Psalms 119

1 You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
2 You're blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him.
3 That's right - you don't go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set.
4 You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it.
5 Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set;
6 Then I'd never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel.
7 I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
8 I'm going to do what you tell me to do; don't ever walk off and leave me.
9 How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word.
10 I'm single-minded in pursuit of you; don't let me miss the road signs you've posted.
11 I've banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won't sin myself bankrupt.
12 Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living.
13 I'll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
14 I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches.
15 I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you've done it.
16 I relish everything you've told me of life, I won't forget a word of it.
17 Be generous with me and I'll live a full life; not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.
18 Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders.
19 I'm a stranger in these parts; give me clear directions.
20 My soul is starved and hungry, ravenous! - insatiable for your nourishing commands.
21 And those who think they know so much, ignoring everything you tell them - let them have it!
22 Don't let them mock and humiliate me; I've been careful to do just what you said.
23 While bad neighbors maliciously gossip about me, I'm absorbed in pondering your wise counsel.
24 Yes, your sayings on life are what give me delight; I listen to them as to good neighbors!
25 I'm feeling terrible - I couldn't feel worse! Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
26 When I told my story, you responded; train me well in your deep wisdom.
27 Help me understand these things inside and out so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
28 My sad life's dilapidated, a falling-down barn; build me up again by your Word.
29 Barricade the road that goes Nowhere; grace me with your clear revelation.
30 I choose the true road to Somewhere, I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
31 I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me; God, don't let me down!
32 I'll run the course you lay out for me if you'll just show me how.
33 God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.
34 Give me insight so I can do what you tell me - my whole life one long, obedient response.
35 Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway!
36 Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot.
37 Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
38 Affirm your promises to me - promises made to all who fear you.
39 Deflect the harsh words of my critics - but what you say is always so good.
40 See how hungry I am for your counsel; preserve my life through your righteous ways!
41 Let your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as you promised;
42 Then I'll be able to stand up to mockery because I trusted your Word.
43 Don't ever deprive me of truth, not ever - your commandments are what I depend on.
44 Oh, I'll guard with my life what you've revealed to me, guard it now, guard it ever;
45 And I'll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
46 Then I'll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.
47 I cherish your commandments - oh, how I love them! -
48 relishing every fragment of your counsel.
49 Remember what you said to me, your servant - I hang on to these words for dear life!
50 These words hold me up in bad times; yes, your promises rejuvenate me.
51 The insolent ridicule me without mercy, but I don't budge from your revelation.
52 I watch for your ancient landmark words, and know I'm on the right track.
53 But when I see the wicked ignore your directions, I'm beside myself with anger.
54 I set your instructions to music and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way.
55 I meditate on your name all night, God, treasuring your revelation, O God.
56 Still, I walk through a rain of derision because I live by your Word and counsel.
57 Because you have satisfied me, God, I promise to do everything you say.
58 I beg you from the bottom of my heart: smile, be gracious to me just as you promised.
59 When I took a long, careful look at your ways, I got my feet back on the trail you blazed.
60 I was up at once, didn't drag my feet, was quick to follow your orders.
61 The wicked hemmed me in - there was no way out - but not for a minute did I forget your plan for me.
62 I get up in the middle of the night to thank you; your decisions are so right, so true - I can't wait till morning!
63 I'm a friend and companion of all who fear you, of those committed to living by your rules.
64 Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by your counsel.
65 Be good to your servant, God; be as good as your Word.
66 Train me in good common sense; I'm thoroughly committed to living your way.
67 Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place, but now I'm in step with your Word.
68 You are good, and the source of good; train me in your goodness.
69 The godless spread lies about me, but I focus my attention on what you are saying;
70 They're bland as a bucket of lard, while I dance to the tune of your revelation.
71 My troubles turned out all for the best - they forced me to learn from your textbook.
72 Truth from your mouth means more to me than striking it rich in a gold mine.
73 With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.
74 When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad.
75 I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what's true and right.
76 Oh, love me - and right now! - hold me tight! just the way you promised.
77 Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.
78 Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds; they tried to sell me a bill of goods, but I kept my mind fixed on your counsel.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me for evidence of your wise guidance.
80 And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high.
81 I'm homesick - longing for your salvation; I'm waiting for your word of hope.
82 My eyes grow heavy watching for some sign of your promise; how long must I wait for your comfort?
83 There's smoke in my eyes - they burn and water, but I keep a steady gaze on the instructions you post.
84 How long do I have to put up with all this? How long till you haul my tormentors into court?
85 The arrogant godless try to throw me off track, ignorant as they are of God and his ways.
86 Everything you command is a sure thing, but they harass me with lies. Help!
87 They've pushed and pushed - they never let up - but I haven't relaxed my grip on your counsel.
88 In your great love revive me so I can alertly obey your every word.
89 What you say goes, God, and stays, as permanent as the heavens.
90 Your truth never goes out of fashion; it's as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.
91 Your Word and truth are dependable as ever; that's what you ordered - you set the earth going.
92 If your revelation hadn't delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came.
93 But I'll never forget the advice you gave me; you saved my life with those wise words.
94 Save me! I'm all yours. I look high and low for your words of wisdom.
95 The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me, but I'm only concerned with your plans for me.
96 I see the limits to everything human, but the horizons can't contain your commands!
97 Oh, how I love all you've revealed; I reverently ponder it all the day long.
98 Your commands give me an edge on my enemies; they never become obsolete.
99 I've even become smarter than my teachers since I've pondered and absorbed your counsel.
100 I've become wiser than the wise old sages simply by doing what you tell me.
101 I watch my step, avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil so I can spend all my time keeping your Word.
