sinfulness.
• The period of sin. “Before.” Humans do not have a good record of conduct when the road is easy and prosperous and without pain. The Psalmist sinned when he was living an easy life. Prosperity more than poverty, imperils our character, and makes our conduct impious.
• The path of sin. “I went astray.” We glamorize this path, write about it, make Hollywood films about it and encourage it, but it is still “astray.” “Astray” from what? “Astray” from the Word of God as the last part of our text indicates. The Word is our standard, failure to abide by the Word and you are walking astray. The Bible says this problem is universal (Isaiah 53:6) and a bad one.

SECOND—THE SUFFERING IN THE AFFLICTION

“I was afflicted.” Walking astray brought affliction.
• The prediction of suffering. “If ye be without chastisement … then are ye bastards, and not sons” (Hebrews 12:8). If you belong to the Lord, as the psalmist did, God will take you to the woodshed when you walk astray from His Word. God is a God of purpose. Everything He does has reason. When we walk astray He brings affliction, but not without reason as we will see more about later.
• The pain of suffering. The word “afflicted” involves misery. “No chastening for the present seems joyous, but grievous” (Hebrews 12:11). Affliction hurts. When I was a boy and got spanked (and that happened quite often), it hurt, otherwise it did not get my attention or do any good. I would yell and cry but my folks practiced Proverbs 19:18 and I had to quiet down before they stopped the spanking.

THIRD—THE SANCTIFICATION FROM THE AFFLICTION

“But now have I kept thy word.” Here is the value of affliction.
• The path of sanctification. “Kept thy word.” Sin does not walk in the path of the Word of God, but sanctification does. If you want to be holy, you must be obedient to the word. Much of the world disobeys the Word and mocks obedience. God’s people, however, should not act like the world nor mock obeying the Word.
• The product of sanctification. “Kept thy word.” God allows troubles and trials to afflict us not without purpose. Keeping the Word of God is another way of saying you are obeying the Word of God. We can thank God for these afflictions which drive us to the Word of God in obedience. The afflictions may have been very painful but they are also very profitable, if they cause us to obey the Word of God where we had been disobedient.


John Calvin - Disciplined to Obedience

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Psalm 119:67

SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Hebrews 12:5–11

Experience demonstrates that when God deals gently with us, we often break into rebellion. Since even a prophet of God who strays needs to be corrected by forcible means, discipline is assuredly needful for us when we rebel.
The first step in obedience is the mortification of the flesh, which does not come naturally to people. So, not surprisingly, God brings us to a sense of duty by manifold afflictions. As the flesh is from time to time resistant, even when it seems to be tamed, it is no wonder to find God repeatedly subjecting us anew to the rod.
This is done in different ways. He humbles some by poverty, some by shame, some by disease, some by domestic distress, and some by hard and painful labors. He applies the appropriate remedy to the diversity of vices to which we are prone. It is now obvious how profitable is the truth of David’s confession. The prophet speaks of himself even as Jeremiah (31:18) says of himself that he was “as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke,” setting before us an image of the rebellion that is natural to us all.
We are very ungrateful indeed if the fruit that we reap from chastisements does not assuage or mitigate their bitterness. So long as we are rebellious against God, we are in a state of the deepest wretchedness. The means he chooses to bend and tame us to obedience is his chastisements.
The prophet teaches us by his own example that God gives evidence of his willingness that we should become his disciples by the pains he takes to subdue our hardness. We should then at least strive to become gentle, and, laying aside all stubbornness, willingly bear the yoke that he imposes upon us.

FOR MEDITATION: If the afflictions we experience have a blessed end—our sanctification (Heb. 12:11)—shouldn’t we learn to become thankful for them? Rather than simply enduring them with a stiff upper lip, we should be praising God that he did not leave us to ourselves. Are you facing afflictions today? If so, how can you shift your perception of them to offer thanks to the Lord for them? (365 Days with Calvin)

Psalm 119:68 You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes.

  • good (KJV): Ps 86:5 106:1 107:1 145:7-9 Ex 33:18,19 34:6,7 Isa 63:7 Mt 5:45 Mt 19:17 Mk 10:18 Lu 18:19 
  • teach (KJV): Ps 119:12,26 25:8,9 

You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes. 

THOU ART GOOD (Ex1:20 18:9 33:18-19 2Sa2:6 1Ki8:66 2Ch5:13 7:10 Ne9:25,35 Ps16:2 23:6 25:7-8 27:13 31:19 34:8 65:4 68:10 69:16 73:1 86:5 100:5 106:1 107:1 109:21 118:1,29 119:68 135:3 136:1 145:9 145:7-9 Isa63:7 Je31:14 33:11 La3:25 Ho3:5 Isa63:7 Je31:14  Na1:7 Mt19:17 Mk10:18 Lu18:19): GOOD or GOODNESS describes the attribute of God which gives to others, not according to what they deserve but according to His good will & kindness toward them. 
    The theologians tell us that God's goodness is "his benevolence to his creation" or "his kindness exhibited toward all he has made." That seems a bit vague so perhaps we might state the matter this way. God's goodness is the answer to the question: Is this a friendly universe? The answer is yes; when we come to the end of our thinking we find that behind the vastness of this universe stands a God who cares about what he has made. He is not indifferent (as in stoicism) or undecided (as in dualism) or absent (as in atheism), but he is fully involved for the good of the universe because he himself is a good God.  God's goodness is a vast subject that occupies a huge portion of the Old and New Testaments. We often sing "God is So Good. He's so good to me." That's true of course, but to say it that way limits our thinking to us. 
    God's goodness is the sum total of all His attributes. To say it another way, there is nothing about God that is not good. Goodness may be appended to all his other attributes. His wrath is good. His mercy is good. His justice is good. His holiness is good. His love is good. Everything God does is good. There is nothing but goodness in His being! Since God is good, He always has our best interests at heart. That must be true and if we are going to be "happy" (or better yet "blessed"), we must believe it & lay hold of this profound truth by faith (not by sight). Because God is good, nothing happens to us that is not for our ultimate good. This truth by no means downplays the pain of tragedy or the sorrow of unexpected loss. We all know what it is to stand by the graveside and say farewell to those I love & we all have wept many tears. And we all certainly know what it is to pray and have our prayers go unanswered-sometimes very fervent prayers for healing and help and life itself for those we love. But no matter -- GOD IS GOOD. His other great attribute of IMMUTATBILITY prevents Him from being anything other than GOOD...ALL THE TIME. Darkness veils His lovely face so we must lean on His unchanging grace, knowing that He is still GOOD.
    When God says, "No" He does it because he loves us. What God forbids is for our own good just as much as what he grants. Will we always see the good in the midst of our pain? Generally we won't. Nevertheless because God is the God Who sees (Pr15:3 El Roi Ge16:13 XR 2Ch16:9), the God Who is there (Je23:23,24), the omnipotent God (Ge18:14 Je32:17 Lu1:37 Mk10:27 Job42:2) is in the midst of the darkness (not dark to Him Ps139:11-12) working out that which is for our ultimate good and his ultimate glory. We see this by faith and believe it by faith (2Co5:7). 
    Oftentimes we won't see GOD'S GREAT GOODNESS until after our trials are past. (Job23:10) says "He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold"  Both parts of this verse contain precious truth. "He knows the way that I take." (GOD'S OMNISCIENCE & OMNIPRESCENCE) How wonderful to know that God knows. Very often we walk in such darkness that we cannot tell where we have come from or where we are going. Even the next step is a mystery to us. God knows! He knows where you are at this moment, he sees (Ge16:13 Ps139:11-12) the path in the darkness as though it were the blinding light of day. God knows! Let this thought comfort your heart, child of God.  And then Job adds "When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold." Gold is produced by taking the raw ore, putting it into the smelter, and heating it until the impurities rise to the top to be skimmed away. Then nothing is left but pure gold itself. Do you feel as if God has put you in the furnace of affliction? Does it seem as if the temperature is too hot to bear? Fear not, my friend. God knows what he is doing. In the end, you will come forth as pure gold. The heat of your present trials is producing pure gold in your heart. Some day you will look back with joy on your present struggles. 
    Truth always demands a response. What shall we say to the goodness of God? If you are saved … Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. If you are lost … Taste and see that the Lord is good. The GOODNESS of God is that the gospel is the ultimate good news!  "Gospel" means Good News. God has made a way & the way is now opened for the price has been paid. The goodness of God is meant to lead sinners such as we to repentance. (Ro2:4) 

AND DOEST GOOD: Hiphil Part: Note different Strong's #. The psalmist frequently appeals to the character of God: 1) His faithfulness (v75, 90); 2) His compassion (v77); 3) His righteousness (v137, 142); and 4) His mercy (v156).

TEACH ME (Ps 25:5 119:12, 26, 64, 66, 68, 108, 124, 135, 171): Piel Imp:  Ultimately what is the psalmist asking God to do? What is the Law's ultimate purpose? To lead us to God as a schoolmaster or tutor. So if He teaches me His statues I will learn the proper fear of the Lord which in turn is the beginning of wisdom. (cp (Dt4:10; Dt14:23; Dt17:19; Dt31:12, 13). 

THY STATUTES (prescribed portions, fixed order, boundaries, allotments, limits): This Hebrew word is. from root haqaq which means "to scratch" or "engrave,'" & hence "to write."  It was a common practice among the ancients to engrave laws upon slabs of stone or metal and to set them up in a public place (e.g. the code of Hammurabi, engraved on diorite stone) {dikaioma: Ro8:4}

The Psalmist praises God's goodness and gives him the glory of it: Thou art good and doest good. All who have any knowledge of God and dealings with him wilt own that He does good, and therefore will conclude that he is good. The streams of God's goodness are so numerous, and run so full, so strong, to all the creatures, that we must conclude the fountain that is in himself to be inexhaustible. We cannot conceive how much good our God does every day, much less can we conceive how good he is. Let us acknowledge it with admiration and with holy love and thankfulness. 2. He prays for God's grace, and begs to be under the guidance and influence of it: Teach me thy statutes. "Lord, thou doest good to all, art the bountiful benefactor of all the creatures; this is the good I beg thou wilt do to me, -- Instruct me in my duty, incline me to it, and enable me to do it. Thou art good, and doest good; Lord, teach me thy statutes, that I may be good and do good, may have a good heart and live a good life." It is an encouragement to poor sinners to hope that God will teach them his way because he is good and upright,  Ps 25:8 

Spurgeon's exposition - Ps 119:68. Thou art good, and doest good - What a delightful description this is of God and his works! Who is good? Our Lord Jesus supplies the answer, “There is none good but one, that is, God.” And his works are like himself: “Thou art good, and doest good.”


Charles Bridges - The blessed effects of chastisement, as a special instance of the Lord’s goodness, might naturally lead to a general acknowledgment of the goodness of his character and dispensation. Judging in unbelieving haste, of his providential and gracious dealings, feeble sense imagines a frown, when the eye of faith discerns a smile, upon his face; and therefore in proportion as faith is exercised in the review of the past, and the experience of the present, we shall be prepared with the ascription of praise—“Thou art good.” This is indeed the expression1—the confidence2—the pleading3—of faith. It is the sweet taste of experience—checking the legality of the conscience, the many hard and dishonorable thoughts of God, and invigorating a lively enjoyment of him. Indeed ‘this is the true and genuine character of God. He is good4—He is goodness. Good in himself—good in his essence—good in the highest degree. All the names of God are comprehended in this one of “Good.”5 All the acts of God are nothing else but the effluxes of his goodness, distinguished by several names according to the object it is exercised about. When he confers happiness without merit, it is grace. When he bestows happiness against merit, it is mercy. When he bears with provoking rebels, it is long-suffering. When he performs his promise, it is truth. When he commiserates a distressed person, it is pity. When he supplies an indigent person, it is bounty. When he succors an innocent person, it is righteousness. And when he pardons a penitent person, it is mercy. All summed up in this one name—Goodness. None so communicatively good as God. As the notion of God includes goodness, so the notion of goodness includes diffusiveness. Without goodness he would cease to be a Deity; and without diffusiveness he would cease to be good. The being good is necessary to the being God. For goodness is nothing else in the notion of it but a strong inclination to do good, either to find or to make an object, wherein to exercise itself, according to the propension of its own nature. And it is an inclination of communicating itself, not for its own interest, but for the good of the object it pitcheth upon. Thus God is good by nature; and his nature is not without activity. He acts consistently with his own nature;—‘Thou art good, and doest good.’ ”6

How easily is such an acknowledgment excited towards an earthly friend! Yet who has not daily cause to complain of the coldness of his affections towards his God? It would be a sweet morning’s reflection to recollect some of the innumerable instances, in which the goodness of God has been most distinctly marked; to trace them in their peculiar application to our own need; and above all to mark, not only the source from which they come, but the channel through which they flow. A view of covenant love does indeed make the goodness of God to shine with inexpressible brightness “in the face of Jesus Christ;”1 and often when the heart is conscious of backsliding, does the contemplation of this “goodness” under the influence of the Spirit, prove the Divinely-appointed means of “leading us to repentance.”2 Let us therefore wait on, even when we see nothing. Soon we shall see, where we did not look for it. Soon we shall find goodness unmingled—joy unclouded, unspeakable, eternal.

Meanwhile, though the diversified manifestations—the materials of our happiness—in all around us—be countless as the drops of sand and the particles of dew—yet without heavenly teaching they only become occasions of our deeper misery and condemnation. It is not enough that the Lord gives—he must teach us his statutes. Divine truths can only be apprehended by Divine teaching. The scholar, who has been longest taught, realizes most his need of this teaching, and is most earnest in seeking it. Indeed “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord,” yet we may be utterly ignorant of it. The instances of goodness in the shape of a cross, we consider to be the reflection on it. Nothing is goodness in our eyes that crosses our own inclination. We can hardly bear to hear of the cross much more to take it up. We talk of goodness, but yield to discontent. We do not profess to dislike trial—only the trial now pressing upon us—any other cross than this—that is, my will and wisdom rather than God’s. Is there not therefore great need of this prayer for Divine teaching, that we may discern singly the Lord’s mercies so closely crowded together, and make the due improvement of each? Twice before had the Psalmist sent up this prayer and plea.3 Yet he seems to make the supplication ever new by the freshness and vehemency of his desires. And let me ever make it new by the remembrance of that one display of goodness, which casts every other manifestation into the shade—“God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son.”4

This constitutes of itself a complete mirror of infinite and everlasting goodness—the only intelligent display of his goodness—the only manifestation, that prevents from abusing it. What can I say to this—but “Thou art good, and doest good?” What may I not then expect from thee! ‘ “Teach me thy statutes.” Teach me the Revelation of thyself—Teach me the knowledge of thy Son. For “this is life eternal, that I might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” ’5

1 Heb. 11:6.

2 Nahum 1:7.

3 Psalm 25:7; 86:5.

4 Ps 34:8, with Micah 7:18.

5 The revealed “goodness” of God made to Moses in answer to his prayer—“I beseech thee show me thy glory”—shows it to be not a single attribute, or a display of any particular feature of the Divine character, but rather the combined exercise of all his perfections. Exodus 33:18, 19 with 34:5–7.

6 Charnock’s Works, vol. i. 581, 585, 588. For another exquisite view (parallel, and in some degree identical, with Charnock) of this “perfecting perfection, which crowns and consummates all the rest,”—see Howe’s Works, 8vo. edit. 1822, viii. pp. 107–114.

1 2 Cor. 4:6.

2 Rom. 2:4.

3 Verses 12, 64. Comp. Ps. 25:8.

4 John 3:16.

5  Jn. 17:3.

Psalm 119:69 The arrogant have forged a lie against me; With all my heart I will observe Your precepts. 

  • proud (KJV): Ps 35:11 109:2,3 Job 13:4 Jer 43:2,3 Mt 5:11,12 26:59-68 Ac 24:5,13 
  • I will (KJV): Ps 119:51,157 
  • with my whole (KJV): Ps 119:34,58 Mt 6:24 Jas 1:8 

THE ARROGANT: ZED:Root word means "to boil"; in the sphere of personality, "to act in a proud manner." The basic idea is pride, a sense of self-importance, which often is exaggerated to include defiance and even rebelliousness. Includes ideas of  willful decision, rebellion, disobedience, presumption.

HAVE FORGED: TAPHAL: Qal Perf:  to smear, plaster over,stick, glue

A LIE: SHEQER:  an untruth, a sham, a lie, lying words (Ex 5:9), a liar (Pr. 17:4), a lying witness (Dt. 19:18), a falsehood, fraud (Ps 33:17), deceit; deceitfulness, a vain, unreliable thing, perjury (Lv 6:5; 19:12).  It describes groundless words or activities which have no basis in fact or reality—completely worthless. Sheqer is a way of life which goes completely contrary to God’s Law. {ADIKIA:}

WITH ALL MY HEART: KOL LEB: = unreservedly committed to the task ALL THE TIME. Jesus told us to keep watching and praying as a lifestyle in Mt 26:41.  Father teach me these great truths as a lifestyle. Renew my mind to this clear thinking, the truth of Your word. Amen.

I WILL OBSERVE: NATSAR:Qal Impf:  Examination of the objects protected (INDUCTIVE STUDY!!!) assists in assigning to it a proper semantical range. The watchman who is not wholly committed to the guard post will not be alert, will fall asleep, will allow the enemy entry. 

THY PRECEPTS: PIQQUWD: appointment, allocation, what is mandated by God 

SPURGEON:
The proud have forged a lie against me. They first derided him (verse 51), then defrauded him (verse 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. Proud people 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. It is painful to the last degree to hear unscrupulous people 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 thee shall prosper, and every tongue that riseth against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.”
But I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. My one anxiety will be to mind my own business and stick to the commandments of the Lord. 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—thy precepts; and he arouses his entire nature to the work—with my whole heart. When slanders rouse us to more resolute and careful obedience they work our lasting good. 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.

Spurgeon's exposition - They have kept on hammering away until they have finished the falsehood; they have “forged” it, as one forges a deadly weapon in the fire.


Charles Bridges - If the Lord does us good, we must expect Satan to do us evil. Acting in his own character, as a “liar and a father of it,”6 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 marvellously 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.1 “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.”2 “Consider him therefore, that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”3

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?”4 Do they not sometimes say all manner of evil against some of us, for Christ’s sake; yet alas! not altogether “falsely?”5 “Woe unto the world, because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”6 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.”7 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.8 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 forget not, 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 meetness for the world of eternal uninterrupted love.

6 Jn. 8:44.

1 Comp. Matt. 26:59–61.

2 Mt. 10:24, 25.

3 Heb. 12:3.

4 2 Peter 2:2.

5 See Matt. 5:11.

6 Mt. 18:7.

7 Heb. 10:23.

8 Comp. Hosea 10:2. Jer. 3:10.

Psalm 119:70 Their heart is covered with fat, But I delight in Your law. 

  • heart is as fat (KJV): Ps 17:10 73:7 Isa 6:10 Ac 28:27 
  • but I (KJV): Ps 119:16,35 40:8 Ro 7:22 

Their heart is covered with fat -  Hebrew = "their heart is insensitive like fat." This speaks of dullness to spiritual truth, to God's Word, to God's way, to God's Son Jesus Christ. The phrase "as fat as grease" describes one who is insensitive and indifferent to what is right.

THOUGHT - Is your heart fat? Then begin your workout in God's Gym and " have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself (gumnazo a command in the present imperative something you can only accomplish by continually leaning on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit) for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." (1 Ti 4:7-8+) Ponder that thought - what we do today impacts our days on earth but more importantly our eternal days in Heaven! Do you really believe that is true? If you do, than make some "life adjustments" and begin daily "seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Setting your mind on the things above, NOT ON the things that are on earth." (Col 3:1-2+), for "the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever." (1 Jn 2:17+)

May God grant each of us the desire and power by His Spirit (Php 2:13NLT+) to be "imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises," (Heb 6:12+) including men like Adoniram Judson who wrote these challenging words

A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity… If it has been a useless life, it can never be improved. Such will stand forever and ever. The same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever… Each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny (Note: Not in loss of salvation but of rewards - cf 1Co 3:11-15, Jn 15:5, 2Co 5:10+). No day will lose its share of influence in determining where shall be our seat in heaven. How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness! It will then be too late to mend its appearance. It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly marked. (See page 33-34 of A memoir of the life and labors of the Rev. Adoniram Judson)

This passage recalls Jesus words of warning to Israel and to all who hear and continue to reject the Word of the Gospel. 

Matthew 13:15+  FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’ 

Become dull (3975)(pachuno from pachus = dull) mean to thicken, to fatten and figuratively to make dull. Friberg = " literally make fat, thicken; figuratively make impervious, insensitive, dull; only passive in the NT become dull or insensitive, be unable to understand." Only other use is Acts 28:27. Uses 5 verses in the Septuagint - Dt. 32:15 "Jeshurun (Term of affection for Israel) grew fat and kicked,-- you are grown fat (Lxx = pachuno)" ; 2 Sam. 22:12; Eccl. 12:5; Isa. 6:10; Isa. 34:6 The use in Isaiah 6:10 =  “Render the hearts of this people insensitive," (Lxx = pachuno) where "render....insensitive" is a command. Render is a command and so this is clearly judicial hardening. 

Covered (02954)(taphash) is a verb essentially meaning "to be fat," occurs just once in the OT, in Ps. 119:70. This verse is a part of the stanza designated "Teth" (Ps 119:65-72), which explores some of life's hard lessons and how God uses adversity for the believer's spiritual growth. The term tāphash indicates the spiritual insensitivity (thus "fat" in KJV) of the godless (v. 70). Many propose the meaning of this verb as "to be insensitive" or "to be coated over," taking into account all information. To be fat did not carry negative connotations in the ancient Near East, a cultural truth often still held today.

Fat (02459)(heleb) is a "masculine noun referring to fat, the best. It refers to the covering of the interior of the body, of a person's belly, of a person's face (Ex. 29:13; Judg. 3:22; Job 15:27). It indicates the best or fatty portions of an offering (Gen. 4:4; Lev. 4:26) which were pleasing to the Lord. Fat was God's portion of an offering (1 Sam. 2:15, 16). It was not to be eaten by people (Lev. 3:17; 7:23-25). The "fat of the land" refers to the best part of the land (Gen. 45:18) and also indicates the products of the land: oil, wine, corn (Num. 18:12, 29, 30, 32). But a heart grown fat symbolizes a heart that has become insensitive to God (Ps. 17:10; 119:70)." (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)

70v - Gen. 4:4; Gen. 45:18; Exod. 23:18; Exod. 29:13; Exod. 29:22; Lev. 3:3; Lev. 3:4; Lev. 3:9; Lev. 3:10; Lev. 3:14; Lev. 3:15; Lev. 3:16; Lev. 3:17; Lev. 4:8; Lev. 4:9; Lev. 4:19; Lev. 4:26; Lev. 4:31; Lev. 4:35; Lev. 6:12; Lev. 7:3; Lev. 7:4; Lev. 7:23; Lev. 7:24; Lev. 7:25; Lev. 7:30; Lev. 7:31; Lev. 7:33; Lev. 8:16; Lev. 8:25; Lev. 8:26; Lev. 9:10; Lev. 9:19; Lev. 9:20; Lev. 9:24; Lev. 10:15; Lev. 16:25; Lev. 17:6; Num. 18:12; Num. 18:17; Num. 18:29; Num. 18:30; Num. 18:32; Deut. 32:14; Deut. 32:38; Jdg. 3:22; 1 Sam. 2:15; 1 Sam. 2:16; 1 Sam. 15:22; 2 Sam. 1:22; 1 Ki. 8:64; 2 Chr. 7:7; 2 Chr. 29:35; 2 Chr. 35:14; Job 15:27; Job 21:24; Ps. 17:10; Ps. 63:5; Ps. 73:7; Ps. 81:16; Ps. 119:70; Ps. 147:14; Isa. 1:11; Isa. 34:6; Isa. 34:7; Isa. 43:24; Ezek. 34:3; Ezek. 39:19; Ezek. 44:7; Ezek. 44:15

But I delight in Your law - The Septuagint (Lxx) translates delight with the verb meletao which means to continue to perform certain activities with care (root word = melete = care) and concern and thus to practice, to continue to do, to cultivate. It means to give careful thought to (to think about, to meditate upon) which is the primary sense in 1 Ti 4:15.In classical Greek the primary meaning of the verb meletaō is “to take thought for, attend to, care for.” It can also mean “to exercise” or “to practice,” for example, an orator who practices speaking or reviews a speech in his mind before addressing an audience. The Septuagint uses meletaō mainly to translate hāghâh which means “to meditate” or “ponder” on something by talking to oneself. The Lord spoke to Joshua and advised him to meditate on the Book (the Torah) day and night (Joshua 1:8). The same is said of the righteous man (Psalm 1:2).

Delight (08173)(shaa) means "to be sealed tight," "to be blinded," "to behave as if blinded" or "to gladden," "to delight," "to take pleasure in." These two groups of meanings, while perhaps bearing some semantic connection, are clearly distinguishable in the various texts in which they occur. Shāʿaʿ occurs nine times in the OT, and all of the occurrences are confined to Psalms and Isaiah. Shāʿaʿ appears in Isaiah with the prophetic meaning "to be sealed tight," "to be blinded." This usage describes the spiritual blindness of wayward people (Isa. 29:9; some conjecture Isa 32:3). Another occurrence in Isaiah describes the shut eyes and ears of spiritually blind and deaf people (Isa 6:10). Isaiah also used shāʿaʿ with its second meaning, "to delight," referring to the delight of a child during times of peace. In Isa 11:8, a child playing near a cobra's hole is a symbol of a peaceful order during the reign of Jesse's branch. Similarly, the play of a child on a person's knee is an eschatological symbol of peace (Isa 66:12).

