Psalm 119:60

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 60. I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. He made all speed to get back into the royal road from which he had wandered, and to run in that road upon the King's errands. Speed in repentance and speed in obedience are two excellent things. We are too often in haste to sin; O that we may be in a greater hurry to obey. Delay in sin is increase of sin. To be slow to keep the commands is really to break them. There is much evil in a lagging pace when God's command is to be followed. A holy alacrity in service is much to be cultivated. It is wrought in us by the Spirit of God, and the preceding verses describe the method of it: we are made to perceive and mourn our errors, we are led to return to the right path, and then we are eager to make up for lost time by dashing forward to fulfil the precept.

Whatever may be the slips and wanderings of an honest heart, there remains enough of true life in it to produce ardent piety when once it is quickened by the visitations of God. The Psalmist entreated for mercy, and when he received it he became eager and vehement in the Lord's ways. He had always loved them, and hence when he was enriched with grace he displayed great vivacity and delight in them. He made double speed; for positively he "made haste," and negatively he refused to yield to any motive which suggested procrastination, -- he "delayed not." Thus he made rapid advances and accomplished much service, fulfilling thereby the vow which is recorded in Psalms 119:57 : "I said that I would keep thy words." The commands which he was so eager to obey were not ordinances of man, but precepts of the Most High. Many are zealots to obey custom and society, and yet they are slack in serving God. It is a crying shame that men should be served post haste, and that God's work should have the go by, or be performed with dreamy negligence.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 60. -- I made haste, and delayed not, etc. Duty discovered should instantly be discharged. There is peril attending every step which is taken in the indulgence of any known sin, or in the neglect of any acknowledged obligation. A tender conscience will not trifle with its convictions, lest the heart should be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. It is unsafe, it is unreasonable, it is highly criminal to hesitate to carry that reformation into effect which conscience dictates. He who delays when duty calls may never have it in his power to evince the sincerity of his contrition for past folly and neglect. "I made haste," said the Psalmist, "and delayed not to keep thy commandments"; that is, being fully convinced of the necessity and excellency of obedience, I instantly resolved upon it, and immediately put it into execution. --John Morison.

Verse 60. -- I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. We often hear the saying, "Second thoughts are best." This does not hold in the religious life. In the context the Psalmist says, "I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies," that is, I did not wait to think again. In religion it may be a deadly habit to take time to reflect. Make haste. --Henry Melvill.

Verse 60. -- I made haste, and delayed not. When anyone is lawfully called either to the study of theology, or to the teaching it in the church, he ought not to hesitate, as Moses, or turn away, as Jonah; but, leaving all things, he should obey God who calls him; as David says, "I made haste, and delayed not." Matthew 4:20 Luke 9:62 . --Solomon Gesner.

Verse 60. -- I made haste, and delayed not. Sound faith is neither suspicious, nor curious; it believes what God says, without sight, without examining. For since it is impossible for God to lie (for how should truth lie?) it is fit his word be credited for itself's sake. It must not be examined with hows and whys. That which the Psalmist says of observing the law, that must the Christian say of receiving the gospel. ynhmhmnh al, "I disputed not," saith David; I argued not with God. The word is very elegant in the original tongue, derived in the Hebrew from the pronoun tm, which signifieth quid. Faith reasons not with God, asketh no "quids", no "quares", no "quomodos", no whats, no hows, no wherefores: it moveth no questions. It meekly yields assent, and humbly says Amen to every word of God. This is the faith of which our Saviour wondered in the centurion's story. -- Richard Clerke, --1634.

Verse 60. -- I made haste, and delayed not. The original word, which we translate "delayed not", is amazingly emphatic. thmhmth anw, "velo hithmahmahti", I did not stand what what whating; or, as we used to express the same sentiment, shilly shallying with myself: I was determined, and so set out. The Hebrew word as well as the English, strongly marks indecision of mind, positive action being suspended, because the mind is so unfixed as not to be able to make a choice. --Adam Clarke.

Verse 60. -- Take heed of delays and procrastination, of putting it off from day to day, by saying there will be time enough hereafter; it will be time enough for me to look after heaven when I have got enough of the world; if I do it in the last year of my life, in the last month of the last year, in the last week of the last month, it will serve. O take heed of delays; this putting off repentance hath ruined thousands of souls; shun that pit into which many have fallen, shun that rock upon which many have suffered shipwreck; say with David, "I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments." --James Nalton, 1664.

