Psalm 119:16

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 16. I will delight myself in thy statutes. In this verse delight follows meditation, of which it is the true flower and outgrowth. When we have no other solace, but are quite alone, it will be a glad thing for the heart to turn upon itself, and sweetly whisper, "I will delight myself. What if no minstrel sings in the hall, I will delight myself. If the time of the singing of birds has not yet arrived, and the voice of the turtle is not heard in our land, yet I will delight myself." This is the choicest and noblest of all rejoicing; in fact, it is the good part which can never be taken from us; but there is no delighting ourselves with anything below that which God intended to be the soul's eternal satisfaction. The statute book is intended to be the joy of every loyal subject. When the believer once peruses the sacred pages his soul burns within him as he turns first to one and then to another of the royal words of the great King, words full and firm, immutable and divine.

I will not forget thy word. Men do not readily forget that which they have treasured up, that which they have meditated on ( Psalms 119:15 ), and that which they have often spoken of ( Psalms 119:13 ). Yet since we have treacherous memories it is well to bind them well with the knotted cord of "I will not forget."

Note how two "I wills" follow upon two "I haves." We may not promise for the future if we have altogether failed in the past; but where grace has enabled us to accomplish something, we may hopefully expect that it will enable us to do more.

It is curious to observe how this verse is moulded upon Psalms 119:8 : the changes are rung on the same words, but the meaning is quite different, and there is no suspicion of a vain repetition. The same thought is never given over again in this Psalm; they are dullards who think so. Something in the position of each verse affects its meaning, so that even where its words are almost identical with those of another the sense is delightfully varied. If we do not see an infinite variety of fine shades of thought in this Psalm we may conclude that we are colour blind; if we do not hear many sweet harmonies, we may judge our ears to be dull of hearing, but we may not suspect the Spirit of God of monotony.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 16. I will delight myself, etc. He protested before that he had great delight in the testimonies of God: now he saith he will still delight in them. A man truly godly, the more good he doth, the more he desires, delights and resolves to do. Temporisers, on the contrary, who have but a show of godliness, and the love of it is not rooted in their heart, how soon are they weary of well doing! If they have done any small external duty of religion, they rest as if they were fully satisfied, and there needed no more good to be done by them. True religion is known by hungering and thirsting after righteousness, by perseverance in well doing, and an earnest desire to do more.

But to this he adds that he will not forget the word. The graces of the Spirit do every one fortify and strengthen another; for ye see meditation helps consideration. Who can consider of that whereof he thinks not? Consideration again breeds delectation; and as here ye see, delectation strengthens memory: because he delights in the word he will not forget the word; and memory again renews meditation. Thus every grace of the Spirit helps another; and by the contrary, one of them neglected, works a wonderful decay of the remnant. William Cowper.

Verse 16 I will delight myself When righteousness, from a matter of constraint becomes a matter of choice, it instantly changes its whole nature, and rises to a higher moral rank than before. The same God whom it is impossible to move by law's authority, moves of his own proper and original inclination in the very path of the law's righteousness. And so, we, in proportion as we are like unto God, are alive to the virtues of that same law, to the terror of whose severities we are altogether dead. We are no longer under a schoolmaster; but obedience is changed from a thing of force into a thing of freeness. It is moulded to a higher state and character than before. We are not driven to it by the God of authority. We are drawn to it by the regards of a now willing heart to all moral and all spiritual excellence. Thomas Chalmers, 1780-1847.

Verse 16. Meditation must not be a dull, sad, and dispirited thing: not a driving like the chariots of the Egyptians when their wheels were taken off, but like the chariots of Amminadib ( Song of Solomon 6:12 ) that ran swiftly. So let us pray, -- Lord, in meditation make me like the chariots of Amminadib, that my swift running may evidence my delight in meditating. Holy David makes delight such an ingredient or assistant here, that sometimes he calls the exercise of meditation by the name of "delight," speaking in the foregoing verse of this meditation, "I will meditate of thy precepts," and in Psalms 119:16 , I will delight myself in thy statutes; which is the same with meditation, only with superadding the excellent qualification due meditation should have; the name of delight is given to meditation because of its noble concomitant -- holy joy and satisfaction. Nathanael Ranew.

Verse 16. Delight myself. The word is very emphatic: [f[tfa, eshtaasha, I will skip about and jump for joy. Adam Clarke.

Verse 16. I will not forget. Delight prevents forgetfulness: the mind will run upon that which the heart delighteth in; and the heart is where the treasure is ( Matthew 6:21 ). Worldly men that are intent upon carnal interests, forget the word, because it is not their delight. If anything displeases us, we are glad if we can forget it; it is some release from an inconvenience, to take off our thoughts from it; but it doubles the contentment of a thing that we are delighted in, to remember it, and call it to mind. In the outward school, if a scholar by his own averseness from learning, or by the severity and imprudence of his master, hath no delight in his book, all that he learns is lost and forgotten, it goeth in at one ear, and out at the other: but this is the true art of memory, to cause them to delight in what they learn. Such instructions as we take in with sweetness, they stick with us, and run in our minds night and day. So saith David here, I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. Thomas Manton.

Verse 16. Forget. I never yet heard of a covetous old man, who had forgotten where he had buried his treasure. Cicero de Senectute.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 16. --

  1. What there is to be delighted in.
  2. What comes of such delight: "I will never forget."
  3. What comes of such memory -- more delight.