Psalm 119:106

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 106. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. Under the influence of the clear light of knowledge he had firmly made up his mind, and solemnly declared his resolve in the sight of God. Perhaps mistrusting his own fickle mind, he had pledged himself in sacred form to abide faithful to the determinations and decisions of his God. Whatever path might open before him, he was sworn to follow that only upon which the lamp of the word was shining. The Scriptures are God's judgments, or verdicts, upon great moral questions; these are all righteous, and hence righteous men should be resolved to keep them at all hazards, since it must always be right to do right. Experience shows that the less of covenanting and swearing men formally enter upon the better, and the genius of our Saviour's teaching is against all supererogatory pledging and swearing; and yet under the gospel we ought to feel ourselves as much bound to obey the word of the Lord as if we had taken an oath so to do. The bonds of love are not less sacred than the fetters of law. When a man has vowed he must be careful to "perform it", and when a man has not vowed in so many words to keep the Lord's judgments, yet is he equally bound to do so by obligations which exist apart from any promise on our part, -- obligations founded in the eternal fitness of things, and confirmed by the abounding goodness of the Lord our God. Will not every believer own that he is under bonds to the redeeming Lord to follow his example, and keep his words? Yes, the vows of the Lord are upon us, especially upon such as have made profession of discipleship, have been baptized into the thrice holy name, have eaten of the consecrated memorials, and have spoken in the name of the Lord Jesus: We are enlisted, and sworn ill, and are bound to be loyal soldiers all through the war. Thus having taken the word into our hearts by a firm resolve to obey it, we have a lamp within our souls as well as in the Book, and our course will be light unto the end.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 106. -- I have sworn, etc. Patrick's paraphrase is, "I have solemnly resolved and bound myself by the most sacred ties, which I will never break, but do now confirm."

Verse 106. -- I have sworn. I would now urge you to make a solemn surrender of yourself unto the service of God. Do not only form such a purpose in your heart, but expressly declare it in the Divine presence. Such solemnity in the manner of doing it is certainly very reasonable in the nature of things; and sure it is highly expedient, for binding to the Lord such a treacherous heart, as we know our own to be. It will be pleasant to reflect upon it as done at such and such a time, with such and such circumstances of place and method, which may serve to strike the memory and the conscience. The sense of the vows of God which are upon you will strengthen you in an hour of temptation; and the recollection may encourage your humble boldness and freedom in applying to him under the character and relation of your covenant God and Father, as future exigencies may require.

Do it therefore, but do it deliberately. Consider what it is that you are to do: and consider how reasonable it is that it should be done, and done cordially and cheerfully, "not by constraint, but willingly"; for in this sense, and every other, "God loveth a cheerful giver."...

Let me remind you that this surrender must be perpetual. You must give yourself up to God in such a manner, as never more to pretend to be your own; for the rights of God are like his nature, eternal and immutable; and with regard to his rational creatures, are the same yesterday, today, and for ever.

I would further advise and urge, that this dedication may bc made with all possible solemnity. Do it in express words. And perhaps it may be in many cases most expedient, as many pious divines have recommended, to do it in writing. Set your hand and seal to it, "that on such a day of such a month and year, and at such a place, on full consideration and serious reflection, you came to this happy resolution, that whatever others might do, you would serve the Lord." --Philip Doddridge (1702-1751) in "The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul."

Verse 106. -- Frequently renew settled and holy resolutions. A soldier un- resolved to fight may easily be defeated. True and sharpened courage treads down those difficulties which would triumph over a cold and wavering spirit. Resolution in a weak man will perform more than strength in a coward. The weakness of our graces, the strength of our temptations, and the diligence of our spiritual enemies, require strong resolutions. We must be "steadfast and unmoveable," and this will make us "abound in the work of the Lord": 1 Corinthians 15:58 . Abundant exercise in God's work will strengthen the habit of grace, increase our skill in the contest, and make the victory more easy and pleasant to us. Let us frame believing, humble resolutions in the strength of God's grace, with a fear of ourselves, but a confidence in God. David bound himself to God with a hearty vow, depending upon his strength: "I have sworn, and i will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments." This was not in his own strength, for, Psalms 119:107 , he desires God to quicken him, and to "accept the freewill offerings of his mouth," Psalms 119:108 , namely, the oath which proceeded from a free and resolved will. God will not slight, but strengthen the affectionate resolutions of his creature. We cannot keep ourselves from falling unless we first keep our resolutions from flagging. --Stephen Charnock.

Verse 106. --I have sworn, and I will perform it. Theodoricus, Archbishop of Cologne, when the: Emperor Sigismund demanded of him the most direct and most compendious way how to attain true happiness, made answer in brief, thus: "Perform when thou art well what thou promisedst when thou wast sick." David did so; he made vows in war, and paid them in peace; and thus should all good men do; not like the cunning devil, of whom the epigrammatist writeth:

"The devil was sick, the devil a monk would be;
The devil was well, the devil a monk was he."

Nor like unto many now a days, that, if God's hand do but he somewhat heavy upon them, oh, what promises, what engagements are there for amendment of life! How like unto marble against rain do they seem to sweat and melt but still retain their hardness! Let but the rod be taken of their backs, or health restored, then, as their bodies live, their vows die; all is forgotten: nay, many times it so falleth out, that they are far worse than ever they were before. --From John Spencer's "Things New and Old", 1658.

Verse 106. -- Thy righteous judgments. So David styles the word of God, because it judgeth most righteously between right and wrong, truth and falsehood. And, secondly, because according to the judgment given therein, God will act towards men. Let us take heed unto it; for the word contains God's judgment of men and hath a catalogue of such as shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and another of such as shall dwell in God's tabernacle; let us read and see in which of the two catalogues our two selves are; for according to that word will the judgment go. --William Cowper.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 106. -- Decision for God, and fit modes of expressing it.

Verse 106. --

  1. Veneration for the word.
  2. Consecration to the word.
  3. Fidelity to the word. --G.R.

Verse 106. -- Swearing and performing.

  1. The usefulness of religious vows. To quicken perception; to rouse conscience; (seen in Jewish nation: Exodus 24:37 2 Chronicles 15:12-15 Nehemiah 5:28 Nehemiah 5:29 ; in Scottish nation -- Solemn League and Covenant).
  2. The danger of religious vows. A vow unfulfilled, or receded from, is a moral injury: Ec 5:4-7.
  3. The safeguard of religious vows: dependence on the Spirit of God: Ezekiel 11:19-20 2Co 4:5. --C.A.D.