Psalms 119

1 Blessed are those whose lives have integrity, those who follow the teachings of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who obey his written instructions. They wholeheartedly search for him.
3 They do nothing wrong. They follow his directions.
4 You have commanded that your guiding principles be carefully followed.
5 I pray that my ways may become firmly established so that I can obey your laws.
6 Then I will never feel ashamed when I study all your commandments.
7 I will give thanks to you as I learn your regulations, which are based on your righteousness.
8 I will obey your laws. Never abandon me.
9 How can a young person keep his life pure? [He can do it] by holding on to your word.
10 I wholeheartedly searched for you. Do not let me wander away from your commandments.
11 I have treasured your promise in my heart so that I may not sin against you.
12 Thanks be to you, O LORD. Teach me your laws.
13 With my lips I have repeated every regulation that [comes] from your mouth.
14 I find joy in the way [shown by] your written instructions more than I find joy in all kinds of riches.
15 I want to reflect on your guiding principles and study your ways.
16 Your laws make me happy. I never forget your word.
17 Be kind to me so that I may live and hold on to your word.
18 Uncover my eyes so that I may see the miraculous things in your teachings.
19 I am a foreigner in this world. Do not hide your commandments from me.
20 My soul is overwhelmed with endless longing for your regulations.
21 You threaten arrogant people, who are condemned and wander away from your commandments.
22 Remove the insults and contempt that have fallen on me because I have obeyed your written instructions.
23 Even though influential people plot against me, I reflect on your laws.
24 Indeed, your written instructions make me happy. They are my best friends.
25 I am close to death. Give me a new life as you promised.
26 I told you what I have done, and you answered me. Teach me your laws.
27 Help me understand your guiding principles so that I may reflect on your miracles.
28 I am drowning in tears. Strengthen me as you promised.
29 Turn me away from a life of lies. Graciously provide me with your teachings.
30 I have chosen a life of faithfulness. I have set your regulations in front of me.
31 I have clung tightly to your written instructions. O LORD, do not let me be put to shame.
32 I will eagerly pursue your commandments because you continue to increase my understanding.
33 Teach me, O LORD, how to live by your laws, and I will obey them to the end.
34 Help me understand so that I can follow your teachings. I will guard them with all my heart.
35 Lead me on the path of your commandments, because I am happy with them.
36 Direct my heart toward your written instructions rather than getting rich in underhanded ways.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things. Give me a new life in your ways.
38 Keep your promise to me so that I can fear you.
39 Take away insults, which I dread, because your regulations are good.
40 I long for your guiding principles. Give me a new life in your righteousness.
41 Let your blessings reach me, O LORD. Save me as you promised.
42 Then I will have an answer for the one who insults me since I trust your word.
43 Do not take so much as a single word of truth from my mouth. My hope is based on your regulations.
44 I will follow your teachings forever and ever.
45 I will walk around freely because I sought out your guiding principles.
46 I will speak about your written instructions in the presence of kings and not feel ashamed.
47 Your commandments, which I love, make me happy.
48 I lift my hands [in prayer] because of your commandments, which I love. I will reflect on your laws.
49 Remember the word [you gave] me. Through it you gave me hope.
50 This is my comfort in my misery: Your promise gave me a new life.
51 Arrogant people have mocked me with cruelty, yet I have not turned away from your teachings.
52 I remembered your regulations from long ago, O LORD, and I found comfort [in them].
53 I am burning with anger because of wicked people, who abandon your teachings.
54 Your laws have become like psalms to me in this place where I am only a foreigner.
55 At night I remember your name, O LORD, and I follow your teachings.
56 This has happened to me because I have obeyed your guiding principles.
57 You are my inheritance, O LORD. I promised to hold on to your words.
58 With all my heart I want to win your favor. Be kind to me as you promised.
59 I have thought about my life, and I have directed my feet back to your written instructions.
60 Without any hesitation I hurry to obey your commandments.
61 [Though] the ropes of wicked people are tied around me, I never forget your teachings.
62 At midnight I wake up to give thanks to you for the regulations, which are based on your righteousness.