102 I never make detours from the route you laid out; you gave me such good directions.
103 Your words are so choice, so tasty; I prefer them to the best home cooking.
104 With your instruction, I understand life; that's why I hate false propaganda.
105 By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
106 I've committed myself and I'll never turn back from living by your righteous order.
107 Everything's falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word.
108 Festoon me with your finest sayings, God; teach me your holy rules.
109 My life is as close as my own hands, but I don't forget what you have revealed.
110 The wicked do their best to throw me off track, but I don't swerve an inch from your course.
111 I inherited your book on living; it's mine forever - what a gift! And how happy it makes me!
112 I concentrate on doing exactly what you say - I always have and always will.
113 I hate the two-faced, but I love your clear-cut revelation.
114 You're my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me.
115 Get out of my life, evildoers, so I can keep my God's commands.
116 Take my side as you promised; I'll live then for sure. Don't disappoint all my grand hopes.
117 Stick with me and I'll be all right; I'll give total allegiance to your definitions of life.
118 Expose all who drift away from your sayings; their casual idolatry is lethal.
119 You reject earth's wicked as so much rubbish; therefore I lovingly embrace everything you say.
120 I shiver in awe before you; your decisions leave me speechless with reverence.
121 I stood up for justice and the right; don't leave me to the mercy of my oppressors.
122 Take the side of your servant, good God; don't let the godless take advantage of me.
123 I can't keep my eyes open any longer, waiting for you to keep your promise to set everything right.
124 Let your love dictate how you deal with me; teach me from your textbook on life.
125 I'm your servant - help me understand what that means, the inner meaning of your instructions.
126 It's time to act, God; they've made a shambles of your revelation!
127 Yea-Saying God, I love what you command, I love it better than gold and gemstones;
128 Yea-Saying God, I honor everything you tell me, I despise every deceitful detour.
129 Every word you give me is a miracle word - how could I help but obey?
130 Break open your words, let the light shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning.
131 Mouth open and panting, I wanted your commands more than anything.
132 Turn my way, look kindly on me, as you always do to those who personally love you.
133 Steady my steps with your Word of promise so nothing malign gets the better of me.
134 Rescue me from the grip of bad men and women so I can live life your way.
135 Smile on me, your servant; teach me the right way to live.
136 I cry rivers of tears because nobody's living by your book!
137 You are right and you do right, God; your decisions are right on target.
138 You rightly instruct us in how to live ever faithful to you.
139 My rivals nearly did me in, they persistently ignored your commandments.
140 Your promise has been tested through and through, and I, your servant, love it dearly.
141 I'm too young to be important, but I don't forget what you tell me.
142 Your righteousness is eternally right, your revelation is the only truth.
143 Even though troubles came down on me hard, your commands always gave me delight.
144 The way you tell me to live is always right; help me understand it so I can live to the fullest.
145 I call out at the top of my lungs, "God! Answer! I'll do whatever you say."
146 I called to you, "Save me so I can carry out all your instructions."
147 I was up before sunrise, crying for help, hoping for a word from you.
148 I stayed awake all night, prayerfully pondering your promise.
149 In your love, listen to me; in your justice, God, keep me alive.
150 As those out to get me come closer and closer, they go farther and farther from the truth you reveal;
151 But you're the closest of all to me, God, and all your judgments true.
152 I've known all along from the evidence of your words that you meant them to last forever.
153 Take a good look at my trouble, and help me - I haven't forgotten your revelation.
154 Take my side and get me out of this; give me back my life, just as you promised.
155 "Salvation" is only gibberish to the wicked because they've never looked it up in your dictionary.
156 Your mercies, God, run into the billions; following your guidelines, revive me.
157 My antagonists are too many to count, but I don't swerve from the directions you gave.
158 I took one look at the quitters and was filled with loathing; they walked away from your promises so casually!
159 Take note of how I love what you tell me; out of your life of love, prolong my life.
160 Your words all add up to the sum total: Truth. Your righteous decisions are eternal.
161 I've been slandered unmercifully by the politicians, but my awe at your words keeps me stable.
162 I'm ecstatic over what you say, like one who strikes it rich.
163 I hate lies - can't stand them! - but I love what you have revealed.
164 Seven times each day I stop and shout praises for the way you keep everything running right.
165 For those who love what you reveal, everything fits - no stumbling around in the dark for them.
166 I wait expectantly for your salvation; God, I do what you tell me.
167 My soul guards and keeps all your instructions - oh, how much I love them!
168 I follow your directions, abide by your counsel; my life's an open book before you.
169 Let my cry come right into your presence, God; provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.
170 Give my request your personal attention, rescue me on the terms of your promise.
171 Let praise cascade off my lips; after all, you've taught me the truth about life!
172 And let your promises ring from my tongue; every order you've given is right.
173 Put your hand out and steady me since I've chosen to live by your counsel.
174 I'm homesick, God, for your salvation; I love it when you show yourself!
175 Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well, use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
176 And should I wander off like a lost sheep - seek me! I'll recognize the sound of your voice.

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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