Psalm 119:10

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 10. 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.

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,

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.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 10. With my whole heart have I sought thee. There are very few of us that are able to say with the prophet David that we have sought God with our whole heart; to wit, with such integrity and pureness that we have not turned away from that mark as from the most principal thing of our salvation. John Calvin.

Verse 10. With my whole heart have I sought thee. Sincerity is in every expression; the heart is open before God. The young man can so speak to the Searcher of hearts... Let us consider the directness of this kind of converse with God. We use round about expressions in drawing nigh to God. We say, With my whole heart would I seek thee. We are afraid to be direct... See how decided in his conscious acting is the young man before you, how open and confiding he is, and such you will find to be the characteristic of his pious mind throughout the varied expressions unfolded in this Psalm. Here he declares to the Omniscient One that he had sought him with all his heart. He desired to realize God in everything. John Stephen.

Verse 10 (first clause). God alone sees the heart; the heart alone sees God. John Donne, 1573-1631.

Verse 10. O let me not wander from thy commandments. David after he had protested that he sought God with his whole heart, besought God that he would not suffer him to decline from his commandments. Hereby let us see what great need we have to call upon God, to the end he may hold us with a mighty strong hand. Yea, and though he hath already mightily put to his healing hand, and we also know that he hath bestowed upon us great and manifest graces; yet this is not all: for there are so many vices and imperfections in our nature, and we are so feeble and weak that we have very great need daily to pray unto him, yea, and that more and more, that he will not suffer us to decline from his commandments. John Calvin.

Verse 10. The more experience a man hath in the ways of God, the more sensible is he of his own readiness to wander insensibly, by ignorance and inadvertency, from the ways of God; but the young soldier dares run hazards, ride into his adversary's camp, and talk with temptation, being confident he cannot easily go wrong; he is not so much in fear as David who here cries, O let me not wander. David Dickson, 1583-1662.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 10. --

  1. A grateful review.
  2. An anxious forecast.
  3. A commendable prayer.

Verse 10. -- The believer's two great solicitudes.

  1. What he is anxious to find: "I have sought thee."
  2. What he is afraid of losing: "Thy commandments." --W. D.

Verse 10. -- Sincerity not self sufficiency.

  1. The believer must be conscious of wholeheartedness in seeking God.
  2. But consciousness of sincerity does not warrant self sufficiency.
  3. The most wholehearted seeker must still look to divine grace to keep him from wandering. --C.A.D.