Psalms 94 and Ps 119 also use shāʿaʿ meaning "to delight." The Lord's consolation delights the psalmist's troubled soul (94:19). Unlike the arrogant whose hearts are "fat as grease," the psalmist says, "I delight in the law" (Ps 119:70). The reflexive occurs in Ps 119:16 and Ps 119:47 as the psalmist proclaims, "I will delight myself in your statutes" and "in your commandments." (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

All uses of shaa - delight(4), fondled(1), play(1). - Ps. 94:19; Ps. 119:16; Ps. 119:47; Ps. 119:70; Isa. 6:10; Isa. 11:8; Isa. 29:9; Isa. 66:12

A GREAT VERSE FOR ANXIETY RELIEF - Psalm 94:19   When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. 

It is interesting that the word delight (in English in the NAS) is found 73 times in the Bible with 10 in Psalm 119 (13% of all uses in the Bible)! 

Gen. 3:6; Deut. 28:63; 1 Sam. 15:22; 2 Sam. 15:26; 2 Sam. 24:3; 1 Chr. 29:3; 1 Chr. 29:17; Neh. 1:11; Job 22:26; Job 27:10; Ps. 1:2; Ps. 16:3; Ps. 37:4; Ps. 37:11; Ps. 40:8; Ps. 40:14; Ps. 51:16; Ps. 51:19; Ps. 62:4; Ps. 68:30; Ps. 70:2; Ps. 94:19; Ps. 109:17; Ps. 111:2; Ps. 119:16; Ps. 119:24; Ps. 119:35; Ps. 119:47; Ps. 119:70; Ps. 119:77; Ps. 119:92; Ps. 119:143; Ps. 119:174; Ps. 147:10; Prov. 1:22; Prov. 2:14; Prov. 7:18; Prov. 8:30; Prov. 8:31; Prov. 11:1; Prov. 11:20; Prov. 12:22; Prov. 15:8; Prov. 16:13; Prov. 18:2; Prov. 23:26; Prov. 24:25; Prov. 29:17; Prov. 31:13; Eccl. 5:4; Eccl. 8:6; Eccl. 12:1; Cant. 2:3; Isa. 11:3; Isa. 32:14; Isa. 55:2; Isa. 58:2; Isa. 58:13; Isa. 58:14; Isa. 62:4; Isa. 65:12; Isa. 66:4; Jer. 6:10; Jer. 9:24; Jer. 15:16; Ezek. 24:21; Ezek. 24:25; Hos. 6:6; Hos. 8:13; Amos 5:21; Mic. 1:16; Mic. 6:7; Mal. 3:1

Spurgeon's exposition - What a blessing it is for us to find our fatness there, — to delight in the marrow and fatness of God’s law! 

Psalm 119:70
Charles Bridges

An awful description of the hardened state of the proud forgers of lies! Yet not of their state only, but of every sinner who stands out in wilful rebellion against God. The tremendous blow of Almighty justice has benumbed his heart, so that the pressure of mountains of sin and guilt is unfelt! The heart is left of God, “seared with a hot iron,”1 and therefore without tenderness; “past feeling;”2 unsoftened by the power of the word; unhumbled by the rod of providential dispensations, given up to the heaviest of all spiritual judgments! But it is of little avail to stifle the voice of conscience, unless the same power or device could annihilate hell. It will only “awake out of sleep, like a giant refreshed with wine,”3 and rage with tenfold interminable fury in the eternal world, from the temporary restraint, which for a short moment had benumbed its energy. Wilful resistance to the light of the Gospel, and the strivings of the Spirit, constrained even from a God of love the message of judicial abandonment—“Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”4 Who then among us will not cry, From hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word and commandment, Good Lord! deliver us!5 Tenderness is the first mark of the touch of grace, when the heart becomes sensible of its own insensibility, and contrite on account of its own hardness. ‘Nothing,’ said Jerome, in a letter to a friend, ‘makes my heart sadder, than that nothing makes it sad.’ But when “the plague of our own heart” begins to be “known,”6 and becomes matter of confession, humiliation, and prayer; the promise of “a new heart,” is as life from the dead.7 The subject of this promise delights in God’s law; and this, amidst the sometimes overwhelming power of natural corruption, gives a satisfactory witness of a change “from death unto life.”

Christian! can you daily witness the wretched condition of the ungodly, without the constraining recollection of humiliation and love? What sovereign grace, that the Lord of glory should have set his love upon one so vile!8 What mighty power to have raised my insensible heart to that delight in his law, which conforms me to the image of his dear Son!9 Deeply would I “abhor myself;” and gladly would I acknowledge, that the service of ten thousand hearts would be a poor return for such unmerited love. What, O “what shall I render to the Lord!”10 Prayer for them who are still lying in death—praise for myself quickened from death. But what can give the vital breath, pulse, feeling, and motion? “Come from the four winds, O breath; and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.”11

Let us apply, for the purpose of daily self-examination, this description of the heart, either as given up to its natural insensibility, or as cast into the new mould of “delight in the law of God.” Such an examination will prove to us, how much even renewed souls need the transforming, softening influences of grace. “The deceitfulness of sin hardens the heart”12 to its original character, “as fat as grease,” unfeeling, incapable of impression, without a divine touch. O Lord, let not my heart be unvisited for one day, one hour, by that melting energy of love, which first made me feel, and constrained me to love.

 

1 Tim. 4:2.

2 Eph. 4:18, 19.

3 Ps. 78:66, P. T.

4 Isa. 6:9, 10.

5 Litany.

6 1 Kings 8:38.

7 Ezek. 36:26.

8 Eph. 2:4, 5.

9 See Ps. 40:8.

10 Ps. 117:.

11 Ezek. 37:9.

12 Heb. 3:13

Spurgeon's Treasury of David

Ps 119:70. Their heart is as fat as grease. They delight in fatness, but I delight in thee. Their hearts, through sensual indulgence, have grown insensible, coarse, and grovelling; but thou hast saved me from such a fate through thy chastening hand. Proud men grow fat through carnal luxuries, and this makes them prouder still. They riot in their prosperity, and fill their hearts therewith till they become insensible, effeminate, and self indulgent. A greasy heart is something horrible; it is a fatness which makes a man fatuous, a fatty degeneration of the heart which leads to feebleness and death. The fat in such men is killing the life in them. Dryden wrote,

"O souls! In whom no heavenly fire is found,
Fat minds and ever grovelling on the ground."

In this condition men have no heart except for luxury, their very being seems to swim and stew in the fat of cookery and banqueting. Living on the fat of the land, their nature is subdued to that which they have fed upon; the muscle of their nature has gone to softness and grease.

But I delight in thy law. How much better is it to joy in the law of the Lord than to joy in sensual indulgences! This makes the heart healthy, and keeps the mind lowly. No one who loves holiness has the slightest cause to envy the prosperity of the worldling. Delight in the law elevates and ennobles, while carnal pleasure clogs the intellect and degrades the affections. There is and always ought to be a vivid contrast between the believer and the sensualist, and that contrast is as much seen in the affections of the heart as in the actions of the life: their heart is as fat as grease, and our heart is delighted with the law of the Lord. Our delights are a better test of our character than anything else: as a man's heart is, so is the man. David oiled the wheels of life with his delight in God's law, and not with the fat of sensuality. He had his relishes and dainties, his festivals and delights, and all these he found in doing the will of the Lord his God. When law becomes delight, obedience is bliss. Holiness in the heart causes the soul to eat the fat of the land. To have the law for our delight will breed in our hearts the very opposite of the effects of pride; deadness, sensuality, and obstinacy will be cured, and we shall become teachable, sensitive, and spiritual. How careful should we be to live under the influence of the divine law that we fall not under the law of sin and death.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.

Ver. 70. ”Their heart is as fat as grease. The word vpj occurs nowhere else in Scripture, but with the Chaldees vpj signifies to fatten, to make fat; also to make stupid and doltish, because such the fat ofttimes are... For this reason the proud, who are mentioned in the preceding verse, are described by their fixed resolve in evil, because they are almost insensible; as is to be seen in pigs, who pricked through the skin with a bodkin, and that slowly, as long as the bodkin only touches the fat, do not feel the prick until it reaches to the flesh. Thus the proud, whose great prosperity is elsewhere likened to fatness, have a heart totally insusceptible, which is insensible to the severe reproofs of the Divine word, and also to its holy delights and pleasures, by reason of the affluence of carnal things; aye, more, is altogether unfitted for good impulses; just as elsewhere is to be seen with fat animals, how slow they are and unfit for work, when, on the contrary, those are agile and quick which are not hindered by this same fatness. ” Martin Geier.

Ver. 70. ” Their heart is as fat as grease. This makes them”

1. Senseless and secure; they are past feeling: thus the phrase is used (Isaiah 6:10): "Make the heart of the people fat." They are not sensible of the teaching of the word of God, or his rod.

2. Sensual and voluptuous: "Their eyes stand out with fatness" (Psalms 73:7); they roll themselves in the pleasures of sense, and take up with them as their chief good; and much good may it do them: I would not change conditions with them; "delight in thy law." ” Matthew Henry.

Ver. 70.€” Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law; as if he should say, My heart is a lean heart, a hungry heart, my soul loveth and rejoiceth in thy word. I have nothing else to fill it but thy word, and the comforts I have from it; but their hearts are fat hearts: fat with the world, fat with lust: they hate the word. As a full stomach loatheth meat and cannot digest it; so wicked men hate the word, it will not go down with them, it will not gratify their lusts. ” William Fenner.

Being anxious to know the medical significance of fatty heart, I applied to an eminent gentleman who is well known as having been President of the College of Physicians. His reply shows that the language is rather figurative than literal. He kindly replied to me as follows: ”

There are two forms of so called "fatty heart". In the one there is an excessive amount of fatty tissue covering the exterior of the organ, especially about the base. This may be observed in all cases where the body of the animal is throughout over fat, as in animals fattened for slaughter. It does not necessarily interfere with the action of the heart, and may not be of much importance in a medical point of view. The second form is, however, a much more serious condition. In this, the muscular structure of the heart, on which its all important function, as the central propelling power, depends, undergoes a degenerative change, by which the contractile fibres of the muscles are converted into a structure having none of the properties of the natural fibres, and in which are found a number of fatty, oily globules, which can be readily seen by means of the microscope. This condition, if at all extensive, renders the action of the heart feeble and irregular, and is very perilous, not infrequently causing sudden death. It is found in connection with a general unhealthy condition of system, and is evidence of general mal-nutrition. It is brought about by an indolent, luxurious mode of living, or, at all events, by neglect of bodily exercise and those hygienic rules which are essential for healthy nutrition. It cannot, however, be said to be incompatible with mental rigour, and certainly is not necessarily associated with stupidity. But the heart, in this form of disease, is literally, "greasy", and may be truly described as "fat as grease." So much for physiology and pathology. May I venture on the sacred territory of biblical exegesis without risking the charge of fatuousness. Is not the Psalmist contrasting those who lead an animal, self indulgent, vicious life, by which body and mind are incapacitated for their proper uses, and those who can run in the way of God's commandments, delight to do his will, and meditate on his precepts? Sloth, fatness and stupidity, versus activity, firm muscles, and mental rigour. Body versus mind. Man become as a beast versus man retaining the image of God. — Sir James Risdon Bennett, 1881.

HINTS TO PREACHERS.

Ver. 70. ”

1. Fatty degeneration of the heart.

2. Thorough regeneration of the heart.

Ver. 70.€” A fatty heart.

1. The diagnosis of the disease.

2. Its symptoms. Pride; no delight in God, nor in his law; dislike to his people; readiness to lie: Psalms 119:69.

3. Its fatal character.

4. Its only cure. Ps 101:10, Ezekiel 36:26. ” C.A.D.

Ver. 71. ”

1. David knew what was good for him.

2. David learned what is good essentially. Active obedience is learned by passive obedience.

Ver. 71.  Affliction an instructor.

1. Never welcomed: "Have been."

2. Often impatiently endured.

3. Always gratefully remembered: "It is good, "etc.

4. Efficient for a perverse scholar: "That I might learn."

5. Indispensable in the education of all. J.F.

Ver. 71. ” The school of affliction.

1. The reluctant scholar sent to school.

2. The scholar's hard lesson.

3. The scholar's blessed learning.

4. The scholar's sweet reflection.” C.A.D.

Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. 

AFFLICTIONS ARE A GOOD
SCHOOLMASTER

It is good for me -  This is one of those Spiritual Paradox in the Christian Life that the world scoffs at and finds foolish, but to those saints who have walked through this fiery furnace, they understand is the way God brings forth His children like "pure gold." 

"The refiner is never very far from the mouth of the furnace
when his gold is in the fire."
-- C H Spurgeon

2 Corinthians 12:9; 10+  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Reproofs for discipline are the way of life (Pr 6:23), a source of great blessing (Ps 94:12), to keep us from going astray (Ps 119:67), the highway to holiness (Heb 12:10), the fertilizer & rain that brings forth a harvest of righteousness & peace (Heb 12:11), the path to a true full & fulfilling life to those who submit (Heb 12:9), the fire of testing to prove our faith so that God receives great glory and honor at the revelation of Christ (1Pe 1:6,7). 

That I was afflicted - He was humbled, the effect (or at least intended effect) of afflictions. 

Afflict (Humble) (06031)('anah means to be afflicted, be bowed down, be humbled, be meek. 'Anah frequently expresses the idea God sends affliction to discipline (Dt 8:2-3+, see context Dt 8:5, 1Ki 11:39; Ps 90:15 Luke 3:5). It often speaks of harsh and painful treatment (Isa 53:4, Ge 16:6). 'Anah is most frequently translated in LXX by tapeinoo (as it is here in Ps 119:71). God commanded them to “afflict themselves” (“deny yourselves” Lev 16:31NIV), which is the same word used to describe the pain that the Egyptians inflicted on the Hebrews (Ex 1:11,12) and the suffering Joseph felt in prison (Ps 105:18)!

James 4:6+  But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE (tapeinos).”

That I may learn Your statutes - That expresses purpose. Here the purpose of affliction is to learn. Affliction is God's schoolmaster to conform us more and more to the image of His Son. (Ro 8:29, Ps 119:6) Don't run from affliction. Run to God, to His word that provides us everything necessary for life and godliness according to the true knowledge 

Statutes (decrees, ordinances)(02706)(hoq from chaqaq = to cut in or engrave in stone - hew a tomb in rock Is 22:16, draw picture on a brick Eze 4:1 or a wall Eze 23:14) is a masculine noun that means regulation, law, ordinance, decree, custom. The primary sense of hoq is an expectation or mandate prescribed by decree or custom - general decrees of God (Jer 5:22; Amos 2:4); statutes of God to Moses (Ex 15:26; Nu 30:16; Mal. 4:4)

Septuagint - Statutes (1345)(dikaioma from dikaióo = to justify <> díkaios = just, righteous <> dike = right) refers to what God has declared to be right and here referring to His decree of retribution which has the force of law. 

Spurgeon - The air from the sea of affliction is extremely beneficial to invalid Christians. Continued prosperity, like a warm atmosphere, has a tendency to unbind the sinews and soften the bones; but the cold winds of trouble make us sturdy, hardy, and well-braced in every part. Unbroken success often leads to an undervaluing of mercies, and forgetfulness of the giver; but the withdrawal of the sunshine leads us to look for the sun.

Spurgeon's exposition - The psalmist, was so impressed with the benefits which he had derived from his afflictions, that he returned to the subject: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” There is much teaching power about God’s rod. He always keeps one in his school, and it is greatly needed for such dull scholars as we are. Many a child of God can repeat the psalmist’s testimony: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” “Thou hast whipped a little knowledge into me, and not much has come in any other way.”

D L Moody - A DEAD level in a man’s life would be his ruin? If he had nothing but prosperity, he would be ruined. A man can stand adversity better than prosperity. I know a great many who have become very prosperous, but I know few such that haven’t lost all their piety, that haven’t lost sight of that city eternal in the heavens, whose builder and maker is God. Earthly things have drawn their heart’s affections away from eternal things.


Dear tried and tested, suffering saint, beloved of God (1Jn 3:1+, 1Th 1:4+) consider praying this song to your loving Father...

Refiner's Fire
Purify my heart

Let me be as gold
And precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold
Pure gold
Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for you Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for you my master
Ready to do your will

Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within
Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for you Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for you my master
Ready to do your will

Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for you Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for you my master
Ready to do your will
And I am ready to do your will
Make me ready to do your will


Charles Bridges - If I mark in myself any difference from the ungodly—if I can feel that my natural insensibility is yielding to the influence of grace—if I am enabled to “delight in God’s law,” which before I had neglected as a “strange thing,”1 if this softening transformation2 has been wrought in the school of affliction; let me thankfully acknowledge, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” None indeed but the Lord’s scholars can know the benefit of this school, and this teaching. The first lessons are usually learned under the power of the words pricking and piercing the heart; yet issuing in joyous good.3 All special lessons afterward will probably be learned here.4 ‘I never,’ said Luther, ‘knew the meaning of God’s word, until I came into affliction. I have always found it one of my best schoolmasters.’5 This teaching marks the sanctified from the unsanctified cross, explaining many a hard text, and sealing many a precious promise—the rod expounding the word, and the Divine Teacher effectually applying both.

Indeed, but for this discipline we should miss much of the meaning and spiritual blessing of the word. For how can we have any experimental acquaintance with the promises of God, under those circumstances, for which the promises are made? When, for example, but in the day of trouble, could we understand the full mercy of such a gracious word, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”6 And how much more profitable is this experimental learning than mere human instruction! When therefore we pray for a clearer apprehension and interest in the blessed book, and for a deeper experience of its power upon our hearts; we are in fact often unconsciously supplicating for the chastening rod of our Father’s love. For it is the man “whom the Lord chasteneth, that he “teacheth out of his law.”7 Peter indeed, when on the mount of transfiguration, said, “It is good for us to be here. Let us build here three tabernacles.” Here let us abide in a state of comfort, indulgence, and sunshine. But well was it added by the sacred historian, “Not knowing what he said.”1 The judgment of David was far more correct, when he pronounced, that “it was good for him that he had been afflicted.” For so often are we convicted of inattention to the voice of the Lord—so often do we find ourselves looking back upon forsaken Sodom, or lingering in the plains, instead of pressing onward to Zoar,2 that the indulgence of our own liberty would shortly hurry us along the pathway of destruction. Alas! often do we feel the spirit of prayer to be quenched for a season by “a heart overcharged with the cares of this life”3—or by the overprizing of some lawful comfort—or by a temper inconsistent with our Christian profession—or by an undue confidence in the flesh. And at such season of backsliding, we must count among our choicest mercies, the gracious discipline, by which the Lord schools us with the cross, “that we may learn His statutes.”

After all, however, this must be a paradox to the unenlightened man. He can only “count it” all grief, not “all joy, when he falls into divers temptations.”4 His testimony is—It is evil—not it is good for me that I have been afflicted. And even God’s children, as we have before remarked, do not always take up this word while smarting under the rod. The common picture of happiness is freedom from trouble, not, as Scripture describes it,5 the portion of trouble. Yet how true is God’s judgment, when it is the very end of affliction to remove the source of all trouble,6 and consequently to secure—not to destroy—solid happiness. Yet we must determine the standard of real good by its opposition—not its accordance—to our own fancy or indulgence. The promise of “every good thing” may be fulfilled by a plentiful cup of affliction.7 Present evil may be “working together for” ultimate “good.”8 Let God take his own way with us.9 Let us interpret his providences by his covenant10—his means by his end,11 and instead of fainting under the sharpness of his rod, earnestly desire the improvement of it.

Are you, then, tried believer, disposed to regret the lessons you have already learned in this school? Or have you purchased them at too dear a cost? Do you grieve over the bleedings of a contrite heart, that have brought you under the care of the healing physician? Or could you by any other way have obtained so rich a knowledge of his love, or have been trained to such implicit obedience to his will? As Jesus, “though he were a Son, yet learned obedience by the things that he suffered;”12 so may we “rejoice, inasmuch as we are partakers of his sufferings,”13 and be thankful to learn the same obedience, as the evidence and fruit of our conformity to him.

The Lord save us from the greatest of all afflictions, an affliction lost!1 “Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.”2 “He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”3 A call to tremble and repent, to watch and pray, and “turn to him that smiteth us!”4

Oh! is there one of that countless throng surrounding the everlasting throne, who has not sung, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted?” “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”5

1 Hosea 8:12.

2 Job 23:16.

3 Acts 2:37–47; 16:27–34.

4 See Job 36:8–10.

5 On another occasion, referring to some spiritual temptation on the morning of the preceding day, he added to a friend (Justin Jonas,) “Doctor, I must mark the day; I was yesterday at school.” Milner v. 484. In one of his works, he most accurately calls affliction “the theology of Christians”—“theologium Christianorum.” To the same purport is the testimony of a learned French divine and tried saint of God—“I have learned more divinity,” said Dr. Rivet, confessing to God of his last days of affliction—“in these ten days that thou art come to visit me, than I did in fifty years before. Thou hast brought me to myself. ‘Before I was afflicted I went astray,’ and was in the world; but now I am conversant in the school of my God; and he teacheth me after another manner than all those doctors, in reading whom I spent so much time.”—Middleton’s Biog. Evan. iii. 238.

6 Psalm 50:15.

7 Psalm 94:12. The use of the word paideia in the acceptation of chastening (LXX. in this verse, and Heb. 12:5.) is remarkable, as describing literally the instruction, by which a child is trained to the acquisition of useful knowledge, which, however not being generally affected without chastening, accounts for the use of the word, to mark the discipline which usually attends instruction.

1 Luke 9:33.

2 Compare Gen. 19:17–23.

3 Luke 21:34. “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

4 James 1:2.Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

5 Job 5:17.“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. 

6 Isa. 27:9.

7 Ps. 34:10, 19.Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. 

8 Rom. 8:28. Comp. Jer. 24:5.

9 Ib. 29:11. John 16:6, 7.

10 Gen. 32:10–12.

11 James 5:11.

12 Heb. 5:8.

13 1 Peter 4:13.

1 Comp. 1 Kings 13:33. 2 Chron. 28:22.

2 Jer. 6:8.

3 Prov. 19:1.

4 Isaiah 9:13.

5 Rev. 7:13, 14.


What Good Is Affliction?

Read: Lamentations 1:12-20

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. —Psalm 119:71

During a television interview, David Frost asked former president George Bush how he could square his belief in a loving and all-powerful God with the miseries and injustices of life. Frost reminded Bush of the time he shed tears at the sight of starving children and of his grief when his own daughter had died.

President Bush said, “It never occurred to me to blame God for that.” He insisted that the Lord has provided enough food for everyone, but that starvation occurs because of human greed and ineptitude. The President said that his daughter’s illness had drawn the family closer to one another and to God. He was comforted because he knew that she had been caught up in the arms of her loving heavenly Father.

Like those starving children, we may suffer because of the greed and selfishness of others. Like the Bush family, we may endure sorrow for reasons we can’t understand. Or we may suffer because of our own sin, as Jeremiah recounted in his lament for the wayward tribe of Judah (Lam. 1:5).

In any case, we can trust God and say with the psalmist, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted” (Ps. 119:71). With confidence, we can ask with Abraham, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25).By Herbert Vander Lugt 

There is so much within this world
Of brokenness and pain,
Yet nothing God in grace allows
Is ever done in vain.
—DJD 

God will spare you from suffering
or He'll give you the grace to bear it.


Rock Bottom

Read: Psalm 119:65-72

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. —Psalm 119:71

I was in my early thirties, a dedicated wife and mother, a Christian worker at my husband’s side. Yet inwardly I found myself on a trip nobody wants to take, the trip downward. I was heading for that certain sort of breakdown that most of us resist, the breakdown of my stubborn self-sufficiency.

Finally I experienced the odd relief of hitting rock bottom, where I made an unexpected discovery: The rock on which I had been thrown was none other than Christ Himself. Cast on Him alone, I was in a position to rebuild the rest of my life, this time as a God-dependent person rather than the self-dependent person I had been. My rock-bottom experience became a turning point and one of the most vital spiritual developments of my life.

Most people feel anything but spiritual when they hit bottom. Their misery is often reinforced by Christians who take a very shortsighted view of what the sufferer is going through and why. But our heavenly Father is well-pleased with what He intends to bring out of such a painful process. A person who knows the secret of the God-dependent life can say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Ps. 119:71).By Joanie Yoder   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lift up your eyes, discouraged one,
The Lord your help will be;
New strength will come from Him who said,
“For rest, come unto Me.”
—Anon.

When a Christian hits rock bottom, he finds that Christ is a firm foundation.


J C Philpot - We may have everything naturally that the carnal heart desires, and only be hardened thereby into worldliness and ungodliness.  But to be brought down in body and soul, to be weaned and separated from an ungodly world by affliction sanctified and made spiritually profitable, to be brought to feel our need of Christ, and that without an interest in His precious blood our soul must be for ever lost—how much better it is really and truly, to be laid on a bed of affliction, with a hope in God’s mercy, than to be left to our own carnality and thoughtlessness.  Affliction of any kind is very hard to bear, and especially so when we begin to murmur and fret under the weight of the cross; but when the Lord afflicts, it is in good earnest; He means to make us feel.  Some strong measures are required to bring us down; and affliction would not be affliction, unless it were full of grief and sorrow.  But when affliction makes us seek the Lord with a deep feeling in the soul that none but Himself can save or bless, and we are enabled to look up unto Him, with sincerity and earnestness, that He would manifest His love and mercy to our heart, He will appear sooner or later.  The Lord, who searcheth the heart, knoweth all the real desires of the soul, and can and does listen to a sigh, a desire, a breath of supplication within.  He knows our state, both of body and soul, and is not a hard taskmaster to require what we cannot give, or lay upon us more than we can bear, but can and does give all that He desires from us.  But very often He delays to appear, that He may teach us thereby we have no claim upon Him, and that anything granted is of His pure compassion and grace.


John Piper - Taste and See -  LUTHER, BUNYAN, BIBLE, AND PAIN

Meditation on Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.