63 I am a friend to everyone who fears you and to everyone who follows your guiding principles.
64 Your mercy, O LORD, fills the earth. Teach me your laws.
65 You have treated me well, O LORD, as you promised.
66 Teach me [to use] good judgment and knowledge, because I believe in your commandments.
67 Before you made me suffer, I used to wander off, but now I hold on to your word.
68 You are good, and you do good things. Teach me your laws.
69 Arrogant people have smeared me with lies, [yet] I obey your guiding principles with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are cold and insensitive, [yet] I am happy with your teachings.
71 It was good that I had to suffer in order to learn your laws.
72 The teachings [that come] from your mouth are worth more to me than thousands in gold or silver.
73 Your hands created me and made me what I am. Help me understand so that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you will see me and rejoice, because my hope is based on your word.
75 I know that your regulations are fair, O LORD, and that you were right to make me suffer.
76 Let your mercy comfort me as you promised.
77 Let your compassion reach me so that I may live, because your teachings make me happy.
78 Let arrogant people be put to shame because they lied about me, [yet] I reflect on your guiding principles.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me so that they can come to know your written instructions.
80 Let my heart be filled with integrity in regard to your laws so that I will not be put to shame.
81 My soul is weak from waiting for you to save me. My hope is based on your word.
82 My eyes have become strained from looking for your promise. I ask, "When will you comfort me?"
83 Although I have become like a shriveled and dried out wineskin, I have not forgotten your laws.
84 What is left of my life? When will you bring those who persecute me to justice?
85 Arrogant people have dug pits to trap me in defiance of your teachings.
86 (All your commandments are reliable.) Those people persecute me with lies. Help me!
87 They almost wiped me off [the face of] the earth. But I did not abandon your guiding principles.
88 Give me a new life through your mercy so that I may obey the written instructions, [which came] from your mouth.
89 O LORD, your word is established in heaven forever.
90 Your faithfulness endures throughout every generation. You set the earth in place, and it continues to stand.
91 All things continue to stand today because of your regulations, since they are all your servants.
92 If your teachings had not made me happy, then I would have died in my misery.
93 I will never forget your guiding principles, because you gave me a new life through them.
94 I am yours. Save me, because I have searched for your guiding principles.
95 The wicked people have waited for me in order to destroy me, [yet] I want to understand your written instructions.
96 I have seen a limit to everything else, [but] your commandments have no limit.
97 Oh, how I love your teachings! They are in my thoughts all day long.
98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, because your commandments are always with me.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers, because your written instructions are in my thoughts.
100 I have more wisdom than those with many years of experience, because I have obeyed your guiding principles.
101 I have kept my feet [from walking] on any evil path in order to obey your word.
102 I have not neglected your regulations, because you have taught me.
103 How sweet the taste of your promise is! It tastes sweeter than honey.
104 From your guiding principles I gain understanding. That is why I hate every path that leads to lying.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.
106 I took an oath, and I will keep it. I took an oath to follow your regulations, which are based on your righteousness.
107 I have suffered so much. Give me a new life, O LORD, as you promised.
108 Please accept the praise I gladly give you, O LORD, and teach me your regulations.
109 I always take my life into my own hands, but I never forget your teachings.
110 Wicked people have set a trap for me, but I have never wandered away from your guiding principles.
111 Your written instructions are mine forever. They are the joy of my heart.
112 I have decided to obey your laws. They offer a reward that never ends.
113 I hate two-faced people, but I love your teachings.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield. My hope is based on your word.
115 Get away from me, you evildoers, so that I can obey the commandments of my God.
116 Help me God, as you promised, so that I may live. Do not turn my hope into disappointment.
117 Hold me, and I will be safe, and I will always respect your laws.
118 You reject all who wander away from your laws, because their lies mislead them.
119 You get rid of all wicked people on earth as if they were rubbish. That is why I love your written instructions.
