Psalms 119* The general scope and design of this psalm is to magnify theDivine law, and make it honourable. There are ten words by whichDivine revelation is called in this psalm, and each expresseswhat 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.1-8 This psalm may be considered as the statement of abeliever's experience. As far as our views, desires, andaffections agree with what is here expressed, they come from theinfluences of the Holy Spirit, and no further. The pardoningmercy of God in Christ, is the only source of a sinner'shappiness. And those are most happy, who are preserved most freefrom the defilement of sin, who simply believe God'stestimonies, and depend on his promises. If the heart be dividedbetween him and the world, it is evil. But the saints carefullyavoid all sin; they are conscious of much evil that clogs themin the ways of God, but not of that wickedness which draws themout of those ways. The tempter would make men think they are atthem out of those ways. The tempter would make men think theyare 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 andcommand of God. If a man expects by obedience in one thing topurchase indulgence for disobedience in others, his hypocrisywill be detected; if he is not ashamed in this world,everlasting shame will be his portion. The psalmist coveted tolearn the laws of God, to give God the glory. And believers seethat if God forsakes them, the temper will be too hard for them. 9-16 To original corruption all have added actual sin. The ruinof the young is either living by no rule at all, or choosingfalse rules: let them walk by Scripture rules. To doubt of ourown wisdom and strength, and to depend upon God, proves thepurpose of holiness is sincere. God's word is treasure worthlaying 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, hispromises to its allurements, and his threatenings to itsviolence. Let this be our plea with Him to teach us hisstatutes, that, being partakers of his holiness, we may alsopartake of his blessedness. And those whose hearts are fed withthe bread of life, should with their lips feed many. In the wayof God's commandments there is the unsearchable riches ofChrist. But we do not meditate on God's precepts to goodpurpose, unless our good thoughts produce good works. I will notonly think of thy statutes, but do them with delight. And itwill be well to try the sincerity of our obedience by tracingthe spring of it; the reality of our love by cheerfulness inappointed duties. 17-24 If God deals in strict justice with us, we all perish. Weought to spend our lives in his service; we shall find true lifein keeping his word. Those that would see the wondrous things ofGod's law and gospel, must beg him to give them understanding,by the light of his Spirit. Believers feel themselves strangerson earth; they fear missing their way, and losing comfort byerring from God's commandments. Every sanctified soul hungersafter 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 anddo us good, and then they shall be removed. Do we find theweight of the cross is above that we are able to bear? He thatbore it for us will enable us to bear it; upheld by him wecannot sink. It is sad when those who should protect theinnocent, are their betrayers. The psalmist went on in duty, andhe found comfort in the word of God. The comforts of the word ofGod are most pleasant to a gracious soul, when other comfortsare made bitter; and those that would have God's testimonies tobe their delight, must be advised by them. May the Lord directus in exercising repentance of sin, and faith in Christ. 25-32 While the souls of the children of this world cleave tothe earth as their portion, the children of light are greatlyburdened, because of the remains of carnal affections in theirhearts. It is unspeakable comfort to a gracious soul, to thinkwith what tenderness all its complaints are received by agracious God. We can talk of the wonders of redeeming love, whenwe understand the way of God's precepts, and walk in that way.The penitent melts in sorrow for sin: even the patient spiritmay melt in the sense of affliction, it is then its interest topour out its soul before God. The way of lying means all falseways by which men deceive themselves and others, or are deceivedby Satan and his instruments. Those who know and love the law ofthe Lord, desire to know it more, and love it better. The way ofserious godliness is the way of truth; the only true way tohappiness: we must always have actual regard to it. Those whostick to the word of God, may in faith expect and pray foracceptance with God. Lord, never leave me to do that by which Ishall shame myself, and do not thou reject my services. Thosethat are going to heaven, should still press forward. God, byhis Spirit, enlarges the hearts of his people when he gives themwisdom. The believer prays to be set free from sin. 33-40 Teach me thy statutes, not the mere words, but the way ofapplying them to myself. God, by his Spirit, gives a rightunderstanding. But the Spirit of revelation in the word will notsuffice, unless we have the Spirit of wisdom in the heart. Godputs his Spirit within us, causing us to walk in his statutes.The sin here prayed against is covetousness. Those that wouldhave the love of God rooted in them, must get the love of theworld rooted out; for the friendship of the world is enmity withGod. Quicken me in thy way; to redeem time, and to do every dutywith liveliness of spirit. Beholding vanity deadens us, andslackens our pace; a traveller must not stand gazing upon everyobject that presents itself to his view. The promises of God'sword greatly relate to the preservation of the true believer.When Satan has drawn a child of God into worldly compliances, hewill reproach him with the falls into which he led him. Victorymust come from the cross of Christ. When we enjoy the sweetnessof God's precepts, it will make us long for more acquaintancewith them. And where God has wrought to will, he will work todo. 41-48 Lord, I have by faith thy mercies in view; let me byprayer prevail to obtain them. And when the salvation of thesaints is completed, it will plainly appear that it was not invain to trust in God's word. We need to pray that we may neverbe afraid or ashamed to own God's truths and ways before men.And the psalmist resolves to keep God's law, in a constantcourse of obedience, without backsliding. The service of sin isslavery; the service of God is liberty. There is no fullhappiness, or perfect liberty, but in keeping God's law. We mustnever be ashamed or afraid to own our religion. The more delightwe 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 asgood 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. 