Psalm 119:29

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 29. Remove from me the way of lying. This is the way of sin, error, idolatry, folly, self righteousness, formalism, hypocrisy. David would not only be kept from that way, but have it kept from him; he cannot endure to have it near him, he would have it swept away from his sight. He desired to be right and upright, true and in the truth; but he feared that a measure of falsehood would cling to him unless the Lord took it away, and therefore he earnestly cried for its removal. False motives may at times sway us, and we may fall into mistaken notions of our own spiritual condition before God, which erroneous conceits may be kept up by a natural prejudice in our own layout, and so we may be confirmed in a delusion, and abide under error unless grace comes to the rescue. No true heart can rest in a false view of itself; it finds no anchorage, but is tossed to and fro till it gets into the truth and the truth into it. The true born child of heaven sighs out and cries against a lie, desiring to have it taken away as much as a man desires to be set at a distance from a venomous serpent or a raging lion.

And grant me thy law graciously. He is in a gracious state who looks upon the law itself as a gift of grace. David wishes to have the law opened up to his understanding, engraved upon his heart, and carried out in his life; for this he seeks the Lord, and pleads for it as a gracious grant. No doubt he viewed this as the only mode of deliverance from the power of falsehood: if the law be not in our hearts the lie will enter. David would seem to have remembered those times when, according to the eastern fashion, he had practised deceit for his own preservation, and he saw that he had been weak and erring on that point; therefore he was bowed down in spirit and begged to be quickened and delivered from transgressing in that manner any more. Holy men cannot review their sins without tears, nor weep over them without entreating to be saved from further offending.

There is an evident opposition between falsehood and the gracious power of God's law. The only way to expel the lie is to accept the truth. Grace also has a clear affinity to truth: no sooner do we meet with the sound of the word "graciously" than we hear the footfall of truth: "I have chosen the way of truth." Grace and truth are ever linked together, and a belief of the doctrines of grace is a grand preservative from deadly error.

In the fifth of the preceding octave ( Psalms 119:21 ) David cries out against pride, and here against lying -- these are much the same thing. Is not pride the greatest of all lies?

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 29. -- It says, Remove from me the way, and not me from the way; because that way of iniquity is within us, for we are born children of wrath, and the passions innate in us run to the he, and make the wretched way of crimes in our souls. Thomas Le Blanc.

Verse 29. Remove from me the way of lying. Here he acknowledgeth that although he were already exercised in the law of God and in his knowledge, and that although he were a prophet to teach others, nevertheless he was subject to a number of wicked thoughts and imaginations which might always wickedly lead him from the right way, except God had held him with his mighty and strong hand. And this is a point which we ought here rightly to note; for we see how men greatly abuse themselves. When any of us shall have had a good beginning, we straightway think that we are at the highest; we never bethink us to pray any more to God, when once he hath showed us favour enough to serve our turns; but if we have done any small deed, we by and by lift up ourselves and wonder at our great virtues, thinking straightway that the Devil can win no more of us. This foolish arrogancy causeth God to let us go astray, so that we fall mightily, yea, that we break both arms and legs, and are in great hazard of breaking our necks. I speak not now of our natural body, but of our soul. Let us look upon David himself; for he it is that hath made proof hereof. It came to pass that he villainously and wickedly erred when he took Bathsheba the wife of his subject, Uriah, to play the whoremonger with her, that he was the cause of so execrable a murder, yea, and that of many; for he did as much as in him lay, to cause the whole army of the Lord and all the people of Israel to be utterly overthrown. See, then, the great negligence and security into which David fell; and see also wherefore he saith, "Alas, my good God, I beseech thee so to guide me, that I may forsake the way of lying." John Calvin.

Verse 29. Lying. A sin that David, through diffidence, fell into frequently. See 1 Samuel 21:2 1 Samuel 21:8 , where he roundly telleth three or four lies; and the like he did, 1 Samuel 27:8 1 Samuel 27:10 : this evil he saw by himself, and here prayeth against it. John Trapp.

Verse 29. The way of lying, etc. Lying ways are all ways, except the ways of God's commandments: reason, sense, example, custom, event, deceivable lusts, these tell a man he is safe, or that he shall repent of them, and take no hurt in the end, and they promise ease and blessedness, but perform it not. Such as desire to obey God must be kept from evil ways: we are not so sanctified but that temptation will injure our graces. As a fire in kindling, not thoroughly alight, may be quenched by a little water, so may our holiness be damped by temptation. We find within us a proneness to false ways, as candles new blown out are soon blown in again. Therefore as burnt children dread the fire, so do we fear the way of lying. God doth not suffer temptations to come into the presence of some; and in others God maketh the heart averse from sin when the temptation is present. We must come out of the ways of sin, ere we can walk in the ways of God. Paul Bayne.

Verse 29. The way of lying. The whole life of sin is a lie from beginning to end. The word "lying" occurs eight times in this Psalm. William S. Plumer.

Verse 29. The way of lying. By the way of lying is to be understood all that is in man's nature, not agreeable to the word, whether it be counsels, or conclusions of the heart, or external actions; and it is called a lying way, because nature promises a good to be gotten by sin which man shall not find in it. William Cowper.

Verse 29. The way of lying. The prophet here desireth to be confirmed by God against all corruptions in doctrine, and disorder of conversation, which Satan by his witty and wily instruments doth seek to set abroach in the world. These are called "the way of lying."

  1. Because they are invented by Satan, the father of lies.
  2. They are countenanced by man's wit, the storehouse of lies.
  3. They seem to be that, which they are not, which is of the nature of lies.
  4. They are contrary to God and his truth, the discoverers of lies. Richard Greenham.

Verse 29. Grant me thy law graciously. He opposes the law of God to the way of lying. First, because it is the only rule of all truth, both in religion and manners: that which is not agreeable to it is but a lie which shall deceive men. Secondly, it destroys and shall at length utterly destroy all contrary errors. As the rod of Aaron devoured the rods of the enchanters: so the word, which is the rod of the mouth of God, shall, in the end, eat up and consume all untruths whatsoever. Thirdly, according to the sentence of this word, so shall it be unto every man; it deceives none. Men shall find by experience it is true: he who walks in a way condemned by the word, shall come to a miserable end. And, on the contrary, it cannot but be well with them who live according to this rule. William Cowper.

Verse 29. Grant me thy law graciously. David had ever the book of the law; for every king of Israel was to have it always by him, and the Rabbis say, written with his own hand. But, "Grant me thy law graciously;" that is, he desires he might have it not only written by him, but upon him, to have it imprinted upon his heart, that he might have a heart to observe and keep it. That is the blessing he begs for, "the law"; and this is begged "graciously," or upon terms of grace, merely according to thine own favour, and good pleasure. Here is, --

  1. The sin deprecated, "Remove from me the way of lying."
  2. The good supplicated and asked, "Grant me thy law graciously."

In the first clause you have his malady, David had been enticed to a course of lying. In the second we have his remedy, and that is the law of God. Thomas Manton.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 29. -- The way of lying.

  1. Describe the way of lying. Various paths, e.g., erroneous views of doctrine: false grounds of faith: looseness of practice: shrinking from the daily cross.
  2. Show why it is thus named. It does not furnish its promised pleasures. It does not lead to its professed goal. It lies through the territory of the father of lies.
  3. Notice the peculiarity in the prayer against it. Not remove me from, but remove from me: for the way of lying is within us.
  4. Our deliverance from the way of lying lies with God. -- C.A.D.

Verse 29-30. --

  1. The way of lying, our wish to have it removed, and the method of answer.
  2. The way of truth, our choice, and the method of carrying it out.