120 My body shudders in fear of you, and I am afraid of your regulations.
121 I have done what is fair and right. Do not leave me at the mercy of those who oppress me.
122 Guarantee my well-being. Do not let arrogant people oppress me.
123 My eyes are strained from looking for you to save me and from looking for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
124 Treat me with kindness, and teach me your laws.
125 I am your servant. Help me understand so that I may come to know your written instructions.
126 It is time for you to act, O LORD. Even though people have abolished your teachings,
127 I love your commandments more than gold, more than pure gold.
128 I follow the straight paths of your guiding principles. I hate every pathway that leads to lying.
129 Your written instructions are miraculous. That is why I obey them.
130 Your word is a doorway that lets in light, and it helps gullible people understand.
131 I open my mouth and pant because I long for your commandments.
132 Turn toward me, and have pity on me as you have pledged to do for those who love your name.
133 Make my steps secure through your promise, and do not let any sin control me.
134 Save me from human oppression so that I may obey your guiding principles.
135 Smile on me, and teach me your laws.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes because others do not follow your teachings.
137 You are righteous, O LORD, and your regulations are fair.
138 You have issued your written instructions. They are fair and completely dependable.
139 My devotion [for your words] consumes me, because my enemies have forgotten your words.
140 Your promise has been thoroughly tested, and I love it.
141 I am unimportant and despised, [yet] I never forget your guiding principles.
142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your teachings are reliable.
143 Trouble and hardship have found me, but your commandments [still] make me happy.
144 Your written instructions are always right. Help me understand [them] so that I will live.
145 I have called out with all my heart. Answer me, O LORD. I want to obey your laws.
146 I have called out. Save me, so that I can obey your written instructions.
147 I got up before dawn, and I cried out for help. My hope is based on your word.
148 My eyes are wide-open throughout the nighttime hours to reflect on your word.
149 In keeping with your mercy, hear my voice. O LORD, give me a new life guided by your regulations.
150 Those who carry out plots against me are near, [yet] they are far away from your teachings.
151 You are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are reliable.
152 Long ago I learned from your written instructions that you made them to last forever.
153 Look at my misery, and rescue me, because I have never forgotten your teachings.
154 Plead my case [for me], and save me. Give me a new life as you promised.
155 Wicked people are far from being saved, because they have not searched for your laws.
156 Your acts of compassion are many in number, O LORD. Give me a new life guided by your regulations.
157 I have many persecutors and opponents, [yet] I have not turned away from your written instructions.
158 I have seen traitors, and I am filled with disgust. They have not accepted your promise.
159 See how I have loved your guiding principles! O LORD, in keeping with your mercy, give me a new life.
160 There is nothing but truth in your word, and all of your righteous regulations endure forever.
161 Influential people have persecuted me for no reason, but it is only your words that fill my heart with terror.
162 I find joy in your promise like someone who finds a priceless treasure.
163 I hate lying; I am disgusted with it. I love your teachings.
164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous regulations.
165 There is lasting peace for those who love your teachings. Nothing can make those people stumble.
166 I have waited with hope for you to save me, O LORD. I have carried out your commandments.
167 I have obeyed your written instructions. I have loved them very much.
168 I have followed your guiding principles and your written instructions, because my whole life is in front of you.
169 Let my cry for help come into your presence, O LORD. Help me understand as you promised.
170 Let my plea for mercy come into your presence. Rescue me as you promised.
171 Let my lips pour out praise because you teach me your laws.
172 Let my tongue sing about your promise because all your commandments are fair.
173 Let your hand help me because I have chosen [to follow] your guiding principles.
174 I have longed for you to save me, O LORD, and your teachings make me happy.
175 Let my soul have new life so that it can praise you. Let your regulations help me.
176 I have wandered away like a lost lamb. Search for me, because I have never forgotten your commandments.