From 1660 to 1672, John Bunyan, the English Baptist preacher and author of Pilgrim’s Progress, was in the Bedford jail. He could have been released if he had agreed not to preach. He did not know which was worse, the pain of the conditions or the torment of freely choosing it in view of what it cost his wife and four children. His daughter, Mary, was blind. She was ten when he was put in jail in 1660.

  The parting with my Wife and poor children hath often been to me in this place as the pulling of the Flesh from my bones … not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great Mercies, but also because I … often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries and wants that my poor Family was like to meet with should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all I had besides; Oh the thoughts of the hardship I thought my Blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces. (Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners [Hertfordshire: Evangelical Press, 1978], 123)

But this broken Bunyan was seeing treasures in the Word of God because of this suffering that he would probably not have seen any other way. He was discovering the meaning of Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”

  I never had in all my life so great an inlet into the Word of God as now [in prison]. The Scriptures that I saw nothing in before are made in this place to shine upon me. Jesus Christ also was never more real and apparent than now. Here I have seen him and felt him indeed.… I have seen [such things] here that I am persuaded I shall never while in this world be able to express.… Being very tender of me, [God] hath not suffered me to be molested, but would with one scripture and another strengthen me against all; insomuch that I have often said, were it lawful I could pray for greater trouble for the greater comfort’s sake. (Grace Abounding, 123)

In other words, one of God’s gifts to us in suffering is that we are granted to see and experience depths of his Word that a life of ease would never yield.
Martin Luther had discovered the same “method” of seeing God in his Word. He said there are three rules for understanding Scripture: praying, meditating, and suffering. The trials, he said, are supremely valuable: They “teach you not only to know and understand but also to experience how right, how true, how sweet, how lovely, how mighty, how comforting God’s Word is: It is wisdom supreme.” Therefore the devil himself becomes the unwitting teacher of God’s Word:

  The devil will afflict you [and] will make a real doctor of you, and will teach you by his temptations to seek and to love God’s Word. For I myself … owe my papists many thanks for so beating, pressing, and frightening me through the devil’s raging that they have turned me into a fairly good theologian, driving me to a goal I should never have reached. (Ewald M. Plass, What Luther Says - borrow, vol. 3 [St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959], 1360)

I testify from my small experience that this is true. Disappointment, loss, sickness, and fear send me deeper than ever into God and his Word. Clouds of trifling are blown away, and the glory of unseen things shines in the heart’s eye. Let Bunyan and Luther encourage us to lean on God’s Word in times of affliction as never before. I know that there are seasons when we cannot think or read, the pain is so great. But God grants spaces of some relief between these terrible times. Turn your gaze on the Word and prove the truth of Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”


John Butler - Sermon Starters - AFFLICTIONS

Psalm 119:71 “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn they statutes” (Psalm 119:71).

There are a number of verses in the Bible about afflictions. We do well to study these texts for they will teach us many valuable truths that will stop our complaining so much about our trials and troubles. The text before us is one of those texts on afflictions which teaches us many valuable lessons.

FIRST—THE PERSPECTIVE OF AFFLICTION

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” Here is a rare perspective about afflictions. The Psalmist boldly announces that his afflictions were good for him. In the time of trial, we are not likely to say that, for we view our trials with critical and complaining eye. But the Psalmists has a better perspective which will help him in all of His troubles and trials. We often do not realize what is good for us. We are like little children who want nothing but cookies and cake, for they do not realize the value of other foods. When I was a little boy my grandfather gave me a shiny fifty cent piece. I was too young to know its value and exclaimed, “What a big nickel.” We are often that way with our trials, we do not value them as highly as we should. But afflictions that promote the Word of God in our life are indeed valuable.

SECOND—THE PAIN OF AFFLICTION

“Afflicted.” This word is translated from a Hebrew word which involves misery as well as humbling in its meaning. Afflictions hurt and are very painful both physically and emotionally. They can humble us and put us down by knocking the props out from under us. They can and often do embarrass us. They hurt and bring many tears and they seem like they will never end, but will go on forever. In short, affliction makes us miserable. But if the affliction does not bring pain, it is not an affliction and will not do us much good. The more painful the affliction, the more good it will do for us.

THIRD—THE PROFIT IN AFFLICTION

“That I might learn thy statutes.” There may be many good things that will come from your affliction but the chief profit from afflictions is spiritual. This will be seen in many other texts in Scripture. In a few verses before this one (Psalm 119:67), the Psalmist also views his afflictions from a spiritual standpoint. In this text, the psalmist says his afflictions caused the psalmist to learn the Word of God. In the text, a few verses before this one, he says affliction caused Him to obey the Word of God. Anything that promotes our learning and obeying the Scriptures must be given high accolades. Afflictions especially honor the Word by bringing us to a better knowledge of the Word and a better obedience to the Word. The Word of God is is our guide, our standard, and learning and obeying it is more important that learning and obeying any other knowledge in life. Therefore the profit of affliction is very great indeed.


Streams in the Desert -  “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” (Psalm 119:71.)

IT is a remarkable circumstance that the most brilliant colors of plants are to be seen on the highest mountains, in spots that are most exposed to the wildest weather. The brightest lichens and mosses, the loveliest gems of wild flowers, abound far up on the bleak, storm-scalped peak.
One of the richest displays of organic coloring I ever beheld was near the summit of Mount Chenebettaz, a hill about 10,000 feet high, immediately above the great St. Bernard Hospice. The whole face of an extensive rock was covered with a most vivid yellow lichen which shone in the sunshine like the golden battlement of an enchanted castle.
There, in that lofty region, amid the most frowning desolation, exposed to the fiercest tempest of the sky, this lichen exhibited a glory of color such as it never showed in the sheltered valley. I have two specimens of the same lichen before me while I write these lines, one from the great St. Bernard, and the other from the wall of a Scottish castle, deeply embossed among sycamore trees; and the difference in point of form and coloring between them is most striking.
The specimen nurtured amid the wild storms of the mountain peak is of a lovely primrose hue, and is smooth in texture and complete in outline, while the specimen nurtured amid the soft airs and the delicate showers of the lowland valley is of a dim rusty hue, and is scurfy in texture, and broken in outline.
And is it not so with the Christian who is afflicted, tempesttossed, and not comforted? Till the storms and vicissitudes of God’s providence beat upon him again and again, his character appears marred and clouded; but trials clear away the obscurity, perfect the outlines of his disposition, and give brightness and blessing to his life.

  Amidst my list of blessings infinite
  Stands this the foremost, that my heart has bled;
  For all I bless Thee, most for the severe.
—Hugh Macmillan.


Growing Through Grief

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. —Psalm 119:71

Today's Scripture: Psalm 119:65-80

A woman who lost her husband of 40 years to a sudden heart attack said that the resulting grief had caused her to value love more. When she heard couples arguing, she sometimes spoke to them, saying, “You don’t have time for this.” She noted that the wasted moments in all our lives become more precious when they cannot be repeated.

Grief changes our perspective on life. It is trite but true that how we deal with sorrow will make us either bitter or better. In a remarkable statement, the psalmist actually thanked God for a difficult experience: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. . . . It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Ps. 119:67,71).

We don’t know the nature of the psalmist’s affliction, but the positive outcome was a longing to obey the Lord and a hunger for His Word. Rarely can we use this truth to comfort those who hurt. Instead, it is the Lord’s word to us from His compassionate heart and the touch from His healing hand.

When we grieve, it feels more like dying than growing. But as God wraps His loving arms around us, we have the assurance of His faithful care.By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I have been through the valley of weeping,
The valley of sorrow and pain;
But the God of all comfort was with me,
At hand to uphold and sustain. 
—Anon.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.  —Psalm 116:15


THE GOOD THAT PAIN CAN DO
It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. —Psalm 119:71

When we accept affliction with humility it can be a discipline that leads us to a deeper, fuller life. “Before I was afflicted I went astray,” David said, “but now I keep Your Word” (Ps. 119:67). Peter would agree: Affliction leads us not to live for ourselves “but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:2).

Far from being an obstacle to our spiritual growth, pain can be the instrument of it—if we’re trained by it. It can push us closer to God and deeper into His Word. It is a means by which He graciously shapes us to be like His Son, gradually giving us the compassion, contentment, tranquillity and courage that we long and pray for. Without pain, we wouldn’t be all that God wants us to be. His strength shines brightest through human weakness.

Has God set you apart today to receive instruction through suffering and pain? Endure this training patiently. He can turn the trial into a blessing. He can use it to draw you close to His heart and into His Word, teach you the lessons He intends for you to learn and use it to bestow His grace on you.

God is making more of you—something much better—than you ever thought possible. - David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

WHATEVER GOD TEACHES US THROUGH PAIN IS GAIN.
("No pain, No gain!")

Psalm 119:72  The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. 

  • better (KJV): Ps 119:14,111,127,162 19:10 Pr 3:14,15 8:10,11,19 16:16 Mt 13:44-46 

THE LAW OF THY MOUTH: Read that again! What is he saying? These are the Words that originate from God’s own mouth, and come with freshness and power to our heart and soul (which daily need refreshing, reviving, cf Ps 119:25+), for God's Word is living and active (Heb 4:12+)! We do well to look upon (and into) the Word of the Lord as though it were newly spoken into our ear, as if our Father, Who loves us, is speaking to us tenderly and personally. As a practical matter, when you are reading the Scripture, seek to come to an even familiar (even memorized) passage, as if you are coming for the first time! You will be amazed at the insights you can glean from passages you thought you had down pat! The corollary is that when you come to a Bible text, and say "I've got this one down" you can be sure you will blunt your observation of the text guided by the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit.  The same Divine mouth which spoke us and everything into existence (cf Heb 11:3+) has also spoken the Word by which we are to govern that existence. (see Ps 33:9) Well may we prize beyond all price that which comes from such a supernatural Source. Moses emphasized how vital it is for us to have daily "spiritual resuscitation," (so to speak "mouth to mouth"), God's mouth (heart) to our mouth (heart)...

For (TERM OF EXPLANATION - see Dt 32:46) it (WHAT?) is not an idle (empty, vain, useless, futile) word for you; indeed it (WHAT?) is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”  (Dt 32:47+

Comment - For Israel to whom these instructions and truth were originally spoken, this truth was given so that they might possess the PROMISED LAND, but by way of application for believers today, this same Word of instruction is that we might possessed our PROMISED LIFE in Christ, in Whom we have been blessed "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." (Eph 1:3) Are you possessing your priceless possessions, attaining to the goal Jesus desires for you, the goal of an abundant life in Him (Jn 10:10)? If not, could it be that you are not taking in the Word of Life, the Word of Truth, and enabled by the Spirit (cf Ro 8:13+) obeying the truth you take in? Just wondering. Jesus said "“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.." (Jn 6:63)

IS BETTER TO ME: {The Septuagint translates "better" with agathos and in the Greek text places it first in the sentence which is a way to emphasize this truth} 

Agathos means intrinsically good, inherently good in quality but with the idea of good which is also profitable, useful, benefiting others, benevolent (marked by or disposed to doing good). Agathos is one whose goodness and works of goodness are transferred to others. Good and doing good is the idea. Agathos describes that which is beneficial in addition to being good. Agathos is that which is good in its character, beneficial in its effects and/or useful in its action. Agathos is used in the New Testament primarily of spiritual and moral excellence. Paul uses agathos to describe the gospel as the “glad tidings of good things” (Ro 10:15+). The writer of Hebrews uses it in the same way, of “the good things to come” of which “Christ appeared as a high priest” (Heb 9:11+) and of which the law was “only a shadow” (Heb 10:1+). The precise meaning of agathos can be difficult to appreciate and distinguish from kalos an adjective that is also translated good. An attempt is made in the following discussion to bring out the difference, but in some verses where both are used, this distinction can be difficult to appreciate.

Agathos is that which is good in its character, beneficial in its effects and/or useful in its action.

Job found this to be true as did David, as did the writer of Psalm 119...

Job 23:12+   “I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. 

Psalm 119:11+ Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. 

Psalm 19:10+  They (What? See Ps 19:9) are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 

Better in NASB - 119v - Gen. 29:19; Exod. 14:12; Num. 14:3; Jdg. 8:2; Jdg. 9:2; Jdg. 11:25; Jdg. 18:19; Ruth 3:10; Ruth 4:15; 1 Sam. 1:8; 1 Sam. 15:22; 1 Sam. 15:28; 1 Sam. 27:1; 2 Sam. 14:32; 2 Sam. 17:14; 2 Sam. 18:3; 1 Ki. 1:47; 1 Ki. 2:32; 1 Ki. 19:4; 1 Ki. 21:2; 2 Ki. 5:12; 2 Chr. 21:13; Ps. 37:16; Ps. 63:3; Ps. 69:31; Ps. 84:10; Ps. 118:8; Ps. 118:9; Ps. 119:72; Prov. 3:14; Prov. 8:11; Prov. 8:19; Prov. 12:9; Prov. 15:16; Prov. 15:17; Prov. 16:8; Prov. 16:16; Prov. 16:19; Prov. 16:32; Prov. 17:1; Prov. 19:1; Prov. 19:22; Prov. 21:9; Prov. 21:19; Prov. 22:1; Prov. 25:7; Prov. 25:24; Prov. 27:5; Prov. 27:10; Prov. 28:6; Eccl. 2:24; Eccl. 3:12; Eccl. 3:22; Eccl. 4:3; Eccl. 4:6; Eccl. 4:9; Eccl. 4:13; Eccl. 5:5; Eccl. 6:3; Eccl. 6:5; Eccl. 6:9; Eccl. 7:1; Eccl. 7:2; Eccl. 7:3; Eccl. 7:5; Eccl. 7:8; Eccl. 7:10; Eccl. 9:4; Eccl. 9:16; Eccl. 9:17; Eccl. 9:18; Cant. 1:2; Cant. 4:10; Isa. 56:5; Jer. 18:10; Lam. 4:9; Ezek. 15:2; Ezek. 36:11; Dan. 1:15; Dan. 1:20; Hos. 2:7; Hos. 10:1; Amos 6:2; Jon. 4:3; Jon. 4:8; Nah. 3:8; Matt. 5:29; Matt. 5:30; Matt. 18:6; Matt. 18:8; Matt. 18:9; Matt. 19:10; Mk. 9:42; Mk. 9:43; Mk. 9:45; Mk. 9:47; Lk. 17:2; Jn. 4:52; Rom. 3:9; 1 Co. 7:9; 1 Co. 7:38; 1 Co. 8:8; 1 Co. 9:15; 1 Co. 11:17; Phil. 1:23; Heb. 1:4; Heb. 6:9; Heb. 7:19; Heb. 7:22; Heb. 8:6; Heb. 9:23; Heb. 10:34; Heb. 11:4; Heb. 11:16; Heb. 11:35; Heb. 11:40; Heb. 12:24; 1 Pet. 3:17; 2 Pet. 2:21

THAN THOUSANDS: He must have had $$ and yet in comparison the Word of God was BETTER! Do I really believe that? Why has the devil been so successful at diluting this great truth?

Mark 4:19+  but (TERM OF CONTRAST-WHAT/WHY IS JESUS CONTRASTING? see Mk 4:18, cf James 1:22+) the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness (apate) of riches (WHAT IS A DOMINANT TRAIT/POWER OF WORLDLY RICHES? in this context riches have the power to deceive and by definition when a person is deceived, they DO NOT EVEN KNOW THEY ARE DECEIVED!), and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Mark 8:36-37+  “For (TERM OF EXPLANATION - WHAT IS JESUS EXPLAINING? WHAT HAS HE JUST DECLARED? Mk 8:35) what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 “For (TERM OF EXPLANATION) what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Do you want to be truly rich, eternally rich? (see  cus on "accumulating" the hidden treasures found only in the Word of God! In eternity you will come into your inheritance and fully understand that heaven and earth will pass away but the Word of God abides forever (Lk 21:33+). Since it abides forever, God grant that we "imbibe" it today. In Jesus' Name. Amen

Psalm 119:14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. 

Psalm 119:127 Therefore I love Your commandments Above gold, yes, above fine gold. 

Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at Your word, As one who finds great spoil. 

Many people do not know the difference between prices and values. Your Bible may cost but a few dollars, but what a treasure it is. How would you feel if you lost God’s Word and could not replace it?

OF GOLD AND SILVER PIECES:: Gold and silver may be stolen from us (Mt 6:19+), but not the Word. Indeed, all the money in the world is useless in the hour of death, but the Word of the promise abides forever. Store up for yourselves treasure in Heaven. Remember that you can do a self-assessment on this important principle. How? Check your possessions, what you treasure, for where you treasure is, there will be your heart also (Mt 6:21+). 

Spurgeon's exposition - David had a great deal of gold and silver, far more than any of us have; but yet he thought very little of it in comparison with God’s law. Many people despise gold and silver because they have not got any. The fox said the grapes were sour because they were beyond his reach. But here is a case, in which a man had as much gold and silver as he could ever want; yet he says that the law of God’s mouth was better than all of it, and he was wise in saying so. For gold and silver can be stolen; riches often take to themselves wings, and fly away; even great wealth may soon be spent and gone; but God’s law never leaves those who love it, nor lets them lose it. When all our spending money is gone, then is the commandment of God our treasure still. Happy is everyone who can say, with David, “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” In this Psalm we have, as it were, notes from David’s pocket book.


Charles Bridges

Well might David acknowledge the benefit of affliction, since he had thus “learned in God’s statutes” something that was “better to him than thousands of gold and silver.” This was indeed an enlightened judgment for one to form, who had so small a part of “the law of God’s mouth,” and so large a portion of this world’s treasure. And yet, if we study only his book of Psalms to know the important uses and privileges of this law, and his son’s book of Ecclesiastes, to discover the real value of paltry gold and silver,6 we shall, under Divine teaching, be led to make the same estimate for ourselves. Yes, believer, with the same, or rather with far higher delight than the miser calculates his “thousands of gold and, silver,” do you tell out the precious contents of the law of your God. After having endeavored in vain to count the “thousands” in your treasure, one single name sums up their value—“the unsearchable riches of Christ.”7 Would not the smallest spot of ground be estimated at “thousands of gold and silver,” were it known to conceal under its surface a mine of inexhaustible treasure? This it is that makes the word so inestimable. It is the field of the “hidden treasure.” “The pearl of great price”8 is known to be concealed here. You would not therefore part with one leaf of your Bible for all the “thousands of gold and silver.” You know yourself to be in possession of the substance—you have found all besides to be a shadow. “I lead,” saith the Saviour, “in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment; that I may cause them that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”9 The grand motive therefore in “searching the Scriptures” is because “they testify of Christ.”10 A sinner has but one want—a Saviour. A believer has but one desire—to “know and win Christ.”11 With a “single eye,” therefore, intent upon one point, he studies this blessed book. “With unveiled face he beholds in this glass the glory of the Lord;”1 and no arithmetic can compute the price of that, which is now unspeakably better to him than the treasures of the earth.

Christian! bear your testimony to your supreme delight in the book of God. You have here opened the surface of much intellectual interest and solid instruction. But it is the joy that you have found in the revelation of the Saviour, in his commands, in his promises, in his ways, that leads you to exclaim, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold!”2 Yes, indeed—every promise—every declaration—centering in him, is a pearl; and the word of God is full of these precious pearls. If then they be the richest, who have the best and the largest treasure, those who have most of the word in their hearts—not those who have most of the world in their possession—are justly entitled to this pre-eminence. ‘Let then the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom.”3 For those who are rich in this heavenly treasure are men of substance indeed.

True—this is a correct estimate of the worth of God’s law—better than this world’s treasure. But is it better to me? Is this my decided choice? How many will inconsiderately acknowledge its supreme value, while they yet hesitate to relinquish even a scanty morsel of earth for an interest in it! Do I then habitually prefer “this law of God’s mouth” to every worldly advantage; am I ready to forego every selfish consideration,4 if it may only be the means of uniting my heart more closely to the Book of God? If this be not my practical conviction, I fear I have not yet opened the mine. But if I can assent to this declaration of the man of God, I have made a far more glorious discovery than Archimides; and therefore may take up his expression of joyful surprise—‘I have found it!, I have found it! What? That which the world could never have given me—that which the world can never deprive me of.

Yet how affecting is it to see men poor in the midst of great riches! Often in the world we see the possessor of a large treasure—without a heart to enjoy it—virtually therefore a pauper. Oftener still in the Church do we see professors (may it not be so with some of us?) with their Bibles in their hands—yet poor even with the external interest in its “unsearchable riches.” Often also do we observe a want of value for the whole law or revelation of God’s mouth. Some parts are highly honored to the depreciation of the rest. But let it be remembered, that the whole of Scripture is “Scripture given by inspiration of God, and therefore profitable” for its appointed end.5 Oh! beware of resting satisfied with a scanty stock. How rich should we be, should we ponder only one word of the law each day with prayerful meditation! As you value your progress and peace in the ways of God—as you have an eye to your Christian perfection—put away that ruinous thought—true as an encouragement to the weak,1 but false as an excuse to the slothful2—that a little knowledge is sufficient to carry us to heaven.

And—Lord—help me to prize the law as coming from “thy mouth.”3 Let it be for ever written upon my heart. Let me be daily exploring my hidden treasures. Let me be enriching myself and all around me with a present possession and interest in these heavenly blessings.

6 Eccles. 5:9–10; 6:1, 2.

7 Eph. 3:8.

8 Matt. 13:44–46.

9 Prov. 8:20–21.

10 John 5:39.

11 Phil. 3:8–10.

1 2 Cor. 3:18.

2 Psalm 19:10.

3 Col. 3:16.

4 A Jewish Rabbi, when induced by the prospect of a lucrative situation to fix his settlement in a place where there was no synagogue, is said to have resisted the temptation by the recollection of this verse. Poli Synopsis—in loco. A reproof to Christians, who in “choosing the bounds of their habitation,” have not always eyed their Master’s rule. Matt. 6:33.

5 2 Tim. 3:16.

1 Zech. 4:10.

2 Prov. 13:4.

3 1 Thess. 2:13.


SPURGEON: The law of thy mouth. 

It comes from God’s own mouth with freshness and power to our souls. Things written are as dried herbs; but speech has a liveliness and dew about it. We do well to look upon the Word of the Lord as though it were newly spoken into our ear. The same lips which spoke us into existence have spoken the law by which we are to govern that existence. Well may we prize beyond all price that which comes from such a source.

Is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. 

This is the verdict of a man who owned his thousands, and could judge by actual experience the value of money and the value of truth. He speaks of great riches, and then he sets the Word of God before it all, as better to him, even if others did not think it better to them. Gold and silver may be stolen from us, but not the Word; these are useless in the hour of death, but the Word of the promise is most dear.

See how this portion of the psalm is flavored with goodness. God’s dealings are good (Ps 119:65), holy judgment is good (Ps 119:66), affliction is good (Ps 119:67), God is good (Ps 119:68), and here the law is not only good, but better than the best of treasures. Lord, make us good, through Thy good Word.

Ps 73–80. We have now come to the tenth portion; its subject would seem to be personal experience and its attractive influence upon others. The prophet is in deep sorrow, but looks to be delivered and made a blessing. Endeavoring to teach, the psalmist first seeks to be taught (verse 73), persuades himself that he will be well received (verse 74), and rehearses the testimony which he intends to bear (verse 75). He prays for more experience (verses 76–77), for the baffling of the proud (verse 78), for the gathering together of the godly to him (verse 79), and for himself again that he may be fully equiped for his witness-bearing and may be sustained in it (verse 80). This is the anxious yet hopeful cry of one who is heavily afflicted by cruel adversaries, and therefore makes his appeal to God as his only friend.

Psalm 119:73 Yodh. Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. 

  • Thy hands (KJV): Ps 100:3 Ps 111:10 Ps 138:8 Ps 139:14-16 Job 10:8-11 
  • give me (KJV): Ps 119:34,125,144,169 1Ch 22:12 2Ch 2:12 Job 32:8 2Ti 2:7 1Jn 5:20 
  • that I may (KJV): Ps 111:10 Jas 3:18 

Related Passage:

Psalm 139:14-16 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.  15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;  16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. 

FEARFULLY AND
WONDERFULLY MADE

Yodh. Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments - A simple application of this truth is that the One Who made us is the best One to go to for understanding. Are you daily in His Word, so that His Spirit might give you understanding? You cannot learn what He wants you to do if you are not in His Word. 

Spurgeon's exposition - This is a very instructive prayer; the psalmist does as good as say, “Lord, thou hast made me once- make me over again. Thou hast made my body; mould my spirit, form my character, give me understanding.” If God should make us, and then leave us without understanding, what imperfect creations we should be! A man devoid of understanding is only a blood and bone creation; and therefore the psalmist does well to pray, “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding.” But what sort of an understanding is desired? That I may learn to discuss and dispute? No: “that I may learn thy commandments;” for holiness is the best of wisdom, and the surest proof of a right understanding is obedience to God’s commandments.

SPURGEON: Thy hands have made me and fashioned me. It is profitable to remember our creation; it is pleasant to see that the divine hand has had much to do with us, for it never moves apart from the divine thought. It excites reverence, gratitude, and affection towards God when we view him as our Maker, putting forth the careful skill and power of his hands in our forming and fashioning. He took a personal interest in us, making us with his own hands; he was doubly thoughtful, for he is represented as making and molding us. In both giving existence and arranging existence he manifested love and wisdom; and therefore we find reasons for praise, confidence, and expectation in our being and well-being. Give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. As thou hast made me, teach me. Here is the vessel which thou hast fashioned; Lord, fill it. The plea is an enlargement of the cry, “Forsake not the work of thy hands.” Without understanding the divine law and rendering obedience to it we are imperfect and useless; but we may reasonably hope that the great Potter will complete his work and give the finishing touch to it by imparting to it sacred knowledge and holy practice. We pray that we may not be left without a spiritual judgment. Only those who are taught of God can be holy. We often speak of gifted people; but they have the best gifts to whom God has given a sanctified understanding wherewith to know and prize the ways of the Lord. David’s prayer is not for the sake of speculative knowledge and curiosity: he desires an enlightened judgment that he may learn God’s command-menu, and so become obedient and holy. No one has by nature an understanding capable of compassing so wide a field, and hence the prayer, as if to say, I can learn other things with the mind I have, but thy law is so pure, perfect, spiritual, and sublime that I need to have my mind enlarged before I can become proficient in it. We need a new creation, and who can grant us that but the Creator himself?

