Verse 45. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. Saints find no bondage in sanctity. The Spirit of holiness is a free spirit; he sets men at liberty and enables them to resist every effort to bring them under subjection. The way of holiness is not a track for slaves, but the King's highway for freemen, who are joyfully journeying from the Egypt of bandage to the Canaan of rest. God's mercies and his salvation, by teaching us to love the precepts of the word, set us at a happy rest; and the more we seek after the perfection of our obedience the more shall we enjoy complete emancipation from every form of spiritual slavery. David at one time of his life was in great bondage through having followed a crooked policy. He deceived Achish so persistently that he was driven to acts of ferocity to conceal it, and must have felt very unhappy in his unnatural position as an ally of Philistines, and captain of the body guard of their king. He must have feared lest through his falling into the crooked ways of falsehood the truth would no longer be on his tongue, and he therefore prayed God in some way to work his deliverance, and set him at liberty from such slavery. By terrible things in righteousness did the Lord answer him at Ziklag: the snare was broken, and he escaped.
The verse is united to that which goes before, for it begins with the word "And," which acts as a hook to attach it to the preceding verses. It mentions another of the benefits expected from the coming of mercies from God. The man of God had mentioned the silencing of his enemies ( Psalms 119:42 ), power to proceed in testimony ( Psalms 119:43 ), and perseverance in holiness; now he dwells upon liberty, which next to life is dearest to all brave men. He says, "I shall walk," indicating his daily progress through life; "at liberty," as one who is out of prison, unimpeded by adversaries, unencumbered by burdens, unshackled, allowed a wide range, and roaming without fear. Such liberty would be dangerous if a man were seeking himself or his own lusts; but when the one object sought after is the will of God, there can be no need to restrain the searcher. We need not circumscribe the man who can say, "I seek thy precepts." Observe, in the preceding verse he said he would keep the law; but here he speaks of seeking it. Does he not mean that he will obey what he knows, and endeavour to know more? Is not this the way to the highest form of liberty, -- to be always labouring to know the mind of God and to be conformed to it? Those who keep the law are sure to seek it, and bestir themselves to keep it more and more.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 45. I will walk at liberty. Wherever God pardons sin, he subdues it ( Micah 7:19 ). Then is the condemning power of sin taken away, when the commanding power of it is taken away. If a malefactor be in prison, how shall he know that his prince hath pardoned him? If a jailer come and knock off his chains and fetters, and lets him out of prison, then he may know he is pardoned: so, how shall we know God hath pardoned us? If the fetters of sin be broken off, and we walk at liberty in the ways of God, this is a blessed sign we are pardoned. Thomas Watson.
Verse 45. I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. As he who departs from confessing of God's truth doth cast himself in straits, in danger and bonds; so he that beareth out the confession of the truth doth walk as a free man; the truth doth set him free. David Dickson.
Verse 45. I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. When the Bible says that a man led by the Spirit is not under the law, it does not mean that he is free because he may sin without being punished for it; but it means that he is free because being taught by God's Spirit to love what his law commands he is no longer conscious of acting from restraint. The law does not drive him, because the Spirit leads him... There is a state, brethren, when we recognize God, but do not love God in Christ. It is that state when we admire what is excellent, but are not able to perform it. It is a state when the love of good comes to nothing, dying away in a mere desire. That is a state of nature, when we are under the law, and not converted to the love of Christ. And then there is another state, when God writes his law upon our hearts by love instead of fear. The one state is this, "I cannot do the things that I would;" the other state is this, "I will walk at liberty, for I seek thy commandments." Frederick William Robertson, 1816-1853.
Verse 45. I will walk at liberty. The Psalmist's mind takes in the enlargement of his position. A little while ago, and he felt like a man straitened -- hemmed in by rocks, in a narrow dangerous pass who could not make his way out. You know the characteristics of Canaan, and you can easily conceive of the position of a traveller exploring his dreaded way through one of the mountain passes. The traveller before us has attained to tread upon secure ground. Now, all at once, favoured of the Most High, and conscious of being in his way, he finds himself in a spacious place, and he walks at large: "And I will walk at liberty; for I seek thy precepts." He had made diligent enquiry into all that the Lord had enjoined, and seeking conformity thereto, he felt that he could walk with comfort. He recreates himself in his spiritual emancipation. The secret evil doer of fair profession cannot know this spiritual liberty at all. As long as a man finds himself to be wrong, and especially a man of a tender conscience, he feels hampered on all sides, depressed in mind, and evilly circumstanced. To what expansion of mind does a man awake when he becomes conscious of being in the appointed way of God! And he is actually at liberty; for the good providence of God is around him, and his grace supports him. John Stephen.
Verse 45. He who goes the beaten and right path will have no brambles hit him across the eyes. Saxon proverb.
Verse 45-48. Five things David promises himself here in the strength of God's grace.
- That he should be free and easy in his duty: I will walk at liberty: freed from that which is evil, not hampered with the fetters of my own corruptions, and free to that which is good.
- That he should be bold and courageous in his duty: I will speak of thy testimonies before kings.
- That he should be cheerful and pleasant in his duty: I will delight myself in thy commandments, in conversing with them, in forming to them.
- That he should be diligent and vigorous in his duty: I will lift up my hands unto thy commandments; which notes not only a vehement desire towards them, but a close application of mind to the observance of them.
- That he should be thoughtful and considerate in his duty: I will meditate in thy statutes. Matthew Henry.
Verse 45-48. In these four verses he explains, seriatim, in what the observance of the law consists; a thing he promised, when he said in fourth verse of this division, that he would observe God's law in his in his words, in his mind, and in his acts; and the prophet seems all once, as having been heard, to have changed his mode of speaking, for says, "And I walked at large." When God's mercy visited me, I did walk in the narrow ways of fear, but in the wide one of love; that is to say, observed the law willingly, joyfully, with all the affections of my heart, "because I have sought after thy commandments" as a thing of great and most important to come at; "and I spoke" openly and fearlessly on the justice of his most holy law, even "before kings, and I was not ashamed" and I constantly turned the law in my mind, and made its mysteries the subject of my meditation, "and I lifted up my hands," to carry out his high and sublime commands; that is, his extremely perfect and arduous commands. Finally, in all manner of ways, in heart, mind, word, and "I was exercised in thy justifications." Robert Bellarmine.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 45-47. -- Liberty of walk. Liberty of speech. Liberty of heart.
Verse 45-48. -- The true freeman enjoys --
- Free walk with God.
- Free talk about God.
- Free love unto God.
- Free exercise, of soul,
- in holy practice;
- in heavenly meditation. --W. Durban.
Verse 45-48. -- Five things the Psalmist promises himself here in the strength of God's grace.
- That he should be free and easy in his duty: "I will walk at liberty."
- That he should be bold and courageous in his duty: "I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings."
- That he should be cheerful and pleasant in his duty: "I will delight myself in thy commandments."
- That he should be diligent and vigorous in his duty: "I will delight myself in thy commandments."
- That he should be thoughtful and considerate in his duty: "I will meditate in thy statutes." --M. Henry.