Verse 167. My soul hath kept thy testimonies. My outward life has kept thy precepts, and my inward life -- my soul, has kept thy testimonies. God has borne testimony to many sacred truths, and these we hold fast as for life itself. The gracious man stores up the truth of God within his heart as a treasure exceedingly dear and precious -- he keeps it. His secret soul, his inmost self, becomes the guardian of these divine teachings which are his sole authority in soul matters.
And I love them exceedingly. This was why he kept them, and having kept them this was the result of the keeping. He did not merely store up revealed truth by way of duty, but because of a deep, unutterable affection for it. He felt that he could sooner die than give up any part of the revelation of God. The more we store our minds with heavenly truth, the more deeply shall we be in love with it: the more we see the exceeding riches of the Bible the more will our love exceed measure, and exceed expression.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 167. -- My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. Should he not have said, first, I have loved thy commandments, and so have kept them? Doubtless he did so; but he ran here in a holy and most heavenly circle, I have kept them and loved them, and loved them and kept them. If we love Christ, we shall also live the life of love in our measure, and his commandments will be most dear when himself is most precious. - -Thomas Shepard, in "The Sound Believer", 1671.
Verse 167. -- My soul. It is a usual phrase among the Hebrews, when they would express their vehement affection to anything, to say, "My soul": as Psalms 103:1 104:1, "My soul, praise thou the Lord," and Luke
- "My soul doth magnify the Lord." --Richard Greenham.
Verse 167. -- I love them exceedingly. It is only a reasonable return to God; for the Father loved me so exceedingly as not to spare his own Son, but to give him up for me; and the Son loved me so exceedingly that he gave himself to me, and gave me back to myself when I was lost in my sins, original and actual. --Gerhohus (1093-1169), in Neale and Littledale.
Verse 167,168. -- Let not our consciousness of daily failures make us shrink from this strong expression of confidence. It is alleged as an evidence of grace, not as a claim of merit, and therefore the most humble believer need not hesitate to adopt it as the expression of Christian sincerity before God. David aspired to no higher character than that of a poor sinner: but he was conscious of spirituality of obedience, "exceeding love" to the divine word, and an habitual walk under the eye of his God -- the evidences of a heart (often mentioned in the Old Testament)" perfect with him." --Charles Bridges.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 167. -- Past and present.
Verse 167. --
- The more we keep God's testimonies the more we shall love them.
- The more we love them the more we shall keep them.
- The jewels: "Thy testimonies."
(a) Rare; none like them.
(b) Rich; surpassing valuation.
(c) Beautifying those who wear them.
(d) Glittering with an internal and essential splendour, in
the darkness of this world.
(e) Realising in truth the old superstitions regarding
precious stones having medicinal and magic virtues.
- The cabinet: "My soul."
(a) Exactly made to receive the jewels.
(b) A wonderful piece of divine workmanship; but all ruined
and marred unless applied to the use designed.
(c) The only receptacle out of which the genuine beauty of
God's testimonies can so shine as to excite the admiration
- The lock that keeps all safe: "I love them exceedingly."
(a) Love is the strongest hold fast in the universe.
(b) It is needed, for ten thousand thieves prowl around to
steal from us the treasure.
(c) A love "exceedingly" is a heavenly patent; no ingenuity
can pick it; it is fire proof and burglar proof against