| Psalms-Henry Law|
1. "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord."
Here is a glowing picture of the pious heart. Here is the inner life of those who sit on the high eminence of blessedness, and rank among the blessed of the Lord. The question cannot be repressed, Who are they to whom such dignity belongs? The clear reply here meets us, They are the undefiled in the way; they walk in the law of the Lord. It is a solemn truth, that the path of life is through a miry road. Our steps are in pollution's land. How, then, can our feet be undefiled! How can our garments be unsoiled! We cannot guide ourselves. Unaided, we stumble into sloughs of defilement. But all help is near. Jesus is at hand to keep us by His mighty power. Let us lean on His supporting arm at every step, and when we fall let us rise and wash our robes in His all-cleansing blood. So may we ever be among the undefiled in the way; and let the law of the Lord, lovely in purity, glorious in holiness, perfect in love, be the path in which our feet advance. Jesus is our model and our all. God's law was in His heart; He was its living portrait.
2. "Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, and who seek Him with the whole heart."
Again, we learn that holiness is blessedness. Let our constant prayer grow stronger, Lord, what will You have us to do? The reply is, Study the testimonies. They speak from heaven, loud as the thunder, clear as the light, sweet as the celestial songs. Let us thus seek His will, with our whole hearts united in the one pursuit.
3. "They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways."
The blessed cannot consent to evil. They flee the downward path. They shun it with extreme abhorrence. Their hearts entirely love the heavenward way. They cling to it with undeviating tread. Their onward progress is always upward. Thus they advance in happiness towards heaven.
4. "You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently."
He who desires our good at all times issues with authority His sovereign commands. They enjoin us to adhere with diligence to the tract which His Word marks out. In strict obedience is real and unfailing happiness. To obey is heaven begun.
5. "Oh that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes!"
But when the heart is willing the flesh is weak. Proneness to err still threatens to mislead. Hence incessant desires besiege Heaven that directing grace may ever guide aright.
6. "Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect to all Your commandments."
Shame and confusion are the wages of those who disregard God's will. If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. If our hearts condemn us not, we shall lift up our heads in joy.
7. "I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned Your righteous judgments."
The blessed man is ever a pupil in God's school. He desires to learn the ways of righteousness. Thus upright praises will ever flow from his lips.
8. "I will keep Your statutes; O forsake me not utterly."
Firm are his resolves, but he well knows that utter weakness may consist with strong desires. Experience has taught that when we would do good evil is present. He knows that real strength is heaven-born; therefore earnest cries implore that God at all times would uphold graciously. He hates putting away.
9. "How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word."
Peculiar temptations plot against the young. Passions are strong; experience is weak. Satan assails with unremitted are. But still there is escape. Abundant records speak of holy youths. They have pursued one course. God's Word has been their compass. By this guidance they have diligently steered through all the waves of peril.
10. "With my whole heart have I sought You; O let me not wander from Your commandments."
Sincerity is here avowed. Blessed are those who can thus truly appeal to God. May our conscience ever bear witness that no portion of the heart has been given to ungodly ways! But still God's help is asked, that the way may be so hedged up that no outlet to forbidden paths may be found. We may run well and yet may stumble.
11. "Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You."
It is a precious truth that God's Word is a sure antidote to sin. If this is treasured in the heart, if it stands as a guard before the portals, evil cannot enter. May we ever be thus garrisoned!
12. "Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes."
The blessed man will ever bless and ever pray. His constant cry will be, Send out Your light and Your truth, that they may lead me.
13. "With my lips have I declared all the judgments of Your mouth."
He will learn that he may teach. His heart, filled with the Word, will overflow and fertilize all who are within his reach.
14. "I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches."
The Word is a bright sunbeam in the soul. Riches do not so much exhilarate the worldling as the revelation of God's ways delight and gladden the blessed man.
15. "I will meditate in Your precepts, and have respect to Your ways."
Holy meditation exalts above the world. The precepts are a perpetual feast.
16. "I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word."
Do we seek happiness? It is to be found in constantly pondering the Word and will of God. It is a blessed resolve; Your Word shall not depart out of the precincts of my memory.
17. "Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word." We may humbly ask continuance of earthly life, if our desire is that as mirrors we may reflect the Word. Oh that we might live as a transcript of the heavenly will, and thus be followers of God as dear children!
18. "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law."
Lovely light may beam upon us, and wondrous scenes surround; but the gain is none if sightless eyes survey. By nature we are thus blind; unless God grants sight, we cannot behold the wonders which His law contains. Let us weary heaven with cries for enlightening grace. When the command goes forth, Let there be light, there will be light.
19. "I am a stranger in the earth; hide not Your commandments from me."
Here we are pilgrims in a foreign land. As such we need guidance. God's Word will show the right path and keep us in it. Let us pray that this word may brightly illumine our way. If we walk in darkness, it is because we do not see the light.
20. "My soul breaks for the longing that it has for Your judgments at all times."
Weak and wavering desires should be utterly eschewed. The true child of God so longs for the precious Word, that his soul seems scarcely able to contain the swelling feeling. Unless the presence of God's Word relieves, he can scarcely live.
21. "You have rebuked the proud who are cursed, who err from Your commandments."
We have heard who are the blessed. We have now the portrait of the cursed. They proudly wander from the everlasting way. Their straying feet rush to destruction. God's rebuke descends, and the rebuke is ruin.
22. "Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept Your testimonies."
The pious are generally regarded with scorn in this fallen world. It is a grievous trial. When we are conscious that contempt is incurred by adhering to God's Word, we may humbly pray for its removal.
23. "Princes also sat and spoke against me; but Your servant meditated on Your statutes."
Men of exalted rank too often slander the servants of the Lord. But a sweet refuge is always near in meditation on the glorious law. They will not hear nor heed whose souls are thus engaged.
24. "Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors."
Such meditation is most precious. It is a boundless expanse of happiness. It is a treasury of counsels to guide throughout life's course. May we be thus happy and thus wise!
25. "My soul cleaves to the dust; quicken me according to Your word."
The soul by nature rises not to heaven; unaided from on high it grovels in the mire of earth. Hence the wisdom of constant prayer, that spiritual life may expand wings for upward flight. Many promises give prospect of success.
26. "I have declared my ways, and You heard me; teach me Your statutes."
Having deep experience of the success of prayer, let us keep nothing back from God. He will hear, and heavenly lessons will be granted.
27. "Make me to understand the way of Your precepts; so shall I talk of Your wondrous works."
Our desire for intelligence in God's precepts cannot be too earnest. When thus enlightened we shall not be mute. Delighted converse will tell the dealings of Him whose name is Wonderful.
