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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 119

 

 

Verses 1-16

The first eight verses of this Psalm, in the Hebrew, begin with the letter A, and the second eight begin with the letter B. The whole Psalm is the good man’s alphabet; the Holy Spirit condescended to use these expedients to help the memory of the readers of Holy Scripture. We should be thankful for this. I have sometimes heard preachers blamed for dividing their discourses in such a way as to help the memory of their hearers. The preacher may well bear that blame without any regret, since the Spirit of God here condescends to alliteration, and to alphabetical arrangement, in order to help the memories of readers. Thus the Psalm begins

Psalms 119:1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

If there are any people in the world who are blessed, surely it must be those who are in God’s way, and who take care to keep their garments unspotted from the world. Oh, if one can feel, at the end of every day, “I am undefiled in God’s way, and I have walked in his law,” how sweet it is in such a case to fall asleep, not self-righteous and boastful, but yet thankful to have been kept from the iniquity that abounds in the world! Truly, “blessed are the undefiled in the way.” Perhaps some of you cannot claim this particular blessing; then, remember that there is another Psalm (the thirty-second) which begins, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered,” and that blessing is of the same force and of the same sweetness as this one.

Psalms 119:2-3. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

And if we walk in God’s ways, he will never require us to do anything which is inequitable or unrighteous. No, that life which is made up of walking in God’s ways, will be full of equity, and free from iniquity.

Psalms 119:4. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

We are to be as industrious in holiness as grasping men are in business. “Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently,” watchfully, carefully, industriously, with all our might.

Psalms 119:5. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

The psalmist is driven to prayer. His admiration of the godly man makes him aspire to be like him, and then he feels that he cannot attain to that height without divine help; so he cries, “O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!”

Psalms 119:6. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

That is a wide expression, “respect unto all thy commandments.” There are many men who are willing to keep a part of God’s commandments; but they must pick and choose for themselves which these shall be. Such are arrant traitors; there lurks in their heart a distinct rebellion against the Lord, for they do really presume to be the judge of God, by taking exception to this or that command in his law. In their great condescension, they are willing to be obedient in certain points, but not in all. Such men have need to be ashamed; but the psalmist could say, “Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.”

Psalms 119:7. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

“I will not praise myself; if I am enabled to be holy, that holiness is thy work, and I will praise thee for it.”

Psalms 119:8. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Whenever you make a resolve, accompany it with a prayer. Let this be your declaration, “I will keep thy statutes:” but pray, “O forsake me not utterly,” for, otherwise, your resolution will come to nought. Now begins the second octave of the Psalm

Psalms 119:9. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?

The psalmist has spoken about the holy way; now he would speak about young men running in it. One of the most intense desires of every godly man is that there may be a succession of godly men. Oh, that our young men might be good men, so that, when the old men pass away, the generation following them may be as good as their fathers, nay more, that they may be far better! “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” Within him are strong passions, around him are fierce temptations; wherewithal shall he cleanse his way? There are plenty who would defile him; the youth is compassed about with the temptations of gaiety and the allurements of folly:

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” Here is the answer

Psalms 119:9. By taking heed thereto according to thy word.

There is no keeping a clean way if you walk with your eyes shut; you must pick your path in such a foul road as this: “By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Yes, the greatest heed we can take will not keep us out of the mire unless God’s Word is a continual lamp unto our feet and a constant light unto our path. Oh, that every young man here might cleanse his way by taking heed thereto according to God’s Word!

Psalms 119:10. With my whole heart have I sought thee:

Can you each one say that, “With my whole heart have I sought thee”?

Psalms 119:10. O let me not wander from thy commandments.

“For, though I have sought thee with my whole heart, yet my heart may in the future go astray. Do not permit it, Lord; do not permit it.” It is a very sorrowful thought to me, that there are many, who once sat in these seats, and resolved to maintain a holy life, who, nevertheless, are, at this moment, in the seat of the scornful, some perhaps in prison, and many of them where they ought not to be. They determined to be right; but, destitute of divine grace, they have gone astray; therefore, let each of us pray, “O let me not wander from thy commandments.” You know what John Bradford used to say when he saw a man taken out to be hanged, “There goes John Bradford, but for the grace of God.” And when you see others wander, you may say the same about yourself, and then breathe the prayer, “O let me not wander from thy commandments.”