Verse 60. -- I made haste, and delayed not, etc. In the verse immediately preceding, the man of God speaks of repentance as the fruit of consideration and self examining: "I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies." But when did he turn? for, though we see the evil of our ways, we are naturally slow to get it redressed. Therefore David did not only turn to God, but he did it speedily: we have an account of that in this verse, "I made haste," etc. This readiness in the work of obedience is doubly expressed; affirmatively, and negatively. Affirmatively, "I made haste"; negatively, "I delayed not." This double expression increaseth the sense according to the manner of the Hebrews; as, "I shall not die, but live" ( Psalms 118:17 ); that is, surely live; so here, "I made haste, and delayed not;" that is, I verily delayed not a moment; as soon as he had thought of his ways, and taken up the resolution to walk closely with God, he did put it into practice. The Septuagint read the words thus, "I was ready, and was not troubled or diverted by fear of danger." Indeed, besides our natural slowness to good, this is one usual ground of delays; we distract ourselves with fears; and, when God hath made known his will to us in many duties, we think of tarrying till the times are more quiet, and favourable to our practice, or till our affairs are in a better posture. A good improvement may be made of that translation; but the words run better, as they run more generally, with us, "I made haste, and delayed not," etc.

David delayed not. When we dare not flatly deny, then we delay. Non vacat, that is the sinner's plea, "I am not at leisure"; but, Non placet, there is the reality. They which were invited to the wedding varnished their denial over with an excuse ( Matthew 22:5 ). Delay is a denial; for, if they were willing, there would be no excuse. To be rid of importunate and troublesome creditors, we promise them payment another time: though we know our estate will be more wasted by that time, it is but to put them off: so this delay and putting off of God is but a shift. Here is the misery, God always comes unseasonably to a carnal heart. It was the devils that said, "Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" ( Matthew 8:29 ). Good things are a torment to a carnal heart; and they always come out of time. Certainly, that is the best time when the word is pressed upon thy heart with evidence, light, and power, and when God treats with thee about thine eternal peace. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 60. -- Delayed. Hithmahmah; the word used of Lot's lingering, in Ge 19:16. --William Kay.

Verse 60. -- Delay in the Lord's errands is next to disobedience, and generally springs out of it, or issues in it. "God commanded me to make haste" ( 2 Chronicles 35:21 ). Let us see to it that we can say, "I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments." -- Frances Ridley Havergal.

Verse 60. -- Avoid all delay in the performance of this great work of believing in Christ. Until we have performed it we continue under the power of sin and Satan, and under the wrath of God; and there is nothing between hell and us besides the breath of our nostrils. It is dangerous for Lot to linger in Sodom, lest fire and brimstone come down from heaven upon him. The manslayer must fly with all haste to the city of refuge, lest the avenger of blood pursue him, while his heart is hot, and slay him. We should make haste, and not delay to keep God's commandments. --Walter Marshall.

Verse 60. -- If convictions begin to work, instantly yield to their influence. If any worldly or sinful desire is touched, let this be the moment for its crucifixion. If any affection is kindled towards the Saviour, give immediate expression to its voice. If any grace is reviving, let it be called forth into instant duty. This is the best, the only, expedient to fix and detain the motion of the Spirit now striving in the heart; and who knoweth but the improvement of the present advantage, may be the moment of victory over difficulties hitherto found insuperable, and may open our path to heaven with less interruption and more steady progress? --Charles Bridges.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 60. -- The dangers of delay. The reasons for prompt action.

Verse 60. -- A sermon to loiterers.

  1. Reflection. Keeping God's commandments is my duty; is my welfare. Commandments delayed may be never kept. Delay is in itself disobedience. Alacrity is the soul of obedience.
  2. Resolve. I will make haste and delay not. --C.A.D.

Verse 60. --

  1. Quick.
  2. Sure. --W.D.

Verse 60. -- Procrastination considered in its most important application; that is, to religion.

  1. This procrastination is irrational.
  2. It is unpleasant, disagreeable, painful.
  3. It is disgraceful.
  4. It is sinful, and that is the highest degree.
  5. It is dangerous. --John Angell James.