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Psalms 119 Commentary

Chapter 119

The general scope and design of this psalm is to magnify the Divine law, and make it honourable. There are ten words by which Divine revelation is called in this psalm, and each expresses what God expects from us, and what we may expect from him. 1. God's law; this is enacted by him as our Sovereign. 2. His way; this is the rule of his providence. 3. His testimonies; they are solemnly declared to the world. 4. His commandments; given with authority. 5. His precepts; not left as indifferent matters to us. 6. His word, or saying; it is the declaration of his mind. 7. His judgments; framed in infinite wisdom. 8. His righteousness; it is the rule and standard of what is right. 9. His statutes; they are always binding. 10. His truth or faithfulness; it is eternal truth, it shall endure for ever.

Verses 1-8 This psalm may be considered as the statement of a believer's experience. As far as our views, desires, and affections agree with what is here expressed, they come from the influences of the Holy Spirit, and no further. The pardoning mercy of God in Christ, is the only source of a sinner's happiness. And those are most happy, who are preserved most free from the defilement of sin, who simply believe God's testimonies, and depend on his promises. If the heart be divided between him and the world, it is evil. But the saints carefully avoid all sin; they are conscious of much evil that clogs them in the ways of God, but not of that wickedness which draws them out of those ways. The tempter would make men think they are at them out of those ways. The tempter would make men think they are at liberty to follow the word of God or not, as they please. But the desire and prayer of a good man agree with the will and command of God. If a man expects by obedience in one thing to purchase indulgence for disobedience in others, his hypocrisy will be detected; if he is not ashamed in this world, everlasting shame will be his portion. The psalmist coveted to learn the laws of God, to give God the glory. And believers see that if God forsakes them, the temper will be too hard for them.

Verses 9-16 To original corruption all have added actual sin. The ruin of the young is either living by no rule at all, or choosing false rules: let them walk by Scripture rules. To doubt of our own wisdom and strength, and to depend upon God, proves the purpose of holiness is sincere. God's word is treasure worth laying up, and there is no laying it up safe but in our hearts, that we may oppose God's precepts to the dominion of sin, his promises to its allurements, and his threatenings to its violence. Let this be our plea with Him to teach us his statutes, that, being partakers of his holiness, we may also partake of his blessedness. And those whose hearts are fed with the bread of life, should with their lips feed many. In the way of God's commandments there is the unsearchable riches of Christ. But we do not meditate on God's precepts to good purpose, unless our good thoughts produce good works. I will not only think of thy statutes, but do them with delight. And it will be well to try the sincerity of our obedience by tracing the spring of it; the reality of our love by cheerfulness in appointed duties.

Verses 17-24 If God deals in strict justice with us, we all perish. We ought to spend our lives in his service; we shall find true life in keeping his word. Those that would see the wondrous things of God's law and gospel, must beg him to give them understanding, by the light of his Spirit. Believers feel themselves strangers on earth; they fear missing their way, and losing comfort by erring from God's commandments. Every sanctified soul hungers after the word of God, as food which there is no living without. There is something of pride at the bottom of every wilful sin. God can silence lying lips; reproach and contempt may humble and do us good, and then they shall be removed. Do we find the weight of the cross is above that we are able to bear? He that bore it for us will enable us to bear it; upheld by him we cannot sink. It is sad when those who should protect the innocent, are their betrayers. The psalmist went on in duty, and he found comfort in the word of God. The comforts of the word of God are most pleasant to a gracious soul, when other comforts are made bitter; and those that would have God's testimonies to be their delight, must be advised by them. May the Lord direct us in exercising repentance of sin, and faith in Christ.

Verses 25-32 While the souls of the children of this world cleave to the earth as their portion, the children of light are greatly burdened, because of the remains of carnal affections in their hearts. It is unspeakable comfort to a gracious soul, to think with what tenderness all its complaints are received by a gracious God. We can talk of the wonders of redeeming love, when we understand the way of God's precepts, and walk in that way. The penitent melts in sorrow for sin: even the patient spirit may melt in the sense of affliction, it is then its interest to pour out its soul before God. The way of lying means all false ways by which men deceive themselves and others, or are deceived by Satan and his instruments. Those who know and love the law of the Lord, desire to know it more, and love it better. The way of serious godliness is the way of truth; the only true way to happiness: we must always have actual regard to it. Those who stick to the word of God, may in faith expect and pray for acceptance with God. Lord, never leave me to do that by which I shall shame myself, and do not thou reject my services. Those that are going to heaven, should still press forward. God, by his Spirit, enlarges the hearts of his people when he gives them wisdom. The believer prays to be set free from sin.