Psalms 119:11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

An old preacher, in a sermon on this text, divided it thus: “The best thing: ‘thy word.’ In the best place: ‘have I hid in my heart.’ For the best of purposes: ‘that I might not sin against thee.’” He thus gave in a few words the very gist of the text.

Psalms 119:12. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

There is a mixture, you see, of prayer and praise. That is the best devotion, which contains a happy combination of these two things, prayer and praise.

Psalms 119:13. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

I must take leave to claim a special property in this text, and there are some among us here, following that same holy craft of preaching the divine Word, who can, each one, lay his hand upon his heart, and say to God, “With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.” This is a happy occupation. If you cannot spend all your lives in it, because of other duties, yet, at least in your own family, and as often as you have opportunities, use your lips in God’s service.

Psalms 119:14. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

Not only as much as in riches, but as in all riches. David had gathered together a vast sum of money for the building of the house of the Lord; but whatever joy he had in those accumulations (and I daresay he had great gladness when he thought of the purpose to which all would be put) yet, nevertheless, he says, “I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.”

Psalms 119:15. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

Blessed meditation! The lack of meditation is one of the faults of the days in which we live, we are so very busy that we have not time to study God’s Word; but the psalmist said, “I will meditate in thy precepts:” that is the secret strength; “and have respect unto thy ways:” that is the public result.

If we meditated more, we should live better. God help us so to do!

Psalms 119:16. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

So may each one of us resolve. Amen.


Verses 1-20

It is not easy to see the special subjects that are spoken of by David in each of the short portions of eight verses, yet I do not doubt that if each portion were very carefully examined, we should see that there is some thread running through. We have not here simply a number of pious sentences about the excellency of God’s Word, but we have choice gems set, each of them in a golden ring of spiritual intent and purpose. I think the first eight verses, all of which begin with that letter Aleph, or A, set forth the excellence of abiding in holiness, and walking continually in the way of the Lord. Not so much the restoring and comforting power of the word, as the blessedness of that word in leading us to conduct ourselves in consistency of character at all times.

Psalms 119:1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

There is another blessing which comes before this. “Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, .and whose sin is covered.” And we can never know the blessing of this 119th Psalm unless we have felt in our own souls that first blessing — the blessedness of forgiven sin. But when, through the forgiveness of sin, we are put upon gospel ground, and are saved, then, not according to the law, but according be the gospel does this blessing come upon us. “Blessed are the undefiled in the way.” The men who have kept their garments unspotted from the world — who from the time of their conversion even until now have been under the influence, of the divine Spirit, and so have been enabled to walk in holiness without once defiling their garments with any great and public sin — who walk in the law of the Lord, not occasionally, but always — whose daily walk is in conformity with the divine mind — these are blessed.

Psalms 119:2. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

For he that has most of God, yet needs to seek more. We keep the testimonies — those we know, for we are taught of the Lord according to the promise, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.” Yet do we still seek more. With our whole heart are we pressing on still to something higher and better. Even the undefiled in the way are so, comparatively: they are not absolutely undefiled, so as to be absolutely perfect in the sight of God. Hence they feel their imperfection, and they press after something better. They seek him with the whole heart.

Psalms 119:3-4. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

So that if we do so, we are unprofitable servants. We have done no more than was our duty to do. When his divine grace has renewed us, and has enabled us to walk in all sobriety, and truthfulness, and holiness, even then we have nothing to boast of. “Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.”

Psalms 119:5. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes !

“Oh! that I may never defile my garments!” And he who has not defiled his garments still prays the same prayer that he may be kept still and directed still. “Oh! that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!”

Psalms 119:6. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

It gives a man boldness. Integrity of heart before God breeds sacred courage. He has nothing to be ashamed of, and he is not ashamed when he has respect unto all God’s commandments.

Psalms 119:7. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

Not “I will praise myself.” Not “I will take credit to myself for my clean walking;” but “When thou hast taught me, and I learn thy ways, then all the praise shall be rendered unto thee.” This is the fruit of evangelical obedience. Legal obedience, even could it be rendered, would be sure to claim the servant’s wage, and take to itself the praise; but the obedience of a child of God leads to the laying of honour at Jehovah’s feet.

