Psalm 119:142

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness. Having in a previous verse ascribed righteousness to God, he now goes on to declare that that righteousness is unchanging and endures from age to age. This is the joy and glory of the saints, that what God is he always will be, and his mode of procedure towards the sons of men is immutable: having kept his promise, and dealt out justice among his people, he will do so world without end. Both the righteousnesses and the unrighteousnesses of men come to an end, but the righteousness of God is without end.

And thy law is the truth. As God is love, so his law is the truth, the very essence of truth, truth applied to ethics, truth in action, truth upon the judgment seat. We hear great disputes about, "What is truth?" The holy Scriptures are the only answer to that question. Note, that they are not only true, but the truth itself. We may not say of them that they contain the truth, but that they are the truth: "thy law is the truth." There is nothing false about the law or preceptory part of Scripture. Those who are obedient thereto shall find that they are walking in a way consistent with fact, while those who act contrary thereto are walking in a vain show.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 142. -- Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness. Here the law of God is honoured by the additional encomium, that it is everlasting righteousness and truth; as if it had been said, that all other rules of life, with whatever attractions they may appear to be recommended, are but a shadow, which quickly vanishes away. The Psalmist, no doubt, indirectly contrasts the doctrine of the law with all the human precepts which were ever delivered, that he may bring all the faithful in subjection to it, since it is the school of perfect wisdom. There may be more of plausibility in the refined and subtle disquisitions of men; but there is in them nothing firm or solid at bottom, as there is in God's law. This firmness of the divine law he proves in the following verse from one instance -- the continual comfort he found in it when grievously harassed with temptations. And the true test of the profit we have reaped from it is, when we oppose to all the distresses of whatever kind which may straiten us, the consolation derived from the word of God, that thereby all sadness may be effaced from our minds. David here expresses something more than he did in the preceding verse; for there he only said that he reverently served God, although from his rough and hard treatment he might seem to lose his labour; but now when distressed and tormented, he affirms that he finds in the law of God the most soothing delight, which mitigates all griefs, and not only tempers their bitterness, but also seasons them with a certain sweetness. Assuredly when this taste does not exist to afford us delight, nothing is more natural than for us to be swallowed up of sorrow. --John Calvin.

Verse 142. -- Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness. Not only righteous at the first giving out, but righteous in all ages and times; and should we slight this rule that will hold for ever? In the world, new lords, new laws; men vary and change their designs and purposes; privileges granted today may be repealed tomorrow; but this wold will hold true for ever. Our justification by Christ is irrevocable; that part of righteousness is everlasting. Be sure you are justified now upon terms of the gospel, and you shall be justified for ever: your forgiveness is an everlasting forgiveness, and your peace is an everlasting peace: "I will remember their sin no more": Jeremiah 31:34 . So the other righteousness of sanctification, it is for ever; approve yourselves to God now, and you will approve yourselves at the day of judgment. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 142. -- Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, etc. The original is better expressed thus, "Thy righteousness is righteousness everlastingly, and thy law is truth. "So the Septuagint. The English translation expresses the perpetuity of the righteousness, the original expresses also the character of it...God's righteousness is essentially and eternally righteousness. The expressions are absolute; there is only this righteousness, and only this truth. --John Stephen.

Verse 142. -- Thy law is the truth.

  1. It is the chief truth. There is some truth in the laws of men and the writings of men, even of heathens; but they are but sorry fragments and scraps of truth, that have escaped since the fall.
  2. It is the only truth; that is, the only revelation of the mind of God that you can build upon. It is the rule of truth.
  3. It is the pure truth. In it there is nothing but the truth, without the mixture of falsehood; every part is true as truth itself. It is true in the promises, threatenings, doctrines, histories, precepts, prohibitions.
  4. It is the whole truth. It containeth all things necessary for the salvation of those that yield up themselves to be instructed by it. --Thomas Manton.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 142. -- Righteousness, immutability, and truth combined in the revelation of God.