Verses 33-40 Teach me thy statutes, not the mere words, but the way of applying them to myself. God, by his Spirit, gives a right understanding. But the Spirit of revelation in the word will not suffice, unless we have the Spirit of wisdom in the heart. God puts his Spirit within us, causing us to walk in his statutes. The sin here prayed against is covetousness. Those that would have the love of God rooted in them, must get the love of the world rooted out; for the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Quicken me in thy way; to redeem time, and to do every duty with liveliness of spirit. Beholding vanity deadens us, and slackens our pace; a traveller must not stand gazing upon every object that presents itself to his view. The promises of God's word greatly relate to the preservation of the true believer. When Satan has drawn a child of God into worldly compliances, he will reproach him with the falls into which he led him. Victory must come from the cross of Christ. When we enjoy the sweetness of God's precepts, it will make us long for more acquaintance with them. And where God has wrought to will, he will work to do.

Verses 41-48 Lord, I have by faith thy mercies in view; let me by prayer prevail to obtain them. And when the salvation of the saints is completed, it will plainly appear that it was not in vain to trust in God's word. We need to pray that we may never be afraid or ashamed to own God's truths and ways before men. And the psalmist resolves to keep God's law, in a constant course of obedience, without backsliding. The service of sin is slavery; the service of God is liberty. There is no full happiness, or perfect liberty, but in keeping God's law. We must never be ashamed or afraid to own our religion. The more delight we take in the service of God, the nearer we come to perfection. Not only consent to his law as good, but take pleasure in it as good for us. Let me put forth all the strength I have, to do it. Something of this mind of Christ is in every true disciple.

Verses 49-56 Those that make God's promises their portion, may with humble boldness make them their plea. He that by his Spirit works faith in us, will work for us. The word of God speaks comfort in affliction. If, through grace, it makes us holy, there is enough in it to make us easy, in all conditions. Let us be certain we have the Divine law for what we believe, and then let not scoffers prevail upon us to decline from it. God's judgments of old comfort and encourage us, for he is still the same. Sin is horrible in the eyes of all that are sanctified. Ere long the believer will be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. In the mean time, the statutes of the Lord supply subjects for grateful praise. In the season of affliction, and in the silent hours of the night, he remembers the name of the Lord, and is stirred up to keep the law. All who have made religion the first thing, will own that they have been unspeakable gainers by it.

Verses 57-64 True believers take the Lord for the portion of their inheritance, and nothing less will satisfy them. The psalmist prayed with his whole heart, knowing how to value the blessing he prayed for: he desired the mercy promised, and depended on the promise for it. He turned from by-paths, and returned to God's testimonies. He delayed not. It behoves sinners to hasten to escape; and the believer will be equally in haste to glorify God. No care or grief should take away God's word out of our minds, or hinder the comfort it bestows. There is no situation on earth in which a believer has not cause to be thankful. Let us feel ashamed that others are more willing to keep from sleep to spend the time in sinful pleasures, than we are to praise God. And we should be more earnest in prayer, that our hearts may be filled with his mercy, grace, and peace.

Verses 65-72 However God has dealt with us, he has dealt with us better than we deserve; and all in love, and for our good. Many have knowledge, but little judgment; those who have both, are fortified against the snares of Satan, and furnished for the service of God. We are most apt to wander from God, when we are easy in the world. We should leave our concerns to the disposal of God, seeing we know not what is good for us. Lord, thou art our bountiful Benefactor; incline our hearts to faith and obedience. The psalmist will go on in his duty with constancy and resolution. The proud are full of the world, and its wealth and pleasures; these make them senseless, secure, and stupid. God visits his people with affliction, that they may learn his statutes. Not only God's promises, but even his law, his percepts, though hard to ungodly men, are desirable, and profitable, because they lead us with safety and delight unto eternal life.

Verses 73-80 God made us to serve him, and enjoy him; but by sin we have made ourselves unfit to serve him, and to enjoy him. We ought, therefore, continually to beseech him, by his Holy Spirit, to give us understanding. The comforts some have in God, should be matter of joy to others. But it is easy to own, that God's judgments are right, until it comes to be our own case. All supports under affliction must come from mercy and compassion. The mercies of God are tender mercies; the mercies of a father, the compassion of a mother to her son. They come to us when we are not able to go to them. Causeless reproach does not hurt, and should not move us. The psalmist could go on in the way of his duty, and find comfort in it. He valued the good will of saints, and was desirous to keep up his communion with them. Soundness of heart signifies sincerity in dependence on God, and devotedness to him.