Psalms 119:8. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Strong resolution, but a deep consciousness of weakness and unworthiness. “I will,” but oh’.. how can I do it?

“Oh! for this no strength have I

My strength is at thy feet to lie.

Oh! forsake me not utterly.”

Now, in the next eight verses it seems to me that the subject is some what different. We have seen the excellence of an undefiled way. Now we have before us one who wants to prove the power of the Word to keep him in that undefiled way; and so he begins with this question.

Psalms 119:9. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?

His passions are strong: his experience little. His tempers are many: his friends cannot always be at his side. “Wherewithal shall he cleanse his way?” It is very apt to become miry. The answer is: — -

Psalms 119:9. By taking heed thereto according to thy word.

The word will keep him in the cleanly path — will warn him of all the mire into which he would have fallen; and if he take heed to his steps, he shall not trip.

Psalms 119:10. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

There is the young man’s fear; and it may be the old man’s fear, too. “I have sought thee sincerely and earnestly, but do not permit my weaker passions to get the mastery over me — do not suffer me in some unguarded hour to be carried captive by my lusts. Oh! let me not wander from thy commandments. It were better to die than to wander from thy way.” The true convert dreads sin. He loathes the very thought of the most pleasurable folly. “Oh! let me not wander from thy commandments.”

Psalms 119:11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

There is the dread, you see — the dread of sinning — the dread of defiling his way; so he says that he has adopted this divine remedy. A good division of this text, if anyone would preach from it, is the best thing, “Thy word;” in the best place — “have I hid in my heart“; for the best of purposes — “ that I might not sin against thee.”

Psalms 119:12. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

As if he said, “Teach me thy statutes that I may be blessed, too. Thou art a happy God. Teach me thy way that I may be happy, too. Blessed are the undefiled. Teach me to be so, that as thou art blessed, so I may be.”

Psalms 119:13-14. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

A man’s walking will be right when his delight is of this kind, for where the heart goes, the life will go. To some people religion is a task. It will never have much power over them. But when it becomes a delight, then will their walk be affected by it. A well-known and renowned infidel of the last generation, traveling in Wales, said to a little girl whom he saw reading her Bible, “Well, my dear,” he said, “I see you are getting through your task.” “Task sir?” she said, “What do you mean? I am reading the Bible.” He said, “I thought your mother had set you a chapter to read.” “Oh! no, sir. If my mother wanted to punish me, she would not make me read the Bible. It is the most delightful book in all the world, and it is a great joy to me when I can get a little time alone to read my Bible.” It touched his heart. As he confessed afterwards, he was delighted to find something like genuine religion. And where you find delight in religion, there it is genuine. True, genuine religion is like some of the German waters. They come up all fresh and sparkling. I like to see the sparkling in it — a little sparking religion — a little flash of joy and of delight. But very much that we get now-a-days is flat, stale, dull, unprofitable. They keep it corked, but badly corked usually, and when we see it there is nothing in it that we should desire it. It is a poor article. God give us delight in himself, for that is tame religion. “I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies as much as in all riches.”

Psalms 119:15. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

An excellent way of keeping the life clean is to keep the thoughts clean. Our boys .are brought to prison by reading the abominable trash that is poured forth for juveniles; and many and many a crime has been the result of the fiction of the present day. It is often not only light reading, but filthy reading, too. If we would read God’s Word more, and meditate in it better, our hearts would be kept sweet and so would our lives be.

Psalms 119:16. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

God grant that we never may.

Psalms 119:17. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

Does it want much grace, then, to keep a child of God alive — even to keep him alive? Yes, it does. Little grace will be of no use to us. We must have great grace, for our needs are great. Sometimes our troubles are great: at other times our temptations are great. We are always in great necessity; and thou, Lord, must have a large exchequer, and thou must give it liberally to us, or else we, poor, penniless beggars, must utterly die of want. Merely to live, then, needs the bounty of God. “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live and keep thy Word” — for there is no living in truth, except as we keep the Word of God. Those who live in the neglect of God’s Word are not living at all, but they are dead while they live. God deliver us from such life.