Matthew Henry Concise - Ps 119:73-80. God made us to serve him, and enjoy him; but by sin we have made ourselves unfit to serve him, and to enjoy him. We ought, therefore, continually to beseech him, by his Holy Spirit, to give us understanding. The comforts some have in God, should be matter of joy to others. But it is easy to own, that God's judgments are right, until it comes to be our own case. All supports under affliction must come from mercy and compassion. The mercies of God are tender mercies; the mercies of a father, the compassion of a mother to her son. They come to us when we are not able to go to them. Causeless reproach does not hurt, and should not move us. The psalmist could go on in the way of his duty, and find comfort in it. He valued the good will of saints, and was desirous to keep up his communion with them. Soundness of heart signifies sincerity in dependence on God, and devotedness to him. 


Warren Wiersbe -  Ps. 119:73 Consult the Manual
 
Read Psalm 119:73-80
 
Whenever my wife and I purchase a new appliance, we add another instruction manual to our collection. We have instruction manuals for the various appliances in our home, for the automobile and for office equipment, such as tape recorders, computers and copying machines.
 
Someone may say, "I wish we had a manual of instruction for life." We do. It's called the Bible, the Word of God. "Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments" (v. 73). God made and fashioned us in His image. According to Psalm 139, He had plans for each of our lives before we were born. He gave each of us a unique mind and genetic structure. He wrote into His book the days that He assigned to us, and He planned the best for us. He also wrote a manual to help us live the way we ought.
 
He gives us the Bible and says, "I want to give you understanding. The better you understand this Book, the better you will understand yourself. You are made in My image. I want to reveal to you from My Word how to use your hands, your feet, your eyes, your ears and your tongue. I want to tell you how My Word can make your heart work the way it is supposed to work." The psalmist says, "Your hands have made me and fashioned me"--that's our origin. "Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments"--that's our operation. The Bible is the operation manual for life.
 
How strange it is that people try to live their lives without an instruction book. They wonder why their marriages fall apart, why their bodies are in trouble and why they've gotten themselves into a jam. Before all else fails, read the Word of God, the instruction manual for everyday living.
* * *
The Word of God covers the spectrum of life and provides guidelines for living in faith. When life presents new challenges and problems, refer to God's operation manual for life. It will help you align with His plans for your life.  (Psalm 119:73-80 Consult the Manual)


Charles Bridges - In the vast universe of wonder, man is the greatest wonder—the noblest work of God. A council of the Sacred Trinity was held respecting his creation—“God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”4 Every part of creation bears the impress of God. Man—man alone—bears his image, his likeness. Everywhere we see his track—his footsteps. Here we behold his face. What an amazing thought, that the three Eternal subsistents in the glorious Godhead, should have united in gracious design and operation towards the dust of the earth! But thus man was formed—thus was he raised out of his parent dust, from this low original, to be the living temple and habitation of Divine glory—a being full of God. The first moment that he opened his eyes to behold the light and beauty of the new-made world, the Lord separated him for his own service, to receive the continual supply of his own life. His body was fitted as a tabernacle for his soul, “curiously wrought” by the hand of God; and all its parts and “members written in his book, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” Most naturally therefore does the contemplation of this “perfection of beauty” raise the adoring mind upward—“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”5 “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.”

Could we suppose that man was framed to eat, to sleep, and to die—that, after taking a few turns upon the grand walk of life, he was to descend into the world of eternal silence, we might well ask the question of God—“Wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?”1 But the first awakening of man from his death-like sleep enlightens him in the right knowledge of the end of his creation. If I am conscious of being the workmanship of God, I shall feel my relationship to him, and the responsibility of acting according to it. I would plead then this relation before him in asking for light, life, and love. I cannot serve thee as a creature, except I be made a new creature. Give me a spiritual being, without which my natural being cannot glorify thee. Thou hast indeed “curiously wrought” my frame; but sin has marred all. Make me thy spiritual “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.”2 “Give me understanding”—spiritual knowledge, “that I may learn thy commandments”—“Renew a right spirit within me.”3

But the natural man feels no need of this prayer. No, he is puffed up in his own wisdom. He cannot receive the divine testimony, which levels him, while he “understandeth not,” with “the beasts that perish,”4 and tells him, that he must “become a fool, that he may be wise.”5 But should he ever know his new state of existence, he will offer up this prayer eagerly and frequently; and every step of his way heavenward he will feel increasing need of Divine “wisdom and spiritual understanding.”

How does the song of heaven remind us of this end of our creation!—“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power; for thou hast created all things; and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”6 In harmony with this song we must acknowledge, that the “Lord hath made all things for himself”7—that he “created all things for his glory.”8 And the recollection that he “created us by Jesus Christ,”9 brings before us the grand work of redemption, and the work of the new creation consequent upon it. He who created us in his own image, when that image was lost, that he might not lose his property in us, put a fresh seal upon his natural right, and “purchased us with his own blood.” Oh! let us not be insensible to this constraining motive to “learn his commandments.” “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”10

4 Gen. 1:26.

5 Psalm 139:14–16.

1 Ps. 89:47.

2 Eph. 2:10.

3 Ps. 51:10.

4 Ps 49:20.

5 1 Cor. 3:18.

6 Rev. 4:11.

7 Prov. 16:4.

8 Isa. 43:7.

9 Eph. 3:9. Col. 1:16. John 1:1–3.

10 1 Cor. 6:19, 20.

Psalm 119:74 May those who fear You see me and be glad, Because I wait for Your word. 

  • fear thee (KJV): Ps 119:79 34:2-6 66:16 Mal 3:16 
  • I have (KJV): Ps 119:42,147 108:7 Ge 32:11,12 Lu 21:33 

May those who fear You see me and be glad - Who are those who fear God? In the fullest sense, they are believers, for even in the last clarion call of the Gospel in the Revelation, we see that fear of God is equated with salvation. 

Revelation 14:6-7+ And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, (NOTE THIS "EARTH SHAKING" EVENT OCCURS JUST BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION, 3.5 YEARS BEFORE THE KING RETURNS! SO EVEN IN THE MIDST OF WRATH, GOD REMEMBERS MERCY! WHAT AN AWESOME, LOVING GOD WE WORSHIP! - SEE THE RESULT OF THIS POWERFUL PROCLAMATION IN Rev 7:9, 14+ NOTICE WHERE THIS COUNTLESS NUMBER OF SAVED SOULS COME FROM!) 7 and he said with a loud voice (NOTE 3 COMMANDS CALLING FOR URGENT RESPONSE!), “Fear (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) God, and give (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come (LAST 3.5 YEARS WHICH INCLUDE THE HORRIBLE "BOWL JUDGMENTS"!); worship (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) Him Who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters (WHO? THE FATHER AND THE SON - Col 1:16+, Heb 1:2+).” 

A non-believer might have a shaking fear of God and His future judgment, but he won't give God the glory and worship Him. In fact, Paul states in Romans 3:18+ in his verdict on every man (every lost soul dead in their trespasses and sins Eph 2:1+) still in Adam (Ro 5:12+) "THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” 

Spurgeon - A hopeful godly man is a continual source of joy to other people. When a man can inspire hope in his fellows, and he cannot do that unless he is full of hope himself, he lights a fire of comfort. Bring such a man into a storm, and he helps you to be brave. “They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.”

Because I wait for Your word - NLT = "for I have put my hope in your word."  Wait is the Hebrew word yahal/yachal which conveys the idea of tarrying, of confident expectation, of trust. The central idea of this verb is to wait as Noah literally did in Ge 8:12 (cp 1Sa 10:8, 13:8, et al). Wait means to stay or rest in expectation, to remain stationary until the arrival of some person or event. The Septuagint has an interesting translation using the verb epelpizo which means to buoy up with hope. And it is interesting that most of the uses of epelpizo are found in Psalm 119 (no uses in NT)...

Epelpizo - 2 Ki. 18:30; Ps. 52:7; Ps. 119:43; Ps. 119:49; Ps. 119:74; Ps. 119:81; Ps. 119:114; Ps. 119:147


Charles Bridges - How cheering is the sight of a man of God! How refreshing his converse! How satisfactory and enlivening is the exhibition of his faith! The goodness of God to one becomes thus the joy and comfort of all. What an excitement is this to close communion with our God, that the light which we thus receive will shine on those around us! What a comfort will it be, even in our own hour of temptation, that the hope which we may then be enabled to maintain in the word of God, shall prove the stay, not only of our own souls, but of the Lord’s people! Many a desponding Christian, oppressed with such fears as this—“I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul,”1—when he hears of one and another exercised in the same trials, and who have “hoped in God’s word,” and have not been disappointed, “will be glad when he sees them.” Thus David recorded his conflicts, that we may not despair of our own; and his triumphs, that “in the name of our God we might set up our banners”2—“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, upon the Lord.”3 Thus also, under affliction, he was comforted with the thought of comforting others with the history of his own experience—“My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof and be glad. O praise the Lord with me, and let us magnify his name together. He hath put a new song into my mouth, even praise unto our God. Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name; the righteous shall compass me about, for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.”4

In this view, the believer, who has been “sifted in the sieve” of temptation, without the least “grain” of faith or hope “falling upon the earth,”5 stands forth as a monument of the Lord’s faithfulness, to “strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees, and to say to them that are of a feeble heart, Be strong, fear not.”6 Those that are “fearful, and of little faith,” “are glad when they see him.” They “thank God” for him, and “take courage”7 for themselves. What a motive is this to keep us from despondency; that instead of destroying, by our unbelief, those who are already “cast down,” we may enjoy the privilege of upholding their confidence, and ministering to their comfort! And how should the weak and distressed seek for and prize the society of those, who have been instructed by the discipline of the Lord’s school!

Believer! what have you to tell to your discouraged brethren of the faithfulness of your God? Cannot you put courage into their hearts, by declaring that you have never been “ashamed of your hope?” Cannot you tell them from your own experience, that Jesus “is for a foundation-stone, a tried stone, a sure foundation?”8 Cannot you show them, that, because he has borne the burden of their sins, he is able to “bear their griefs, and to carry their sorrows?”9 that you have tried him, and that you have found him so? Oh! be animated to know more of Christ yourself; let your hope in him be strengthened, that you may cause gladness in the hearts of those that see you; so that “whether you be afflicted, or whether you be comforted, it may be for their consolation and salvation.”1

But O my God! how much cause have I for shame, that I impart so little of thy glorious light to those around me. Perhaps some poor trembling sinner “has been glad when he saw me,” hoping to hear something of the Saviour from my lips, and has found me straitened, and cold, and dumb. Oh! that I may be so “filled with the Spirit,” so experienced in thy heavenly ways, that I may invite “all that fear thee to come to me,” that I may “tell them what thou hast done for my soul;”2 so that, “when men are cast down, they may say, There is lifting up.”3

1 1 Sam. 27:1.

2 Psalm 20:5.

3 Ps 27:13, 14.

4 Ps. 34:2, 3; 40:3; 142:7. Compare also 69:30–32.

5 Amos 9:9.

6 Isa. 35:3, 4.

7 Acts 28:15.

8 Isa. 26:16.

9 Ps. 53:4.

1 2 Cor. 1:6.

2 Psalm 66:16.

3 Job 22:29.

Psalm 119:75  I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. 

  • I know (KJV): Ps 119:7,62,128,160 De 32:4 Job 34:23 Jer 12:1 
  • right (KJV): Heb. righteousness, Ge 18:25 Ro 3:4,5 
  • thou in (KJV): Ps 25:10 89:30-33 Heb 12:10,11 Rev 3:19 

I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. 

See Ps 119:50, 67, 71, 92 law of God comforts in lowliness 

Spurgeon - We are glad to listen to a man who can tell us that, an old man, a tried man, who can say that God has been faithful in afflicting him, a man who, after having borne the brunt of tribulation, can yet bless God for it. Such testimonies as these are full of joy and gladness to the young folk; they can encounter trial with a joyous heart when they hear what their fathers tell of the goodness of God to them in their troubles.


Charles Bridges - This is the Christian’s acknowledgment—fully satisfied with the dispensations of God. This is his confidence—so invigorating to his own soul—so cheering to the Church. The Lord’s dealings are called his judgments—not as having judicial curses, but as the acts of his justice in the chastening of sin.4 Perhaps also—as the administration of his wise judgment in their measure and application.5 But here is not only the confession of the Lord’s general judgment, but of his especial faithfulness to himself. And this he knew—not from the dictates of the flesh, (which would have given a contrary verdict,) but from the testimony of the word,6 and the witness of his own experience.7 It could not be doubted—much less denied—‘I know, O Lord, that thy rules of proceeding are agreeable to thy perfect justice and wisdom; and I am equally satisfied, that the afflictions that thou hast laid upon me from time to time, are only to fulfil thy gracious and faithful promise of making me eternally happy in thyself.’ Blessed fruit of affliction! when we can thus “see the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy”—that his “thoughts towards us are thoughts of peace, and not of evil!”8 “The patience and faith of the saints” teach this difficult but most consoling lesson in deciphering the mysterious lines in God’s providence.

The child of God, under the severest chastisement, must acknowledge justice. Our gracious reward is always more—our “punishment always less, than our iniquities deserve.”9 “Wherefore should a living man complain?”10 In trouble, indeed—but not in hell. If he complain, let it be of none but himself, and his own wayward choice. I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right—and who can doubt the wisdom? Who would charge the operator with cruelty, in cutting out the proud flesh that was bringing death upon the man? Who would not acknowledge the right judgment of his piercing work? Thus, when the Lord’s painful work separates us from our sins, weans us from the world, and brings us nearer to himself, what remains for us, but thankfully to acknowledge his righteousness and truth? Unbelief is put to rebuke; and we, of any suspicion “that God has forgotten to be gracious,” must confess, “This is our infirmity.”1

This assurance of the Lord’s perfect justice, wisdom, and intimate knowledge of our respective cases, leads us to yield to his appointments in dutiful silence. Thus Aaron, under his most afflictive domestic calamity, “held his peace.”2 Job under a similar dispensation was enabled to say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord!”3 Eli’s language in the same trial was, “It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good.”4 David hushed his impatient spirit, “I was dumb; I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it.” And when Shimei cursed him, he said, “Let him alone; let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him.”5 The Shunammite, in the meek resignation of faith, acknowledged, “It is well.”6 Hezekiah kissed the rod, while it was smiting him to the dust, “Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken.”7 Thus uniform is the language of the Lord’s people under chastisement, I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right.

But the confession of justice may be mere natural conviction.8 Faith goes further, and speaks of faithfulness. David not only acknowledges God’s right to deal with him as he saw fit, and even his wisdom in dealing with him as he actually had done, but his faithfulness in afflicting—not his faithfulness, though he afflicted—but in afflicting him; not as if it were consistent with his love, but as the fruit of his love. It is not enough, to justify God. What abundant cause is there to praise him! It is not enough to forbear to murmur. How exciting is the display of his faithfulness and love! Yes—the trials appointed for us are none else than the faithful performance of his everlasting engagements. And to this cause we may always trace (and it is our privilege to believe it, where we cannot visibly trace it) the reason of much that is painful to the flesh.9 Let us only mark its gracious effects in our restoration10—instruction11—healing of our backslidings,12 and the continual purging of sins13—and then say, ‘Is not the faithfulness of God gloriously displayed?’ The Philistines could not understand Samson’s riddle—how “Meat could come out of the eater, and sweetness out of the strong.”14 As little can the world comprehend the fruitfulness of the Christian’s trials; how his gracious Lord sweetens to him the bitter waters of Marah,15 and makes the cross not so much the punishment, as the remedy of sin. He finds therefore no inclination, and he feels that he has no interest in having any change made in the Lord’s appointments, painful as they may be to the flesh. He readily acknowledges that his merciful designs could not have been accomplished in any other way; while under trials many sweet tokens of love are vouchsafed, which, under circumstances of outward prosperity, could not have been received with the same gratitude and delight.

You that are living at ease in the indulgence of what this poor world can afford, how little does the Christian envy your portion! How surely in some future day will you be taught by experience to envy his! The world’s riches are daily becoming poorer, and its pleasures more tasteless. And what will they be, and how will they appear, when eternity is at hand! Whereas affliction is the special token of our Father’s love,1 conformity to the image of Jesus, and preparation for his service and kingdom. It is the only blessing that the Lord gives, without requiring us to ask for it.2 We receive it therefore as promised, not as threatened; and when “the peaceable fruits of righteousness,”3 which it worketh in God’s time and way, spring up in our hearts, humbly and gratefully will we acknowledge the righteousness of his “judgments,” and the “faithfulness” of his corrections.

4 1 Peter 4:17.

5 Jer. 10:24. Comp. Isa. 27:8.

6 Deut. 32:4.

7 Verse 137; 145:17.

8 James 5:11. Jer. 29:11.

9 Ezra 9:13. Comp. Job 11:6.

10 Lam. 3:39.

1 Psalm 77:7–10.

2 Lev. 10:1–3.

3 Job 1:21. Comp. 2:10.

4 1 Sam. 3:18.

5 Psalm 39:9. 2 Sam. 16:11, 12.

6 2 Kings 4:26.

7 Isa. 39:8.

8 Exod. 9:27. Judges 1:7. 2 Chron. 12:6.

9 Psalm 89:30–32. Deut 8:16. Comp. Psalm 107:43.

10 Ps 119:67, and texts referred to on that verse.

11 Ps 119:71, and texts.

12 Hosea 2:6, 7, 14.

13 Isa. 27:9; 48:10. Zech. 13:9. John 15:2.

14 Judges 14:14.

15 See Exodus 15:23–25.

1 Heb. 12:6. Rev. 3:19.

2 Phil. 1:29. Lord Bacon somewhere remarks, “that, however temporal prosperity may have been promised to the Church under the Old Testament; affliction, and suffering, and trial, are the promises made to the Church under the Gospel dispensation.

3 Such as patience, experience, hope—the work of tribulation. Heb. 12:11, with Rom. 5:3–5.

Psalm 119:76 O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, According to Your word to Your servant. 

  • merciful (KJV): Ps 86:5 106:4,5 2Co 1:3-5 
  • for my comfort (KJV): Heb. to comfort me

O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, According to Your word to Your servant - NLT = "Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant."


Charles Bridges

What! does the Psalmist then seek his comfort from the very hand that strikes him? This is genuine faith, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”4 The very arm that seems to be uplifted for my destruction, shall be to me the arm of salvation.

Several of the preceding verses have spoken of affliction.5 The Psalmist now prays for alleviation under it. But of what kind? He does not “beseech the Lord, that it might depart from him.”6 No. His repeated acknowledgments of the supports vouchsafed under it, and the benefits he had derived from it, had reconciled him to commit its measure7 and continuance to the Lord. All that he needs, and all that he asks for, is, a sense of his “merciful kindness” upon his soul. Thus he submits to his justice in accumulated trials, and expects consolation under them solely upon the ground of his free favor. Indeed it is hard to hold on under protracted affliction without this precious support. Patience may restrain murmuring—but a sense of love alone keeps from fainting. Holiness is our service—affliction is our exercise—comfort is our gracious reward. All the candles in the world, in the absence of the sun, can never make the day. The whole earth in its brightest visions of fancy, destitute of the Lord’s love, can never cheer nor revive the soul. Indeed it matters little where we are, or what we have. In the fulness of refreshing ordinances, unless the Lord meets us, and blesses us with his “merciful kindness for our comfort,” it is “a thirsty land, where no water is.” Absalom might as well have been at Geshur as at Jerusalem, so long as he “saw not the king’s face.”1 Nothing that the Lord “gives us richly to enjoy,” will satisfy, if this source of refreshment be withheld. The worldling’s inquiry is—“who will show us any good?” The Christian forms his answer into a prayer—“Lord! lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me.”2 “Let thy merciful kindness be for my comfort.” This gives the enjoyment of every real good, and supplies the place of every fancied good. It is a blessing that never cloys, and will never end: and every fresh taste quenches the thirst for earthly pleasures. “Whosoever drinketh of this water”—said our Divine Saviour—“shall thirst again. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst!”3 “Delight thyself in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”4

But, reader, do you wish to realize this comfort? Then seek to approach your God by the only way of access. Learn to contemplate him in the only glass in which a God of love is seen—“in the face of Jesus Christ.”5 Guard against looking for comfort from any other source. Beware especially of that satisfaction in creature cisterns, which draws you away from “the fountain of living waters.”6 Learn also to prize this comfort supremely, and not to be content without some enjoyment, or even with a scanty measure of enjoyment; but rather let every day’s refreshment be made a step for desiring and attaining renewed and sweeter refreshment for tomorrow. Some, however, appear to look at David’s experience, as if at present they could hardly expect to reach its happiness: and so they go on in a low, depressed, and almost sullen state, refusing the privileges, which are as freely offered to them as to others. But such a state of mind is highly dishonorable to God. Let them earnestly plead their interest in the word of promise, “According to thy word unto thy servant.” Let them lay their fingers upon one or all of the promises of their God. Let them spread before the Lord his own hand-writing and seals; and their Saviour hath said, ‘According to your faith be it unto you.”7 “The king is held in the galleries;”1 and, if he should “make as though he would go farther,” he is willing that we should “constrain him, saying, Abide with us.”2 No veil now but the veil of unbelief need hinder us from seeing an unclouded, everlasting smile of “merciful kindness” upon our heavenly Father’s reconciled face. Only let us see to it, that he is the first, the habitual object of our contemplation, the satisfying well-spring of our delight—that he is the one desire, to which ever other is subordinate, and in which every other is absorbed.

Lord Jesus! I would seek for a renewed enjoyment in “thy merciful kindness.” I would not forget that it was this that brought thee down from heaven—that led thee to endure the death of the cross—that has washed me in thy precious blood—that visits me with many endearing tokens of thy love. O let all my days be spent in the sense of this “merciful kindness for my comfort,” and in rendering to thee the unworthy returns of grateful, filial service.

4 Job 13:15.

5 Ps 119:67, 71, 75.

6 2 Cor. 12:8.

7 Jer. 10:24.

1 Compare 2 Sam. 14:23, 24.

2 Psalm 4:6.

3 John 4:13, 14.

4 Psalm 37:4.

5 2 Cor. 4:6. Compare John 14:6.

6 Jer. 2:13.

7 Matt. 9:29. The writer cannot forbear indulging himself with a transcript of the prayers of Monica, Augustine’s mother, as a beautiful example of this earnestness and simplicity of faith in pleading the promises of the word—“Lord, these promises were made to be made good to some, and, why not to me? I hunger; I need; I thirst; I wait. Here is thy hand-writing in thy word; and in the last sacrament, I had thy seal affixed to it. I am resolved to be as importunate till I have obtained, and as thankful afterwards, as by thy grace I shall be enabled; being convinced that I am utterly lost and undone, if thou hearest not the desires of the humble; and if thou dost hear and grant, I am so well acquainted with myself and with my own heart, that I have nothing to glory in; but I shall wholly glory in the Lord; and I do resolve and believe, that I shall to all eternity celebrate and magnify the riches of thy grace. Thy promises are the discoveries of thy purposes, and vouchsafed as materials for our prayers; and in my supplications I am resolved every day to present and tender them back to thee; and if thou wilt have regard to them, and appear to be a ‘God of truth’ to my soul; a poor creature, that hath long feared to burn in hell for hypocrisy, will be secured and made happy for ever. I am resolved to wait upon thee, and to cast down my soul upon thee in this way; and thou hast assured me, thou art a ‘God of judgment.’ Thou didst promise in judgment. Thou knewest what thou didst in making such promises; and thou wilt be a ‘God of judgment;’ thou knowest when and where to make them good; and thou hast pronounced—‘Blessed are all they that wait for thee.’ On thee I will wait, and for this blessing I will hope and look.”

1 Song 7:5; also Song 6:5.

2 Compare Luke 24:28, 29, with Gen. 32:26–29. Compare the invitation given, Song 4:16, instantly accepted, Song 5:1.

Psalm 119:77 May Your compassion come to me that I may live, For Your law is my delight. 

  • thy tender (KJV): Ps 119:41 51:1-3 La 3:22,23 Da 9:18 
  • for thy (KJV): Ps 119:24,47,174 1:2 Heb 8:10-12 

May Your compassion come to me that I may live, For Your law is my delight. 

 


Charles Bridges

Sin is no light trouble to the man of God. Mercy, therefore, is to him no common blessing. Never can he have—never can he ask enough. Hence his repeated cries. Mercy brought him out of sin and misery. Mercy keeps—holds him on—assures him to the end.3 Every blessing comes in the way of mercy.4 The most careful “walker according to the Gospel rule,”5 needs mercy. The elect are “vessels of mercy”6—filled up to the brim with mercy. The crown of glory at last is received at the hands of mercy.7

The distinguishing character of God is, that his mercies are tender mercies8—a father’s pitying9—yearning10—mercies. When his returning prodigal expected probably upbraiding looks, if not a frown of banishment, how did these tender mercies bring, not only his sins, but also his very confessions in the depths of the sea, and welcome him without a cloud to his forsaken home!11 The same tender consideration puts away from his children all anxiety respecting “what they shall eat, or what they shall drink, or wherewithal they shall be clothed.”12 As a Father, he also “chasteneth”13 them—“he suffereth their manners”14—he “spareth them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him;”15—and finally, he determineth respecting each of them by an act of sovereign power—“Thou shalt call me, My Father, and shalt not depart from me.”1 In a yet more endearing character he speaks—“As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you. They may forget; yet will I not forget thee.”2

Yet have we no just apprehension of these tender mercies, unless they come unto us. In the midst of the wide distribution, let me claim my interest. Let them come unto me.3 Praised be God! the way is open to me. The mere report is unfruitful. I cannot speak of them with glow and unction. The application of them is life—not the mere breathing of spiritual existence, but the life of my life—the living principle of devotedness and enjoyment—living to and for God in every form and sphere, in every hour and action of the day; my feebleness becoming strength in the Lord; “walking up and down in his name.”4 This truly is “reigning in life;”5 rising to more of its honor and dignity, and reaching forth to more of its excellence and happiness.

