Psalm 119:165

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 165. Great peace have they which love thy law. What a charming verse is this! It dwells not with those who perfectly keep the law, for where should such men be found? but with those who love it, whose hearts and hands are made to square with its precepts and demands. These men are ever striving, with all their hearts, to walk in obedience to the law, and though they are often persecuted they have peace, yea, great peace; for they have learned the secret of the reconciling blood, they have felt the power of the comforting Spirit, and they stand before the Father as men accepted. The Lord has given them to feel his peace, which passed all understanding. They have many troubles, and are likely to be persecuted by the proud, but their usual condition is that of deep calm -- a peace too great for this little world to break.

And nothing shall offend them, or, "shall really injure them." "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." It must needs be that offences come, but these lovers of the law are peacemakers, and so they neither give nor take offence. That peace which is founded upon conformity to God's will is a living and lasting one, worth writing of with enthusiasm, as the Psalmist here does.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 165. -- Great peace have they which love thy law. Amidst the storms and tempests of the world, there is a perfect calm in the breasts of those, who not only do the will of God, but "love" to do it. They are at peace with God, by the blood of reconciliation; at peace with themselves, by the answer of a good conscience, and the subjection of those desires which war against the soul; at peace with all men, by the spirit of charity; and the whole creation is so at peace with them that all things work together for their good. No external troubles can rob them of this "great peace," no "offences" or stumbling blocks, which are thrown in their way by persecution, or temptation, by the malice of enemies, or by the apostasy of friends, by anything which they see, hear of, or feel, can detain, or divert them from their course. Heavenly love surmounts every obstacle, and runs with delight the way of God's commandments. --George Horne.

Verse 165. -- Great peace have they which love thy law. There have been Elis trembling for the ark of God, and Uzzahs putting out their hand in fear that it was going to fall; but in the mids't of the deepest troubles through which the church has passed, and the fiercest storms that have raged about it, there have been true, faithful men of God who have never despaired. In every age there have been Luthers and Latimers, who have not only held fast their confidence, but whose peace has deepened with the roaring of the waves. The more they have been forsaken of men, the closer has been their communion with God. And with strong hold of him and of his promises, and hearts that could enter into the secret place of the Most High, although there has been everything without to agitate, threaten, and alarm, they have been guided into perfect peace. --James Martin, in, "The Christian Mirror, and other Sermons", 1878.

Verse 165. -- Great peace have they which love thy law. Clearness of conscience is a help to comfortable thoughts. Yet observe, that peace is not so much effected as preserved by a good conscience and conversation; for though joy in the Holy Ghost will make its nest nowhere but in a holy soul, yet the blood of Christ only can speak peace; "being justified by faith, we have peace:" Romans 5:1 . An exact life will not make, but keep conscience quiet; an easy shoe does not heal a sore foot, but it keeps a sound one from hurt. Walking with God according to gospel rules hath peace entailed upon it, and that peace is such a treasure, as thereby, a Christian may have his rejoicing from himself. Galatians 6:4 Galatians 6:16 . His own heart sings him a merry tune, which the threats and reproaches of the world cannot silence. The treasure of comfort is not expended in affliction; death itself doth not exhaust but increase and advance it to an eternal triumph. O the excellency and necessity of it! Paul laid it up for a death-bed cordial: "Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience:" 2 Corinthians 1:12 . And Hezekiah dares hold it up to God, as well as cheer up himself with it on approaching death. A conscience good in point of integrity will be good also in point of tranquillity: "The righteous are bold as a lion": they have great peace that love and keep God's commandments: Proverbs 28:1 Psalms 119:165 . And saith the apostle, "If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God" ( 1 John 3:2 ), and I may add also, towards men. Oh! what comfort and solace hath a clear conscience! A conscientious man hath something within to answer accusations without; he hath such a rich treasure as will not fail in greatest straits and hazards. I shall conclude this with a notable saying of Bernard: -- "The pleasures of a good conscience are the Paradise of souls, the joy of angels, a garden of delights, a field of blessing, the temple of Solomon, the court of God, the habitation of the Holy Spirit." --Oliver Heywood.

