Psalm 119:128

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 128. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right. Because the ungodly found fault with the precepts of God, therefore David was all the more sure of their being right. The censure of the wicked is a certificate of merit; that which they sanction we may justly suspect, but that which they abominate we may ardently, admire. The good man's delight in God's law is unreserved, he believes in all God's precepts concerning all things.

And I hate every false way. Love to truth begat hatred of falsehood. This godly man was not indifferent to anything, but that which he did not love he hated. He was no chip in the porridge without flavour; he was a good lover or a good hater, but he was never a waverer. He knew what he felt, and expressed it. He was no Gallio, caring for none of the things. His detestation was as unreserved as his affection; he had not a good word for any practice which would not bear the light of truth. The fact that such large multitudes follow the broad road had no influence upon this holy mail, except to make him more determined to avoid every form of error and sin. May the Holy Spirit so rule in our hearts that our affections may be in the same decided condition towards the precepts of the word.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 128. -- I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right. It is no compromising testimony to the integrity and value of the Lord's precepts with which the Psalmist concludes, "I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right" -- every command, however hard; every injunction, however distasteful; every precept, however severe; even cut off thy right hand, pluck out thy right eye; forget thine own people and thy father's house; take up thy cross daily; sell all that thou hast -- yea, Lord, even so, "all thy precepts concerning all things are right." What a blessed truth to arrive at, and find comfort in! --Barton Bouchier.

Verse 128. -- I esteem all thy precepts, etc. We must not only respect all God's commandments, but also respect them all alike, and give them all the like respect. Obedience must be universal. --R. Mayhew, in "The death of Death in the Death of Christ," 1679.

Verse 128. -- All. The many "alls" in this verse used (not unlike that in Ezekiel 44:30 ) showeth the integrity and universality of his obedience. "All" is but a little word, but of large extent. --John Trapp.

Verse 128. -- All thy precepts concerning all things to be right. He had a high estimate of God's precepts; he thought them just in all things; just, because they prescribe nothing but that which is exactly just; and just, because they bring a just punishment on the transgressors, and a reward to the righteous. --William Nicholson.

Verse 128. -- The upright man squares all his actions by a right rule: carnal reason cannot bias him, corrupt practice cannot sway him, but God's sacred word directs him. Hence it is that his respect is universal to all divine precepts, avoiding all evil, performing all good without exception. Thus David's upright man here esteems God's precepts concerning all things to be right, and therefore is careful to observe them. Hence it is, that he is the same man at all times, in all places; because at all times, and in all societies, he acts by one and the same rule. It is a good saying of S. Cyprian, "ea non est religio, sed dissimulatio, quce per omnia non constat sibi", that is not piety, but hypocrisy, that is not in all things like itself, since the upright man measures every action by the straight line of divine prescript. --Abraham Wright.

Verse 128. -- I hate every false way. The best trial of our love to God and his word is the contrary -- hatred of sin and impiety: "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil." He that loves a tree, hates the worm that consumes it; he that loves a garment, hates the moth that eats it; he that loveth life, abhorreth death; and he that loves the Lord hates every thing that offends him. Let men take heed to this, who are in love of their sins: how can the love of God be in them?

Religion binds us not only to hate one way of falsehood, but all the ways of it. As there is nothing good, but in some measure a godly man loves it; so is there nothing evil, but in some measure he hates it. And this is the perfection of the children of God; a perfection not of degrees; for we neither love good, nor hate evil as we should; but a perfection of parts; because we love every good, and we hate every evil in some measure. --William Cowper.

Verse 128. -- And I hate. The Being who loves the good with infinite intensity must hate evil with the same intensity. So far from any incompatibility between this love and this hatred, they are the counterparts of each other, -- opposite poles of the same moral emotion. --John W. Haley, in "A Examination of the alleged Discrepancies of the Bible," 1875.

Verse 128. -- I hate every false way. If Satan get a grip of thee by any one sin, is it not enough to carry thee to damnation? As the butcher carries the beast to the slaughter, sometime bound by all the four feet, and sometime by one only; so it is with Satan. Though thou be not a slave to all sin; if thou be a slave to one, the grip he hath of thee, by that one sinful affection, is sufficient to captive thee. --William Cowper.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 128. (first clause). -- This view should be taken of all divine precepts in their bearing,

  1. Toward Christ.
  2. Toward Self.
  3. Toward the World.
  4. Toward the Church.
  5. Toward Heaven. --W.J.

Verse 128. -- The Bible right.

  1. Its science is correct.
  2. Its history is true.
  3. Its promises are genuine.
  4. Its morality is perfect.
  5. Its doctrines are divine. --W.J.

Verse 128. Learn four lessons, --

  1. It is a good thing when wicked men do not praise the truth they cannot love.
  2. It is a suspicious circumstance when they are found speaking well of any part of it; it is a Judas' kiss in order to betray its interests.
  3. It must be right to accept and love what the wicked oppose.
  4. It is always safe to be on the opposite side to them. --J.F.