But let us not lose sight of the abundant overflowing spring, from which our life is maintained. In Christ was life;6 and he “came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly.”7 There can be, therefore, no exercises of life without a vital union to Christ—the source of life. Shall we then give up the hope of believing in Christ, till we feel the influence of this spiritual principle? This would be indeed like refusing to abide in the vine, till we could bring forth fruit; whereas the branch, while separated from the vine, must ever be fruitless and withered.8 We must receive life from Christ, not bring it to him. Faith implants us in him; and “Christ dwelling in the heart by faith” becomes the life of the soul, animating it in the ways of God.9

This life, therefore, will manifest itself in delight in God’s law. We shall not be satisfied to live upon the mere surface of the Gospel (which is barren and unproductive, as any other surface, in spiritual usefulness,) but we shall search into its hidden treasures, and draw forth its real life and consolation. This “delight” will furnish a plea for our use at the throne of grace. ‘If this is the fruit and acting of the life of thine own implanting, Lord! cherish it. Let me live by the influence of “thy tender mercies.” I venture to plead my delight in thy law, as an evidence of my adoption into thy family. And, therefore, I would renew my plea and my petition—“Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that” my life may be not only existence, but enjoyment—the beginning, the earnest of the everlasting life and bliss of heaven.’

3 Psalm 138:8.

4 Ps 136:23–25.

5 Gal. 6:16.

6 Rom. 9:23.

7 Matthew 25:34.

8 Psalm 51:1; 79:8.

9 Ps 103:13.

10 Hosea 11:8. Jer. 31:20.

11 Compare Luke 15:20–24.

12 Matt. 6:25–34.

13 Deut. 8:5.

14 Acts 13:18.

15 Mal. 3:17.

1 Jer. 3:19.

2 Isa. 66:13; 49:15.

3 Ps 119:41.

4 Zech. 10:12.

5 Rom. 5:17.

6 John 1:4.

7 Jn. 10:10.

8 Jn. 15:4–6

9 Compare Gal. 2:20, with Ezek. 36:27.

Psalm 119:78 May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; But I shall meditate on Your precepts. 

  • the proud (KJV): Ps 119:21,51,85 35:26 
  • without (KJV): Ps 119:86 7:3-5 25:3 35:7 69:4 109:3 1Sa 24:10-12,17 26:18 Joh 15:25 1Pe 2:20 
  • but I will (KJV): Ps 119:23, 1:2 

May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; But I shall meditate on Your precepts

BUT I SHALL MEDITATE ON THY PRECEPTS (Ps 119:15, 23, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148): Meditation is to the soul what digestion is to the body. To meditate means to “turn over” God’s Word in the mind and heart, to examine it, to compare Scripture with Scripture, to “feed on” its wonderful truths. In this day of noise and confusion, such meditation is rare but so needful. Meditation is impossible without memorization.Reading the Bible without meditating on it is like eating without chewing. 

Mediate - Hebrew . siyach, see'-akh; 21v: Jdg 5:10 1Ch16:9 Job 7:11 12:8 15:4 Ps 55:17 69:12 77:3,v6,12 105:2 119:15,23,27, 48, 78, 97,148 143:5 145:5 Pr6:22 Isa 53:8 basic meaning > rehearse, go over matter in one's mind usually rendered "meditate " or "talk." Speak, talk, converse aloud, or even with oneself. Ponder, muse put forth, mediate, muse, commune, speak, complain, ponder Jdg 5:10 diegeomai [G1334]

(Qal) complain, muse, meditate upon, study, ponder, talk, speak

(Polel) to meditate, consider, put forth thoughts
    
Utter with the mouth (Job 12:8; Pr 6:22); to complain
pray (Ps 55:17; 77:3), 
talk disparagingly (Ps 69:12); 

meditate, esp divine things Ps 77:6,12;119:15,23,27,48,78,148 
sing (Ps145:5), 
celebrate something in song (Ps1 05:2)
consider, think upon something (Isa 53:8). 

silent reflection on 
    God's works (Ps77:12, 143:5)
    God's word (Ps119:15, 23, 27, 48, 78, 148). 

rehearsing aloud  
    God's works (1Ch6:9; Ps105:2;145:15). 
    If subject is painful > translated "complain" Ps55:17;Job7:11). 
    One can "talk disparagingly" (Ps69:12]. 
  
the "key word" in Ps 77. Here the Psalmist transfers his complaint (Ps 77:3 based on a contemplation (Ps 77:6) of  God's absence in contrast to his past deeds precisely  by meditating or talking of God's deeds. In Pr 6:22 the son who has bound his father's teaching to his heart will find that the teaching, in turn, will "talk" with him. 

We must read 

    Scripture every day
    And meditate on what God said
    To fight temptation from the world
    And live a life that's Spirit led.
--Sper


Charles Bridges - The prophecy with which God himself condescended to open the history of the Church, has ever since been in the course of accomplishment.1 “Enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman,” has been the prevailing character and course of the world. “An unjust man is an abomination to the just; and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.”2 David, however, prayed for the confusion of his enemies—not in a vindictive spirit, as if thirsting for their destruction; but as opening the way for his own more free service of God.3 and as a chastening, that might eventually turn to their salvation—“Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy name, O Lord.”4 That his prayer was the expression of his tender compassion, rather than of resentful feeling, is sufficiently evident from his affectionate weeping concern for their immortal interests.5 Prayers of the same deprecating character dropped from the lips of the gentle and compassionate Saviour:6 while the objects of his awful deprecations were interested in the most yearning sympathies of his heart.7 A regard also for the honor of God dictated this prayer. David knew that the malice of his enemies against him was only the working of their enmity against God; that it was not so much him that they hated and persecuted, as God in him. And therefore as a servant of God he could appeal—“Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved at those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them mine enemies.”8 The followers of a despised Saviour must indeed expect to be sorely distressed with the perverseness of the proud. But when, like their Master, they can testify that it is “without a cause,”9 how cheering are their Master’s words! “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven.”10

And have you, reader, been exercised with trials from an ungodly world? Has the derision of the proud, or the slight or ill-treatment of the ungodly, never excited revengeful feelings within? Have you always been enabled to set your Saviour’s example before you, and, “in patience possessing your soul,” to refer your cause to your Almighty Friend? “O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me.”11 Remember he has engaged to take up your cause—“Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them! I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.”12

But learn in the hour of trial where to go, and what to do. Go to the word of God for direction and support. “Meditate in his precepts.” There is often a hurry of mind in times of difficulty, which unhinges the soul from the simple exercise of faith. But habit brings practice, and steadiness, and simplicity, enabling us most sweetly to fix our hearts upon the word of God, and to apply its directions and encouragements to the present exigency. Our enemies fight against us with an arm of flesh. We resist them with the armor of the word of God. And how inestimably precious is the armor, refuge, strength, and consolation, here provided for us, against every effort to disturb our peace, “or separate our hearts from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

1 Gen. 3:15. Compare Rev. 12:17.

2 Prov. 29:27.

3 Ps 119:134.

4 Psalm 83:16.

5 Verses 53, 136, 158.

6 Psalm 69:21–28.

7 Comp. Matt. 23:37.

8 Psalm 139:21, 22.

9 Ps. 35:19; 69:4, with John 15:25.

10 Matthew 5:11, 12.

11 Isaiah 38:14. Compare Psalm 140:12, 13.

12 Luke 18:7, 8.

Psalm 119:79 May those who fear You turn to me, Even those who know Your testimonies. 

  • Let those (KJV): Ps 119:63,74 7:7 142:7 

May those who fear You turn to me, Even those who know Your testimonies. 


Charles Bridges - As the believer finds trouble from the world, he prays that he may find help from the Lord’s people. The very sight of our Father’s family is cheering. It brings not only fellowship but help. For the wise distribution of gifts in the body—each having his own gift—were ordained for the mutual help and sympathy of the several members.1 It is painful therefore to see Christians often walking aloof from each other, and suffering coldness, distance, and mutual differences and distrust to divide them from their brethren. Who then will not pray that he who has the hearts of all his people in his hand, would “turn the hearts of those that fear him, and know his testimonies,” unto their brethren? It was the honor of Mordecia, that he was “accepted of the multitude of his brethren.”2 In the primitive Church, “Demetrius had good report of all men, and of the truth itself;”3 and the members of the Church generally “did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart; praising God, and having favor with all the people.”4 ‘Then,’ as Chrysostom exultingly exclaims, ‘the Church was a little heaven.’ Then they could say to each other,—“Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”5 and even their heathen neighbors were awed and constrained into the confession, “See how these Christians love one another.”

Alas! that our Jerusalem should no longer exhibit the picture of a “city compact together”6—that so many “walls of partition” should separate brother from brother, so that our Zion has very rarely been exhibited in her “perfection of beauty,” when “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.”7 Prejudice and misconception divided Job from his friends.8 Want of forbearance cankered the union of the members of the Church of Rome,9 and even prevailed to separate chief friends—Paul and Barnabas.10 Diversity of sentiment injured the influence of brotherly love at Corinth.11 And thus it has been in every successive age of the Church; so that the full answer to the Redeemer’s prayer, and the grand display to the world of the Divine original of the Gospel, is yet to be manifested.1 But as “the communion of saints” was the peculiar feature of primitive Christianity, and ever since has formed an article of her faith; in proportion as we return to the primitive standard, we shall hold closer fellowship with each other—as “members of one body”2—“considering one another, to provoke unto love and to good works”3—“bearing one another’s burdens4—and receiving one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”5

Want of Christian self-denial presents the main hindrance to this “keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” But—admitting that some of the brethren are “weak in the faith” in comparison with ourselves—are we then to be ‘rolling endlessly the returning stone,’6 obtruding always the same stumbling offence upon them?7 We are “not to please ourselves” in compelling them to adopt our views; but rather to “receive them, and bear their infirmities.”8 Accursed be that charity, that is preserved by “the shipwreck of faith!” But though Scriptural truth must never be denied, there are times when it may be forborne. The Apostle “knew and was persuaded of the Lord Jesus, that there was nothing unclean of itself;”9 yet he would rather allow even the misconception of conscience, until clearer light should be given, than endanger the unity of the Church. Liberty must give place to love: and for himself, he would rather restrain himself from lawful indulgence, than hazard the safety of a weaker brother, or turn from one that loved his Saviour.10 Wherever, therefore, in the judgment of Christian charity we discover those “that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,”11 we must be ready to give them our very hearts, to view them as brethren, as one with ourselves, and to welcome them in brotherly love, as those whom, with all their infirmities, Jesus “is not ashamed to call his brethren.”12 We must be ready to “turn to them,” as those “that fear God, and have known his testimonies.”

And does not the believer’s anxiety for the company and assistance of the Lord’s people rebuke Christian professors, who are far too closely linked to the society of the world? Surely, if the lovely attraction of many of its most avowed votaries can compensate for the absence of their Saviour’s image, they can have but little relish for that heavenly enjoyment, which unites the children of God together in close and hallowed communion with God. And do we not see a proof of the deteriorating influence of this worldly spirit, in their readiness to feel disgust at the infirmities of the real brethren of the Lord, and to neglect the image of Christ in them, from the unsightliness of the garb, which may sometimes cover it?

But let us mark the completeness of the Christian—combining the fear with the knowledge of God. Knowledge without fear would be self-confidence. Fear without knowledge would be bondage. But the knowledge of his testimonies connected with an acquaintance with his ways, moulds the character of men of God into the spirit of love; and qualifies them, “as fathers”1 in the Gospel, to counsel the weak and inexperienced. Should we, however, be excluded from the privilege of their intercourse; or should they be prevented from “turning unto us;” may it not be the appointed means of leading us to a more simple dependence on Divine teaching and grace, and to a more blessed anticipation of our Father’s house in heaven, where all will be harmony, peace and love? ‘We shall carry truth and the knowledge of God to heaven with us; we shall carry purity thither, devotedness of soul to God and our Redeemer, divine love and joy, if we have their beginnings here, with whatsoever else of permanent excellence, that hath a settled, fixed seat and place in our souls now; and shall there have them in perfection. But do you think we shall carry strife to heaven? Shall we carry anger to heaven? Envyings, heart-burnings, animosities; shall we carry these to heaven with us? Let us labor to divest ourselves, and strike off from our spirits everything that shall not go with us to heaven, or is equally unsuitable to our end and way, that there may be nothing to obstruct and hinder our abundant entrance at length into the everlasting kingdom.’2

1 1 Cor. 12:7. Eph. 4:15, 16.

2 Esther 10:3.

3 John 12.

4 Acts 2:46, 47.

5 Psalm 133:1. Most truly catholic was the rule of the excellent Philip Henry, and most consistently exemplified in his Christian conduct, determining “in those things, in which all the people of God are agreed, to spend my zeal; and as for other things about which they differ, to walk according to the light God hath given me, and charitably to believe others to do so too.”—Life, Williams’s Edition, p. 127.

6 Psalm 122:3.

7 Ib. 50:2, with Acts 4:32.

8 Job. 6:29.

9 Rom. 14, 15:1–7.

10 Acts 15:37.

11 1 Cor. 1:10–12.

1 John 17:21.

2 1 Cor. 12:12–27.

3 Heb. 10:24.

4 Gal. 6:2; 5:13.

5 Rom. 15:7.

6 Morning Exercises, Oct. 1682.

7 Rom. 14:1.

8 Rom. 15:1.

9 Rom. 14:14.

10 Rom. 14:13, 15. 1 Cor. 8:13. Compare Phil. 3:15, 16.

11 Eph. 6:24. Comp. 1 John 3:14.

12 Heb. 2:11, 12.

1 John 2:13, 14.

2 Howe’s Works, vol. iv. 126, 127—“It will be one of the felicities of heaven” (as Milner sweetly remarks upon the prejudices subsisting between Bernard and the supposed heretics of his day,) “that saints shall no longer misunderstand each other.”—Milner’s History of the Church, iii. 384.

Psalm 119:80 May my heart be blameless in Your statutes, So that I will not be ashamed. 

BGT  Psalm 118:80 γενηθήτω ἡ καρδία μου ἄμωμος ἐν τοῖς δικαιώμασίν σου ὅπως ἂν μὴ αἰσχυνθῶ

KJV  Psalm 119:80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

NET  Psalm 119:80 May I be fully committed to your statutes, so that I might not be ashamed.

CSB  Psalm 119:80 May my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes so that I will not be put to shame.

ESV  Psalm 119:80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes, that I may not be put to shame!

NIV  Psalm 119:80 May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.

NLT  Psalm 119:80 May I be blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never be ashamed. Kaph

NRS  Psalm 119:80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes, so that I may not be put to shame.

RSV  Psalm 119:80 May my heart be blameless in thy statutes, that I may not be put to shame!

YLT  Psalm 119:80 My heart is perfect in Thy statutes, So that I am not ashamed.

NKJ  Psalm 119:80 Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes, That I may not be ashamed.

NJB  Psalm 119:80 My heart shall be faultless towards your will; then I shall not be ashamed.

NAB  Psalm 119:80 May I be wholehearted toward your laws, that I may not be put to shame.

LXE  Psalm 119:80 Let mine heart be blameless in thine ordinances, that I may not be ashamed.

ASV  Psalm 119:80 Let my heart be perfect in thy statutes, That I be not put to shame.

DBY  Psalm 119:80 Let my heart be perfect in thy statutes, that I be not ashamed.

GWN  Psalm 119:80 Let my heart be filled with integrity in regard to your laws so that I will not be put to shame.

BBE  Psalm 119:80 Let all my heart be given to your orders, so that I may not be put to shame.

  • May my heart be blameless : Ps 25:21 32:2 De 26:16 2Ch 12:14 15:17 25:2 31:20,21 Pr 4:23 Eze 11:9 Joh 1:47 2Co 1:12 
  • So that I will not be ashamed: Ps 119:6 Ps 25:2,3 1Jn 2:28 

A PRAYER FOR A 
BLAMELESS HEART

May my heart be blameless in Your statutes - Hebrew literally = "may my heart be complete in your statutes." Septuagint translates tamim with amomos which means above reproach, beyond reproach, blameless, faultless, unblemished (Lxx = aischunomai). Blameless is innocent of wrongdoing and of course the only way that can happen is by God's Spirit cleansing our hearts (cf 1 John 1:7+ = "the blood of Jesus His Son [present tense - continually] cleanses us from all sin"), which is needed continually and thus the charge to confess in 1 John 1:9+ is in the present tense calling for this to be our lifestyle! How are you doing with your daily "cleansing"?

So that (term of purpose - always pause to ask "What purpose/result?) I will not be ashamed (bosh). Ashamed means embarrassed or guilty because of one's actions, characteristics, or associations.

Psalm 119:6   Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Your commandments. 

Psalm 25:2-3   O my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me. 3 Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. 

1 John 2:28+  Now, little children, abide (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. (See many other advantages of abiding in Jesus - e.g., John 15:5, etc)

Blameless (without defect or blemish, perfect, integrity) (08549tamim from the verb tamam = to be complete, entire or whole (literal sense in Lev 3:9, Ezek 15:5), refers to a action which is completed) has both physical (without defect) and spiritual (blameless, devout, upright) significance. Tamim has the fundamental idea of completeness or wholeness. Tamim deals primarily with a state of moral or ceremonial purity (e.g., animal sacrifices - 51x tamim refers to unblemished animals - Passover lamb in Ex 12:5 picturing of course Christ sinless perfection - 1Cor 5:7, "knew no sin" = 2Cor 5:21). Tamim can mean blameless, complete, whole, full, perfect. Tamim can refer to the "entirety" of a period of time (7 complete Sabbaths = Lev 23:15; full year = Lev 25:30). Joshua 10:13 records the miracle of the sun standing still for a "whole (tamim) day," allowing Joshua to extract vengeance on the Amorite coalition that had attacked him. Pr 1:12 refers metaphorically to the fate of the innocent being swallowed "whole" by the wicked, even as happens to those who go to the grave.

The first OT use of tamim describes Noah "These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless (Lxx = teleios = "meeting the highest standard" [BDAG]) in his time; Noah walked with God." (Ge 6:9) In the second use God tells Abraham " “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless." And remember God's commandments always include His enablements! It is thus fitting that David describes the Law of the LORD" as "perfect" (Lxx = amomos = without defects) (Ps 19:7). In fact, not only is His Word perfect, but His work is perfect (Dt 32:4) and His way is blameless (Ps 18:30) David says that the man who "may abide in" God's tent and "dwell on" His "holy hill" is the man "who walks with integrity (Lxx = amomos = without fault, morally blameless)." (Ps 15:2) Joshua in some of his parting words of wisdom to Israel declared "Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity (Lxx = euthutes = rectitude, honesty, integrity, uprightness) and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD." (Josh 24:14) The psalmist offers a great prayer we would all be wise to echo "May my heart be blameless (Lxx = amomos) in Thy statutes, that (expresses purpose or result of a blameless heart) I may not be ashamed." (Ps 119:80) One of my favorite verses in Psalms uses tamim - "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly (Lxx = akakia = guilelessness, innocence, integrity; "state of not being inclined to that which is base" [BDAG])." (Ps 84:11) The psalmist links tamim with a state of blessedness writing " How blessed are those whose way is blameless (Lxx = amomos), Who walk in the law of the LORD. (Ps 119:1)

Tamim - 85v - blameless(22), blamelessly(1), complete(1), entire(1), full(1), intact(1), integrity(4), perfect(5), sincerity(1), unblemished(2), uprightly(1), who is perfect(1), whole(2), without blemish(12), without defect(36). Gen. 6:9; Gen. 17:1; Exod. 12:5; Exod. 29:1; Lev. 1:3; Lev. 1:10; Lev. 3:1; Lev. 3:6; Lev. 3:9; Lev. 4:3; Lev. 4:23; Lev. 4:28; Lev. 4:32; Lev. 5:15; Lev. 5:18; Lev. 6:6; Lev. 9:2; Lev. 9:3; Lev. 14:10; Lev. 22:19; Lev. 22:21; Lev. 23:12; Lev. 23:15; Lev. 23:18; Lev. 25:30; Num. 6:14; Num. 19:2; Num. 28:3; Num. 28:9; Num. 28:11; Num. 28:19; Num. 28:31; Num. 29:2; Num. 29:8; Num. 29:13; Num. 29:17; Num. 29:20; Num. 29:23; Num. 29:26; Num. 29:29; Num. 29:32; Num. 29:36; Deut. 18:13; Deut. 32:4; Jos. 10:13; Jos. 24:14; Jdg. 9:16; Jdg. 9:19; 1 Sam. 14:41; 2 Sam. 22:24; 2 Sam. 22:26; 2 Sam. 22:31; 2 Sam. 22:33; Job 12:4; Job 36:4; Job 37:16; Ps. 15:2; Ps. 18:23; Ps. 18:25; Ps. 18:30; Ps. 18:32; Ps. 19:7; Ps. 37:18; Ps. 84:11; Ps. 101:2; Ps. 101:6; Ps. 119:1; Ps. 119:80; Prov. 1:12; Prov. 2:21; Prov. 11:5; Prov. 11:20; Prov. 28:10; Prov. 28:18; Ezek. 15:5; Ezek. 28:15; Ezek. 43:22; Ezek. 43:23; Ezek. 43:25; Ezek. 45:18; Ezek. 45:23; Ezek. 46:4; Ezek. 46:6; Ezek. 46:13; Amos 5:10

Septuagint Blameless (beyond reproach, blameless, faultless, unblemished) (299)(amomos from a = without, not + momos = spot, blemish in physical sense or moral sense, blot, flaw, shame or disgrace {as a moral disgrace}) is literally without spot or blemish (blot, blight). It was used literally of the absence of defects in sacrificial animals. Figuratively, it means morally (spiritually) blameless, unblemished by the marring of sin, a perfect description of the Lamb of God. How incredibly incomprehensible that sinners such as we can be described with the same adjective (amomos) used to describe our incomparable, sinless Lord! O the wonder of the "cleansing power" of the Lamb's precious blood, which washes us Whiter than the Snow or Here. Here is a beautiful old Maranatha chorus (see God's desire for His children = Isa 1:18+). Hallelujah. Thank You Jesus!

Ashamed (put to shame) (0954bosh Strong says means "properly to pale and by implication to be ashamed, disappointed or delayed." The TWOT says the primary meaning is "to fall into disgrace, normally through failure, either of self or of an object of trust." The word has overtones of being or feeling worthless. Bôsh means "to be ashamed." 


Spurgeon - WE may regard this inspired prayer as containing within itself the assurance that those who keep close to the Word of God shall never have cause to be ashamed of doing so.
See, the prayer is for soundness of heart. A sound creed is good, a sound judgment concerning it is better, but a sound heart towards the truth is best of all. We must love the truth, feel the truth, and obey the truth, otherwise we are not truly sound in God’s statutes. Are there many in these evil days who are sound? Oh, that the writer and the reader may be two of this sort!
Many will be ashamed in the last great day, when all disputes will be decided. Then they will see the folly of their inventions, and be filled with remorse because of their proud infidelity and wilful defiance of the Lord; but he who believed what the Lord taught, and did what the Lord commanded, will stand forth justified in what he did. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun. Men much slandered and abused shall find their shame turned into glory in that day.
Let us pray the prayer of our text, and we may be sure that its promise will be fulfilled to us. If the Lord makes us sound, he will keep us safe. (Faith's Checkbook)


Charles Bridges - The perverseness of the proud will be sure to put them to shame.3 As the preservative from this shame, David prays therefore for a sound heart—filled with solid principle—delivered into the mould of the word4—like the sacrifices of the law—entire for God.5 Often had he prayed for Divine teaching6—now he begs for soundness in the Lord’s statutes. How many “have made shipwreck of faith and of a good conscience,”7 from an unsound heart! Ignorant of the spirituality of God’s requirements, and resting in an outward obedience, they falsely conceive themselves to be “alive without the law,”8 and, “touching the righteousness that is of the law, blameless.”9 Others go a little beyond the surface; while the want of “simplicity and godly sincerity,” of brokenness of heart, love to the Saviour, and dependence upon his grace, sooner or later discovers to their eternal confusion, that “the root of the matter is” not “in them.” “Their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust.” “Their goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.”10 An unsound professor, like beautiful fruit, may attract the careless eye; but a more narrow inspection will show a worm at the core, which has spoiled nearly to the surface.1 Such religion is only a shrivelled mass of inactive formality—a dead image of a living thing.

Alas! how common is it to profess to take Christ for a Saviour, while the heart is evidently worshipping Mammon as its God!—constrained—not inclined—to the Lord’s statutes! How possible is it to be “carnally-minded” in the daily routine of spiritual exercises! How important is the recollection, that no change of place, of company, or of circumstances, can of itself effect a change of heart! “Saul among the prophets” was Saul still; with “another heart”2 indeed, but not a new heart. Sin was restrained, but not crucified. He “went out,” therefore, as one of his progenitors, “from the presence of the Lord,”3 and perished, a miserable apostate from the statutes of his God. Will profession—knowledge—gifts—feelings—privileges—avail for a sound heart? Need we speak of Judas—a follower—nay, even, an apostle of Jesus Chirist—living in a familiar intercourse with his Lord—yet with all his privileges—all his profession, “gone to his own place”4—the melancholy victim of his own self-deceitfulness? Need we allude to Balaam—“the man whose eyes were open—which heard the words of God—which saw the vision of the Almighty”—who could in the ken of his eye mark the goodliness of the Lord’s inheritance, and even in the distant horizon catch a glimpse of “Jacob’s star and sceptre,” and yet “loved the wages of unrighteousness?”5 Need we bring to the mind’s eye Ananias and Sapphira6—Alexander7 and Demas8—and others of like stamp—all of whom once shone as stars9 in the firmament of the Church—need we speak of the end of these men, to give energy to the prayer, “Let my heart be sound in thy statutes?”