Psalms 119:18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

They are there, but I cannot see them unless thou open my eyes. It is not that thy Word is dark, but that my eyes are dim. Yea, by nature they are blinded altogether. Oh! thou, who art the great Physician of the blind, open thou my eyes.

Psalms 119:19. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

Do you see the drift of that? He says, “I .am a stranger here. Then, Lord, if thou do not become, and continue to be, my acquaintance, I am altogether alone.” It is true of the Christian that he cannot find anything here that can satisfy his soul. He must, therefore, have the Lord, or else he is in a very sorry case. Oh! beloved, the more you find yourselves strangers in this world, the more are you becoming like your God. The Psalmist says elsewhere, “For I am a stranger with thee,” not “to thee,” but “with thee, like thee,” for God is a stranger in this world. Men do not recognize him or delight themselves in him. “So, since, Lord, I have no other friend, and can find no other satisfying portion, hide not thy commandments from me. On the contrary, let me see the more of thee, because I have nothing else.”

Psalms 119:20. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

We cannot always say that, for we sometimes wish that our hearts would break. Sometimes we sing: —

“My heart rejoice or ache: Resolve this doubt for me;

And if it be not broken, break And heal it if it be.”


Verses 9-32

Psalms 119:9. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” A vital and solemn question. His way is full of temptations, and he himself has strong passions. How shall he make his way clean, and keep it so? “By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Without heed he will soon be in the mire, but carefully walking with God’s word as his rule, by the blessing of God’s grace it will keep him out of sin.

Psalms 119:10. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandment.

There might be thought in this confession to be some commendation of himself, and therefore he salts it with this prayer: “I have sought thee, Lord, sincerely, but still, notwithstanding that, I am very apt to stray away, and I shall sadly wander unless thou keep me. O let me not wander from thy commandments.”

Psalms 119:11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

The best thing put into the best place for the best of all purposes. There is no antidote against sin like the possession of the Word of God in the soul.

Psalms 119:12. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

Thou art blessed, make me blessed. Thou art the happy God, instruct me in the way of happiness.

Psalms 119:13. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

I am a learner, but I have tried to be a teacher too. I have not kept the Word of God to myself as though it were only a personal treasure for me, but what I have heard in the secret-chamber of fellowship, that have I spoken on the housetops. Have you published abroad what you know? Then you are the person to learn more. When men drop their money into a money box, they have to break it to get it out again, and if they have not need of it they will not do so. God doth not care to drop his treasure into a heart that never useth it and imparteth it. Let your lips speak what your heart learns.

Psalms 119:14. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

If all sorts of riches were put together, I have found them all, and more than them all, in thy testimonies. I am rich in all respects when I have thee.

Psalms 119:15. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy way.

Meditation treads the wine press and gets the juice out of the grapes. A man may read too much if he reads without meditation. “I will meditate.” It is the harvesting by reaping of what we have sown by reading.

Psalms 119:16. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

I will take a deep pleasure in them, and I will find an intense joy in every pondering of them. “I will not forget thy word.” I will never let it go out of the precincts of my memory: I will recall again and again. I will always have a text of thy precious Book ready to my tongue.

Psalms 119:17. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

Give me much of thy comfort, royally of thyself: deal bountifully with me: I have great necessities, am a mass of wants, therefore, “ Deal bountifully with me that I may live.” And I have great tendencies to wander. Great risks and perils. Give me abundance of grace that I may keep thy word.

Psalms 119:18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

The wonders are there: cause me to behold them. A man may have a fair landscape before him, rich in all beauties of form and colour, but if his eyes be closed, what is he better for it?

Psalms 119:19. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

“I am a stranger in the earth.” I do not belong now to it: I am born and bound for heaven: I am a pilgrim here: men do not understand me, neither have I any settled business here. “I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.” Oh, remember that I am thy alien,thy banished one: send me love-messages from the old home and loved country.

Psalms 119:20. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

Broken souls are many: but not on this account! Oh, how few are in danger of breaking, through such a longing as this ! Would God there were many more that did sigh and cry after the Word of God; for longings such as these are sure to lead to an earnest search, and the earnest search will increase knowledge and increase grace.