Verses 81-88 The psalmist sought deliverance from his sins, his foes, and his fears. Hope deferred made him faint; his eyes failed by looking out for this expected salvation. But when the eyes fail, yet faith must not. His affliction was great. He was become like a leathern bottle, which, if hung up in the smoke, is dried and shrivelled up. We must ever be mindful of God's statutes. The days of the believer's mourning shall be ended; they are but for a moment, compared with eternal happiness. His enemies used craft as well as power for his ruin, in contempt of the law of God. The commandments of God are true and faithful guides in the path of peace and safety. We may best expect help from God when, like our Master, we do well and suffer for it. Wicked men may almost consume the believer upon earth, but he would sooner forsake all than forsake the word of the Lord. We should depend upon the grace of God for strength to do every good work. The surest token of God's good-will toward us, is his good work in us.

Verses 89-96 The settling of God's word in heaven, is opposed to the changes and revolutions of the earth. And the engagements of God's covenant are established more firmly than the earth itself. All the creatures answer the ends of their creation: shall man, who alone is endued with reason, be the only unprofitable burden of the earth? We may make the Bible a pleasant companion at any time. But the word, without the grace of God, would not quicken us. See the best help for bad memories, namely, good affections; and though the exact words be lost, if the meaning remain, that is well. I am thine, not my own, not the world's; save me from sin, save me from ruin. The Lord will keep the man in peace, whose mind is stayed on him. It is poor perfection which one sees and end of. Such are all things in this world, which pass for perfections. The glory of man is but as the flower of the grass. The psalmist had seen the fulness of the word of God, and its sufficiency. The word of the Lord reaches to all cases, to all times. It will take us from all confidence in man, or in our own wisdom, strength, and righteousness. Thus shall we seek comfort and happiness from Christ alone.

Verses 97-104 What we love, we love to think of. All true wisdom is from God. A good man carries his Bible with him, if not in his hands, yet in his head and in his heart. By meditation on God's testimonies we understand more than our teachers, when we understand our own hearts. The written word is a more sure guide to heaven, than all the fathers, the teachers, and ancients of the church. We cannot, with any comfort or boldness, attend God in holy duties, while under guilt, or in any by-way. It was Divine grace in his heart, that enabled the psalmist to receive these instructions. The soul has its tastes as well as the body. Our relish for the word of God will be greatest, when that for the world and the flesh is least. The way of sin is a wrong way; and the more understanding we get by the precepts of God, the more rooted will be our hatred of sin; and the more ready we are in the Scriptures, the better furnished we are with answers to temptation.

Verses 105-112 The word of God directs us in our work and way, and a dark place indeed the world would be without it. The commandment is a lamp kept burning with the oil of the Spirit, as a light to direct us in the choice of our way, and the steps we take in that way. The keeping of God's commands here meant, was that of a sinner under a dispensation of mercy, of a believer having part in the covenant of grace. The psalmist is often afflicted; but with longing desires to become more holy, offers up daily prayers for quickening grace. We cannot offer any thing to God, that he will accept but what he is pleased to teach us to do. To have our soul or life continually in our hands, implies constant danger of life; yet he did not forget God's promises nor his precepts. Numberless are the snares laid by the wicked; and happy is that servant of God, whom they have not caused to err from his Master's precepts. Heavenly treasures are a heritage for ever; all the saints accept them as such, therefore they can be content with little of this world. We must look for comfort only in the way of duty, and that duty must be done. A good man, by the grace of God, brings his heart to his work, then it is done well.

Verses 113-120 Here is a dread of the risings of sin, and the first beginnings of it. The more we love the law of God, the more watchful we shall be, lest vain thoughts draw us from what we love. Would we make progress in keeping God's commands, we must be separate from evil-doers. The believer could not live without the grace of God; but, supported by his hand, his spiritual life shall be maintained. Our holy security is grounded on Divine supports. All departure from God's statutes is error, and will prove fatal. Their cunning is falsehood. There is a day coming which will put the wicked into everlasting fire, the fit place for the dross. See what comes of sin Surely we who fall so low in devout affections, should fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into heavenly rest, any of us should be found to come short of it, ( Hebrews 4:1 ) .

