Psalm 119:15

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 15. I will meditate in thy precepts. He who has an inward delight in anything will not long withdraw his mind from it. As the miser often returns to look upon his treasure, so does the devout believer by frequent meditation turn over the priceless wealth which he has discovered in the book of the Lord. To some men meditation is a task; to the man of cleansed way it is a joy. He who has meditated will meditate; he who saith, "I have rejoiced," is the same who adds, "I will meditate." No spiritual exercise is more profitable to the soul than that of devout meditation; why are many of us so exceeding slack in it? It is worthy of observation that the preceptory part of God's word was David's special subject of meditation, and this was the more natural because the question was still upon his mind as to how a young man should cleanse his way. Practical godliness is vital godliness.

And have respect unto thy ways, that is to say, I will think much about them so as to know what thy ways are; and next; I will think much of them so as to have thy ways in great reverence and high esteem. I will see what thy ways are towards me that I may be filled with reverence, gratitude, and love; and then I will observe what are those ways which thou hast prescribed for me, thy ways in which thou wouldest have me follow thee; these I would watch carefully that I may become obedient, and prove myself to be a true servant of such a Master.

Note how the verses grow more inward as they proceed: from the speech of Psalms 119:13 we advanced to the manifested joy of Psalms 119:14 , and now we come to the secret meditation of the happy spirit. The richest graces are those which dwell deepest.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 15. I will meditate in thy precepts, etc. All along David had shown what he had done; now, what he will do. Psalms 119:10 , "I have sought"; Psalms 119:11 , "I have hid"; Ps 119:12, "I have declared"; Psalms 119:14 , "I have rejoiced." Now in the two following verses he doth engage himself to set his mark towards God for time to come. "I will meditate in thy precepts," etc. We do not rest upon anything already done and past, but continue the same diligence unto the end. Here is David's hearty resolution and purpose, to go on for time to come. Many will say, Thus I have done when I was young, or had more leisure and rest; in that I have meditated and conferred. You must continue still in a holy course. To begin to build, and leave unfinished, is an argument of folly. Thomas Manton.

Verse 15. I will meditate in thy precepts. Not only of thy precepts or concerning them, but in them, while engaged in doing them. Joseph Addison Alexander.

Verse 15. I will. See this "I will" repeated again and again ( Psalms 119:48 Psalms 119:78 ). In meditation it is hard (sometimes at least) to take off our thoughts from the pre-engagements of other subjects, and apply them to the duty. But it is harder to become duly serious in acting in it, harder yet to dive and ponder; and hardest of all to continue in an abode of thoughts, and dwell long enough, and after views to make reviews, to react the same thinking, to taste things over and over, when the freshness and newness is past, when by long thinking the things before us seem old. We are ready to grow dead and flat in a performance except we stir up ourselves often in it. It is hard to hold on and hold up, unless we hold up a wakeful eye, a warm affection, a strong and quick repeated resolution; yea, and without often lifting up the soul to Christ for fresh recruits of strength to hold on. David, that so excellent artist in this way, saith he will meditate, he often saith he will. Doubtless, he not only said "I will" when he was to make his entrance into this hard work; but likewise for continuance in it, to keep up his heart from flagging, till he well ended his work. It is not the digging into the golden mine, but the digging long, that finds and fetches up the treasure. It is not the diving into the sea, but staying longer, that gets the greater quantity of pearls. To draw out the golden thread of meditation to its due length till the spiritual ends be attained, this is a rare and happy attainment. Nathanael Ranew, 1670.

Verse 15. I will meditate. How much our "rejoicing in the testimonies" of God would be increased by a more habitual meditation upon them! This is, however, a resolution which the carnal mind can never be brought to make, and to which the renewed mind through remaining depravity is often sadly reluctant. But it is a blessed employment, and will repay a thousand fold the difficulty of engaging the too backward heart in the duty. Charles Bridges.

Verse 15. Meditation is of that happy influence, it makes the mind wise, the affections warm, the soul fat and flourishing, and the conversation greatly fruitful. Nathanael Ranew.

Verse 15. Meditate in, thy precepts. Study the Scriptures. If a famous man do but write an excellent book, O how we do long to see it! Or suppose I could tell you that there is in France or Germany a book that God himself wrote, I am confident men may draw all the money out of your purses to get that book. You have it by you: O that you would study it! When the eunuch was riding in his chariot, he was studying the prophet Isaiah. He was not angry when Philip came and, as we would have thought, asked him a bold question: "Understandest thou what thou readest?" ( Acts 8:27-30 ); he was glad of it. One great end of the year of release was, that the law might be read ( Deuteronomy 31:9-13 ). It is the wisdom of God that speaks in the Scripture ( Luke 11:49 ); therefore, whatever else you mind, really and carefully study the Bible. Samuel Jacomb (1629-1659), in The Morning Exercises.

Verse 15. I will have respect. The one is the fruit of the other: "I will meditate"; and then, "I will have respect." Meditation is in order to practice; and if it be right, it will beget a respect to the ways of God. We do not meditate that we may rest in contemplation, but in order to obedience: "Thou shalt meditate in the book of the law day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein" ( Joshua 1:8 ). Thomas Manton.

Verse 15. And have respect unto thy ways. -- As an archer hath to his mark. John Trapp.

Verse 15. Respect unto thy ways. It is not without a peculiar pleasure, when travelling, that we contemplate the splendid buildings, the gardens, the fortifications, or the fine art galleries. But what are all these sights to the contemplation of the ways of God, which he himself has traversed, or has marked out for man? And what practical need there is that we consider the way, for else we shall be as a sleepy coachman, not carefully observant of the road, who may soon upset himself and his passengers. Martin Geier.

Verse 15. Thy ways. David's second internal action concerning the word is consideration; where mark well, how by a most proper speech he calls the word of God the ways of God; partly, because by it God comes near unto men, revealing himself to them, who otherwise could not be known of them; for he dwells in light inaccessible; and partly, because the word is the way which leads men to God. So then, because by it God cometh down to men, and by it men go up unto God, and know how to get access to him, therefore is his word called his way. William Cowper.

Verse 15-16. The two last verses of this section present to us a threefold internal action of David's soul toward the word of God; first, meditation; secondly, consideration; thirdly, delectation: every one of these proceeds from another, and they mutually strengthen one another. Meditation brings the word to the mind; consideration views it and looks at length into it, whereof is bred delectation. That which comes into the mind, were it never so good, if it be not considered, goes as it came, leaving neither instruction nor joy; but being once presented by meditation, if it be pondered by consideration, then it breeds delectation, which is the perfection of godliness, in regard of the internal action. William Cowper.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 15. -- The contemplative and active life; their common food, object, and reward.