How fearful the thought of being “a branch in the true vine” only by profession! to be “taken away” at length—“cast forth as a branch—withered—gathered—cast into the fire—burned!”10 It is in the inner man that hypocrisy sets up its throne; whence it commands the outward acts in whatever shape or form may be best suited to effect its purpose. The upright Christian will therefore begin with calling in the help and light of God to ascertain the “soundness of his heart.” “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me.”11 Can there be a true and solid work, where there is a professed change of heart, and no manifested change of temper and conduct? Can that “heart,” which is found upon inquiry to be earthly—unprofitable under the power of the word1—regarding “secret iniquity”2—seeking by-ends of praise,3 reputation,4 or gain5—and for the attainment of these ends shrinking from the appointed cross—can that “heart be sound in the Lord’s statutes?” Impossible.

But on the other hand, do you find that your trust in God is sincere, your desire towards him supreme, your obedience to him entire? Prize these evidences of “soundness of heart.” Thank God for them. They are the workings of his mighty Spirit in your heart—perhaps the answer to the prayer which that same Spirit had indited, “Let my heart be sound in thy statutes.” Diligently improve all the means of grace for keeping your heart in a vigorous state. Be daily—yea continually—abiding in the vine, and receiving life and health from its fulness.6 Be much conversant with the word of God—loving it for itself—its holiness—its practical influences. Be chiefly afraid of inward decays—of a barren, sapless notion of experimental truth; remembering, that except your profession be constantly watered at the root, “the things that remain in you will be ready to die.”7 Specially “commune with your own heart.” Watch it jealously, because of its proneness to live upon itself—its own graces or fancied goodness (a sure symptom of unsoundness)—instead of “living by the faith of the Son of God.” Examine your settled judgment, your deliberate choice, your outgoing affections, your habitual allowed practice; applying to every detection of unsoundness the blood of Christ, as the sovereign remedy for the diseases of a “deceitful and desperately wicked heart.”

But it may be said—will not these exercises of godly jealousy hinder our Christian assurance? Far from it. They will form an efficient preservative from carnal security. They will induce increasing tenderness, activity, and circumspection, in our daily walk; and thus, instead of retarding the enjoyment of our heavenly privilege, they will settle the foundation of a peaceful temperament.8 It is a light and careless frame, that is the real hindrance to confidence. An unsound professor knows nothing of the true spirit of adoption—nothing of that holy familiarity, with which a child of God unbosoms himself to his heavenly Father; and if he preserves an empty name in the Church, he will be put to shame before the universe of God.9 But the “sound heart” is connected with “a hope that maketh not ashamed”—the full blessing of scriptural confidence. For the heart is made “sound” by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ;” and when thus “sprinkled from an evil conscience,” we “have boldness” to “draw near”—yea, even to “enter into the holiest,” “in full assurance of faith.”10 Blessed privilege of access and communion with our reconciled God! Every moment endears the Saviour to our souls, and enlivens the hope of his glorious coming, as the joyful consummation of all the prospects of faith—“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment.”1

3 Ps 119:78.

4 Rom. 6:17.

5 Lev. 22:22, 23. Comp. Mal. 1:8.

6 Ps 119:12, 33, 64, 68.

7 1 Tim. 1:19.

8 Rom. 7:9.

9 Phil. 3:6.

10 Isa. 5:24. Hos. 6:4. Comp. Matt. 13:20, 21.

1 “Quæ splendent in conspectu hominis, sordent in conspectu judicis.” Compare Luke 16:15. 1 Sam. 16:7.

2 1 Sam. 10:9–12.

3 Gen. 4:6.

4 Acts 1:25.

5 Num. 24:2–5, 17. 2 Peter 2:15.

6 Acts 5:1–10.

7 Acts 19:33, 34, with 1 Tim. 1:20. 2 Tim. 4:14.

8 Col. 4:14. Philem. 24, with 2 Tim. 4:10.

9 Rev. 12:4.

10 John 15:2, 6.

11 Psalm 139:23, 24.

1 Heb. 7:8.

2 Psalm 66:18.

3 Kings 9:16.

4 John 12:43.

5 Jn. 6:26. 1 Tim. 6:5.

6 1Ti 6:4, 5.

7 Rev. 3:2.

8 Ps 119:6. 1 John 3:20, 21.

9 Compare Dan. 12:2. Luke 12:1, 2.

10 See Heb. 10:19–22.

1 John 4:17.

Psalm 119:81 Kaph. My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word. 

  • fainteth (KJV): Ps 119:20,40 42:1,2 73:26 84:2 Song 5:8 Rev 3:15,16 
  • but I (KJV): Ps 119:42,74,77,114 

Kaph. My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Your word. 

Matthew Henry Concise - Verses 81-88. The psalmist sought deliverance from his sins, his foes, and his fears. Hope deferred made him faint; his eyes failed by looking out for this expected salvation. But when the eyes fail, yet faith must not. His affliction was great. He was become like a leathern bottle, which, if hung up in the smoke, is dried and shrivelled up. We must ever be mindful of God's statutes. The days of the believer's mourning shall be ended; they are but for a moment, compared with eternal happiness. His enemies used craft as well as power for his ruin, in contempt of the law of God. The commandments of God are true and faithful guides in the path of peace and safety. We may best expect help from God when, like our Master, we do well and suffer for it. Wicked men may almost consume the believer upon earth, but he would sooner forsake all than forsake the word of the Lord. We should depend upon the grace of God for strength to do every good work. The surest token of God's good-will toward us, is his good work in us. 


Warren Wiersbe - Reviving Power
Read Psalm 119:81-88
Some days everything seems to go wrong. Every phone call brings bad news. The mail is nothing but bills. The children come home from school with some kind of injury or a bad report. Work is frustrating. What do you do when you have one of these days?
"My soul faints for Your salvation, but I hope in Your word. My eyes fail from searching Your word, saying, 'When will You comfort me?' For I have become like a wineskin in smoke, yet I do not forget Your statutes.... The proud have dug pits for me, which is not according to Your law" (Psalm 119:81-83,85). Here's a man who was fainting and failing. He was like a wineskin in the smoke. Wherever he walked there was a pit for him to drop into. What did he do? He turned to God. His source of hope was His Word.
If you hope in circumstances, you will be disappointed, because they change. The psalmist hoped in the Word and trusted in God's faithfulness, and God comforted him.
People will fail you, but God never will. "All Your commandments are faithful" (v. 86). The psalmist clung to the comfort, hope and faithfulness of God, and as a result he experienced revival. "Revive me according to Your lovingkindness" (Psalm 119:88). God came with a Breath of fresh, heavenly air--the Holy Spirit--and revived him.
* * *
Thank God for His faithfulness. If you are having a rough day, remember that you can depend on Him. He is your Hope and your Comfort, and He's always faithful. He'll give you the reviving power you need to rise above your circumstances and continue. (Psalm 119:81-88 Reviving Power)


Charles Bridges - The salvation of the Gospel was the constant object of faith and desire to the Lord’s people under the old dispensation. Long had the Church triumphed in the glowing anticipation, as if in the full possession of the promised blessing—“It shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness; as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”2 And as it was the joy of their living moments, so was it the support and consolation of their dying hours. “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord,”3—was the expression of the dying patriarch’s faith. And how cheering were the last words of this “sweet Psalmist of Israel,” whose “soul was now fainting for God’s salvation,” even in his dark and foreboding family prospect!—“Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.”4 Good old Simeon, in the break of the gospel-day, was ready to “depart in peace, for his eyes had seen God’s salvation.”5 And shall not we, under this heavenly influence, naturally appropriate these feelings of ancient believers to ourselves? What interpreter but experience will be needed to explain them? The uneasiness felt in any interruption of our enjoyment, will show the soul to be “fainting for this salvation.” Nothing will satisfy but the Saviour. The tempting offer of “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,” will fail in attraction. Still the cry will be, “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.”6 “Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord; even thy salvation, according to thy word.”7

As the lowest expectant of this salvation, am not I richer than the sole possessor of this world’s portion? And therefore if the Lord hides his face, I would look to no other quarter; I would stay by him, and “wait on him,” though days and months and years may pass away, “until he have mercy upon me.”1 “My soul fainteth for his salvation;” and—pressing to my lips the fullest cup of earth’s best joy—my heart would burst with despair of satisfaction, “but” that “I hope in his word.”2 “By this hope I am saved.”3 In “the patience of hope”4 I am resolved to wait until the last moment, lying at the footstool of my Saviour. I am looking for the “assurance of this hope”5—when, in the joyous anticipation of eternity, and with “the earnest of” the heavenly “inheritance” in my soul, I shall echo the voice of my coming Saviour—“Even so come, Lord Jesus.”6

Oh, how precious and important a part of our armor is Hope! As a “helmet,”7 it has “covered our head in the day of battle” from many a “fiery dart of the wicked.” In times of darkness—when the restless foe hides the prospect from the eye of faith, and the child of God can scarcely, if at all, mount up and sing—even then hope remains, and lights a taper in moments dark as the chamber of the grave—“Yet the Lord will command his loving kindness in the day-time; and in the night-season his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”8 And when the afflicted, tempest-tost soul is trembling at the prospect of impending danger—at this moment of infinite peril, Hope holds out the “anchor sure and steadfast;”9 so that in the awful crisis, when “deep calleth unto deep, and all the waves and billows are going over us,” most unexpectedly “an entrance is ministered unto us abundantly,”10 in the Lord’s best time, into our desired haven.11 And it is this hope alone that sustains us. Were we to conceive of God according to the notions of our own hearts, we should give way to most unbelieving impatience. But the Divine character—as it shines forth in the word, with such love and wisdom, such tenderness and grace—invigorates our hope. The strength of the strongest of God’s people proves but small, when afflictions press heavy, and expected help is delayed. But though the “soul fainteth,” it cannot fail. We depend not on what we see or feel, but on what the word promises. If God has engaged, it must be fulfilled, be the difficulties—nay, impossibilities—what they may. Fixed, therefore, upon this sure foundation, with our father Abraham, against hope from what we see, “we believe in hope from what God has promised.”12 Thus the word is faith’s sure venture for eternity—stamped with such a marvellous, mysterious impression of Divine glory and faithfulness, and communicating such Divine power and refreshment, that the believer cannot but produce his experience of its efficacy for the support of his tempted brethren—“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”1

2 Isaiah 25:9; 61:10.

3 Gen. 49:18.

4 2 Sam. 23:5.

5 Luke 2:28–30, also 25.

6 Psalm 35:3.

7 Ps 119:41.

1 Psalm 123:1, 2. Compare Isaiah 8:17. Micah 7:9.

2 Psalm 130:5.

3 Rom. 8:24.

4 1 Thess. 1:3.

5 Heb. 6:11.

6 Rev. 22:20.

7 Eph. 6:17. 1 Thess. 5:8

8 Psalm 42:8.

9 Heb. 6:19.

10 Psalm 42:7.

11 2 Peter 1:11. Psalm 107:30.

12 Rom. 4:18.

1 Psalm 27:13, 14.

Psalm 119:82 My eyes fail [with longing] for Your word, While I say, “When will You comfort me?” 

  • eyes (KJV): Ps 119:123 69:3 De 28:32 Pr 13:12 Isa 38:11 
  • When wilt (KJV): Ps 86:17 90:13-15 

My eyes fail with longing for Your word, While I say, “When will You comfort me?” 


Charles Bridges - Though the believer may be enabled, in the habitual working of faith, to sustain his “hope in the word,” yet “hope deferred maketh the heart sick.”2 Still, Christian, as you value the promise, trust the assurance. Do not be discouraged by present appearances. The sunshine is behind the storm. “The vision is for an appointed time; though it tarry, wait for it.”3 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise,” but we are hasty in looking for it.4 The failing of our eyes is the impatience of the will, “limiting God”5 to our own time, ways, and means. Faith may be exercised in not seeing his reasons—not being able to harmonize his promises with his providences, or his outward dispensations with his Divine perfections.6 But let us leave this to him, and “be still, and know that he is God.”7 We shall find in the end, that perseverance in waiting has turned to double advantage; and that even when the present answer to prayer, and also sensible comfort and acceptance have been withheld; yet that important blessings have been accomplished, and the merciful purposes vouchsafed in bringing the wayward will into more entire subjection to himself. Yea, the blessing will be so much the sweeter, from being vouchsafed in the Lord’s best time. Waiting time—whatever weariness may attend it—is precious time, and not a moment of it will be lost. The Lord secretly upholds faith and patience, so that every step of feeble perseverance in the way brings with it unspeakable delight. Even while our eyes fail for the fulfilment of the word, peace is found in submission and joyful expectation; and instead of a time of hardness, indolence, or carelessness, the Lord’s return is anticipated the more intensely, as his absence had been felt to be the most painful trial. For as well might the stars supply the place of the sun, as outward comforts, or even the external duties of religion, supply to the waiting soul the place of an absent God.

Never, however, let us forget, that the real cause of separation between God and a sinner is removed. The way of access is opened by the blood of Jesus;8 and in this way we must be found waiting, until he look upon us. Here will our cry—“When wilt thou comfort me?” be abundantly answered; and though the sovereignty of God will be exhibited in the time and measure of his consolations, yet the general rule will be—“According to your faith be it unto you.”9

But if unbelief clouds our comfort, turn the eye more simply to the “word” as testifying of Jesus. Here alone is the ground of comfort; and the more confidently we expect, the more patiently we will look. Nor shall we ever look in vain. Sin will be rebuked10 But restoration and acceptance are assured. We shall obtain—not the spurious comfort of delusion—but those wholesome comforts, founded upon the word of promise, and connected with contrition, peace, love, joy, and triumph. The Gospel shows hell deserved, and heaven purchased—thus combining conviction and faith. Indeed, conviction without faith would be legal sorrow; as assurance without conviction would be Gospel presumption. Paul’s experience happily united both. Never was man at the same moment more exercised with conflict, and yet more established in assurance.1 Thus may we maintain our assurance as really in wrestling trouble as in exulting joy; honoring the Lord by a humble, patient spirit—in Bernard’s resolution—‘I will never come away from thee without thee’—in the true spirit of the wrestling patriarch—“I will not let thee go except thou bless me.”2

But we sometimes seem to go “mourning without the sun”3—“shut up, and we cannot come forth”4—straitened in our desires and expectations—doing little for the Lord—with little enjoyment in our own souls, and little apparent usefulness to the Church. At such seasons it is our clear duty and privilege to “wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and to look for him.”5 “He waiteth that he may be gracious. He is a God of judgment: and blessed are all they that wait for him.”6 He waits—not because he is reluctant to give, but that we may be fitted to receive.

2 Prov. 13:12.

3 Hab. 2:3.

4 Comp. 2 Pet. 3:9, with Isa. 5:19; 28:16.

5 Ps. 78:41.

6 Jer. 12:1.

7 Psalm 46:10.

8 Hebrews 10:19, 20.

9 Matthew 9:29.

10 Psalm 89:30–32.

1 Comp. Rom. 7:14–25; 8:33–39.

2 Gen. 32:26.

3 Job 30:28.

4 Psalm 88:8.

5 Isaiah 8:17.

6 Isa. 30:18. “Thou mayest seek after honors, and not obtain them; thou mayest labor for riches, and yet remain poor; thou mayest dote on pleasures, and have many sorrows. But our God, of his supreme goodness, says—Who ever sought me, and found me not? Who ever desired me, and obtained me not? Who ever loved me, and missed of me? I am with him, that seeks for me. He hath me already, that wisheth for me; and he that loveth me is sure of my love. The way to come to me is neither long nor difficult.”—Augustine.

Psalm 119:83  Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your statutes. 

  • like a bottle in the smoke (KJV): As the bottles in the East are made of skin, it is evident that one of these hung up in the smoke must soon be parched, shrivelled up, lose all its strength, and become unsightly and useless.  Thus the Psalmist appeared to himself to have become useless and despicable, through the exhausted state of his body and mind, by long bodily afflictions and mental distress. Ps 22:15 102:3,4 Job 30:30 
  • yet do I (KJV): Ps 119:16,61,176 

 Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your statutes - Such a wineskin is shriveled up and useless.


Charles Bridges

What an affecting picture of misery! Not only were his patience and hope—but his very body—“dried up” by long-continued affliction.7 This is he, who in the prime of youth was “ruddy and of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to”8—now shrivelled up like a bottle of skin9 hung up in the smoke! “Such is the mark that the rod of “chastening” leaves on the body of humiliation.”10 The soul is strengthened—the body withers—under the stroke.

What might naturally have been expected to have been the result of this lengthened exercise? Saul, under protracted trial, resorted to the devil for relief.11 An infidel nation took occasion from thence to throw off the yoke.12 Even a good man, under a few hours’ trial, murmurs against God—nay, even defends his murmuring. How did this man of God behave?13 When his soul was fainting, his hope in the word kept him from sinking.1 Under the further continuance of the trial, the same recollection gives him support—yet I do not forget thy statutes.2

Now—Christian—do not expect a new way to heaven to be made for you. Prepare for the cross. It may be—as with David—a heavy, long-continued burden; and, should it come—look on it as your appointed trial of faith, and your training discipline for more enduring conflicts. And remember that your determined resolution rather to pine away in affliction, than “make a way of escape” by sin—is the proof of the reality of his own grace in you, and of his faithful love towards you. Think how honorably he manifests your relation to Christ, by causing “his sufferings to abound in you,” and making you “bear in your body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”3 And do you not thus realize, as you could not otherwise do, the sympathy of our High Priest, who was himself “a root out of a dry ground, having no form nor comeliness, and no beauty that he should be desired—despised and rejected of men”4 to the end? Oh, what a supporting cordial to his afflicted people is the sympathy of this suffering, tempted Saviour!5

But to look at David, under his long-continued trials, preserving his recollection of the Lord’s statutes—what a striking evidence of the presence of his God, and the sustaining power of his word! If we then—blessed with much larger Scriptures than he—fail in deriving from them the same support, it can only be, that we do not search them in a dependent, prayerful, and humble spirit—that we do not simply look for the revelation of Christ; to mark his glory, and to increase in the knowledge of Him.”6 In this spirit we should have more to say of the comfort of remembering “the Lord’s statutes;” and of their upholding influence, when all other stays were found as “the trust in the shadow of Egypt—shame and confusion.”7

Job’s history strikingly illustrates both the trial and its sanctified results. When “scraping himself with a potsherd, and sitting down among the ashes,”—the temporary victim of Satanic power—he might well have taken up the complaint, “I am become like a bottle in the smoke.” But when in this hour of temptation he was enabled to resist the tempter in the person of his own wife, and commit himself with implicit resignation into the hands of his faithful God, “What! shall we receive good at the hand of God; and shall we not receive evil?”8—was not this the confidence,—yet do I not forget thy statutes?

This confidence is indeed an encouraging seal of the Lord’s love on our souls. For we never should have remembered “his statutes,” had he not written his covenant promises upon our hearts.9 And how much more honorable to our God is it than the desponding complaint, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me!”1 Let us watch then against a proud sullenness under every little trial—such as the coldness of friends, the unkindness of enemies, or our Father’s providential dispensations. How sinful to allow hard thoughts of him, whose name and character, “without variableness or shadow of turning,” is “Love!” A steady trust in the long and wearisome seasons of tribulation, is indeed to “glorify God in the fires.”2 Nothing honors him so much as this enduring, overcoming faith, persevering in despite of opposition, in destitution of all outward prospects of relief. It is when “against hope we believe in hope, not staggering at the promise of God through unbelief,” that we are “strong in faith, giving glory to God.”3

7 Prov. 17:22.

8 1 Sam. 16:12.

9 Josh. 9:4. Matt. 9:17.

10 Ps. 39:11. Comp. 31:12; 102:3. The history of Job. 30:30. The woful misery of the church: Lam. 4:8; 5:10. The sufferings of the Saviour; Psalm 22:15. Isaiah 52:14.

11 1 Sam. 28:6, 7.

12 Mal. 3:13, 14, with 2:17.

13 Jonah 4:7–9.

1 Ps 119:81.

2 Compare Ps 119:51, 61, 109, 141; 44:17–19.

3 2 Cor. 1:5. Gal. 6:17. 1 Pet. 4:13.

4 Isaiah 53:2, 3.

5 Heb. 4:15; 2:18.

6 John. 5:39.

7 Isa. 30:1–3.

8 Job 2:7–10.

9 Jer. 31:31–34.

1 Isaiah 49:14.

2 Isa 24:15.

3 Romans 4:18, 20.

 

Psalm 119:84 How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me? 

  • How (KJV): Ps 39:4,5 89:47,48 Ps 90:12 Job 7:6-8 
  • when (KJV): Ps 7:6 Rev 6:10,11 

Related Passages: 

Psalm 39:4  “LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. 5 “Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah. 

Ps 39:13 “Turn Your gaze away from me, that I may smile again Before I depart and am no more.”

Psalm 90:12  So (WHY? See Ps 90:11) teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. 

Job 7:6-8  “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, And come to an end without hope.  7“Remember that my life is but breath; My eye will not again see good.  8 “The eye of him who sees me will behold me no longer; Your eyes will be on me, but I will not be. 

James 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor (WOE!) that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (UPSHOT? REDEEM THE SHORT TIME YOU HAVE LEFT)

How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me? 


Charles Bridges - Though a steady confidence in severe and protracted exercise may enable us “not to forget the statutes;” yet we shall hasten to carry our complaint before him, “How many are the days of thy servant?”—my days of affliction under the “fury of the oppressor.” To complain of God is dishonorable unbelief.4 To complain to God is the mark of his “elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bears long with them.”5 Christian! study this instructive pattern; and, when exposed to the lawless devices of “the proud,” forget not your hiding-place. God in Christ is your strong hold, “whereunto you may continually resort.” He “hath given commandment to save you.”6 Your trial has done its appointed work, when it has brought you to him; and inclined you, after your blessed Master’s example, instead of taking the vengeance into your own hands, to commit yourself and your cause “to him that judgeth righteously.”7 ‘And this,’ as Archbishop Leighton excellently observes, ‘is the true method of Christian patience—that which quiets the mind, and keeps it from the boiling tumultuous thoughts of revenge; to turn the whole matter into God’s hands; to resign it over to him, to prosecute when and as He thinks good. Not as the most, who had rather, if they had power, do for themselves, and be their own avengers; and, because they have not power, do offer up such bitter curses and prayers for revenge unto God, as are most hateful to him, and are far from this calm and holy way of committing matters to his judgment. The common way of referring things to God is indeed impious and dishonorable to him, being really no other than calling him to be a servant and executioner of our passion. We ordinarily mistake his justice, and judge of it according to our own precipitate and distempered minds. If wicked men be not crossed in their designs, and their wickedness evidently crushed, just when we would have it, we are ready to give up the matter as desperate; or at least to abate of those confident and reverent thoughts of Divine justice which we owe Him. However things go, this ought to be fixed in our hearts that He that sits in heaven judgeth righteously, and executes that his righteous judgment in the fittest season.’

Usually the Psalmist is expressing his love for the law. Here he is complaining against his enemies; yet still implying the same spirit, that the pits, which the proud dug for him,1 were not after God’s law. The martyrs’ cry under the altar shows the acceptance of this complaint;2 “seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble” his people, “and to them that are troubled rest.”3 Some of us indeed have known but little of “cruel mockings”4 and bitter persecutions. Let such be thankful for the merciful exemption from this “hardness:”5 but let us gird on their armor for the conflict. Let none of us, in the determination to “live godly in Christ Jesus,” expect to escape “persecution.”6 Let us “count the cost”7 of suffering for Christ, whether we shall be able to abide it. For the mere spiritless notions, or for the unenlivened forms of religion, of which we have never felt the power, nor tasted the sweetness, it would be little worth our while to expose ourselves to inconvenience. But if we understand the grand substantials of the Gospel—if we are clearly assured of their reality, practically acknowledge their influence, and experimentally realize their enjoyment, we shall dare the persecuting malice of “the proud” in defence of a treasure dearer to us than life itself. Should we, however, be too rich to part with all for Christ, or too high in the estimation of the world to confess his despised followers, it will be no marvel, or rather a marvel of mercy, if he should sweep away our riches, and suffer “the proud to dig pits for us.” To make this world “a wilderness or a land of darkness” to us, may be his wisely-ordained means to turn us back to himself as our portion, to his word as our support, to his people as our choice companions, and to heaven as our eternal rest.

4 Jonah 4:1–3.

5 Luke 18:7, with Ps. 6:3; 13:1, 2.

6 Psalm 71:3.

7 1 Peter 2:23, and Archbishop Leighton on the passage.

1 Psalm 35:7.

2 See Rev. 6:9–11.

3 2 Thess. 1:6, 7.

4 Hebrews 11:36.

5 2 Tim. 2:3.

6 2 Ti. 3:12.

7 Luke 14:28.

Psalm 119:85 The arrogant have dug pits for me, Men who are not in accord with Your law. 

  • The proud (KJV): This metaphor is taken from the mode in which wild beasts are caught in the East:  deep pits are dug in the earth, and slightly covered over with reeds, turf, etc., so as not to be discerned from the solid ground; and the animals attempting to walk over them, the surface breaks, they fall in, and are taken alive.  Thus the Psalmist's enemies employed craft as well as power in order to effect his ruin. Ps 119:78 7:15 35:7 36:11 Pr 16:27 Jer 18:20 
  • which (KJV): Ps 58:1,2 

The arrogant have dug pits for me, Men who are not in accord with Your law. 


Charles Bridges - see his discussion above.

Psalm 119:86 All Your commandments are faithful; They have persecuted me with a lie; help me! 

  • All thy (KJV): Ps 119:128,138,142,151 19:9 Ro 7:12 
  • faithful (KJV): Heb. faithfulness
  • they (KJV): Ps 119:78 7:1-5 35:7,19 38:19 59:3,4 Jer 18:20 
  • help (KJV): Ps 70:5 142:4-6 143:9 

HELP ME
GOD!