Psalms 119:21. Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

A proud man is surely a sinful man. He may think himself a righteous man, but he cannot be so. He has gone far astray from the very essence of God’s law, which is that he should walk humbly with his God.

Psalms 119:22. Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

A man that does that is pretty sure to be reproached and to be contemned by man; for they think that one who follows God faithfully “is very old-fashioned, he has not much spirit, he has not drunk in the philosophy of the age, he is a fossilized Christian,” and so on. Well, we can bear all such reproach: still are we truly glad when we escape it.

Psalms 119:23. Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

And a great man’s word goes a long way with some people. They think a prince a great authority. “But thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.” He did not burst out in angry reply, he did not give fierce railing for railing, but he sat himself down as quietly as he could, the more abundantly to meditate in God’s statutes. What calmness there is here, and what wisdom! for if princes should speak against us, and the great ones of the earth should rail, what matters it? If they drive us away from our faith, it would matter, but if they drive us to our Bibles, it is a benefit.

Psalms 119:24-25. Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

Here he prays for quickening. He felt the spiritual death that was so natural to him, the heaviness of his heart, the tendency to sink, the attractions of the world.

Psalms 119:26. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

Open confession is good for the soul, and I have made this confession: thou hast heard me: now “teach me thy statutes.”

Psalms 119:27. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

Lord ground me and found me in thy knowledge: give me to know fully, firmly, what I do know. I would not be as a man that eats, but thinks not, whence the bread came, but I would wish to understand the way of thy precepts: “so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.”

Psalms 119:28. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

Will not this prayer suit some that are in this house this morning who are very dull and depressed? Oh, if your soul sinks, still pray and say: “Strengthen thou me.” You want strength, dear friends. If you had more strength, your trouble would not crush you; your soul would not melt if you had more strength and confidence.

Psalms 119:29-30. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

As a captain lays out his chart so as to keep his course correctly and safely, so I try to sail by it. I have chosen thy law, and precept, and command as my course, and I would fain keep to them.

Psalms 119:31. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: 0 LORD, put me not to shame.

I am glued to them: there is no separating me, no tearing me apart, from them. “O Lord, put me not to shame.”

Psalms 119:32. I will run the way of thy commandment, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

I will go quicker and faster, I will have more energy, more flaming zeal, in thy service — “When thou shalt enlarge my heart.” O Lord, it is very narrow and very contracted, I cannot think great thoughts, nor do great things, nor believe great promises, unless thou shalt enlarge my heart. Lord, give me a larger heart, stronger to obey, tenderer to love, for thy name’s sake!


Verses 17-28

Psalms 119:17. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

O Lord, I am thy servant; yet, I pray thee, do not pay me wages according to my deserts, but according to the greatness of thy mercy, “deal bountifully with thy servant.” Little mercy will not be enough for such great sins and such great needs as mine. Deal very generously with thy poor servant who is so full of necessities, “that I may live;” for, if thou wilt only let me live, it will be of thy bounty, since I deserve not even that boon. Only to have my life still spared, shall be regarded by me as a great favor from thee. I want not to live to please myself, for that would not be living at all, but “that I may live, and keep thy word.” A holy life is the only true life, the only life that is really worth having; and he that hath it hath been dealt bountifully with by his God. I commend this verse to each servant of the Lord as a prayer that may he continually presented to him.

Psalms 119:18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

This is one of the first parts of God’s bountiful dealings with us. There is no mercy that is so great as mercy to one’s own person, to one’s own eyes, for instance, which are such essential parts of ourselves. Lord, when thou art dealing bountifully with me, I do not ask for riches, but I do ask that my eyes may be opened. I do not ask thee to give me more than thou hast given in thy Word, but I do ask for opened eyes with which I may perceive what thou hast put there, else the beauties of thy Word may be useless to me by reason of my blindness. This blessed Book teems with marvels; it is a world of wonders. It records many miracles, but every page of it is itself a miracle, and a mass of miracles; yet we must have them revealed to us, or we shall not discover them. Revelation itself must he revealed to every man individually by the Spirit of God, or else he will never see it.

