EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will. How childlike -- "teach me"! How practical "Teach me to do"! How undivided in obedience -- "to do thy will"! To do all of it, let it be what it may. This is the best form of instruction, for its source is God, its object is holiness, its spirit is that of hearty loyalty. The man is hidden in the Lord, and spends his peaceful life in learning the will of his Preserver. A heart cannot long be desolate which is thus docile. For thou art my God. Who else can teach me as thou canst? Who else will care to do it but my God? Thou hast given me thyself, thou wilt surely give me lily teaching. If I have thee, may I not ask to have thy perfect mind? When the heart can sincerely call Jehovah "my God", the understanding is ready to learn of him, the will is prepared to obey him, the whole man is eager to please him. "Thy spirit is good." God is all spirit and all good. His essence is goodness, kindness, holiness: it is his nature to do good, and what greater good can he do to us than to hear such a prayer as that which follows -- Lead we into the land of uprightness? David would fain be among the godly, in a land of another sort from that which had cast him out. He sighed for the upland meadows of grace, the table lands of peace, the fertile plains of communion. He could not reach them of himself; he must be led there. God, who is good, can best conduct us to the goodly land. There is no inheritance like a portion in the land of promise, the land of precept, the land of perfectness. He who teaches us must put us into leading strings, and guide and conduct us to his own dwelling place in the country of holiness. The way is long, and steep, and he who goes without a divine leader will faint on the journey; but with Jehovah to lead it is delightful to follow, and there is neither stumbling nor wandering.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will. He saith not, Teach me to know thy will, but to do thy will. God teaches us in three ways. First, by his word. Secondly, he illuminates our minds by the Spirit. Thirdly, he imprints it in our hearts and maketh us obedient to the same; for the servant who knoweth the will of his master, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes: Luke 12:47 . --Archibald Symson.
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will. We are to pray that God would teach us to know, and then teach us to do, his will. Knowledge without obedience is lame, obedience without knowledge is blind; and we must never hope for acceptance if we offer the blind and the lame to God. --Vincent Alsop (-1703), in "The Morning Exercises."
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will. The Lord doth no sooner call his people to, himself, but as soon as ever he hath thus crowned them with these glorious privileges, and given them any sense and feeling of them, them they immediately cry out, O Lord, what shall I now do for thee? How shall I now live to thee? They know now that they are no more their own, but his; and therefore should now live to him.
It is true indeed obedience to the law is not required of us now as it was of Adam; it was required of him as a condition antecedent to life, but of those that be in Christ it is required only as a duty consequent to life, or as a rule of life, that seeing he hath purchased our lives in redemption, and actually given us life in vocation and sanctification, we should now live unto him, in all thankful and fruitful obedience, according to his will revealed in the moral law. It is a vain thing to imagine that our obedience is to have no other rule but the Spirit, without an attendance to the law: the Spirit is indeed the efficient cause of our obedience, and hence we are said to be "led by the Spirit" ( Romans 8:14 ); but it is not properly the rule of our obedience, but the will of God revealed in his word, especially in the law, is the rule; the Spirit is the wind that drives us in our obedience; the law is our compass, according to which it steers our course for us: the Spirit and the law, the wind and the compass, can stand well together. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God (there is David's rule, viz., God's will revealed); Thy Spirit is good (there is David's wind, that enabled him to steer his course according to it). The Spirit of life doth free us from the law of sin and death; but not from the holy, and pure, and good, and righteous law of God. Romans 8:1-3 . --Thomas Shepherd, in "The Sound Believer", 1671.
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will, etc. We are inclined and enabled to good by the sanctifying Spirit. In the Christian religion, not only the precepts are good, but there goeth along with them the power of God to make us good. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy Spirit is good. The Spirit's direction hath strength joined with it. And he is a good Spirit, as he doth incline us to good. The Spirit is the only fountain of all goodness and holiness: Nehemiah 9:20 , "Thou gavest also thy good Spirit to instruct them." Why is he so often called the good Spirit, but that all his operations tend to make men good and holy? Ephesians 5:9 , "The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." -- Thomas Manton.
Verse 10. Lead me into the land of uprightness, into the communion of saints, that pleasant land of the upright; or into a settled course of holy living, which will lead to heaven, that land of uprightness, where holiness will be in perfection, and he that is holy will be holy still. We should desire to be led and kept safe to heaven, not only because it is a land of blessedness, but because it is a land of uprightness; it is the perfection of grace. -- Matthew Henry.
Verse 10. Lead me. Man by nature is as a cripple and blind, he cannot go upright unless he be led by a superior spirit; yea, he must be carried as an eagle carrieth her little ones, or as a mother her tender child. Think not that we can step one right step to heaven but by the conduct and convoy of God's Holy Spirit. Miserable are those who go without his conduction. --Archibald Symson.
Verse 10. The land of uprightness. Mishor is the name for the smooth upland downs of Moab ( Deuteronomy 3:10 Joshua 13:17 20:8 Jeremiah 48:8 Jeremiah 48:21 ). Derived from the root "yashar", "even, level plain", it naturally came to be used figuratively for equity, right, righteous, and uprightness. Malachi 2:6 Isaiah 11:4 Psalms 45:7 67:5 143:10. --Cunningham Geikie, in "Hours with the Bible", 1884.
Verse 10. The land of uprightness. The land of plainness, a land where no wickedness of men, and malice of Satan, vex the soul from day to day; a land where no rough paths and crooked turns lengthen out the traveller's weary journey (see Psalms 143:5 ); but where all is like the smooth pasture lands of Reuben ( Deuteronomy 3:10 Joshua 13:9 ), a fit place for flocks to lie down. --Andrew A. Bonar.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 10. Two childlike requests -- "Teach me ... lead me."
Verse 10. See "Spurgeon's Sermons", No. 1519, "At School."
Verse 10. (first half.)
- The best instructions: "Teach me to do thy will." Not merely to know, but "to do."
- The only efficient Instructor.
- The best reason for asking and expecting instruction: "For thou art my God." - -J. F.
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will. We may call this sentence a description of David's school; and it is a very complete one; at least, it hath in it the three best things that belong to a school.
- The best teacher.
- The best scholar.
- The best lesson; for who so good a teacher as God? who so good a scholar as David? what so good a lesson as to do God's will? --Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 10. (latter half.)
- Utopia -- "the land of uprightness." Describe it, and declare its glories.
- The difficult paths to that upland country.
- The divine Guide, -- "thy Spirit is good."