28. "My soul melts for heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word."
Periods recur when the soul is heavy laden. When thus powerless, strength should be implored in accordance with the sure promises of God.
29. "Remove from me the way of lying; and grant me Your law graciously."
Grievous evidence of the fall is seen in the tendency to misrepresent and to deceive. The devil was a liar from the beginning; and his progeny inherits his propensities. Let us strive to be the followers of Him who is emphatically the truth. For this purpose let us pray that God would write His law of uprightness on our hearts.
30. "I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments have I laid before me."
False ways will indeed be eschewed by the blessed man. The way of truth will be his deliberate choice. God's judgments will be the desired path. Let us not, however, forget that in ourselves we are weak to execute these good resolves.
31. "I have stuck to Your testimonies; O Lord, put me not to shame."
With clinging hands the testimonies will be grasped. The disgrace of straying will be dreaded. Prayer will be made for deliverance from such shame.
32. "I will run the way of Your commandments, when You shall enlarge my heart."
The narrowness of the contracted heart forbids expanse. Encumbered affections cannot mount; therefore earnest prayer is made that the entangling chains may be removed, and freedom granted to run nimbly up the blessed road.
33. "Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end."
The believer, conscious of ignorance, ever seeks divine instruction. He knows that the page of Scripture is obscure unless heavenly light shines on it. Therefore constant is his prayer, and constant his resolve to persevere unto the end.
34. "Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; yes, I shall observe it with my whole heart."
Repeated prayer wrestles for an understanding heart. Resolution is declared that the law shall be cherished with undivided affection.
35. "Make me to go in the path of Your commandments; for therein do I delight."
Prayer again wrestles for strict adherence to the holy path. It is the way of pleasantness; every step abounds in delights.
36. "Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness."
Without a restraining hand the heart is prone to turn aside into the byways of petty love of self. The remedy must be from above. Heavenly aid is therefore sought.
37. "Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken me in Your way."
The world abounds with sights of emptiness, frivolity, and folly. Eyes are enticed to gaze; there is danger in the very sight. Let prayer be made that the eyes may not behold, and that quickened steps may ascend Zion's hill.
38. "Establish Your word to Your servant, who is devoted to Your fear."
It is happiness to have the Word firmly rooted in the heart. This blessed state will be the desire of those who are jealously apprehensive of straying from the gospel-rule.
39. "Turn away my reproach which I fear; for Your judgments are good."
It is a reproach to wander. The godly man will dread this shame. He knows how excellent the ways of God are, and he prays that he may never incur the dishonor of disobedience.
40. "Behold, I have longed for Your precepts; quicken me in Your righteousness."
Deep desire for entire sanctification is here expressed; prayer is made that the Spirit of the Lord would animate the pursuit of righteousness. May we thus ever strive! We shall succeed, and great will be our gain.
41. "Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord, even Your salvation, according to Your word."
This prayer is a cup filled to the brim. A multitude of tender mercies stand always ready to issue from the courts above. These mercies assure of salvation from the penalties and power of sin, and of welcome to the joys of heaven. These mercies are our promised heritage. How should we wrestle until they fill us to overflowing!
42. "So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me; for I trust in Your word."
When the heart realizes assured salvation, it is supplied with abundant answers to those who sneer at the delights of faith.
43. "And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in Your judgments."
Assurance only lives while God maintains it. Fears will intrude lest the truth should languish on our lips. Hope sees the declarations of the Lord, and looks upward.
44. "So shall I keep Your law continually, forever and ever."
There is rich comfort in the confidence that divine grace will enable us to persevere. The end is seen. Bright is the deliverance.
45. "And I will walk at liberty; for I seek Your precepts."
All restraining shackles shall be cast off. The believer will freely walk in diligent pursuit of truth.
46. "I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed."
No array of earthly power will intimidate the man of God. Strong in the Lord, he will boldly wave the standard of salvation.
47. "And I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I have loved."
Who can fail to see the believer's happy state? The paths of holiness are pleasantness and peace. The law reigns in the heart, and love delights in sanctified obedience.
48. "My hands also will I lift up to Your commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in Your statutes."
He will give open testimony of his entire surrender to the ways of the Lord, and his mind will revel in holy meditation. Here the soul finds repose. This is the ecstasy of life.
49. "Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope."
The Spirit in tender love sometimes applies a word of Scripture with especial power to the heart. Hope grasps it, feasts upon it, and sweetly reposes. We may in faith bring such texts unto the mercy-seat, and crave their fulfillment. "Do as You have said."
50. "This is my comfort in my affliction; for Your word has quickened me."
Many are the afflictions of the righteous; many, also, are their consolations. Especially sweet are the comforts flowing from the Word. Life thus quickened will be sustained.
51. "The proud have had me greatly in derision; yet have I not declined from Your law."
Haughty men may scorn and deride. Ridicule shakes not the confidence which the Word has inspired. Can man pull down what God has built up?
52. "I remembered Your judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself."
It is a profitable lesson to ponder God's righteous dealings. The history of the Church is a precious volume. It shows the overthrow of the wicked and constant security of the righteous. Deep streams of comfort flow in these channels.
53. "Horror has taken hold upon me because of the wicked who forsake Your law."
How frightful is the sight of the ungodly trampling on God's precious Word! Who can contemplate the issue without fearful trembling!
54. "Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage."
Zion's pilgrims are not always downcast. They realize absence from home; but in the cheering prospect of return they know joy and gladness, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.
55. "I have remembered Your name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept Your law."
If in the night sleepless hours are appointed, let memory be alert to ponder the wonders involved in the Lord's name. The resolve will thus be quickened to cling tightly to His law.
56. "This I had, because I kept Your precepts."
This rich gain springs from keeping His commandments. May they ever be the treasure of our hearts, the path of our steps, and our exceeding comfort!
57. "You are my portion, O Lord; I have said that I would keep Your words."
Rich, indeed, is the believer. He has the Lord for his portion. He can say, All things are mine, for I am Christ's, and Christ is God's. The kingdom into which he is translated has statutes. He loves them, and delights to cleave most closely to them.
58. "I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your word."
With earnest sincerity the heart seeks that heavenly favor may never cease to bless. Mercy is abundantly promised, and mercy may be sought with undoubting confidence that it will smile abundantly.
59. "I thought on my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies."
No inconsiderate step should ever be allowed; a rash movement may plunge into inextricable straits. The feet should be diligently turned to the narrow way of life. Vigilance should never be relaxed.
60. "I made haste, and delayed not to keep Your commandments."