49-56 Those that make God's promises their portion, may withhumble boldness make them their plea. He that by his Spiritworks faith in us, will work for us. The word of God speakscomfort in affliction. If, through grace, it makes us holy,there is enough in it to make us easy, in all conditions. Let usbe certain we have the Divine law for what we believe, and thenlet not scoffers prevail upon us to decline from it. God'sjudgments of old comfort and encourage us, for he is still thesame. Sin is horrible in the eyes of all that are sanctified.Ere long the believer will be absent from the body, and presentwith the Lord. In the mean time, the statutes of the Lord supplysubjects for grateful praise. In the season of affliction, andin the silent hours of the night, he remembers the name of theLord, and is stirred up to keep the law. All who have madereligion the first thing, will own that they have beenunspeakable gainers by it. 57-64 True believers take the Lord for the portion of theirinheritance, and nothing less will satisfy them. The psalmistprayed with his whole heart, knowing how to value the blessinghe prayed for: he desired the mercy promised, and depended onthe promise for it. He turned from by-paths, and returned toGod's testimonies. He delayed not. It behoves sinners to hastento escape; and the believer will be equally in haste to glorifyGod. No care or grief should take away God's word out of ourminds, or hinder the comfort it bestows. There is no situationon earth in which a believer has not cause to be thankful. Letus feel ashamed that others are more willing to keep from sleepto spend the time in sinful pleasures, than we are to praiseGod. And we should be more earnest in prayer, that our heartsmay be filled with his mercy, grace, and peace. 65-72 However God has dealt with us, he has dealt with usbetter than we deserve; and all in love, and for our good. Manyhave knowledge, but little judgment; those who have both, arefortified against the snares of Satan, and furnished for theservice of God. We are most apt to wander from God, when we areeasy in the world. We should leave our concerns to the disposalof God, seeing we know not what is good for us. Lord, thou artour bountiful Benefactor; incline our hearts to faith andobedience. The psalmist will go on in his duty with constancyand resolution. The proud are full of the world, and its wealthand pleasures; these make them senseless, secure, and stupid.God visits his people with affliction, that they may learn hisstatutes. Not only God's promises, but even his law, hispercepts, though hard to ungodly men, are desirable, andprofitable, because they lead us with safety and delight untoeternal life. 73-80 God made us to serve him, and enjoy him; but by sin wehave made ourselves unfit to serve him, and to enjoy him. Weought, therefore, continually to beseech him, by his HolySpirit, to give us understanding. The comforts some have in God,should be matter of joy to others. But it is easy to own, thatGod's judgments are right, until it comes to be our own case.All supports under affliction must come from mercy andcompassion. The mercies of God are tender mercies; the merciesof a father, the compassion of a mother to her son. They come tous when we are not able to go to them. Causeless reproach doesnot hurt, and should not move us. The psalmist could go on inthe way of his duty, and find comfort in it. He valued the goodwill of saints, and was desirous to keep up his communion withthem. Soundness of heart signifies sincerity in dependence onGod, and devotedness to him. 81-88 The psalmist sought deliverance from his sins, his foes,and his fears. Hope deferred made him faint; his eyes failed bylooking out for this expected salvation. But when the eyes fail,yet faith must not. His affliction was great. He was become likea leathern bottle, which, if hung up in the smoke, is dried andshrivelled up. We must ever be mindful of God's statutes. Thedays of the believer's mourning shall be ended; they are but fora moment, compared with eternal happiness. His enemies usedcraft as well as power for his ruin, in contempt of the law ofGod. The commandments of God are true and faithful guides in thepath of peace and safety. We may best expect help from God when,like our Master, we do well and suffer for it. Wicked men mayalmost consume the believer upon earth, but he would soonerforsake all than forsake the word of the Lord. We should dependupon the grace of God for strength to do every good work. Thesurest token of God's good-will toward us, is his good work inus. 89-96 The settling of God's word in heaven, is opposed to thechanges and revolutions of the earth. And the engagements ofGod's covenant are established more firmly than the earthitself. All the creatures answer the ends of their creation:shall man, who alone is endued with reason, be the onlyunprofitable burden of the earth? We may make the Bible apleasant companion at any time. But the word, without the graceof God, would not quicken us. See the best help for badmemories, namely, good affections; and though the exact words belost, if the meaning remain, that is well. I am thine, not myown, not the world's; save me from sin, save me from ruin. TheLord will keep the man in peace, whose mind is stayed on him. Itis poor perfection which one sees and end of. Such are allthings in this world, which pass for perfections. The glory ofman is but as the flower of the grass. The psalmist had seen thefulness of the word of God, and its sufficiency. The word of theLord reaches to all cases, to all times. It will take us fromall confidence in man, or in our own wisdom, strength, andrighteousness. Thus shall we seek comfort and happiness fromChrist alone.
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