Psalm 119:174

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 174. I have lounged for thy salvation, O LORD. He speaks like old Jacob on his deathbed; indeed, all saints, both in prayer and in death, appear as one, in word, and deed, and mind. He knew God's salvation, and yet he longed for it; that is to say, he had experienced a share of it, and he was therefore led to expect something yet higher and more complete. There is a salvation yet to come, when we shall be clean delivered from the body of this death, set free from all the turmoil and trouble of this mortal life, raised above the temptations and assaults of Satan, and brought near unto our God, to be like him and with him for ever and ever.

I have longed for thy salvation, O Jehovah; and thy law is my delight. The first clause tells us what the saint longs for, and this informs us what is his present satisfaction. God's law, contained in the ten commandments, gives joy to believers. God's law, that is, the entire Bible, is a well spring of consolation and enjoyment to all who receive it. Though we have not yet reached the fulness of our salvation, yet we find in God's word so much concerning a present salvation that we are even now delighted.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 174. -- I have longed for thy salvation, 0 LORD, ere. The thing which we learn hence out of David's joining these two together, I long for salvation, and thy law is my delight, is this, that it is not enough for a man to say, he longs and desires to be saved, unless he makes a conscience to use the appointed means to bring him thereunto. It had been but hypocrisy in David to say he longed for salvation, if his conscience had not been able to witness with him that the law was his delight. It is mere mockery for a man to say he longeth for bread, and prayeth to God every day to give him his daily bread, if he yet walk in no calling, or else seek to get it by fraud and rapine, not staying himself at all upon God's providence. Who will imagine that a man wishes for health, who either despiseth or neglects the means of his recovery? God hath in his own wisdom appointed a lawful means for every lawful thing; this means, being obediently used, the comfortable obtaining of the end may be confidently looked for; the means being not observed, to think to attain to the end is mere presumption. God will deliver Noah from the flood, but Noah must be "moved with reverence," and "prepare the ark" ( Hebrews 11:7 ), or else he could not have escaped. He would save Lot from Sodom, but yet Lot must hurry him out quickly, and not look behind him till he have entered Zoar: Genesis 19:17 . He was pleased to cure Hezekiah of the plague, but yet Hezekiah must take "a lump of figs, and lay it upon his boil:" Isaiah 38:21 . He vouchsafed to preserve Paul and company at sea, yet the sailors must "abide in the ship," else ye cannot be saved, saith Paul: Acts 27:31 . --Samuel Hieron, 1572-1617.

Verse 174. -- I have longed for thy salvation. It is God's salvation proper that he must desire -- "thy salvation" -- for nothing else could satisfy his pure mind -- perfect peace with God, perfect purity and perfect hope. Now, if you ask what was God's way of delivering, and what was his way of salvation, the answer is, it was set forth in his word, and was what the Psalmist calls his "law." God's salvation and his law were discerned to be one. "I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is ray delight." -- John Stephen.

Verse 174. -- I have longed for thy salvations, O LORD. "Salvation," by the "hand," or arm of Jehovah, (which is often in Scripture a title of Messiah,) hath been the object of the hopes, the desires, and "longing" expectations of the faithful, from Adam to this hour, and will continue so to be until he, who hath already visited us in great humility, shall come again in glorious majesty to complete our redemption and take us to himself. -- George Horne.

Verse 174. -- I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD. For a present salvation from the guilt and power of sin, and for future salvation, in the full and everlasting enjoyment of God in heaven. David had the happiness to be a partaker, both of pardoning mercy and of sanctifying grace; yet still he longed for more of this salvation, that is, for a more assured faith of pardoning mercy, and larger measures of sanctifying grace. A gracious soul is insatiable; the more it hath received, the more it desires to receive. Enjoyment, instead of surfeiting, sharpens the appetite. Nay, so sweet is the relishing of spiritual things, that every renewed taste of them quenches the thirst for other things.

Thy law is my delight. Here David chooses the term "law" for denoting the whole revelation of God's will, to remind us of the inseparable connexion between privilege and duty, faith and obedience, holiness and comfort; and to teach us that we ought to be thankful to God for the direction he hath given us in the road to heaven, no less than for the promises by which we are assured of the possession of it. --Robert Walker, 1716--1783.

Verse 174. -- Thy law is my delight. Religion will decay or flourish, as it is our duty or our delight. The mind is incapable of continued exertion for duty; but it readily falls in with "delight." Thus our duties become our privileges, while Christ is their source and life. Every step of progress is progress in happiness. This verse of which experience is the best interpreter is the believer's language in his lively, as well as in his fainting state. For the more be knows and enjoys of tim divine presence, the more he longs to know and enjoy it. --Charles Bridges.

Verse 174. -- Delight, in the plural, "delights," as in verses 24, 77, 92, 143. God's word is an abundant source of pleasure to his people. --William S. Plumer.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 174. --

  1. Jacob's longings.
  2. Moses' choice.

Verse 174. -- God's servant drinking at salvation's well, but unsated.

  1. Longing yielding to delight.
(a) At God's salvation.
(b) At the rich Scripture inventory.

  1. Delight bringing forth further longing.
(a) For deeper discoveries in the word.
(b) Richer experiences in the life.
(c) Heaven's consummation.

--W.B.H.

Verse 174. --

  1. Sighings for heaven. Holiness, happiness, God.
  2. Sips by the way. The word of God, the will of God, service of God, the God in all.

--W.B.H.

Verse 174. -- I have longed for thy salvation. Thy holy salvation. Thy full salvation. Thy free salvation. Thy present salvation. Thy permanent salvation. --W.J.

Verse 174. -- I have longed, etc. This longing arises,

  1. From a painful consciousness of the need of salvation.
  2. From a perception of the glories of God's salvation.
  3. From the promises which give assurance of the possibility of obtaining this salvation.
  4. From the gracious promptings of the Holy Ghost.

--W.H.J.P.