All Your commandments are faithful; They have persecuted me with a lie; help me! 

Help (05826'azar means to protect, aid, help, succor, support, give material or nonmaterial encouragement. Azar often refers to aid in the form of military assistance and in many instances refers to help from Jehovah as illustrated by the uses. Webster says to help means to aid, to assist, to succour (see below), to lend strength or means towards effecting a purpose. To relieve; to cure, or to mitigate pain or disease. To remedy; to change for the better.

The Septuagint translates 'azar most often with the word group that includes boáoboetheo (boetheo is used in Ps 119:86) boethos, all conveying the general idea of running to the aid of one who cries out for help (e.g., see He 2:18+ which uses boetheo) which is similar to the English word succour (from Latin succurrere = to run up, run to help) means literally to run to and so to run to to support, to go to the aid of, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver front suffering; as, to succor a besieged city; to succor prisoners.

Azar - 70v - Gen. 49:25; Deut. 32:38; Jos. 1:14; Jos. 10:4; Jos. 10:6; Jos. 10:33; 1 Sam. 7:12; 2 Sam. 8:5; 2 Sam. 18:3; 2 Sam. 21:17; 1 Ki. 1:7; 1 Ki. 20:16; 2 Ki. 14:26; 1 Chr. 5:20; 1 Chr. 12:1; 1 Chr. 12:17; 1 Chr. 12:18; 1 Chr. 12:19; 1 Chr. 12:21; 1 Chr. 12:22; 1 Chr. 15:26; 1 Chr. 18:5; 1 Chr. 22:17; 2 Chr. 14:11; 2 Chr. 18:31; 2 Chr. 19:2; 2 Chr. 20:23; 2 Chr. 25:8; 2 Chr. 26:7; 2 Chr. 26:13; 2 Chr. 26:15; 2 Chr. 28:16; 2 Chr. 28:23; 2 Chr. 32:3; 2 Chr. 32:8; Ezr. 8:22; Ezr. 10:15; Job 9:13; Job 26:2; Job 29:12; Job 30:13; Ps. 10:14; Ps. 22:11; Ps. 28:7; Ps. 30:10; Ps. 37:40; Ps. 46:5; Ps. 54:4; Ps. 72:12; Ps. 79:9; Ps. 86:17; Ps. 107:12; Ps. 109:26; Ps. 118:7; Ps. 118:13; Ps. 119:86; Ps. 119:173; Ps. 119:175; Isa. 30:7; Isa. 31:3; Isa. 41:6; Isa. 41:10; Isa. 41:13; Isa. 41:14; Isa. 44:2; Isa. 49:8; Isa. 50:7; Isa. 50:9; Isa. 63:5; Jer. 47:4; Lam. 1:7; Ezek. 30:8; Dan. 10:13; Dan. 11:34; Dan. 11:45; Zech. 1:15


Charles Bridges - In the lengthened duration of trials, the “eyes fail with looking upward,” the voice of prayer grows faint, and in a moment of weakness, the faithfulness of God is almost questioned, as if we should go mourning to the very end of our days. It is at such a season that he, who delights to “comfort them that are cast down,”8 realizes to the view of faith the unchangeable faithfulness of his commandments with respect to his people. In this recollection we can “look up and lift up our heads,” and “go on our way,” if not “rejoicing,” yet at least with humble acquiescence; assured, that in the perseverance of faith and hope, we shall ultimately be “more than conquerors through him that loved us.”9

Many Old Testament Histories beautifully illustrate the reward of this simplicity of faith in temporal emergencies.1 When Asa’s “hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob” “his bow abode in strength.”2 When, at a subsequent period, he “trusted in man, and made flesh his arm, and his heart departed from the Lord”3 he became, like Samson, “weak, and as another man.”4 So true is it, that no past communications of Divine strength can stand in the stead of the daily habit of dependence upon the Lord, without which we are utterly helpless, and are overthrown in every conflict. Our best prosperity therefore is to leave our cause in his hands, looking upward in the simplicity of wretchedness for his help, ‘All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully: help thou me. Wretched and forlorn I am; but thy truth is my shield.’

Believer! this is your only posture of resistance. Should you enter the field of conflict without this “shield of faith,” some crevice will be found in your panoply, through which a “fiery dart” will inflict a poisonous wound.5 But how can faith be exercised without a distinct acquaintance with the object of faith? We cannot repose trust or expect help, in an unknown God—in an offended God, whom every day’s transgression has made our enemy. There must, then, be reconciliation, before there can be help. Those, therefore, who are unreconciled by the death of Christ, cry for help to a God, who does not hear, accept, or answer, them. But when Christ is known as “the peace,” and the way of access to God, what instance can there be of trial or difficulty, when our reliance upon the Lord will fail? Not indeed that we shall always return from the throne of grace with the wished-for relief. For too often we bring our burden before the Lord, and yet through distrust neglect to leave it with him. Oh! let us remember when we go to Jesus, that we go to a tried, long-proved, and faithful friend. Dependence upon him is victory. The “good fight” is the fight “of faith.”6 We are best able to resist our enemy upon our knees; and even such a short prayer as this, “Help thou me,” will bring down the strength of Omnipotence on our side. But we might as well expect to crush a giant with a straw, as to enter the spiritual conflict with weapons of carnal warfare. Every trial realizes experimentally the help of a faithful Saviour. He does indeed deliver gloriously; and leaves us nothing to do but stand still, wonder, and praise—“Fear ye not; stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you to-day; for the Egyptians, whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.”7

8 2 Cor. 7:6.

9 Rom. 8:37.

1 The examples of Asa, 2 Chron. 14:10–12, and Jehosaphat, 2 Chron. 20:1–30 may be referred to.

2 Gen. 49:24.

3 Comp. Jer. 17:5–8.

4 Judges 16:7, with 2 Chron. 16:7.

5 Eph. 6:16.

6 1 Tim. 6:12.

7 Exodus 14:13.

Psalm 119:87 They almost destroyed me on earth, But as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts. 

  • almost (KJV): 1Sa 20:3 23:26,27 2Sa 17:16 Mt 10:28 
  • but I forsook (KJV): Ps 119:51,61 1Sa 24:6,7 26:9,24 

They almost destroyed me on earth, But as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts. 


Charles Bridges - And why did they not quite consume him? Because “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in behalf of them, whose heart is perfect toward him.”1 “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”2 And why have not our spiritual enemies “consumed us upon earth?” “Satan hath desired to have us, that he may sift us as wheat.” “But”, saith the Saviour, “I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not.”3 “My sheep shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.”4 Steadfastness of profession is the evidence of the life of faith: grounded upon this security, the more we are shaken, the more we shall hold fast. Neither long-continued distress,5 nor determined opposition,6 will turn us from the ways of God. We would rather “forsake” all that our heart held dear upon earth, than “the precepts” of our God. With whatever intensity of affection we love father and mother, (and the influence of the Gospel has increased the sensibilities of relative affections,) we remember who hath said, “He that loveth father and mother more than me, is not worthy of me.”7 Unlike the deluded professor,8 we have counted the cost of the tribulation and persecution of the Gospel; and the result has only served to confirm our love and adherence to our heavenly Master. Shall not we find in heaven—nay, do not we find in the Gospel—a far better portion that we lose?9

When, therefore, we are tempted to neglect the precepts; or when we fail to live in them and to delight in them, let us each bring our hearts to this test. ‘What would I take in exchange for them? Will the good will and approbation of the world compensate for the loss of the favor of God? Could I be content to forego my greatest comforts, to “suffer the loss of all things,”10 yea, of life itself,11 rather than forsake one of the ways of God? When I meet with such precepts as link me to the daily cross, can I throw myself with simple dependence upon that Saviour, who has engaged to supply strength for what he has commanded?’ How often in times of spiritual temptation, if not of temporal danger, “they had almost consumed us upon earth!” but “in the mount” of difficulty “the Lord has been seen.”12 Oh! let each of us mark our road to Zion with multiplied Ebenezers, inscribed Jehovah-jireh—Jehovah-nissi13—“By this I know that thou favorest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face forever.”14

What a fine testimony of the upholding grace of God! How could a helpless believer stand against such an appalling array? Yet it is a great, but a true word, suitable for a babe in Christ as well as for an Apostle—“I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.”15 Yes, I can “wrestle even against principalities and powers” of darkness, if I be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”1

1 2 Chron. 16:9.

2 Ps. 76:10.

3 Luke 22:31, 32.

4 John 10:28.

5 Ps 119:83.

6 Verses 84–86.

7 Matt. 10:37.

8 Mt. 13:21.

9 Mt. 19:29.

10 Phil. 3:8.

11 Acts 20:24.

12 “In the Mount the Lord shall be seen, or shall appear, Jehovah-jireh.” (Gen. 22:14.)—Scott, in loco.

13 Exod. 17:15.

14 Psalm 41:11, 12.

15 Phil. 4:13.

1 Eph. 6:10, 12.

Psalm 119:88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth. 

  • Quicken (KJV): Ps 119:25,40,159 
  • so shall I (KJV): Ps 119:2,146 25:10 78:5 132:12 

Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth. 

REVIVE ME (in the Old Testament - P69:32 Ps 71:20 Ps 80:18 Ps 85:6 Ps 119:25, 37, 40, 88, 107, 149, 154, 156, 159 Ps 138:7 Ps 143:11 Isa 57:15 Ho 6:2 Hab 3:2

Reports on "effects" of Revival from the Welsh Revival: In Cardiff alone, as yet only slightly moved by the revival, police reports show that drunkenness has diminished 60%, whilst on Saturday last the Mayor was presented by the Chief Constable with a pair of white gloves, there being no case at all on the charge sheet an unprecedented fact for the last day of the year. The same thing happened at the Swansea County Court on the previous Saturday, and the magistrate said, "All the years I've been sitting here I've never seen anything like it, and I attribute this happy state of things entirely to the revival." The streets of Aberdare on Christmas Eve were almost entirely free from drunkenness, and on Christmas Day there were no prisoners at all in the cells.

Related Resources:


Charles Bridges - We need continual quickening to maintain our steadfastness in the precepts. “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love, wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.”2 But without daily “quickening after” the same “loving kindness” “the things which remain will be ready to die.” For every breath of prayer, Divine influence must flow—“Quicken us, and we shall call upon thy name.”3 For the work of praise, without the same influence we are dumb.—“O let my soul live, and it shall praise thee.”4 For the exercise of every spiritual grace there must be the commanding voice of our Divine Head—“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south: blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.”5 Thus is the creature laid in the dust, and all the glory is given to God. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”6

Why is it, then, that at one time we spring to duty as the joy of our life; while at other times the soul is so chained down under the power of corruption, that it scarcely can put forth the feeblest exercise of life? The source of our life is the same—“hid with Christ in God.”7 But the power of the flesh hinders its every motion.8 Such a spiritual sloth has benumbed us—such backwardness to prayer, and disrelish for heavenly things—sins deeply humbling in themselves, and aggravated by the neglect of the plentiful provision laid up in Christ, not only for the life, but for the peace, joy, and strength of the soul. Nothing but indolence or unbelief straitens our supplies. Oh! stir up the prayer for quickening influence, and we shall be rich and fruitful. Sometimes also self-confidence paralyzes our spiritual energy. We expect our recovery from a lifeless state by more determined resolutions, or increased improvement of the various means of grace. Let these means indeed be used with all diligence, but with the fullest conviction, that all means, all instruments, all helps of every kind, without the influence of the Spirit of grace, are dead. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.”9

These records of David’s prayers strikingly mark the intensity of his desire to live to God. Every decay of strength and activity was, as it were, death to him, and awakened his reiterated cries. Do we desire to keep the testimony of his mouth? Do we mourn over our short-comings in service? Oh! then, for our own sake, for the Lord’s sake, and for the Church’s and the world’s sake, let our petitions be incessant, each one for himself—‘ “quicken me”—Quicken this slothful heart of mine. Enkindle afresh the sacred spark within, and let me be all alive for thee.’ Let faith be kept alive and active at the throne of grace, and all will be alive; our obligation will be deeply felt, and practically acknowledged.

The title here given to the directory of our duty—“the testimony of God’s mouth”—adds strength to our obligations. Thus let every word we read or hear be regarded, as coming directly from the “mouth of God.”1 What reverence, what implicit submission does it demand! May it ever find us in the posture of attention, humility, and faith, each one of us ready to say—“Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth!”2

2 Eph. 2:4, 5.

3 Psalm 80:18.

4 Ps 119:175.

5 Song. 4:16.

6 2 Cor. 3:5.

7 Col. 3:3.

8 See Gal. 5:17.

9 John 6:63.

1 Compare Judges 3:20.

2 1 Sam. 3:9, 10.

Psalm 119:89 Lamedh. Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. 

  • For ever (KJV): Ps 119:152,160 89:2 Mt 5:18 24:34,35 1Pe 1:25 2Pe 3:13 

Lamedh. Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. 

THY WORD IS SETTLED (established, fixed) IN HEAVEN: basic sense of "settled" is illustrated in God's order to Moses to stand (i.e. station himself ) by the river's brink" to meet Pharaoh (Ex7:15). This verse avows the immutability of God's Word; it shall stand forever (cf. Ps89:2 Isa40:8; Mt24:34,35; 1Pe1:25).

Henry Morris -  This powerful verse stressing the eternal origin and eternal duration of God's Word begins the second half of Psalm 119.

Matthew Henry's Concise - Ps 119:89-96. The settling of God's word in heaven, is opposed to the changes and revolutions of the earth. And the engagements of God's covenant are established more firmly than the earth itself. All the creatures answer the ends of their creation: shall man, who alone is endued with reason, be the only unprofitable burden of the earth? We may make the Bible a pleasant companion at any time. But the word, without the grace of God, would not quicken us. See the best help for bad memories, namely, good affections; and though the exact words be lost, if the meaning remain, that is well. I am thine, not my own, not the world's; save me from sin, save me from ruin. The Lord will keep the man in peace, whose mind is stayed on him. It is poor perfection which one sees and end of. Such are all things in this world, which pass for perfections. The glory of man is but as the flower of the grass. The psalmist had seen the fulness of the word of God, and its sufficiency. The word of the Lord reaches to all cases, to all times. It will take us from all confidence in man, or in our own wisdom, strength, and righteousness. Thus shall we seek comfort and happiness from Christ alone. 


Warren Wiersbe - Settled Questions
Read Psalm 119:89-96
 
Have you ever noticed that very little gets settled in this world? Few things are resolved politically. We sign treaties and contracts, and then they're broken or reinterpreted. Nothing seems final. Your life may be unsettled because of a situation or person. If that's the case, consider Psalm 119:89: "Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven."
 
My word--or anyone's, for that matter--is not settled. I've changed my opinions and my beliefs on certain things. I hope that when I give my word it is trustworthy. But God's Word is always true. We can trust it. We don't have to worry about Him lying to us. He can't.
 
God's Word is eternal. I often go to used bookstores and find bestsellers from years ago being sold for 25 cents each. Not so with God's Word. Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Matt. 24:35).
 
God's Word also is changeless. God is not a diplomat who argues endlessly. He simply says, "This is the way it is going to be." If you want to find out how He has settled things, read His Word.
 
I'm glad that when I open my Bible, I find that things are settled. God tells us how to stop wars, how to solve problems, how to take care of sin. Best of all, He tells us how we can go to heaven. That's all settled. The Lord Jesus Christ died for us on the cross, rose again and will save all who will come to Him by faith.
* * *
The strength and stability of God's Word stand out as a beacon in the instability and unsettledness of life. Because it is true, eternal and changeless, we may trust it and live by its truths. God has settled the questions of sin, death, salvation and eternal life. Do you need to settle these questions for yourself? Read and study His Word.  (Psalm 119:89-96 Settled Questions


Charles Bridges - The Christian extends his survey far beyond the limits of his individual sphere. His view of the operations of God in creation enlarges his apprehensions of the Divine attributes, and especially that of unchanging faithfulness. Indeed, the very fact of a creation in ruins—a world in rebellion against its Maker, failing of the grand end of existence, and yet still continued in existence—manifests “his faithfulness unto all generations.”3 How different is the contemplation of the Christian from the philosopher! His is not a mere cold, speculative admiration, but the establishment of his faith upon a clear discovery of the faithfulness of God. Thus he stays his soul upon the assured unchangeableness of the Divine word—“Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”4 How striking is the contrast between the transient glory of man’s goodliness, and the solid foundation of all the promises, hopes, and prospects of the children of God!—“The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”5 “Unbelief” is the character of our “evil hearts.”6 Man chooses his own measure and objects of faith; he believes no more than he pleases. But it is a fearful prospect, that the threatenings of God rest upon the same solid foundation with his promises. “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.”7

Need we any further proof of his faithfulness? Look at the earth established by his word of power.1 See how “he hangeth it upon nothing,”2 as if it might fall at any moment; and yet it is immovably fixed3—it abideth4—and with all its furniture continueth according to his ordinances. This—though the scoff of the infidel5—is the encouragement to Christian faith; it is at once a token of his covenant with nature, that “while the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease;”6 and an emblem of his covenant with the seed of David, that he “will not cast them off for all that they have done.”7 Thus every view of the heavens—yea—every time we set our foot on the earth8—shows the unchangeableness of his everlasting covenant, and the security of the salvation of his own people.

In this vast universe, “all are his servants.” “The stars in their courses”—“fire and hail, snow and vapors, stormy winds—fulfil his word. He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.”9 Man—the child of his Maker10—“created in his image”11—destined for his glory12—is the only rebel and revolter. Most affecting is the appeal, that his own Father and God is constrained to make concerning him, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord hath spoken. I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me!”13

Is not then the universe of nature a parable of grace—setting out on every side—in every view—a cheering display of the faithfulness of God?14 If his providence fails not, will the promise of his covenant disappoint us? Why should he change? Does he see or know anything now, that he has not foreseen and foreknown from eternity? What more sure ground of salvation than the unchangeableness of God?15 If I can prove a word to have been spoken by God, I must no more question it than his own being. It may seem to fail on earth; but it is for ever settled in heaven. The decrees of the kings of the earth, “settled” on earth, are exposed to all the variations and weakness of a changing world. They may be revoked by themselves or their successors, or they may die away. The empty sound of the “law of the Medes and Persians that altereth not,”16 has long since been swept away into oblivion. But while “the word settled” on earth has “waxed old like a garment, and perished:” the word settled in heaven—is raised above all the revolutions of the universe, and remaineth as the throne of God—unshaken and eternal; exhibiting the foundation of the believer’s hope and of the unbeliever’s terror, to be alike unalterably fixed.

But we also remark the foreknowledge as well as the faithfulness of God. From the eternity that is past, as well as for the eternity that is to come, “thy word is settled in heaven.” Before this fair creation was marred, yea, before it was called into existence, its ruin was foreseen, and a remedy provided. “The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world,”1 and foreordained before2 that era. Coeval with this period, a people were “chosen in him,”3 and “for ever the word was settled heaven.”—“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.”4 For the establishment of the Redeemer’s kingdom upon earth, “the decree is declared;” however earth and hell may combine against it—“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Sion.”5 And what a blessed encouragement in the grand work of bringing back “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,”6 and those “other sheep” with them, which are not of this fold”7 is it, that we do not depend upon the earnestness of our prayers, the wisdom of our plans, and the diligence of our endeavors; but upon “the word,” which “is for ever settled in heaven!”—“The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them saith the Lord—My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words, which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.” “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return,—That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”8

3 Gen. 8:22.

4 Ps 119:152, 160.

5 Isaiah 40:6–8. Compare 1 Peter 1:24, 25.

6 Hebrews 3:12.

7 Compare Luke 21:28–33.

1 Psalm 33:9. Heb. 1:3.

2 Job 26:7.

3 Psalm 24:2; 104:5; 148:6.

4 Eccles. 1:4.

5 2 Peter 3:4.

6 Genesis 8:22.

7 Jer. 31:35, 36; 33:20, 21, 25, 26.

8 Isaiah 54:9, 10.

9 Judges 5:20. Ps. 148:8; 147:15. Compare Job 37:12. Isaiah 48:13.

10 Deut. 32:6.

11 Genesis 1:27; 5:1.

12 Isaiah 43:7.

13 Isaiah 1:2.

14 Ps. 89:2.

15 Mal. 3:6. Heb. 6:17, 18; 7:21–25.

16 Daniel 6:8.

1 Rev. 13:8.

2 1 Peter 1:20.

3 Eph. 1:4.

4 John 6:37.

5 Psalm 2:6–8.

6 Matt. 15:24.

7 John 10:16.

8 Isa. 59:20, 21; 45:23.


Someone has written a poem that talks about the problem of using a spell-checking program on a computer. The first stanza says: 

I have a spelling checker
I disk covered four my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot see. 

The words are spelled correctly, but they aren't the right words to convey the message of the writer. It's proof positive that if you're looking to the wrong source for correctness, then you aren't right. 

It's like that with matters of faith. It is possible to trust the wrong source of information about spiritual things. For instance, there are people who teach that salvation depends on keeping rituals, performing good works, joining a church, or being baptized. But they are wrong. So where can we go for the truth? We need a perfect, fool-proof source. That source is the Bible. God's Word says that salvation is by grace through faith. "It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). 

There are so many sources of information today, it's easy to pick the wrong one. Be sure you carefully check out what you hear and read about God and eternal life. The Bible is the only source of what is true and right. --JDB 

The Bible is a gift from God,
A lamp of truth and light;
It searches heart and soul and mind,
And tells us what is right. --Bosch

Like a compass, the Bible always points you in the right direction.
 


Talmage - The balances of God never lose their adjustment. With them, a pound is a pound, and right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a soul is a soul, and eternity is eternity.


Two writers whose books were penned in an era far different from our late 20th-century techno-society have made comebacks recently. Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility became popular again when film producers put their stories on the screen. 

How could that be? Hasn't our society advanced so far that yesteryear's books couldn't possibly have any relevance to today's situations? The great thing about classic literature is that just the opposite is true. Fine writing has enduring value when it speaks to the heart-issues people have always shared--issues like relationships, love, and surviving in this world. 
    But there's one old book that tops them all. It stands above the rest not only because it speaks clearly and accurately about the human condition but also because it was inspired by the One who created us. It's the Bible, God's Word to us. When it talks about marriage, it's right on target. When it talks about how to treat others, it's more helpful than today's advice column. But most important, when it talks about the purpose of life, it's the only source of truth. The Bible--it's an old book, but it's still the best. --JDB 

    The Bible stands though the hills may tumble,
    It will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble;
    I will plant my feet on its firm foundation,
    For the Bible stands. --Lillenas

To stay on course, trust the unfailing compass of God's Word.


Your words of pure, eternal truth
Shall yet unshaken stay,
When all that man has thought or planned,
Like chaff shall pass away. --Anon.

In a changing world you can trust God's unchanging Word.


God’s Enduring Word

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 119:89-96

At the beginning of World War II, aerial bombings flattened much of Warsaw, Poland. Cement blocks, ruptured plumbing, and shards of glass lay strewn across the great city. In the downtown area, however, most of one damaged building still stubbornly stood. It was the Polish headquarters for the British and Foreign Bible Society. Still legible on a surviving wall were these words: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

Jesus made that statement to encourage His disciples when they asked Him about the “end of the age” (v. 3). But His words also give us courage in the midst of our embattled situation today. Standing in the rubble of our shattered dreams, we can still find confidence in God’s indestructible character, sovereignty, and promises.

The psalmist wrote: “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Ps. 119:89). But it is more than the word of the Lord; it is His very character. That is why the psalmist could also say, “Your faithfulness continues through all generations” (v. 90).

As we face devastating experiences, we can define them either in terms of despair or of hope. Because God will not abandon us to our circumstances, we can confidently choose hope. His enduring Word assures us of His unfailing love. By:  Dennis Fisher (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Your Word. Thank You for its truth, its timelessness, and the guidance You give us by that Word. Help us believe and trust everything You say.

We can trust God’s unchanging Word.

Psalm 119:90  Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. 

  • faithfulness (KJV): De 7:9 Mic 7:20 
  • unto all generations (KJV): Heb. to generation and generation, Ps 89:1,2 100:5 
  • thou hast (KJV): Ps 89:11 93:1 104:5 Job 38:4-7 2Pe 3:5-7 
  • abideth (KJV): Heb. standeth

Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. 

Henry Morris -  God created the earth after He had settled His Word and then undertook the work of sustaining it forever.

Paul echoes the stability of the earth describing Jesus...

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17+)


Charles Bridges - see comment on Ps 119:89

Psalm 119:91 They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants. 

  • They continue this (KJV): Ps 148:5,6 Ge 8:22 Isa 48:13 Jer 33:25 
  • all are (KJV): De 4:19 Jos 10:12,13 Jud 5:20 Mt 5:45 8:9 

They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants. 

 

 


Charles Bridges -  - see comment on Ps 119:89

Psalm 119:92 If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction. 

thy law (KJV): Ps 119:24,77,143 Ro 15:4 
I should (KJV): Ps 27:13 94:18,19 Pr 6:22,23 

PRESERVED IN AFFLICTION
BY GOD'S WORD

If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction. It is interesting that the Lxx translators chose to translate Hebrew sha'shua' = "delight"  by using the word "melete" in (Ps 119:77, 92, 143,174). The point is that this repeated use of melete for sha'shua' conveys the thought that meditation on God's Word is one's delight! What a beautiful picture. The related verb in the NT is meletao meaning to take pains, meditate, devise.