Loitering in the Christian course is perilous. Onward, onward should be the constant cry. Lot's wife paused, and then looked back, and perished. Let us lay aside every weight and run unweariedly in the way which love and wisdom have enjoined.
61. "The bands of the wicked have robbed me; but I have not forgotten Your law."
The godly may be called to bear the spoiling of their temporal goods. But they have riches which no robber's hands can touch. The Word is a treasure in which they daily meditate, with no fear of loss.
62. "At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous judgments."
When sleep fast locked the eyes of others, the Psalmist leaves his bed. He is intent to utter praises. God's righteous judgments call for joyful notice. Thanksgiving is repose of the heart.
63. "I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts."
The sincerity of grace is evidenced by the choice of associates. Two cannot walk together except they be agreed. Light has no fellowship with darkness. The feet cannot at the same time be set in the narrow and in the broad way. Those who fear God delight in pious fellowship.
64. "The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy; teach me Your statutes."
The whole creation has a voice loudly proclaiming that good and gracious is the Lord. Every object reflects tender care. Let us seek enlarged knowledge of His works, so will His ways be our delight. Increased illumination will gladden the meditating heart. Advance in knowledge will be advance in joy.
65. "You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord, according unto Your word."
Where is the believer who can restrain this rapturous acknowledgment! Touched by divine grace he feels that God's goodness baffles all thought. He knows that our God has given largely like a God. All the provisions of the Covenant are bountifully poured into his lap.
66. "Teach me good judgment and knowledge; for I have believed Your commandments."
The soul is athirst for brighter rays of light and knowledge. Faith is confessed to be the happy inhabitant of the heart; and the constant cry is, Give large increase. Faith has sweet skill in pleading.
67. "Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I have kept Your word."
Afflictions are often charged to do good work. Their commission is mercy. A thin disguise conceals a friendly form. They check the wanderers and bring them back. In the time of suffering they may be bitter, but in retrospect they are sweet. They lead to holiness, and holiness is joy.
68. "You are good, and do good; teach me Your statutes."
The believer delights in contemplation of his God. Every view discovers goodness. This is inscribed on all His dealings. Hence the longing desire for more acquaintance with His statutes. To know His law is to know Himself.
69. "The proud have forged a lie against me; but I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart."
Lying witnesses were obtained to bring false charges against Jesus. If the Head was thus slandered, shall the members escape? But these arch devices are all vain. They lead to closer adherence to God's Word.
70. "Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in Your law."
Their heart swells with pride, and becomes impervious to tender impression. Prosperity often exerts benumbing influence. No sense of sinno self-abhorrence is its fruit. But there is a lovely contrast. In the believer the contrite heart loathes self-satisfaction, and finds no joy but in clinging to the law of God.
71. "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Your statutes."
Corrupt nature needs the frequent scourge. The present smart may be severe, but the resulting benefit is more than compensation for the pain. Satisfaction makes rich amends for the sorrows which preceded it. Let not our frowns then meet affliction.
72. "The law of Your mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver."
True is the testimony that the Word of the Lord is more to be desired than gold, yes, than much fine gold. This treasure is in our hands. May the Spirit write its contents on our hearts! God's law inscribed there is everlasting wealth.
73. "Your hands have made me, and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments."
Appeal is made to God as our Creator. Every faculty of mind and body is the offspring of His sovereign will. Therefore He who gives our every power is implored to increase spiritual intelligence. In His school blessed lessons are learned.
74. "Those who do not fear will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in Your word."
Our course should be so free from ambiguity that it may be evident on what foundation our hopes are built. When those who fear the Lord distinctly see that all our expectations are from Him, they will rejoice in our godly communion.
75. "I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that You in faithfulness have afflicted me."
When afflictions oppress us it is well to remember the smiting hand. Correction is ordered in the Covenant for us. God in these trials acts in accordance with most holy righteousness.
76. "Let, I pray You, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Your word to Your servant."
We often need strong consolation. A rich store is laid up for us in our God. To Him let us draw near and pray that all His promises to us in Christ Jesus may be our rich enjoyment.
77. "Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; for Your law is my delight."
Tender mercy can prolong our days; but continued life should only be desired in submission to God's will, and for the furtherance of His glory. Such will be our desire when our delight is to follow His law as our one rule.
78. "Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause; but I will meditate on Your precepts."
Confusion will overwhelm the perverse adversaries. Their persecution is without cause. Harmless will be all their rage when the mind retires into the secret places of holy meditation.
79. "Let those who do not fear turn to me, and those who have known Your testimonies."
The man of God delights only in the fellowship of those who are fellow-servants of His God. They are described as fearing God and intelligently keeping His testimonies. Prayer is made that such may cheer him by their company.
80. "Let my heart be sound in Your statutes, that I may not be ashamed."
Let us ever be watchful over the treachery of our hearts. They are prone to nurture unwholesome desires. But deviation from God's law brings shame. Let us shun it as sure misery. Holiness may boldly raise the head.
81. "My soul faints for Your salvation; but I hope in Your word."
Intense was the Psalmist's desire to realize an interest in God's salvation. Through anxiety he fails in strength, as a deer panting for the waterbrooks. But in weakness hope cheered him. Let us strive for an increase of this precious grace. It will gladden and sustain us.
82. "My eyes fail for Your word, saying, When will You comfort me?"
If comforts seem to tarry long, the eye strained by constant looking becomes weak. Earnest cries wrestle with God for His restoring presence. The sigh is heard, How long shall trouble last? When will Your comforts again revive me?
83. "I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, exhausted with waiting. But I cling to your principles and obey them"
Under the grievous pressure of this trial, the bodily appearance manifests distress. The shriveled skin loses all sign of moisture. It is dried like a leather vessel in the smoke. But grace still lives and feasts on the banquet of God's word.
84. "How many are the days of Your servant? when will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?"
It is sad when impatient peevishness frets. May the gracious Lord preserve us from such weakness. Under its influence cessation of life is desired; vengeance calls for wrath on the head of persecutors. This is our infirmity. May the Lord pardon it and tear it from our hearts.
85. "The proud have dug pits for me, which are not after Your law."
Haughty persecutors may plot evil against the Lord's followers. Such conduct is enmity to His law. Assuredly it will end in misery.
86. "All Your commandments are faithful; they persecute me wrongfully; help me."
In such trial it is sweet relief to remember that God is true. According to the faithful Word, help will be given, and the persecutors perish in their wickedness.
87. "They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not Your precepts."
At times their cruel plans seem to border on success. Let not the righteous be dismayed. Let the Word be remembered which can never fail.
88. "Quicken me after Your lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of Your mouth."
