Psalm 119:159

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 159. Consider, or see, how I love thy precepts. A second time he asks for consideration. As he said before, "Consider mine affliction," so now he says, "Consider mine affection." He loved the precepts of God -- loved them unspeakably loved them so as to be grieved with those who did not love them. This is a sure test: many there are who have a warm side towards the promises, but as for the precepts, they cannot endure them. The Psalmist so loved everything that was good and excellent that he loved all God had commanded. The precepts are all of them wise and holy, therefore the man of God loved them extremely, loved to know them, to think of them, to reclaim them, and principally to practise them. He asked the Lord to remember and consider this, not upon the ground of merit, but that it should serve as an answer to the slanderous accusations which at this lime were the great, sting of his sorrow.

Quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. Here he comes back to his former prayer, "Quicken me" (ver. 154), "quicken me" (ver. 156). "Quicken me." He prays again the third time, using the same words. We may understand that David felt like one who was half stunned with the assaults of his foes, ready to faint under their incessant malice. What he wanted was revival, restoration, renewal; therefore he pleaded for more life. O thou who didst quicken me when I was dead, quicken me again that I may not return to the dead! Quicken me that I may outlive the blows of my enemies, the faintness of my faith, and the swooning of my sorrow. This time he does not say, "Quicken me according to thy judgments," but, "Quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness." This is the great gun which he brings up last to the conflict: it is his ultimate argument, if this succeed not he must fail. He has long been knocking at mercy's gate, and with this plea he strikes his heaviest blow. When he had fallen into great sin this was his plea, "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness," and now that he is in great trouble he flies to the same effectual reasoning. Because God is love he will give us life; because he is kind he will again kindle the heavenly flame within us.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 159. -- Consider how I love thy precepts. Search me. Behold the evidence of my attachment to thy law. This is the confident appeal of one who was conscious that he was truly attached to God; that he really loved his law. It is similar to the appeal of Peter to the Saviour ( John 21:17 ), "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee." A man who truly loves God may make this appeal without impropriety. He may he so confident, so certain, that he has true love for the character of God, that he may make a solemn appeal to him on the subject, as he might appeal to a friend, to his wife, to his son, to his daughter, with the utmost confidence that he loved them. A man ought to have such love for them, that he could affirm this without hesitation or doubt; a man ought to have such love for God, that he could, affirm this with equal confidence and propriety. -- Albert Barnes.

Verse 159. -- Consider how I love thy precepts. He saith not, consider how I perform thy precepts; but how I love them. The comfort of a Christian militant, in this body of sin, is rather in the sincerity and fervency of his affections than in the absolute perfection of his actions. He fails many times in his obedience to God's precepts, in regard of his action; but love in his affection still remains; so that both before the temptation to sin, and after it, there is a grief in his soul, that he should find in himself any corrupt will or desire, contrary to the holy will of the Lord his God; and this proves an invincible love in him to the precepts of God. --William Cowper.

Verse 159. -- Consider, etc. Translate (the Hebrew being the same as in verse 158) "Behold how I love thy precepts," as is evinced in that when "I beheld the transgressors I was grieved." He begs to God to behold this, not as meritorious of grace, but as a distinctive mark of a godly man. --A. R. Fausset.

Verse 159. -- I love thy precepts: quicken me. The love wherewith he loved God came from that love wherewith God first loved him. For by seeing the great love wherewith God loved him, he was moved and refereed to love God again. So that his meaning is thus much: Thou seest, Lord, that I am an enemy to sin in myself, for I forget not thy law; thou seest that I am an enemy to sin in others, for I am grieved to see them transgress thy law; wherefore, O Lord, "quicken me," and let thy loving mercy whereby thou hast created me and redeemed me in Christ, whereby thou hast delivered me from so many troubles, and enriched me with so many and continual benefits, renew, revive, quicken, and restore me. --Richard Greenham.

Verse 159. -- Quicken me. Often as the Psalmist had repeated his prayer for quickening grace,* it was not a "vain repetition," or an empty sound. Each time was it enlivened with abundant faith, intense feeling of his necessity, and the vehemency of most ardent affection. If the consciousness of the faintness of our strength and the coldness of our affections should lead us to offer this petition a hundred times a day in this spirit, it would never fail of acceptance. --Charles Bridges.

* Nine times is the petition urged, verses 25, 37, 40, 88, 107, 149 154, 156, and 159.

Verse 159. -- According to thy lovingkindness. We need not desire to be quickened any further than God's lovingkindness will quicken us. --Matthew Henry.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 159. --

  1. His own love avowed.
  2. God's love pleaded.
  3. Renewed life implored.

Verse 159. --

  1. Attention invited: "Consider how."
  2. Profession made: "I love thy precepts."
  3. Petition offered: "quicken me," etc.
  4. Plea suggested: "according to," etc.

--G.R.

Verse 159. -- My love and thy lovingkindness. The saint's love.

  1. Avowed. "Thou knowest all things," etc.
  2. Submitted. In humble insistence on its sincerity. In sense of its insufficiency. In prayer to God not to over look it.
  3. Lost sight of in the sudden glory of God's lovingkindness. Where is my love now?
  4. Recovered and humbly brought for quickening. Lord, I'll say no more about it: "Quicken me." --W.B.H.

Verse 159. -- Quicken, me for love's sake.

  1. A prayer for quickened life.
  2. Awakened by love to the divine rule of life.
  3. Enforced by the plea of that love.
  4. Addressed to the God of love.

--C.A.D.

Verse 159. -- Consider, --

  1. The holy unsatisfaction of the believer: "Quicken me," etc.
(a) A prayer frequently occurring in the psalm, and always
urged with great earnestness.
(b) Its importunity proves the possession of spiritual
life; in fact, none but the living ones crave quickening.
(c) The most earnest feel the most acutely their indwelling
sin, and appreciate most highly thorough sanctification.
(d) Thus, this is, perhaps, the only unsatisfaction
perfectly pure in its character.

  1. The assuring Divine attribute to which he can appeal: "According to thy lovingkindness."
    1. An attribute, not only made known in tile word, but made
      manifest to us in our experience of its gentle dealing.
(b) An attribute that covers sin, and is touched with a
feeling of our infirmities.
(c) An attribute that must be affected with the cry for
quickening grace.

  1. The consideration he ought to be able to lay before God: "Consider how I love thy precepts."
    1. Because from the word he learnt of the lovingkindness,
      and through it received life.
(b) Without it the prayer cannot be genuine.
(c) It is a good reason for expecting more grace; for
"whosoever hath, to him shall be given," etc.

--J.F.