Psalm 119:108

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 108. Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord. The living praise the living God, and therefore the quickened one presents his sacrifice. He offers prayer, praise, confession, and testimony -- these, presented with his voice in the presence of an audience, were the tribute of his mouth unto Jehovah. He trembles lest these should be so ill uttered as to displease the Lord, and therefore he implores acceptance. He pleads that the homage of his mouth was cheerfully and spontaneously rendered; all his utterances were freewill offerings. There can be no value in extorted confessions: God's revenues are not derived from forced taxation, but from freewill donation. There can be no acceptance where there is no willingness; there is no work of free grace where there is no fruit of free will. Acceptance is a favour to be sought from the Lord with all earnestness, for without it our offerings are worse than useless. What a wonder of grace that the Lord will accept anything of such unworthy ones as we are!

And teach me thy judgments. When we render unto the Lord our best, we become all the more concerned to do better. If, indeed, the Lord shall accept us, we then desire to be further instructed, that we may be still more acceptable, After quickening we need teaching: life without light, or zeal without knowledge, would be but half a blessing. These repeated cries for teaching show the humility of the man of God, and also discover to us our own need of similar instruction. Our judgment needs educating till it knows, agrees with, and acts upon, the judgments of the Lord. Those judgments are not always so clear as to be seen at once; we need to be taught in them till we admire their wisdom and adore their goodness as soon as ever we perceive them.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 108. -- The freewill offerings of the mouth, may be the offerings which the mouth had promised and vowed. And who can lay claim to these as the Lord? His are all things. - -John Stephen.

Verse 108. -- The freewill offerings of my mouth. This place makes known that species of sacrifices, which neither tribulations nor poverty of means can hinder, and which does not require an external temple, but in desert places and among heathen may be offered by a godly man. And these sacrifices of the mouth God himself makes more of than if all the flocks of the whole earth had been offered to him, and all the treasures of gold, and of silver, and of precious stones. --Wolfgang Musculus.

Verse 108.-- Freewill offerings. This expression is often used in the law ( Leviticus 22:18 Nu 29:39 1 Chronicles 31:14 Amos 1:4-5 ). What are these freewill offerings? They are distinguished from God's stated worship, and distinguished from that service which fell under a vow. Besides the stated peace offerings, there were certain sacrifices performed upon certain occasions, to testify God's general goodness, and upon receipt of some special mercy; and you will find these sacrifices to be expressly distinguished from such services as men bound themselves to by vow ( Leviticus 7:16 )... These serve to teach us two things.

First. They are to teach us how ready we should be to take all occasions of thankfulness and spiritual worship; for, besides their vowed services and instituted sacrifices, they had their freewill offerings, offered to God in thankfulness for some special blessing received, or for deliverance from danger.

Secondly. It shows with what voluntariness and cheerfulness we should go about God's worship in the Gospel, and what a free disposition of heart there should be, and edge upon our affections, in all things that we offer to God; in this latter sense our offerings to God -- prayer and praise should be freewill offerings, come from us not like water out of a still forced by the fire, but like water out of a fountain with native freeness, readily and freely. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 108. -- Offerings. All God's people are made priests unto God; for every offering supposes a priest: so it is said, that Christ Jesus hath made us kings and priests ( Revelation 1:6 ). All Christians have a communion with Christ in all his offices, whatever Christ was, that certainly they are in some measure and degree. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 108. -- Accept...the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord. It is a great grace that the Lord should accept anything from us, if we consider these three things: First, who the Lord is; next, what we are; thirdly, what it is we have to give unto him.

As for the Lord, he is all sufficient, and stands in need of nothing we can give him. Our goodness extends not to the Lord

As for us, we are poor creatures, living by his liberality; yea, begging from all the rest of his creatures; from the sun and moon; from the air, the water, and the earth; from fowls and fishes; yea, from the worms: some give us light, some meat, some clothes; and are such beggars as we meet to give to a king?

And, thirdly, if we well consider, What is it that we give? Have we anything to give but that which we have received from him? and whereof we may say with David, "O Lord, all things are of thee, and of thine own have we given thee again" ( 1 Chronicles 29:14 ). Let this humble us, and restrain us from that vain conceit of meriting at God's hand.

David at this time, in his great necessity, having no other sacrifice to offer unto the Lord, offers him the calves of his lips; but no doubt, when he might, he offered more.

There is nothing so small, but if it come from a good heart, God will accept it: the widow's mite, a cup of cold water; yea, and the praise of our lips, although it has no other external oblation joined with it: but where men may do more, and will not, it is an argument that their heart is not sincerely affected toward him, and their praises are not welcome to him. --William Cowper.

Verse 108. -- Accept...the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me thy judgments. Two things we are here taught to pray for in reference to our religious performances.

  1. Acceptance of them: this we must aim at in all we do in religion, that whether present or absent we may be accepted of the Lord. That which David here earnestly prays for the acceptance of is "the freewill offerings," not of his purse, but of his "mouth," his prayers and praises; "the calves of our lips" ( Hosea 14:2 ); "the fruit of our lips" (Heb 13:15); these are the spiritual offerings which all Christians, as spiritual priests, must offer to God; and they must be "freewill offerings;" for we must offer them abundantly and cheerfully; and it is this willing mind that is accepted. The more there is of freeness and willingness in the service of God, the more pleasing it is to him.
  2. Assistance in them: "Teach me thy judgments." We cannot offer any thing to God which we have reason to think he will accept of, but what he is pleased to instruct us in the doing of; and we must be as earnest for the grace of God in us as for the favour of God toward us. --Matthew Henry.

Verse 108. -- Teach me thy judgments. As if the man of God should say, This is one thing whereunto I will give over myself, even to see how thou dost punish the wicked, and conduct thy children. So that we must learn, that as it is necessary to understand the law and the gospel, so is it requisite to discern God's judgments. For as we cannot learn the one without observing God's mercy; so we cannot attain to the other without marking his vengeance. We must see always by the peculiar teaching of God's Spirit, how the Lord punishes in justice, and yet in mercy; in wrath, and yet in love; in rigour and hatred of our sin, humbling us with one hand; in pity and compassion to our salvation, comforting us with the other hand. We see then how the prophet prayeth, both to see them and to mark them: we need teach this often, because we dream so much of fatal necessity, and of the connections of natural causes, or else because we call not discern between the crosses of the godly and the ungodly. This is then a singular gift of God, to discern how by the self same means the Lord both humbleth the good and overthroweth the wicked. -- Richard Greenham.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 108. -- Consider, --

  1. The instructive title given to prayer and praise: "The free will offerings of my mouth."
    1. It shows the believer to be a priest: "offerings."
(b) It shows the peculiarity of his service: "free will."
(c) It implies wholehearted consecration.

  1. The humility portrayed in the prayer: "Accept, I beseech thee."
(a) Here is no pharisaic boasting.
(b) Even the free will offering is felt to need an "I
beseech thee."

  1. The longing desire for further instruction in order to a more perfect obedience: "Teach me thy judgments." --J.P.

Verse 108. -- Free will seeking free grace. --W.D.

Verse 108. -- Work for "Free willers".

  1. Offerings of Prayer -- for each of the blessings of salvation.
  2. Offerings of Repudiation -- of all claim to unassisted good.
  3. Offerings of Praise -- for sovereign grace. --W.B.H.