Let prayer be made that God, in the multitude of His lovingkindness, would infuse new life into our drooping hearts. Then upright walking in the Lord's ways will not flag.
89. "Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven."
Before the foundations of the world, the purposes of God were firmly settled. As He is stable and immutable, so they cannot change. Therefore floods of peace and trust pervade the believer's heart. Every event flies on the winds of eternal decree.
90. "Your faithfulness is to all generations; You have established the earth, and it abides."
From age to age God's faithfulness shines in unfading brightness. The earth abides in accordance with original design. There is no interruption in its progress. It pursues the course of immutability.
91. "They continue this day according to your ordinances; for all are Your servants."
The course of nature undergoes no departure from primeval will. All things act out the great Creator's plan. His word commands perpetual obedience.
92. "Unless Your law had been my delights, I should then have perished in my affliction."
Afflictions often threaten to overwhelm. Billows upon billows go over the sinking head. But the immutable Word is grasped, and it is found to be a never-failing plank.
93. "I will never forget Your precepts; for with them You have quickened me."
It is our highest wisdom tightly to grasp the Word. Let us set its precepts continually before our eyes. They are life-giving and life-sustaining. Let us enshrine them in our memories.
94. "I am Yours, save me; for I have sought Your precepts."
It is a happy moment when the believer can appeal to God, I am Yours. You have called me, and I have obeyed. You have quickened me, and I live to You. All my desire is to know and obey Your will. Therefore I cry to You for aid; save me, for I am Your servant.
95. "The wicked have waited for me to destroy me but I will consider Your testimonies."
I have indeed many foes. Plots are laid for my destruction. But I will not fear. The assurances of Your Word sustain me.
96. "I have seen an end of all perfection; but Your commandment is exceeding broad."
Many objects are full of wonder. They excite admiration. But their beauty is not durable; it quickly fades away. But the glory of God's law suffers no eclipse. The more we ponder, the more cause shall we find for trust and praise.
97. "O how I love Your law! it is my meditation all the day."
Mark the profession of the blessed man. Every affection goes forth in admiration of the law. It is his constant delight. At every moment of the day his heart lovingly feasts on it.
98. "You, through Your commandments, have made me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me."
Where can true wisdom be found but in the counsels of the all-wise and only-wise God! His name and His word are emphatic wisdom. They are the perfection of intelligence. They ever fill the believer's heart. Thus his foes appear as fools before him.
99. "I have more understanding than all my teachers for Your testimonies are my meditation."
The world professes to have schools of sage instruction; but the poorest believer, enlightened by the Spirit, is wiser than this boasted wisdom. God's testimonies are his meditation. Here he derives celestial understanding.
100. "I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts."
The lowliest man who has the Bible in his heart knows more than the sage philosophers of old. True wisdom is acquired in the path of heavenly precepts.
101. "I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Your word."
The blessed man maintains an undeviating course of godliness. Let us diligently mark the perilous way of evil. Let us flee from it as from a pitfall. So shall we keep the path of safety and pure joy.
102. "I have not departed from Your judgments; for You have taught me."
Unless we are apt pupils in God's school we shall not clearly see the heavenward road, and quickly shall we be beguiled by error's snares. It is a happy profession, You have taught me. It may be added, Therefore I am above the reach of harm.
103. "How sweet are Your words unto my taste! yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
Those who make the law their constant feast find in it delicious relish. The heart is more refreshed than the palate can be by the sweetest luxury that nature knows.
104. "Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way."
It is a solid truth that understanding is obtained by diligent adherence to God's precepts. The sure result is hatred of all false ways. May the Lord teach us, and cause us to walk in truth!
105. "Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
Our path is often through a cloudy land. Safe guidance is provided in the Word. Those who hold this lamp shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. It will lead to the home in which there is no need of the sun or of the moon to lighten, but the Lord is the light thereof.
106. "I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep Your righteous judgments."
All means should be employed to bind us to unbroken obedience. The vows by which we are consecrated to God's service should stand as a barrier against every straying step. God's covenant of grace is confirmed by oath. Thus, also, should our holy walk be ratified.
107. "I am afflicted very much; quicken me, O Lord, according to Your word."
When afflictions press heavily, the surest relief arises from earnest prayer. Let our petition be for insight into the life-imparting Word.
108. "Accept, I beseech You, the free-will offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me Your judgments."
We should present ourselves, our every faculty and power as a whole burnt-offering to the Lord. But especially, we should bring the calves of our lips. The sacrifice of prayer and praise should never cease. May the Lord of His free grace accept our service! May it be perfumed by the incense of Christ's blood! In this exercise may we advance in heavenly knowledge!
109. "My soul is continually in my hand; yet I do not forget Your law."
The believer counts not his life dear to himself, so that he may finish his course with joy. He is always in the very jaws of death. He lives with wings outstretched to fly away. Paul testified; I die daily. In the extremity of persecution, the fervent desire was to know what God would have him to do.
110. "The wicked have laid a snare for me; yet I erred not from Your precepts."
No plots of the ungodly can compel deviation from God's law. The right way may seem to be beset with perils, but let it be resolutely chosen. Its end is happiness and peace.
111. "Your testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever; for they are the rejoicing of my heart."
The possession of God's truth is an inalienable treasure. It enriches with possessions which never can decay, and which no spoiler can remove. It fills with joy unspeakable. It leads to endless glory.
112. "I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes always, even to the end."
It is true that God only can incline the heart, but when He works converting change, adherence to God's will seems to be easy service. It becomes the spontaneous effort of the mind. May we thus find that obedience is our ready pathway to the glorious end, which has no end.
113. "I hate vain thoughts; but I love Your law."
Universal is the corruption implanted by the fall. Every imagination is prone to evil continually. The believer is conscious of this, and deeply bewails. The vanity of his thoughts is regarded with intense hatred. His real love is given to the pure Word.
114. "You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word."
The believer has a high fortress in his God. He flees to this hiding-place, and is safe. When the arrows of the foe unsparingly assail, he finds protection under the shield of God. He faints not, for his hope in God is firm.
115. "Depart from me, you evil-doers; for I will keep the commandments of my God."
The presence of evil men gives intense distress. The believer strives to keep far apart, and to give himself wholly to the works of godliness.
116. "Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; and let me not be ashamed of my hope."
Our natural strength is utter feebleness. Unless upheld by a heavenly arm, we cannot but fall. But we may plead the promises. In this way we continue in lively frame. Thus the head looks up in holy confidence.
117. "Hold me up, and I shall be safe; and I will have respect to Your statutes continually."
There is no safety unless the Lord extends support. May our strength be thus supplied! This help will secure adherence to God's statutes.
