Verse 133. Order my steps in thy word. This is one of the Lord's customary mercies to his chosen, -- "He keepeth the feet of his saints." By his grace he enables us to put our feet step by step in the very place which his word ordains. This prayer seeks a very choice favour, namely, that every distinct act, every step, might be arranged and governed by the will of God. This does not stop short of perfect holiness, neither will the believer's desires be satisfied with anything beneath that blessed consummation.
And let not any iniquity have dominion over me. This is the negative side of the blessing. We ask to do all that is right, and to fall under the power of nothing that is wrong. God is our sovereign, and we would have every thought in subjection to his sway. Believers have no choice, darling sins to which they would be willing to bow. They pant for perfect liberty from the power of evil, and being conscious that they cannot obtain it of themselves, they cry unto God for it.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 133. -- Order my steps in thy word. As before he sought mercy, so now he seekers grace. There are many that seek mercy to forgive sin, who seek not grace to deliver them from the power of sin: this is to abuse God's mercy, and turn his grace into wantonness. He that prayeth for mercy to forgive the guilt of sin only, seeks not that by sin he should not offend God; but that he may sin and not hurt himself: but he who craves deliverance also from the commanding power and deceit of sin, seeks not only a benefit to himself, but grace also to please and serve the Lord his God. The first is but a lover of himself; the second is a lover of God, more than of himself. And truly he never knew what it was to seek mercy for sin past, who with it also earnestly sought not grace to keep him from sin in time to come. These benefits cannot be divided: he who hath not the second whosoever he flatter himself may be assured that he hath not gotten the first. -- William Cowper.
Verse 133. -- Order my steps in thy word. It is written of Boleslaus, one of the kings of Poland, that he still carries about him the picture of his father, and when he was to do any great work or set upon any design extraordinary, he would look on the picture and pray that he might do nothing unworthy of such a father's name. Thus it is that the Scriptures are the picture of God's will, therein drawn out to the very life. Before a man enter upon or engage himself in any business whatsoever, let him look there, and read there what is to be done; what to be undone; and what God commands, let that be done; what he forbids, let that be undone; let the balance of the sanctuary weigh all, the oracles of God decide all, the rule of God's word be the square of all, and his glory the ultimate of all intendments whatsoever. --From Spencer's "Things New and Old."
Verse 133. -- Order my steps. !bh hachen, make them firm; let me not walk with a halting or unsteady step. --Adam Clarke.
Verse 133. -- Order my steps, etc. The people of God would not only have their path right, but their steps ordered; as not their general course wrong (as those who walk in the way of everlasting perdition), so not a step awry; they would not miss the way to heaven, either in whole or in part. --Thomas Manton.
Verse 133. -- My steps. Speaking of the steps of the Temple, Bunyan says, "These steps, whether cedar, gold, or stone, yet that which added to their adornment, was the wonderment of a Queen. And whatever they were made of, to be sure, they were a shadow of those steps, which we should take to, and in the house of God. Steps of God, Psalms 75:13 . Steps ordered by him, Psalms 37:23 Steps ordered in his word, Ps 64:133. Steps of faith, Romans 4:12 . Steps of the spirit, 2 Corinthians 7:18 . Steps of truth, 3 John 1:4 . Steps washed with butter, Job 29:6 . Steps taken before, or in the presence of God. Steps butted and bounded by a divine rule. These are steps indeed." --John Bunyan, in "Solomon's Temple Spiritualized."
Verse 133. -- Let not any iniquity, etc. True obedience to God is inconsistent with the dominion of any one lust, or corrupt affection. I say, though a man out of some slender and insufficient touch of religion upon his heart, may go right for a while, and do many things gladly; yet that corruption which is indulged, and under the power of which a man lieth, will at length draw him off from God; and therefore no one sin shall have dominion over us. When doth sin reign, or have dominion over us? When we do not endeavour to mortify it, and to cut off the provisions that may feed that lust. Chrysostom's observation is, the apostle does not say, let it not tyrannize over you, but, let it not reign over you; that is, when you suffer it to have a quiet reign in your hearts. --Thomas Manton.
Verse 133. -- Let not any iniquity have dominion over me. I had rather be a prisoner to man all my life than be a bondage to sin one day. He says not, Let not this and the other man rule over me; but "let not sin have dominion over mo." Well said! There is hope in such a man's condition as long as it is so. --Michael Bruce, 1666.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 133. --
- A holy life is no work of chance, it is a masterpiece of order -- the order of conformity to the prescribed rule; there is arithmetical and geometrical order; the proportional order; the order of relation; an order of period: holiness, as to its order, is seasonable, suitable.
- The rule of this order: "in thy word."
- The director chosen. See "Spurgeon's Sermons," No. 878: "A Well ordered Life."
Verse 133. --
- Order in outward life desired.
- Order according to the divine idea.
- Order in the government within.
Verse 133. --
- Help needed.
(a) To avoid sin.
(b) To be holy.
- Help sought.
(a) From below: "thy word."
(b) From above: "order," etc., and "let not," etc. --G.R.
Verse 133. -- Sin's sway in the soul.
- Fervently deprecated.
(a) Realization of the horrors of its rule.
(b) Recognition of the better power.
(c) Thorough exclusion sought.
- Wisely combated.
(a) Practicalness as well as prayerfulness.
(b) Regard had to little "steps."
- Steps to be governed by divine rule.
- System not trusted apart from God. --W.B.H.
Verse 133. -- Notice, --
- The right path for human feet: "In thy word."
- The needed help to control the steps: "Order my steps."
- The perverting power of a dominant sin: "Let not any," etc. --J.F.