Verse 165. -- Great peace. Note that for "peace" the Hebrew word is mylw, shalom: it signifies not only "peace," but also perfection, wholeness, prosperity, tranquillity, healthfulness, safety, the completion and consummation, of every good thing; and so it is frequently taken by the Hebrews; hence in salutations, wishing one the other well, they say, vl milw, shalom lekha, i.e, "peace be with thee"; as if one should say, "may all things be prosperous with thee." --Thomas Le Blanc.

Verse 165. -- They which love thy law. To love a law may Seem strange; but it is the only true divine life. To keep it because we are afraid of its penalties is only a form of fear or prudential consideration. To keep it to preserve a good name may be propriety and respectability. To keep it because it is best for society may be worldly self interest. To keep it because of physical health may be the policy of epicurean philosophy. To keep it because we love it is to show that it is already part of us -- has entered into the moral texture of our being. Sin then becomes distasteful, and temptations lose their power. -- W.M. Statham, quoted in "Atictoilette Commentary on the Psalms", 1879.

Verse 165. -- And nothing shall offend them. Hebrew, "they shall have no stumbling block." 1 John 4:10 , "There is none occasion of stumbling in him" who abides in the light, which makes him to see and avoid such stumblingblocks. Wealth, tribulation, temptation, which are the occasion to many of falling ( Isaiah 8:14 Isaiah 8:15 ; 3:20 7:19 14:3 4:7), are not so to him. --A.R. Faussett.

Verse 165. -- Learn the true wisdom of those of you who are new creatures, and who love God's holy law. All of you who are really brought to Christ are changed into his image, so that you love God's holy law. "I delight in the law of God after the inward man." "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart": Psalm 19. The world says: What a slave you are! you cannot have a little amusement on the Sabbath -- you cannot take a Sabbath walk, or join a Sabbath tea party; you cannot go to a dance or a theatre; you cannot enjoy the pleasures of sensual indulgence -- you are a slave. I answer: Christ had none of these pleasures. He did not want them: nor do we. He knew what was truly wise, and good, and happy, and he chose God's holy law. He was the freest of all beings, and yet he knew no sin. Only make me free as Christ is free -- this is all I ask. "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." --Robert Murray M Cheyne, 1813-1843.

Verse 165. -- Nothing shall offend them. They that have this character of God's children, will not the stumbled at God's dispensations, let them he never so cross to their desires, because they have a God to fly unto in all their troubles, and a sure covenant to rest upon. Therefore the reproaches cast upon them, and on the way of God, do not scandalize them; for they have found God in that very way which others speak evil of; they are not so offended by anything that attends the way of God, as to dislike or forsake that way. Nevertheless we must take heed that we be not offended. --John Bunyan.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 165. --

  1. Great love to a great law.
  2. Great peace under great disquietude.
  3. Great upholding from all stumblingblocks.

Verse 165. -- Perfect peace.

  1. The law of God should be regarded with love.
  2. Love to the law is productive of great peace. Peace with God through the blood of reconciliation: peace with self by good conscience and suppression of evil desires: peace with men by charity.
  3. The peace which springs from love to the law is a security against stumbling: "nothing shall offend them;" neither the daily cross ( Mark 5:21 Mark 5:22 ) nor the fiery trial ( Mark 4:7 ); nor the humbling doctrine ( John 6:60 John 6:66 , etc.). --C.A.D

Verse 165.

  1. The characters described -- "they which love thy law."
  2. The blessing they enjoy: "great peace."
  3. The evils they escape: "nothing shall offend them."

--G.R.

Verse 165. -- The peace and security of the godly.

  1. Their peace. It arises from --
(a) Freedom from an accusing conscience.
(b) Conformity to the requirements of the law.
(c) Enjoyment of the privileges revealed in the law.
(d) Assurance of divine approval and benediction.

  1. Their security.
(a) They are prepared for every duty.
(b) They are proof against every temptation.
(c) They are pledged to final perseverance.
(d) They have the promise of divine protection.

--W.H.J.P.

Verse 165. --

  1. An honourable title: "They which love thy law."
  2. A good possession: "Great peace have they."
  3. A blessed immunity: "Nothing shall offend them."

--J.F.