Verses 121-128 Happy is the man, who, acting upon gospel principles, does justice to all around. Christ our Surety, having paid our debt and ransom, secures all the blessings of salvation to every true believer. The psalmist expects the word of God's righteousness, and no other salvation than what is secured by that word, which cannot fall to the ground. We deserve no favour form God; we are most easy when we cast ourselves upon God's mercy, and refer ourselves to it. If any man resolve to do God's will as his servant, he shall be made to know his testimonies. We must do what we can for the support of religion, and, after all, must beg of God to take the work into his own hands. It is hypocrisy to say we love God's commandments more than our worldly interests. The way of sin is a false way, being directly contrary to God's precepts, which are right: those that love and esteem God's law, hate sin, and will not be reconciled to it.

Verses 129-136 The wonders of redeeming love will fix the heart in adoration of them. The Scriptures show us what we were, what we are, and what we shall be. They show us the mercy and the justice of the Lord, the joys of heaven, and the pains of hell. Thus they give to the simple, in a few days, understanding of those matters, which philosophers for ages sought in vain. The believer, wearied with the cares of life and his conflicts with sin, pants for the consolations conveyed to him by means of the sacred word. And every one may pray, Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. We must beg that the Holy Spirit would order our steps. The dominion of sin is to be dreaded and prayed against by every one. The oppression of men is often more than flesh and blood can bear; and He who knoweth our frame, will not refuse to remove it in answer to the prayers of his people. Whatever obscurity may appear as to the faith of the Old Testament believers, their confidence at the throne of grace can only be explained by their having obtained more distinct views of gospel privileges, through the sacrifices and services of their law, than is generally imagined. Go to the same place, plead the name and merits of Jesus, and you will not, you cannot plead in vain. Commonly, where there is a gracious heart, there is a weeping eye. Accept, O Lord, the tears our blessed Redeemer shed in the days of his flesh, for us who should weep for our brethren or ourselves.

Verses 137-144 God never did, and never can do wrong to any. The promises are faithfully performed by Him that made them. Zeal against sin should constrain us to do what we can against it, at least to do more in religion ourselves. Our love to the word of God is evidence of our love to God, because it is designed to make us partake his holiness. Men's real excellency always makes them low in their own eyes. When we are small and despised, we have the more need to remember God's precepts, that we may have them to support us. The law of God is the truth, the standard of holiness, the rule of happiness; but the obedience of Christ alone justifies the believer. Sorrows are often the lot of saints in this vale of tears; they are in heaviness through manifold temptations. There are delights in the word of God, which the saints often most sweetly enjoy when in trouble and anguish. This is life eternal, to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, ( John 17:3 ) . May we live the life of faith and grace here, and be removed to the life of glory hereafter.

Verses 145-152 Supplications with the whole heart are presented only by those who desire God's salvation, and who love his commandments. Whither should the child go but to his father? Save me from my sins, my corruptions, my temptations, all the hinderances in my way, that I may keep thy testimonies. Christians who enjoy health, should not suffer the early hours of the morning to glide away unimproved. Hope in God's word encourages us to continue in prayer. It is better to take time from sleep, than not to find time for prayer. We have access to God at all hours; and if our first thoughts in the morning are of God, they will help to keep us in his fear all the day long. Make me lively and cheerful. God knows what we need and what is good for us, and will quicken us. If we are employed in God's service, we need not fear those who try to set themselves as far as they can out of the reach of the convictions and commands of his law. When trouble is near, God is near. He is never far to seek. All his commandments are truth. And God's promises will be performed. All that ever trusted in God have found him faithful.

Verses 153-160 The closer we cleave to the word of God, both as our rule and as our stay, the more assurance we have of deliverance. Christ is the Advocate of his people, their Redeemer. Those who were quickened by his Spirit and grace, when they were dead in trespasses and sins, often need to have the work of grace revived in them, according to the word of promise. The wicked not only do not God's statutes, but they do not even seek them. They flatter themselves that they are going to heaven; but the longer they persist in sin, the further it is from them. God's mercies are tender; they are a fountain that can never be exhausted. The psalmist begs for God's reviving, quickening grace. A man, steady in the way of his duty, though he may have many enemies, needs to fear none. Those that hate sin truly, hate it as sin, as a transgression of the law of God, and a breaking of his word. Our obedience is only pleasing to God, and pleasant to ourselves, when it comes from a principle of love. All, in every age, who receive God's word in faith and love, find every saying in it faithful.