Psalms 119:19. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me,

Humane men deal kindly with exiles; God has commanded us to be generous to strangers, and he will certainly be so himself. Lord, because of thy love, I find myself like an exile among the sons of men; but be not thou thyself strange to me. What should I do, in this world, without thee, and without thy Word? “Hide not thy commandments from me.”

Psalms 119:20-21. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

God cannot bear the proud; it is very seldom that they can bear one another; and if proud men loathe pride as they see it in others, you may rest assured that the good and great God will not endure it. How sternly he rebuked it in the angels that kept not their first estate How he rebuked it in Pharaoh! All through history, it may be seen how God has been continually abasing the proud, and giving grace to the humble.

Psalms 119:22. Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

He had lived honestly and uprightly, and yet men slandered him. Was there ever a man upon earth, who was good and true, who was not slandered? God himself was slandered in paradise by the old serpent, and the Lord Jesus was constantly being slandered by wicked men, so can any of us hope to escape the envenomed tongue of the slanderer? Yet it is very painful, and we may well pray to be delivered from it, especially if we can add, with the psalmist, “for I have kept thy testimonies.”

Psalms 119:23. Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

Sometimes, men can bear what the commonalty say; but to have the great ones of the earth speaking against them, is thought by some to be very hard. The psalmist says, “Princes also did sit and speak against me.” What did he do under such circumstances? Did he rise up in anger, and answer them? Or did he sit down, and consider how he could defend himself against them? Far from it: “Thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.” He seems to say, “I did not think it was worth my while to leave the Scriptures, even for a moment, so as to speak to them; but I went on studying thy Word, and left them to say what they pleased.” We shall be wise if we do likewise.

Psalms 119:24. Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.

While these princes were taking counsel against the psalmist, he also went and took Counsel’s advice against them; but that Counsel’s advice was the advice of the Word of God. He stuck to the Scriptures. Little as he had of them, yet that little he greatly prized. The Pentateuch furnished him with five inspired Counselors to whom he resorted in his time of need. Let us imitate his example, especially as we have the complete Canon of revelation to advise and counsel us.

Psalms 119:25-28. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

The Word of the Lord is available for quickening, teaching, and strengthening. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” May that gracious Spirit, who inspired it, ever teach us its inner meaning!


Verses 21-32

Psalms 119:21. Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

Wherever there is pride in the heart, there is sure to be error in the life. A proud man is wrong, to begin with, and as long as he continues proud, he must be wrong. It is not possible for him to be right. God has rebuked him, and God has cursed him. How wise it would be of him to be humble. Remember we shall have either to be humble or to be humbled; and it is much better to be humble than to have to come under the humbling dispensations of God’s hand.

Psalms 119:22. Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

O Lord, do not suffer men to believe lies and slanders against me, or if they do let my conscience sustain my courage by the consciousness that I have kept thy testimonies.

Psalms 119:23. Princes also did sit and speak against me:

Had they nothing else to do, but talk against God’s servants? No; they sat down to do it with deliberation. “Princes also did sit and speak against me.”

Psalms 119:23. But thy servant did.

“Go to law with them?” No not so here. “But thy servant got in the face and defended himself?” No, no. Look, you will not read those words. But “Thy servant was broken-hearted about it to have the great men of the earth speaking against him?” No, it is not so either. “But thy servant did.”

Psalms 119:23. Meditate in thy statutes,

Is not that a very blessed and admirable way of enduring slander — simply to take your Bible and read a little more than usual? You will cure it so.

Psalms 119:24. Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.

Because I love them and delight in them. I submit my life to their guidance.

I go to thy Book to ask what I shall do. I consult it as the oracle of God. I take my doubts, and difficulties, and dilemmas there, and I find that they are all met. “Thy testimonies are my delight and my counsellors.”

Psalms 119:25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

Ah! there is a note of sadness here. The Psalmist complains of himself. He found himself very sorrowful, and he could not get out of the sorrow; or he found himself very full of business cares, and he could not get rid of them. “My soul cleaveth to the dust” — as though it was stuck to the dust, and the duet to it, and could not rise. Then how sweet the prayer, “Quicken thou me.” “Didst thou not first make me of dust, and wilt thou not at the last quicken my mortal body out of the dust? Then, now, my Lord quicken thou me according to thy Word.” See, here is an evil complained of. He finds himself cleaving to the dust. Here is a remedy sought, “Quicken thou me.” And here is an argument pleaded with God — “according to thy Word.” There is a promise for it. Lord, fulfill thy word.