118. "You have trodden down all those who err from Your statutes; for their deceit is falsehood."
They cannot escape ruin who wander in devious paths. Divine vengeance is in their rear. They will soon be trampled into perdition. Deceit and falsehood have been their course. The end is misery.
119. "You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross; therefore I love Your testimonies."
Utterly worthless are the wicked. They are lighter than the worthless chaff. The Lord will drive them away. They will no more be seen. They are the blessed who take His testimonies for their enriching treasure.
120. "My flesh trembles for fear of You; and I am afraid of Your judgments."
Who can think of the majesty and glory of God, and not lie low in reverential awe! The contemplation of His righteous judgments is an appalling sight, for an angry God is a consuming fire. Blessed are those who are sheltered in Christ Jesus.
121. "I have done judgment and justice; leave me not to my oppressors."
Happy is the conscience which can testify of sincere effort to act uprightly. Such walk leads to protection. Divine grace will uphold. Then the prayer may truly go forth, Leave me not to oppression, I have striven never to oppress.
122. "Be surety for Your servant for good; let not the proud oppress me."
In the provisions of grace God is engaged to uphold His servants, to avert evil, and to rescue them from oppression. Let the humble go forth pleading, Deal with me according to the everlasting Covenant.
123. "My eyes fail for Your salvation, and for the word of Your righteousness."
Believers long with intense desire to realize the joys of salvation. Their eyes are strained in looking for the shining of God's righteous word upon their hearts.
124. "Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy, and teach me Your statutes."
In deep confession of misery, faith looks for help only from God's mercy. This mercy never fails. It has no bounds. It never can be sought in vain. Its work is to guide safely in the way of heavenly statutes.
125. "I am Your servant; give me understanding, that I may know Your testimonies."
It is happiness to draw near to God with humble profession, that He is the Lord to whose service we are willingly consecrated. This is a good plea for light from heaven to direct our paths.
126. "It is time for You, Lord, to work; for they have made void Your law."
When iniquity abounds, and God's law is utterly despised, the time has come for God to arise, and to maintain His own cause. Let us give Him no rest until He banishes all evil.
127. "Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold."
What are all the treasures of earth, compared with the precious Word of God! The believer knows its value, and he regards all earth's wealth as worthless in comparison.
128. "Therefore I esteem all Your precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way."
Admiration of God's law should be universal. Every precept should be regarded as a direct voice from heaven. Every opposing word should be rejected as falsehood and deception. May this be the mold in which our hearts are framed!
129. "Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them."
Wonderful, indeed, are the revelations of Scripture. They proclaim Him whose name is Wonderful, and who only does wondrous things. The more this Word is studied the stronger will be the effort that the whole life should be framed after its sacred model.
130. "The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple."
The fall extinguished spiritual light. Gross darkness beclouded the mind. But when the rays of the Word illuminate, bright understanding sees God and the way of life. How earnest should be the prayer, "Send out Your light and Your truth, that they may lead me!" Thus the simple obtain wisdom.
131. "I opened my mouth and panted; for I longed for Your commandments."
Man gasping by toil and heat is pictured. He pants for the refreshing breeze. Thus the believer thirsts for the reviving comfort of God's Word.
132. "Look upon me, and be merciful to me, as Your custom is toward those who love Your name."
God's tender mercies ever beam on those who love Him. The Psalmist professes that such is his state, and prays to be remembered in the household of the saints.
133. "Order my steps in Your word; and let not any iniquity have dominion over me."
It is the believer's constant desire that God would guide his footsteps. He hates iniquity, and prays to be delivered from its thraldom.
134. "Deliver me from the oppression of man; so will I keep Your precepts."
Unless the Lord sends help, cruel men will terribly oppress the godly. But upheld by Him, they will persevere in the righteous precepts.
135. "Make Your face to shine upon Your servant; and teach me Your statutes."
Blessed is the state when heavenly smiles shine sweetly on the heart. This is the very foretaste of the heaven of heavens. Those who enjoy these cheering rays will always long to profit in God's school.
136. "Rivers of waters run down my eyes, because they keep not Your law."
Keen is the pain when the godly see God's name profaned, His Word despised, His glory trampled beneath scornful feet. Pious feeling mourns. Streams of sorrow show the intense anguish. Love of God awakens grief when He is despised. May we know this holy sorrow.
137. "Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are Your judgments."
It is supreme delight to contemplate the glories of holiness, which, as a halo, shine around our Lord. God is holy in all His attributes and works.
138. "Your testimonies that You have commanded are righteous and very faithful."
Every commandment is the essence of holiness. His every word is the splendor of truth. Let the Scriptures be our constant guide. They will sanctify, and mold the inner man in righteousness.
139. "My zeal has consumed me; because my enemies have forgotten Your words."
Strong feelings are excited in the godly breast when disregard of God's Word is seen. It is the actuating principle of His enemies. The righteous burn with zeal to stop it.
140. "Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it."
The lovely purity of God's Word is wondrous to attract. The godly feel this influence, and delight in it with their whole hearts.
141. "I am small and despised; yet do not I forget Your precepts."
The godly know well their poverty. They often feel that the world regards them with contempt. But these feelings excite warmer desire to be conformed to the Word of God.
142. "Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is the truth."
God's righteousness is exact conformity to His law. The blessed Jesus, in man's nature upon earth, exhibited this righteousness. It is the robe which secures admission into heaven. It is everlasting, and incapable of change or decay.
143. "Trouble and anguish have taken hold of me; yet Your commandments are my delights."
Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward; but no affliction drives the believer from the law which he intensely loves.
144. "The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; give me understanding, and I shall live."
God's law is immutable. No age brings change. Fully persuaded of this truth, the believer prays to be kept in its knowledge. It leads to eternal life. May it be our chosen guide!
145. "I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord. I will keep Your statutes."
Prayer and profession are here combined. Sweet is the union. May they ever be conjoined in us! True prayer is an exercise in which the whole heart puts forth its utmost energy. Prayers should be heartfelt vows.
146. "I cried to You; save me, and I shall keep Your testimonies."
Faith looks back hopefully on the hours in which prayer has been urgent. It supplicates anew for God's saving hand. It resolves to render faithful service in return.
147. "I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words."
Faith is impatient to reach the mercy-seat. Before the first rays enlighten the east, it hastens to its morning work of prayer. Its hope rests on the promises of the Word.
148. "My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises."
Before the evening shadows darken, it hastens again to the glad employ of holy meditation. Stillness aids the calm delight.
149. "Hear my voice according unto Your lovingkindness; O Lord, quicken me according to Your judgment."