Verses 161-168 Those whose hearts stand in awe of God's word, will rather endure the wrath of man, than break the law of God. By the word of God we are unspeakable gainers. Every man hates to have a lie told him, but we should more hate telling a lie; by the latter we give an affront to God. The more we see the beauty of truth, the more we shall see the hateful deformity of a lie. We are to praise God even for afflictions; through grace we get good from them. Those that love the world have great vexation, for it does not answer what they expect; those that love God's word have great peace, for it outdoes what they expect. Those in whom this holy love reigns, will not perplex themselves with needless scruples, or take offence at their brethren. A good hope of salvation will engage the heart in doing the commandments. And our love to the word of God must subdue our lusts, and root out carnal affections: we must make heart work of it, or we make nothing of it. We must keep the commandments of God by obedience to them, and his promises by reliance on them. God's eye is on us at all times; this should make us very careful to keep his commandments.

Verses 169-176 The psalmist desired grace and strength to lift up his prayers, and that the Lord would receive and notice them. He desired to know more of God in Christ; to know more of the doctrines of the word, and the duties of religion. He had a deep sense of unworthiness, and holy fear that his prayer should not come before God; Lord, what I pray for is, what thou hast promised. We have learned nothing to purpose, if we have not learned to praise God. We should always make the word of God the rule of our discourse, so as never to transgress it by sinful speaking, or sinful silence. His own hands are not sufficient, nor can any creature lend him help; therefore he looks up to God, that the hand that had made him may help him. He had made religion his deliberate choice. There is an eternal salvation all the saints long for, and therefore they pray that God would help their way to it. Let thy judgments help me; let all ordinances and all providences, (both are God's judgments,) further me in glorifying God; let them help me for that work. He often looks back with shame and gratitude to his lost estate. He still prays for the tender care of Him who purchased his flock with his own blood, that he may receive from him the gift of eternal life. Seek me, that is, Find me; for God never seeks in vain. Turn me, and I shall be turned. Let this psalm be a touchstone by which to try our hearts, and our lives. Do our hearts, cleansed in Christ's blood, make these prayers, resolutions and confessions our own? Is God's word the standard of our faith, and the law of our practice? Do we use it as pleas with Christ for what we need? Happy those who live in such delightful exercises.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 119

This psalm is generally thought to be written by David, but when is uncertain; very probably towards the decline of life; and, as some think, for the sake or his son Solomon. It seems to be a collection of observations on the word of God and its precepts, the usefulness and excellency of it, he had made in the course of his life; interspersed with various petitions for the grace of God, to enable him to observe it. The psalm is a very extraordinary one; partly on account of the unusual length of it, it being more than double the length of the longest psalm in the whole book; and partly on account of its curious composition. It consists of twenty two parts, according to the number of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet; the names of which letters stand between each part; and every part consists of eight verses, all of which begin with the same letter: thus, for instance, the first eight verses begin with the letter a, "aleph", and the second eight verses begin with the letter b, "beth", and so on throughout; hence the Masorah calls this psalm the Great Alphabet. This the psalmist did, perhaps to excite attention to what he said, and also to help the memory. And it is observable that there are very few verses in the whole, not more than one or two, but what has something in it concerning the word of God, and its precepts and ordinances; there are nine or ten different words used relative to it, which signify much one and the same thing; as laws, statutes, judgments, testimonies Luther {m} observes, that neither Cicero, nor Virgil, nor Demosthenes, are to be compared with David for eloquence, as we see in the hundred nineteenth Psalm, where he divideth one sense and meaning into twenty two sorts. And it may also be remarked, that there is nothing in it concerning the tabernacle worship, or the rites and ceremonies of the legal dispensation; so that it seems to be calculated for, and is suited to, the word of God, and the ordinances of it, as we now have them in their full perfection: and the design of the whole is to show the fervent affection the psalmist had for the word of God, and to stir up the same in others.

{m} Mensal. Colloqu. c. 32. p. 365.

a, \\ALEPH.--The First Part\\.

Psalms 119 Commentaries