Liddell-Scott on melete - care, attention,  care for many things, Id.; m. attention to action,  care paid by one, 2. practice, exercise, Lat. meditatio, Pind.; painful exercises, of the Spartan discipline, Id. b. in a military sense, exercise, practice, drill, Id. c. of an orator, rehearsal, Dem. 3. a pursuit, Pind. II. care, anxiety 

Melete 14v in Septuagint - Job 33:15; Job 37:2; Ps. 19:14; Ps. 39:3; Ps. 49:3; Ps. 119:24; Ps. 119:77; Ps. 119:92; Ps. 119:97; Ps. 119:99; Ps. 119:143; Ps. 119:174; Eccl. 12:12; Lam. 3:62

THEN I WOULD HAVE PERISHED IN MY AFFLICTION: so he could echo Ps1 19:50, 67, 71, 75 --The law of God comforts us in lowliness. Let us not forget His wellspring of comfort & run to broken cisterns that can hold no water.


Charles Bridges - The support of the word is as sure as its basis—and that in the time when other supports sink—in affliction. David—like his great prototype—was a man of affliction9—sometimes ready to perish—always kept up by the law of his God. How many a false professor has been tried and cast by this hour of “affliction!” But he who has been sifted by temptation—who has “endured the hardness” of persecution, as a “good soldier of Jesus Christ”10—and who is ready rather to be “consumed upon earth,”11 than to shrink from his profession—this is he whom his Master “will lift up, and not make his foes to rejoice over him.”12 It is the established rule of the kingdom—“Them that honor me I will honor.’13 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”14

The law of God opens to us a clear interest in every perfection of his Godhead—every engagement of his covenant. What wonder then, that it brings delights which the world can never conceive when bowed down with accumulated affliction? However the believer’s real character may be hidden from the world, the hour of trial abundantly proves, both what the law can do for him, and what a lost creature he would have been without it. In affliction, friends mean well; but of themselves they can do nothing. They can only look on, feel, and pray. They cannot “speak to the heart.” This is God’s prerogative:1 and his law is his voice.

But for this support, Jonah probably would have “perished in his affliction.” In the belly of the fish, as “in the belly of hell,” he appears to have recollected the experience of David under deep and awful desertion; and in taking his language out of his mouth, as descriptive of his own dark and terrific condition, a ray of light and hope darted upon his dungeon walls.2 Indeed it is a mystery, how a sinner, destitute of the support and comfort of the word of God, can ever uphold himself in his trials. We marvel not, that often, “his soul should choose strangling, and death, rather than his life.”3

But in order to derive support from the law, it must be “our delights”4—yea—that it may be our delights it must be the matter of our faith. For what solid delight can we have in what we do not believe?5 Must it not also be our joy in prosperity, if we would realize its support in affliction? For this how ineffectual is the mere formal service! Who ever tasted its tried consolations in the bare performance of the outward duty? It must be read as a reality; it will then be taken as a cordial. Let it be simply received, diligently searched, and earnestly prayed over; and it will guide the heavy-laden to Him, who is their present and eternal rest.6 The tempest-tossed soul will cast anchor upon it—“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.”7 One promise applied by the Spirit of God is worth ten thousand worlds. And each promise is a staff—if we have but faith to lean upon it—able to bear our whole weight of sin, care, and trial.

Is then affliction our appointed lot? If “man is born”—and the child of God twice born—“to trouble, as the sparks fly upward”8—how important is it to lay in a store of supply from this inexhaustible treasury against the time when all human support will fail! Supplied hence with heavenly strength, we shall be borne up above the weakness and weariness of the flesh. And as the riches of this store-house are “the riches of Christ,”1 let those parts be most familiar to us,2 which mark his person,3 his character,4 offices,5 life,6 sufferings,7 and death,8 resurrection and glory,9 together with the promises, encouragements, and prospects directly flowing from this blessed subject—and oh! what a treasure-house shall we find richly furnished with every source of delight, and every ground of support!

9 Psalm 132:1.

10 2 Tim. 2:3.

11 Verse 87.

12 Psalm 30:1.

13 1 Sam. 2:30.

14 Rev. 3:10.

1 Isaiah 40:2. Hosea 2:14. Margin.

2 Jonah 2:3, with Psalm 42:7. The phraseology in the LXX. is identical, as if it were a clear and distinct recollection of the Psalmist’s expressions, when describing his own state of desertion.

3 Job 7:15. Compare 2 Cor. 7:10.

4 “Delights”—instar omnium—instead of all manner of delights.

5 Psalm 27:13.

6 Matt. 11:28. It was the speech of a holy man—after God had made this precious text the messenger to open his dungeon of spiritual distress, and bring him into the light of inward joy—that he had better be without meat, drink, light, air, earth, life, and all, than without this one comfortable Scripture. “If one single promise”—as Gurnal sweetly remarks in giving this story—“like an ear of corn rubbed in the hand of faith, and applied by the Spirit of Christ—can afford such a full satisfying meal of joy to the hunger-bitten, pining soul; oh what price can we set upon the whole field of Scripture, which stands so thick with promises every way as cordial as this!”—Gurnal on Ephesians 6:17. Well might Luther say—“I have covenanted with my Lord, that he should not send me visions, or dreams, or even angels. I am content with this one gift of the Scriptures, which abundantly teaches and supplies all that is necessary both for this life and that which is to come.”

7 Ps 119:49.

8 Job 5:7.

1 Eph. 3:8. John 5:39.

2 Such as Isaiah 53 which, in the compass of a single chapter sketches out his whole history. See below.

3 Isaiah 53:1, 2.

4 Isaiah 53: 9.

5 Isaiah 53:4, 5, 12.

6 Isaiah 53:3.

7 Isaiah 53:7, 8.

8 Isaiah 53:9.

9 Isaiah 53:10–12.

Psalm 119:93  I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me. 

  • will never (KJV): Ps 119:16,50 Joh 6:63 1Pe 1:23 

I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me - What a great passage to motivate us to memorize God's Word


Charles Bridges - An admirable resolution! the blessed fruit of the quickening power of the word in his deep affliction. He had before acknowledged this supernatural efficacy—“Thy word hath quickened me.”10 Now he more distinctly mentions it, as the instrumental only—not the efficient cause—“With them thou hast quickened me.” Had the power been in the word, the same effect would have immediately and invariably followed. Nor should we have been constrained to lament the limited extent of its influence. How many, Christian, shared with you in the outward privileges; but perhaps unto none was the life-giving blessing vouchsafed, save unto yourself—the most unlikely—the most unworthy of all!11 Thus does “God work in us both to will and do”—not according to any prescribed law, but “of his own good pleasure.”12 The grace therefore is not from, but through, the means. Almighty God is the source of the life. The word is the instrument—yet so “quick,”13 so melting,14 so attractive,15 that we might ask, out of what rock was that heart hewn, that is proof against its power? Yet while the precepts work nothing without the agent,16 they are the ordinary course, by which the Lord quickeneth whom he will.17

And do not we find them still lively channels of refreshment? Surely, then, we will hold to our purpose of not forgetting the precepts. The leaves of the word of God are the leaves of the tree of life, as well as of the tree of knowledge. They not only enlighten the path, but they supply life for daily walk and progress.

“The words that I speak unto you”—said Jesus—“they are spirit, and they are life;”18 so that the times when we have been most diligent in our meditation and obedience to the precepts, have been uniformly the seasons of our most holy consolation.

Men of the world, however, with accurate recollections of all matters connected with their temporal advantage, are remarkably slow in retaining the truths of God. They plead their short memories, although conscious that this infirmity does not extend to their important secular engagements. But what wonder that they for get the precepts, when they have never been quickened with them—never received any benefit from them? The word of God is not precious to them: they acknowledge no obligation to it: they have no acquaintance with it. It has no place in their affections, and therefore but little abode in their remembrance.

But this resolution is the language of sincerity, not of perfection. The child of God is humbled in the conscious “forgetfulness of the Lord’s precepts.” And this consciousness keeps his eye fixed upon Jesus for pardon and acceptance: while every fresh sense of acceptance strengthens his more habitual remembrance. Then as for his natural inability to preserve an accurate recollection of Divine things—let him not estimate the benefit of the word by the results in the memory, so much as by the impressions upon the heart. The word may have darted through the mind, as a flash of lightning, that strikes and is gone; and yet the heart may have been melted, and the passing flash may have shed a heavenly ray upon a dubious path. If the heart retains the quickening power—“The precepts are not forgotten,” even though the memory should have failed to preserve them.

But whatever word of conviction, direction, or encouragement, may have come to us, affix this seal to it—‘I will never forget thy precepts.’ It may be of signal use in some hour of temptation. The same Spirit that breathed before upon it, may breathe again; if not with the same present sensible power, yet with a seasonable and refreshing recollection of past support.

10 Ps 119:50.

11 Comp. Luke 4:25, 26.

12 Phil. 2:13.

13 Heb. 4:12.

14 Jer. 23:29.

15 Matt. 11:28.

16 1 Cor. 3:7.

17 John 5:21. Rom. 10:17.

18 John 6:63.

Psalm 119:94  I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts. 

  • I am thine (KJV): Ps 86:2 Jos 10:4-6 Isa 41:8-10 44:2,5 64:8-10 Zep 3:17 Ac 27:23,24 
  • for I have (KJV): Ps 119:27,40,1

I am Yours, save me; For I have sought (Lxx - ekzeteo, Heb 11:6) Your precepts. 

Save (deliver, help) (03467yasha'  (See also yeshua from which we get our word "Jesus") is an important Hebrew verb which means to help, to save, to deliver. The root in Arabic is "make wide" which underscores the main thought of yasha' as to bring to a place of safety or broad pasture in contrast to a narrow strait which symbolizes distress or danger. Septuagint = sozo, - save, deliver.


Charles Bridges - What a high and honorable character is stamped upon the meanest believer! He is the Saviour’s unalienable property,1 his portion,2 the “wormanship”3 of his hand, the purchase of his blood,4 the triumph of his conquering love.5 He is given to him by his Father6—“preserved in him, and called.”7 The evidence of his character is found in “seeking the Lord’s precepts.” “Whom we serve” will prove “whose we are.”8 “His servants ye are, to whom ye obey.”9 “Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself.”10 “The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh” cannot seek the Lord’s precepts.11 A new and spiritual bias, therefore, is the visible stamp and seal of the Lord’s interest in us.

True it is, that our Divine Saviour can never be robbed of his property—that his people are saved in him, beyond the reach of earth and hell to touch them. Yet are they dependent still—always sinners—every day’s provocation making them more sinners than before; needing, therefore, from day to day, fresh power, fresh keeping, and above all, fresh cleansing and acceptance. But what a powerful plea for mercy may we draw from the Lord’s interest in us! Will not a man be careful of his children, his treasure, his jewels? Such am I.1 Thy sovereign love hath bought me—made me thine2—I am thine; save me. Thou hast saved me; “thou hast delivered my soul from death; wilt thou not deliver my feet from falling?”3 Save me from the love of sin, from the daily guilt and power of sin; from the treachery of my own foolish heart; from all this, and all besides, which thou seest ensnaring to my soul. If I am not thine, whence this desire, this endeavor to “seek thy precepts?” What mean my privileged moments of communion with thee? What mean the yet unsatisfied desires after a conformity to thine image? Lord, I would humbly plead thine own act, thy free and sovereign act, that made me thine. Save me, because thou hast brought thy salvation near to me, and sealed me thine. I need mercy to begin with me; mercy to accompany me; mercy to abide with me for ever. “I am think, save me.”

And what irresistible energy does it give to our pleading, that this was the sole purpose, that brought down the Son of God from heaven! “I came down”—said he—“from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing.”4 Of this purpose he was enabled to testify at the conclusion of his work—“Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition.”5

But some cry for salvation, who neglect duty, and thus make void their plea. Can we make our interest good, by seeking his precepts? Is it the way in which we love to walk? Then let us not desist from our plea before God, until our heart listens to the voice of love, centering every blessing of creation, redemption, and heavenly calling, in the privilege of adoption—“Thus saith the Lord, that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee: I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Thou art my servant; O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions; and as a cloud, thy sins.”6 I have regarded this thy plea. I have heard this thy prayer—“I am thine, save me.”7

1 1 Cor. 3:23.

2 Deut. 32:9.

3 Eph. 2:10.

4 Psalm 74:2. Acts 20:28. 1 Cor. 6:19, 20.

5 Isaiah 53:10–12. Luke 11:21, 22.

6 John 6:37; 10:29; 17:6, 11.

7 Jude 1.

8 Acts 27:23.

9 Rom. 6:16.

10 Psalm 4:3.

11 Rom. 8:7, 8.

1 Heb. 2:13. Exodus 19:5. Mal. 3:17.

2 Isaiah 43:3, 4.

3 Psalm 56:13.

4 John 6:38, 39.

5 Jn. 17:12; 18:9.

6 Isaiah 43:1; 44:21, 22.

7 The same plea is urged in prayer, Psalm 143:12 86:2. Margin. Compare also verse 125.

Psalm 119:95 The wicked wait for me to destroy me; I shall diligently consider Your testimonies. 

  • wicked (KJV): Ps 119:61,69,85-87 10:8-10 27:2 37:32 38:12 1Sa 23:20-23 2Sa 17:1-4 Mt 26:3-5 Ac 12:11 23:21 25:3 
  • but I (KJV): Ps 119:24,31,111,125,129,167 

The wicked wait for me to destroy me; I shall diligently consider Your testimonies. 

 


Charles Bridges - Am I, as a believer, safe as the Lord’s property, and in the Lord’s keeping? Yet must I expect that the wicked, the ungodly, as the instruments of Satan, will not cease to distress me. The Psalmist had before alluded to this trial, as driving him to his refuge.1 And, indeed, this is the constant character of the believer’s walk—enduring the enmity of the ungodly, and seeking his refuge in the word of God—in that hiding-place of safety to which the word directs him. How striking is the proof of the irreconcilable variance between God and the world—the world encouraging all that is contrary to God, and persecuting his image in his people! Yet the word opens to us a sure defence. If our “soul is among lions,”2 cannot we testify to the astonishment of the world—“My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me?”3 We hear indeed the roaring of the winds and waves; but we hear also the voice hushing the storm to rest—“Peace, be still.”4

The experience of this trial and support beautifully illustrates the promise—“He that believeth shall not make haste.”5 He whose hope is firmly fixed on that “tried corner-stone,” which God himself hath “laid in Zion as a sure foundation”—“shall not be greatly moved;” nay, he “shall not moved”6 at all, by “the wicked waiting for him to destroy him.” In the hour of difficulty, instead of perplexing himself with successive expedients for his safety (sought more from human contrivance, than from asking counsel at the mouth of God,) he “possesses his soul in patience,” and calmly commits all events to the Lord. Such a man “shall not be afraid of evil tidings! his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.”7 ‘This trust is grounded on the word of God, revealing his power and all-sufficiency, and withal his goodness, his offer of himself to be the stay of the soul, commanding us to rest upon him. People wait on I know not what persuasions and assurances; but I know no other to build faith on, but the word of promise. The truth and faithfulness of God opened up his wisdom and power and goodness, as the stay of all those that, renouncing all other props, will venture on it, and lay all upon him. “He that believes, sets to his seal that God is true:” and so he is sealed for God; his portion and interest secured. “If you will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.” ’8

But it is the “considering of the Lord’s testimonies,” that draws out their staying support. The soul must be fixed upon them, as “tried words, purified seven times in the fire.”9 And in this frame “I will,” under all distresses, all circumstances of trial, or even of dismay, “consider thy testimonies.” “I will consider” the faithfulness of those blessed declarations—“There shall not an hair of your head perish. Touch not mine anointed.”10 “He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye.”1 With this armor of defence, I shall not be afraid, even should I hear the “evil tidings,” that “the wicked have waited for me to destroy me.” Or even should I be destroyed, I know that thy testimonies cannot fail—that my rock is perfect—“that there is no unrighteousness in him;”2 and therefore, “though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.”3 Whether, then, I am delivered from the wicked, and “live—I live unto the Lord;” or whether I fall into their snare, and “die—I die unto the Lord;”4 for “I will consider thy testimonies,” assured that all thy purposes shall be accomplished concerning me, as thou hast said—“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”5 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”6

1 Ps 119:78, 87. Comp. Ps 119:114, 115.

2 Psalm 57:4.

3 Daniel 6:22.

4 Mark 4:39.

5 Isaiah 28:16.

6 Psalm 62:2, 6. His confidence increased in the recollection of his support—“I shall not be greatly moved—I shall not be moved.”

7 Psalm 112:7.

8 Leighton’s Works, 3:256, 257.

9 Psalm 12:7, P. B. Trans.

10 Luke 21:18. Psalm 105:15.

1 Zech. 2:8.

2 Psalm 92:15.

3 Ps 27:3.

4 Rom. 14:8.

5 Heb. 13:5.

6 Isaiah 26:3.

Psalm 119:96 I have seen a limit to all perfection; Your commandment is exceedingly broad. 

  • I have seen (KJV): That is, I have seen that all human wisdom or knowledge, however extensive, noble, and excellent, has it bounds, and limits, and end; but Thy law, a transcript of Thine own mind, is infinite, and extends to eternity. Ps 39:5,6 1Sa 9:2 17:8,49-51 31:4,5 2Sa 14:25 16:23 17:23 2Sa 18:14,17 Ec 1:2,3 2:11 7:20 12:8 Mt 5:18 24:35 
  • but thy (KJV): Ps 19:7,8 Mt 5:28 22:37-40 Mk 12:29-34 Ro 7:7-12,14 Heb 4:12,13 

I have seen a limit to all perfection; Your commandment is exceedingly broad. 

 


Charles Bridges - A deeper insight in the Lord’s “testimonies” is the sure result of “considering” them. Weigh them in the balances against this world’s excellency; the world and the word—each with all its fulness. Of the one perfection we see an end—of the other—none. This world is a matter of experience and observation. We have seen it—an end—not of some—but of all its perfection. It wants sufficiency. It stands us in no stead in the great emergencies of affliction—death—judgment—eternity. It wants solidity in its best substance. “In its wisdom is grief!”7 All its delicacies and indulgences—after having, like the King of Jerusalem, “not withheld the heart from any joy”—all ends in the verdict of disappointment—“Behold! all was vanity and vexation of spirit!”8 Its continuance is but for a moment. The soul is born for eternity. Therefore it must have a portion to last as long as itself. But the world, with its lusts and fashion, passeth away.9 All that it can offer is a bubble—a shadow. In its best riches, honors, and pleasures—in the utmost that its perfection can yield—in its height and prime of enjoyment—what is it in itself—what is it able to do for us? “All is vanity.”10 And yet such is the alienation of the heart from God, that it is first tried to the very uttermost, before any desire to return homeward is felt or expressed. And even then, nothing but the Almighty power of God can bring the sinner back. He would rather perish in his misery, than “return to his rest.”

Now contrast with the emptiness of the world the fulness of “the commandment of God.” Our whole duty to our God, our neighbor, and ourselves, is here laid open before us—commanding without abatement, and forbidding without allowance—making no excuse for ignorance—frailty—or forgetfulness—reaching not only to every species of crime, but to everything tending to it. This is “perfection,” of which we never “see an end.” Every fresh view opens—not the extent—but the immensity of the field; and compels us at length to shut up our inquiries with the adoring acknowledgment—Thy commandment is exceeding broad. Its various parts form one seamless piece; so that no particle can be separated without injury to the whole. As all the curtains of the tabernacle, connected by taches and loops, made but one covering for the ark, and the loosening or disjunction of the smallest point disannulled the fitness of the whole; so it belongs to the perfection of the commandment, that “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”1 The spirituality of its requirements equally illustrates its Divine “perfection.” An angry look is murder;2 an unchaste desire is adultery;3 the “stumbling-block of iniquity”4—“covetousness”5 in the heart is idolatry; the thought6 as well as the act—the first conception of sin, as well as the after commission—brings in the verdict—Guilty—Death.

Can we then endure the sight of its “exceeding breadth?” Yes—for the commandment of the Gospel7 is equally broad, and covers all.8 We know who hath stood in our place—who hath satisfied Sinai’s unalterable requirements, and borne its awful curse.9 Broad as it may be, the love which hath fulfilled it is immeasurable. As a covenant, therefore, it has now lost its terrors. As a rule, we love it for its extent, and for its purity; for the comprehensiveness of its obligations, and for the narrowness of its liberty for indulgence; nor would we wish to be subject to a less severe scrutiny, or a more lenient administration.

Reader! If you have learnt “the exceeding breadth” and spirituality of the law (the first lesson that is taught and learnt in the school of Christ,) your views of yourself and your state before God will be totally changed. Before, you were “thanking God” in your heart, “that you were not as other men are.” Now you will be “smiting upon your breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner!”10 Before, perhaps you might have thought yourself, “touching the righteousness which is of the law, blameless.” Now you will glory in your new and more enlightened choice—“What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”11 Once you considered yourself “alive,” when you were really dead. Now that “the commandment is come” in its heart-searching spirituality and conviction to your soul, you “die”12 that you may live. Blessed change from the law to the Gospel—“from death to life!” “I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”13

Such is the effect of the transition from a legal to an evangelical ground. Before, we were reckless of sin, and therefore reckless of the Gospel. As the one fell lightly upon our conscience, the other held a light estimation in our judgment. While we had no disturbance from the law, we had no delight in the Gospel. But now that we see through the true mirror, we are at once alarmed and enlightened, Praised be God!—we now take the true estimate—we degrade to the uttermost righteousness by works—we exalt to the uttermost righteousness by faith. In the one we see pollution—in the other perfection.

7 Eccl. 1:18.

8 Eccl 2:10, 11.

9 Eccl 1:2.

10 1 John 2:17. 1 Cor. 7:31.

1 James 2:10, 11.

2 Matt. 5:21, 22. Comp. 1 John 3:15.

3 Matt. 5:27.

4 Ezek. 14:7.

5 Ephes. 5:5.

6 Prov. 24:9. Compare 23:7.

7 John 6:28, 29. 1 John 3:23.

8 Rom. 3:22.

9 Gal. 4:4, 5; 3:13.

10 Luke 18:9–13.

11 Phil. 3:6, 7.

12 Romans 7:9.

13 Gal. 2:19.

Psalm 119:97 Mem. O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. 

  • O how: Ps 119:48,113,127,159,165,167 1:2 De 6:6-9 17:19 Jos 1:8 Pr 2:10 Pr 18:1 

O how I love Your law! - What we love, we love to think of. A good man carries his Bible with him, if not in his hands, yet in his head and in his heart. (Ps 119:47, 48, 97,113, 119,127, 159, 163, 167) The way you treat your Bible is the way you treat Christ. To love Him is to love His Word. The Word is a delight (Ps 119:16, 24, 16, 35, 47, 70) and not a disappointment; we rejoice to read it (Ps 119:14, 162).

It is my meditation all the day - The Hebrew word "kol" for "all" in combination with the Septuagint (Lxx) use of "holos" which speaks of the totality of something and thus pictures a man who is constantly immersed in God's Word which naturally results in his mind being continually set on the things above (cp Col 3:1,2+). Where is your focus today? Lay aside every encumbrance (Heb 12:1,2+). Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within your mind (Col 3:16+). It is also interesting that "holos" in Lxx often modifies "heart" and so pictures a "whole heart" or one totally devoted to His Master! (See Integrity - A Whole Heart and Give Me An Undivided Heart)

We must read 

Scripture every day
And meditate on what God said
To fight temptation from the world
And live a life that's Spirit led.
--Sper

Psalm 119:15, 23, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148: Meditation is to the soul what digestion is to the body. To meditate means to “turn over” God’s Word in the mind and heart, to examine it, to compare Scripture with Scripture, to “feed on” its wonderful truths. In this day of noise and confusion, such meditation is rare but so needful. Meditation is impossible without memorization.Reading the Bible without meditating on it is like eating without chewing. 

Meditation (07881)(sichah; see related siyah) means musing, complaint, pondering, reflection, concern of one's thoughts. "The word is primarily used to indicate meditation. The psalmist indicated the proper procedure for an individual's response to God's Law. Because of his love for God's Law, the psalmist was prompted to meditate on it all day long. Due to his practice of meditation, the psalmist received more understanding than his elders (Ps. 119:97, 99). As Job expressed his feelings and frustrations, Eliphaz responded condemningly, stating that what Job was feeling and saying was hindering devotion to God (Job 15:4)." Eliphaz's response was that of an ignorant man who did not realize the true nature of devotion to God." (Complete Word Study Dictionary) Three OT uses - Job 15:4, Ps 119:97, Ps 119:99. 

Septuagint - melete (not found in NT but see related word meletao) means care, attention, meditation. Used 14x in the Septuagint - Job 33:15; Job 37:2; Ps. 19:14; Ps. 39:3; Ps. 49:3; Ps. 119:24; Ps. 119:77; Ps. 119:92; Ps. 119:97; Ps. 119:99; Ps. 119:143; Ps. 119:174; Eccl. 12:12; Lam. 3:62 It is also interesting that the Lxx translators chose to translate this Hebrew word sha'shua' = "delight"  by using the word "melete" in the following passages (Ps 119:77, 92, 143,174). The point is that this repeated use of melete for sha'shua' conveys the thought that meditation on God's Word is one's delight! What a beautiful picture. 

Henry Morris - This testimony of the psalmist should convict us today. He had only small portions of the Scriptures to study, much of which were portions that many modern Christians don't bother to read at all, whereas we have God's complete revelation. He loved the Scriptures so much that he continually meditated on them!


Warren Wiersbe - Sweeter Than Honey
 
Read Psalm 119:97-104
 
How well I remember the day my doctor looked at me and said, "Reverend, you will not eat any more sweets." I've learned to do without desserts, but there's one sweet I cannot do without--God's Word: "How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103).
 
Is the Word of God like honey or medicine to you? The way some people treat it, you'd think it is castor oil. True, there are times when we need the healing medicine of the Scripture. But the Bible is much more than medicine. It also is honey. Having an appetite for God's Word is one sign that a person is truly born again, for the Bible is food for the soul. Job said, "I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12). Jeremiah said, "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart" (Jer. 15:16). Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). And Peter urges us to "desire the pure milk of the word" (1 Pet. 2:2).
 
When people are sick, their appetites change--in fact, the