The views of God's lovingkindness are incessant joy. Faith expects much. Its hopes are large, according to the measure of God's goodness.
150. "Those draw near who follow after mischief; they are far from Your law."
Plotters of mischief against God's servants are always near. They hate God's law. We here read the complaint of Jesus. But all malice came to nothing.
151. "You are near, O Lord; and all Your commandments are truth."
The workers of mischief are indeed near, but God is far nearer. His presence is granted according to His promises.
152. "Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever."
It is the immovable persuasion of faith that no word of God's mouth can ever fail. The soul is happy which reposes on this rock. May it be our settled resting place!
153. "Consider my affliction, and deliver me; for I do not forget Your law."
It is our privilege to bring afflictions to the mercy-seat. God is always ready to give ear. Relief will not long tarry. Happy is it when we can add the plea that His law rules within us.
154. "Plead my cause, and deliver me; quicken me according to Your word."
All our adversaries are silenced, when our great Advocate appears on our behalf. We may boldly pray, when we seek only the fulfillment of the Covenant of grace.
155. "Salvation is far from the wicked; for they do not seek Your statutes."
Sure is the destruction of the ungodly. Vengeance, righteously denounced, will righteously be executed. Where can hope be found? God's statutes are rejected. Self-willed rebellion fights only that it may fall.
156. "Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord; quicken me according to Your judgments."
The tender mercies of our God exceed all powers to estimate and praise. We need more love in our hearts. Our affections should more warmly burn. Let earnest prayers invigorate our souls. He gives more grace.
157. "Many are my persecutors and my enemies; yet do I not decline from Your testimonies."
Vain is all the rage and malice of the ungodly when God extends His protecting shield. When the enemy comes in like a flood, may we adhere more steadfastly to the rock of our salvation!
158. "I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not Your word."
An ungodly man is the saddest sight on earth. His course is unmixed evil. None gain profit from him. He passes to endless misery. Who can behold and suppress sorrow? This misery results from neglect of God's Word.
159. "Consider how I love Your precepts; quicken me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness."
Happy are those who with pure conscience can call on God to behold their devoted attachment to His Word. But still they bewail their dull and lifeless state, and pray for quickening power.
160. "Your word is true from the beginning; and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever."
Truth reigns in every word of Scripture. Its first utterance was true. Truth will pervade it to the end. Let this thought quicken our delight in it. It never can mislead. It will continue to be God's truth through everlasting ages.
161. "Princes have persecuted me without a cause; but my heart stands in awe of Your word."
Exaltation to earth's greatness cannot raise the soul to sanctity. The kings of the earth have often been among the foremost to take counsel against the Lord, and against His Anointed. Such conduct is extreme infatuation. But the godly fear not. Those who stand in awe of God can lightly regard man.
162. "I rejoice at Your word, as one who finds great treasure."
The Word of God is the treasure of treasures. It makes wise unto salvation. It enriches with imperishable wealth. Shall the man rejoice who discovers earthly treasures, and shall he not rejoice who finds the pearl of great price?
163. "I hate and abhor lying; but I love Your law."
Truth is a pure and lovely grace. Let us regard with detestation every deviation from the paths of truth. Let us give our hearts to the law, which is God's truth in the highest.
164. "Seven times a day do I praise You because of Your righteous judgments."
No praise can suffice to give due adoration to the Lord. Let His praises ever be on our lips. In His righteous judgments we shall find unending theme.
165. "Great peace have those who love Your law; and nothing shall offend them."
What can disturb the calm tranquillity of those whose affections revel in the Word of God? They proceed on earth's journey safely; nothing can cause them to fall fatally.
166. "Lord, I have hoped for Your salvation, and done Your commandments."
Here we have the sweet profession of established faith. It rejoices in the full assurance of hope, that God's salvation is its possession. In this glad persuasion the life is conformed to strictest obedience.
167. "My soul has kept Your testimonies; and I love them exceedingly."
The path of godliness is exceeding joy. The more we walk in it the more will delight abound.
168. "I have kept Your precepts and Your testimonies for all my ways are before You."
The believer ever realizes that God sees him. He does not want any word or work hidden from his Heavenly Father. May we ever walk in the bright sunshine of His light! Let us call Him to be our constant witness.
169. "Let my cry come near before You, O Lord; give me understanding according to Your word."
The believer's life is prayer. His faith assures him that every supplication will be heard. He feels especially his ignorance. Hence he seeks wisdom from God, who gives liberally and upbraids not.
170. "Let my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your word."
The prayer is often repeated that in gracious answer deliverance may come. He trusts in the Covenant of grace.
171. "My lips shall utter praise, when You have taught me Your statutes."
Strong is the desire that due praises may be rendered. Hence the constant prayer that heavenly understanding may be given.
172. "My tongue shall speak of Your word; for all Your commandments are righteousness."
Sweet is the conversation when God's Word is the theme. How worthless in comparison are the chatterings of earthly folly!
173. "Let Your hand help me; for I have chosen Your precepts."
Strong is the plea; Lord, You know that deliberately I choose Your way. We may then boldly ask for help, and help will quickly fly to our side.
174. "I have longed for Your salvation, O Lord; and Your law is my delight."
Happy is Jacob's testimony, "I have waited for Your salvation." David similarly professed, "I have longed for Your salvation." Such saints have great delights. Their joy flows from the Word of God.
175. "Let my soul live, and it shall praise You; and let Your judgments help me."
Liveliness of soul is the Spirit's gift, and it will show itself in abounding praises.
176. "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant; for I do not forget Your commandments."
The experienced saint is always conscious of his frequent errings. Unless the Good Shepherd seeks the straying sheep, it will wander farther from the fold. Therefore prayer is made to God to restore the soul from devious paths. This prayer is enforced by the profession that God's commandments abide in the heart.
| 2007/2/18 14:02||Profile|
| Re: Psalms-Henry Law|
Here two portraits are presented to our view. The godly man appears. His walk is holy, happy, fruitful, prosperous, heavenwardThe ungodly is entirely diverse. His course is worthless, and his end is woe. Spirit of God, grant now Your light!
1. "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful."
All praise be to the grace of God that in this world of widespread sin some lovely spots are seen. There are the heirs of life. Born from above, to God they live. Abhorrence of all evil is their grand distinction. The godless have their schemes, their pleas, their plots, their evil counsels. In such vile course the blessed ones never walk. They resolutely shun the hateful path. Sinners have their chosen way. How broad! how thronged! what multitudes move down the sad decline! In this the blessed ones have no part. They hate the filth. They keep their feet unsoiled. Wickedness has its topstone. Scorn and derision proceed to mock God's word, Christ's work, and all the lowly followers of the Lamb. Too many love the sneering seat, and impious jests find sympathizing smiles. Such company is counterpart of hell. The blessed man sits not in such fellowship. We here are taught that in sin there is gradation. Let us flee the first step. The rolling stone descends with quickening speed.