Psalms 119:26. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

A confession had been made: “I have declared my ways.” That confession had been accepted: “Thou heardest me.” Then a petition is offered: “Teach me thy statutes.” “Thou seest that I confess how wrong I was. Now give me grace that I may not go wrong again.” May that be our spirit always.

Psalms 119:27-28. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

“I am poured out like water,” says the Saviour. “My heart is like wax. It is melted in the midst of my bowels.” It is the greatness of pain, the greatness of fear, the greatness of sorrow, till he seems to melt away in the fire like wax. “For heaviness,” says he, “my soul melts. Then strengthen thou me.” Oh! it is so sweet to turn to God when your soul is burdened — to look to him, and say — not “deliver me.” Observe that, the child of God is not so anxious to get rid of trouble, as he is to know how to behave worthily under it. “Strengthen thou me, according to thy Word.” How he harps on that “according to thy Word.” The child of God does not expect God to do otherwise than he has promised to do, and he is quite content if the Lord will act according to his Word, for well does our poet put it: —

“What more can he say than to you he hath said, —

You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?”

In this book, dear brother, whatever your trouble, there is a promise to meet it. If you lose a key and you send for the whitesmith, as a general rule, somewhere in that bunch of keys he has a key that will fit your lock. And so here is a bunch of keys, and there is a key here that will exactly fit the lock of your trouble whatever it may be, for God foresaw the circumstances of all his people, and prepared a promise for every circumstance.

Psalms 119:29. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

“Take away the evil: give me the good.” “The way of lying.” Oh! it is a dreadful thing to get into that. There are some that have a way of doing it — some that do it jocosely, some that do it by implication. Some think it shrewd to deceive. “Remove from me the way of lying.” If truth should be banished from all the world besides, it ought to find a shelter in the breasts of Christians. The Christian man is forbidden to take an oath, because there should never be any necessity for it. His word — his, “Yea, yea” — his “Nay, nay” should always, be sufficient. Thank God it is, where the grace of God is.

Psalms 119:30-31. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. Here is, first, choice: “I have chosen the way of truth.” Here is his practically carrying it out: “Thy judgments have I laid before me.” Here is his perseverance in it: “I have stuck unto thy testimonies.” And then there is his prayer about it: “O Lord, put me not to shame.” And it is a prayer which is sure to be answered. “Truth may be blamed, but it cannot be shamed.” Truth is God’s daughter, and he will take care of her. If you have chosen the way of truth, it is a way in which, though some may censure and slander, your righteousness shall come forth, in due time, as the noonday.

Psalms 119:32. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

“When I get liberty of heart, then will I take as my choice, thy ways.” The Christian is never so much at liberty as when he is under law to Christ. He knows the difference between licence and liberty. He has a liberty to do so he wills, because he wills to do as God wills him to do; and herein lies the only freedom which we desire.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 90 and Psalms 119:21-32.


Verses 25-32

Psalms 119:25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

“I feel heavy, unhappy, dull: ‘My soul cleaveth unto the dust.’ Or I feel worldly, lethargic, lifeless: ‘My soul cleaveth unto the dust.’ There is nothing but the power of new life that can separate me from that dust: ‘ Quicken thou me according to thy word.’” Divine life is the great cure for most spiritual evils. When a man has vigorous life in his constitution, he throws off many diseases; and when the soul is full of spiritual life, it masters a great number of evils. “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.” That is good pleading, — “according to thy promise, for thou hast promised to quicken me. It is the nature of thy Word to be quick and quickening; therefore, Lord, ‘quicken thou me according to thy word.’”

Psalms 119:26. if have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

“I have confessed my wrong; now, O Lord, teach me what is right! I have owned my sin; now, O Lord, lead me in the paths of holiness! ‘Teach me thy statutes.’”

Psalms 119:27. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

He who fully understands the way of God’s precepts must talk of his wondrous works. There is a power about that truth in the heart to unloose the most stammering tongue. We are bound to speak of that which God teaches to us: “Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.”

