Psalm 119:112

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 112. I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end. He was not half inclined to virtue, but heartily inclined to it. His whole heart was bent on practical, persevering godliness. He was resolved to keep the statutes of the Lord with all his heart, throughout all his time, without erring or ending. He made it his end to keep the law unto the end, and that without end. He had by prayer, and meditation, and resolution made his whole being lean towards God's commands; or as we should say in other words -- the grace of God had inclined him to incline his heart in a sanctified direction. Many are inclined to preach, but the Psalmist was inclined to practise; many are inclined to perform ceremonies, but he was inclined to perform statutes; many are inclined to obey occasionally, but David would obey alway; and, alas, many are inclined for temporary religion, but this godly man was bound for eternity, he would perform the statutes of his Lord and King even unto the end. Lord, send us such a heavenly inclination of heart as this: then shall we show chat thou hast quickened and taught us. To this end create in us a clean heart, and daily renew a right spirit within us, for only so shall we incline in the right direction.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 112. -- I have inclined my heart to perform thy statutes alway, etc. In the former verse he showed his faith, and his joy which came thereof; now he showeth that here in this joy he will keep the commandments; whereby he showeth that this was a true joy, because it wrought a care to do good. For if we believe the promises truly, then we also love the commandments, otherwise faith is vain; a care to live a godly life nourisheth faith in God's promises. Here is the cause then why many regard not the word and sacraments; or if they do a little, it is to no purpose, because they labour not to keep the commandments. For unless they have care to do this, the word of God to them cannot be profitable, nor the sacraments sacred. --Richard Greenham.

Verse 112. -- I have inclined my heart to perform, etc. Observe. In Psalms 119:36 he prayed to God, saying, "Incline my heart unto thy testimonies." And here he speaks about himself, saying, "I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway even unto the end." What need, then, was there to ask from God that which he in another place glories to have done himself? I answer: These things are not contrary the one to the other. God inclines, and the godly man inclines. Man inclines by striving; God inclines by effecting. Neither is that which the man attempts, nor that which he by striving achieves goodwards, from the man, but from God, who gives, "both to will and to do of His good pleasure:" Philippians 2:13 . --Wolfgang Musculus.

Verse 112. -- The sinful heart of itself will run any way; upon earthly things, upon evil things, or upon impertinent and unseasonable things; but it will not come to or keep upon that which it should mind; therefore it must be taken as by strong hand, and set upon spiritual things, set on musing and meditation of heavenly things. A carnal heart is like the loadstone, it cleaves to nothing but steel or iron, and both of them easily unite: but the heart must be of another property, and act in a higher way. And a good heart, though it thinks too much earthward, and runs often wrong, yet it will set itself in its thinking on right objects, and make itself and them to meet and unite. David tells us how he did; he inclined his heart to God's commandments, both to keep them and to meditate on them. He took and bent his heart, as a thing bending too much to other things; set his mind on musing on it. He found his heart and the law of God too far asunder, and so would continue, unless he brought them together and made them one. If he had not brought his heart to the word, he had never meditated: the object cannot apply itself to the mind, but the mind must bring itself to the object. No holy duties will come to us, we must come to them. --Nathanael Ranew, in "Solitude Improved by Divine Meditation," 1670.

Verse 112. -- I have inclined mine heart to perform, etc. In this work he was determined to continue.

  1. "I have inclined my heart." The counsel of the soul is like a balance; and the mind, which hath the commanding power over the affections, inclines the balance to that which it judges best.
  2. It was to perform it that he thus inclined his heart.
  3. And this not for a time, or some particular occasion, but always, and unto the end. Then the end of life would be the beginning of glory. --Adam Clarke.

Verse 112. -- I have inclined my heart. The prophet, in order briefly to define what it is to serve God, asserts that he applied not only his hands, eyes, or feet, to the keeping of the law, but that he began with the affection of the heart. --John Calvin.

Verse 112. -- Unto the end. Our life on earth is a race; in vain begins he to run swiftly, that fainteth, and gives over before he come to the end. And this was signified (saith Gregory) when in the law the tail of the beast was sacrificed with the rest: perseverance crowneth all. It is good we have begun to do well; let us also strive to persevere to the end. -- William Cowper.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 112-113. -- When David had an inclination in his heart to God's statutes, the immediate effect of it was to "hate vain thoughts." We read, "I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes"; and it follows, "I hate vain thoughts." The vanity of his heart was a burden to him. A new creature is as careful against wickedness in the head or heart, as in the life. A godly man would be purer in the sight of God than in the view of man. He knows none but God can see the wanderings of his heart or the thoughts of his head, yet he is as careful that sins should not rise up as that they should not break out. -- Stephen Charnock.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 112. -- Heart leanings. Personality, pressure, inclination, performance, constancy, perpetuity.

Verse 112. -- The godly man's obedience.

  1. Its reality
(a) "To perform"; not words or feelings merely; but deeds.
(b) "Thy statutes"; not human inventions, nor self
conceits, nor conventional maxims.

  1. Its cordiality: "inclined my heart."
(a) Heart inclination is requisite for pleasing a
heart searching God.
(b) And to make obedience easy and even delightful.
(c) "I have," he says; was it therefore his doing? Yes. Was
it his work alone No. See Psalms 119:36 .

(d) The proofs.

  1. Universality: "statutes," the whole of them.
  2. Uniformity: "alway."
  • Its constancy: "even unto the end."
    (a) Though a man should be cautious when planning for the
    future, yet this life long purpose is right, wise, and
    safe.
    (b) Nor can he purpose less, if holy fervency fill the
    heart.
    (c) It is no more than what God and consistency demand. --J.F.