2. "But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law he meditates day and night."
The godly man has his delights. His cup is crowned with joy. His table is spread with richest pleasures. The Scriptures are his soul-refreshing feast. They gladden him with views of God as his own God; Christ as his own Savior; the Spirit as his guide and sanctifying Comforter; heaven as his home forever; and all things ordered for his well-being. The morning light invites him to this sacred page. In the day his thoughts cling closely to it. The evening's shadows and night's wakeful hours call to rejoice in this treasury of truth.
3. "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper."
Behold the tree on the brook's verdant bank, whose roots drink constantly the flowing stream! The laden branches bend with plenteous fruit. Unfading freshness decks the leaves. No lovelier object adorns nature's field. It is a picture of the godly man. Deep springs of grace supply his inner life. The fruits of righteousness, which are the Spirit's work, abound. His fertility of holiness is rich, and large, and real. The Lord is truly with him; and where the Lord is, there is every good. Of Joseph it is sweetly said, "The Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand." Of David we read, "He went on and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him."
4. "The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind drives away."
The scene is changed. The ungodly widely differ. Nature shows, also, their picture. The fruitful tree gives place to chafflight, barren, hollow, worthlessthe refuse of the barn-floor. It yields no profit. It is cast out, the sport of winds. Driven away, it leaves no trace behind. Such are the godless. They minister no grace. They benefit no souls. None gain by conversation with them. Unstable, they are tossed by every changing wind. Temptations drive them headlong. Terrible is their final doom. Jesus comes, "Whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
5. "Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous."
Judgment is near. The Judge stands at the door. The great white throne will soon be set. The dead shall be judged out of those things which are written in the books according to their works. They cannot flee the dread tribunal. There is no escape. No mask can hide their guilt. Their sins are all recorded. No blood blots out the stains. They plead no Savior's merit. They have no interest in the saving cross. No solid ground sustains their feet. They cannot stand. Undefended, they receive the dreadful sentence, 'Depart! you cursed ones!' Thus they are cast far from the congregation of the righteous. May we live ever with this last scene before us, and never rest until clear evidence is ours that we have happy place in "the general assembly and church of the first-born, who are written in heaven."
6. "For the Lord knows the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
Amid all their trials, sorrows, pains, reproaches, let the righteous lift up rejoicing heads. The eye of God rests on their way. He called them to the narrow road. He upholds their feeble steps. He safely leads them to the glorious end. Unfailing watchfulness surrounds them. But the broad road, with its unrighteous throng, goes down assuredly to hell.
Holy Spirit, give us the portion of the blessed man! May we escape the doom of the ungodly!
| 2007/2/18 14:06||Profile|
Jesus leads His flock like a shepherd. May we rejoice in the delights of His fold!
1. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in need."
Happy the soul that, looking to Jesus as the great, the good, the one Shepherd, can add in truth, "And He is mine. I have heard His calling voice; I have seen His inviting smile; I have fled to Him; I have entered into His fold; I have committed myself to His guardian care; He has received me; He has given me most gracious welcome; I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine." With what joyous rapture may the inhabitant of the fold continue, "I shall not be in need!" How can need be mine? He who is pledged to my support has all resources in His hand; He has all power in heaven and earth. He who has promised to give me eternal life will not allow me to perish by the way. The end secured is security along the road.
We sometimes err in our desires. In blindness we crave injurious pastures. It is our wisdom to leave all to Him. He is all wisdom and all love. He will tend wisely and most kindly. All good things will assuredly abound. Perhaps we err if we claim this psalm as our exclusive portion. Jesus Himself once knew the need of the poor sheep; but He found a Shepherd in His heavenly Father, and He lacked nothing.
2. "He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters."
A picture of rural beauty expands before us. We see a happy flock resting in calm quietness in fields rich in luxuriant plenty; we see them guided to meadows through which refreshing streams glide tranquilly. The scene is perfect. Here is repose amid abundance. Nothing disturbs the calm enjoyment.
The antitype is the believer's soul secure from all alarms, peaceful in knowledge of the Lord's protection, feasting on the rich provision of His Word, regaled with sustaining promises, nurtured by the Spirit's rich supplies, reposing under the shadow of the cross, drinking the cooling streams of scriptural teaching, delighting in the sacramental feast. How ample is this sweet provision! Who will not thankfully exclaim, "I have all, and abound?"
This picture also exhibits Jesus. Amid His many troubles His soul could calmly rest on the assurance of His Father's love, and feed rejoicingly on covenant engagement.
3. "He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
There are times when grace appears to fade, when trials trouble and depress, when lively vigor faints and deadness chills the soul. Sad indeed would be the outcome unless the watchful Shepherd rendered help; but He assists the downcast; He shows reviving smiles; He brings the cordial of some precious promise. The withering leaf renews its freshness; the tottering limbs again are strong; the heavenward path in ways of righteousness is again stoutly trod.
Jesus often drank depression's weakening cup. His soul was troubled; but help from above restored unwavering strength.
4. "Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
Our sorest trial is when, with feeble step, we traverse the cheerless valley of death. The climate is chilly. Nature fails. We shrink from the icy hand; but still there is no fear. The tender Shepherd is by our side; His gentle guidance removes apprehension. The waters fail to overwhelm. Sweet texts bring light, and the Spirit applies comfort. Your rod, Your staff, the emblems of the Shepherd's care, drive back the threatening foes, and give sustaining strength. To lean on Jesus in the darkest hour is light and joy and peace. The Good Shepherd knows the chilly hand of death. He has passed this dark valley; but His God was with Him. Ministering angels brought support. He found no evil, and no evil shall destroy His sheep.
5. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over."
Our enemies stand round in vast array, but they cannot destroy enjoyments. In their sight God spread a banquet of delights. His inward unction causes the heart to show all kinds of radiant joy, as the countenance refreshed with ointments. We hold a cup; God's hand supplies it; He pours in pleasures to the extent of capacity to receive. The overjoyed believer feels, "Stop, stop; it is enough;" but still the goblet overflows. Who can measure the delights of God's presence, smile, and word?
6. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Such is faith's sweet assurance. While days below continue, goodness and mercy, close as closest shadow, shall bring up the rear. What good thing can be absent if the Lord is present, and Jesus confirms the pledge, "Lo, I am with you all the days, even to the end of the world?" Failure there can never be. No sheep will perish or be left behind. All will be safely gathered in the many-mansioned house. There will the Great Shepherd ever dwell amid His ransomed flock. Great Shepherd, You are our all; we lovingly adore You!
| 2007/2/18 14:07||Profile|
Of all the Psalms, this is the one, perhaps, which is most frequently interwoven in the believer's prayers and pondered in his meditations. It has been the outbreak of innumerable hearts, and has been, and still is, the wrestling cry at the mercy-seat. Repeated are the prayers for pardon of vile guilt; struggling are the cries for renewing and sanctifying grace. Professions are uttered of devotedness to God's service, and prayers are added for the Church.
1, 2. "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according unto the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin."
In the deepest sense of guilt, prayer cries loudly for mercy. The measure of needed mercy is expressed. The measure is quite measureless. It is according to God's lovingkindness. But His love is everlasting love. It has no origin. It can have no end. It is, moreover, in accordance with the multitude of God's tender mercies. But who can count them? Infinitude is their scope. Such mercy is indeed needed; for nothing less than limitless mercy could reach the extent of the prayer for the remission of such transgressions, such iniquity, and such sin.
3. "For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me."
The awakened sinner panted for relief; for grievous was the burden which oppressed him. He did not cloak his dreadful guilthe felt it, and he confessed it. He did not strive to escape the tormenting memory. There was an appalling object ever in his sighthis fearful deeds. He is not taught of God, who is not conscious of ever-present guilt.
4. "Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight; that You might be justified when You speak, and be clear when You judge."
The real character of sin is rebellion against God. This constitutes its essence, its magnitude, its malignity. Doubtless fellow-men may be most grievously injured and outraged and afflicted. Many may be wounded; many tears may have been drawn forth, but the main evil assails God. The blow is aimed at God's supremacy.
Hence God's truth and justice are exalted to their highest pinnacles. In every threat, in every denunciation, in every execution of vengeance, homage is rendered to these essential attributes. When sin is punished, holiness is vindicated.
5. "Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin my mother conceived me."
Sin is here traced to nature's original corruption. The tree is radically corrupt. No good fruit can hang from its branches. The spring is poisoned, the waters which flow from it are polluted. When Adam yielded to the tempter's wiles, the whole line of his descendants perished in him. Sad, indeed, is our case, except redeeming grace transplants us from the ruined stock, and grafts us into the heavenly vine.
6. "Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part You shall make me to know wisdom."
When sin is deeply felt and openly confessed, conscience feels that God requires true sincerity throughout the heart. The folly of mocking God with unmeaning tears or unreal prayers is felt; and there is most earnest supplication to God to implant wisdom in the heart and soul, and to guide in the way everlasting.
7. "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."
Obliteration of guilt is again implored in terms fragrant with Gospel-sweetness. Faith clearly sees the purpose of sacrificial rites. It knows that the blood streaming from the dying victim foreshowed the blood of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. It knows that this blood is expiation perfect, entire, and forevermore; that its sprinkling removes every stain of evil, and makes the contrite believer pure as purity can be in the sight of God.
8. "Make me hear joy and gladness; that the bones which You have broken may rejoice."
The anguish of the soul under sense of God's wrath is pictured by the keenest pains of body; even by the agony of bones fractured and bruised. When healing comes, how great is the relief! Such is the transport of delight which thrills through the soul when God restores His smile, and whispers peace to the conscience. Let each mourning penitent cease not the wrestling cry, "Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which You have broken may rejoice."
9. "Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities."
Pardon is still the foremost thought in the contrite Psalmist's mind. He supplicates it under another image. He fears lest God should keep his sins in the light of His countenance. He therefore prays that an averted look should no more have them in view. Conscious of innumerable transgressions, and feeling need of entire pardon, he beseeches that not one single offense should remain unsprinkled by the obliterating blood.
10, 11. "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence; and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me."
Desire of pardon is linked to earnest longing for renewing and sanctifying grace. The cleansing of the heart is the absolute work of God. It is a new creation. It is calling that into existence which no power of man could accomplish. Conscious of utter impotence, the cry struggles for creating and renewing grace. Supplication is added for continuance of God's life-giving presence, and the perpetual indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
12, 13. "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation; and uphold me with Your free Spirit; then will I teach transgressors Your ways; and sinners shall be converted to You."
Who can express the joy of realized salvation! It is heaven begun. It is the commencement of the never-ending bliss. But it may be forfeited and interrupted for a while. Allowed sin is quick to extinguish. Let instant recourse be made to prayer. Let God, who only gave and only can renew, be supplicated to restore. The effect of this reviving grace is earnest effort to call others to the ways of God, and faith in Christ. He who enjoys this gracious treasure burns with longing that others may partake.
14. "Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness."
Remembrance of some special sin will ofttimes haunt the heart. A frightful specter will stand before the eyes. It was so now with David. The dreadful thought was present, that his abominable sin had caused a fellow-creature's death. He saw that his hands were stained with murderous spots. He must be a stranger to all peace, until sure of deliverance from this heinous guilt. With his soul, therefore, he prays that such mercy might be given unto him. The result would be sure; he would be loud in praise, proclaiming that God was a covenant-keeping God, and righteous in fulfilling His promises to forgive all sin through the atoning blood.
15, 16. "O Lord, open my lips; and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, else would I give it; You do not delight in burnt-offering."
When the grace of praise is freely poured into the heart, the power to give utterance must still be added. A channel must be opened for the stream to flow. An open lip must be desired, in addition to a full heart. Faith sees that the outward rite of sacrificial homage is not the real demand of God. Required services may not be withheld; they testify obedience. But they should do much more. They should evince the soul's entire dependence on the hidden meaningthe true Lamb of God, the all-atoning blood, the death which satisfies every violated attribute. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
17. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."
God is a Spirit, and His eye is on a spiritual service. He does not turn with indifference from a spirit broken and crushed, and ground to powder, by the weighty hand of the accusing law. He sees the buddings of real faith, and true apprehension of the appeasing victim. He is ever ready to bind up that which is thus broken. Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
18, 19. "Do good in Your good pleasure unto Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering, and whole burnt-offering; then they shall offer bullocks upon Your altar."
The penitent cannot conclude without embracing the whole Church in his fervent prayer; he supplicates mercy for his beloved Zion, and protection from all her foes. Safe in the loving-kindness of her God, her altars will blaze, the victims will die in countless numbers, the blood will flow in constant stream; but it will not be a mere superabundance of outward rites. In all Christ is seen. Christ is magnified. Christ is honored. Christ is All.
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