Psalms 119:28. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

Are any of you, dear friends, in that condition? Do your hearts melt within you? It is a sore trouble, as I know full well. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity;” but when his very soul melts for heaviness, what is he to do then? Why, even then he may pray; nay, then he must pray; and this may be the burden of his prayer, “Strengthen thou me according unto thy word.” Notice, beloved, how the psalmist keeps harping upon that string,-“ according unto thy word.” If your prayer is according to God’s Word, you may expect a comfortable answer sooner or later. We know that God will not act contrary to his Word. He who is not a man of his word is despised; and if there could be one who was not a God of his Word, what would be said of him? But, my tried friend, he will make his Word true to you to the very letter; therefore still cry to him, “Strengthen thou me according unto thy word.”

Psalms 119:29. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

“Lord, let me not be pestered by liars, and let me never fall into any measure of falsehood myself.” There is a way of thinking better of yourself than you deserve, which is a form of lying. There is a method of supposing that you have experienced what you never have experienced, and that you have attained to what you never have attained to; that also is a way of falsehood. May God remove it from us, and may we have the law of the Lord written on our hearts! “Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.”

Psalms 119:30. I have chosen the way of truth:

“I want to be true, I want to know the truth, I want to feel the truth, I want to practice the truth: ‘I have chosen the way of truth.’”

Psalms 119:30. Thy judgments have I laid before me.

“Like a map, so that I might follow the way of truth as I see it drawn out in letters of light in thy Word.” The man who spreads out God’s Word before him, like a map of the road, is not likely to make a mistake in his journeying.

Psalms 119:31. I have stuck unto thy testimonies : —

I like that word “stuck.” “I have stuck unto thy testimonies.” “I could not be drawn or dragged away from them. They told me of some fine new ideas and modern grand discoveries; but ‘I have stuck unto thy testimonies.’ They came before me with something very artistic and scientific; but ‘I have stuck unto thy testimonies:’ —

Psalms 119:31. O LORD, put me not to shame.

You may rest assured that he never will. If a man clings to God, God will cleave to him. If we are not ashamed of God, he will never put us to shame; but we shall go from strength to strength glorying in his truth and grace.

Psalms 119:32. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

There is an enlargement of the heart that is very dangerous, but this kind of enlargement of the heart is the most healthy thing that can happen to a man. A great heart, you see, is a running heart. A little heart goes slowly, but an enlarged heart runs in the way of God’s commandments. Oh, for a heart full of love to God; and then to have that heart made larger, so as to hold more of God’s love! Lord, enlarge my heart in that sense! Let me feel at home and at liberty with thee; let the last link of my bondage be snapped. Amen.


Verses 25-40

By the help of God’s Holy Spirit, this psalm may serve for the purposes of self-examination, for we may ask ourselves as we read, “Do I feel in that way? Are my prayers like those of this good man? Is my experience like his: “We may often ask ourselves, “Am I as watchful, and as careful, and as fond of God’s Word as he was?” Such questions will do us good.

Psalms 119:25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

He does not like to feel the cleaving of his soul to the dust. There are some that feel it, but they seem content to continue in that condition; but no sooner does David feel it than he cries “Quicken thou me.” A sense of sin is of small value, unless it leads us to desire to escape out of it. “Quicken thou me.” I lie as dead as if it were dust to dust. My soul seems cleaving to it, as if it had come to its end, and meant to rest there; but, Lord, give me life. Thy Word promises me life. Thou hast ways laid down in thy Word for giving life. “Quicken thou me, according to thy Word.”

Psalms 119:26. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statues.

I have told thee all about myself. Now tell me about thyself. “Teach me thy statutes.”

Psalms 119:27. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

It is a bad thing to talk of what we do not understand and he who shall preach what he has never experienced is very likely to do so. Yet beloved, there is no understanding Gods precepts except he shall teach them to us. We are void of understanding. He must enlighten. He must instruct. “Make me to understand the way of thy precepts.” Some are very anxious to understand the doctrines, and some to understand the prophecies. All well and good, but “Make me to understand the way of thy precepts”, give me practical godliness, help me to live to thy praise, “so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.” I will not talk till thou hast taught me. But when thou hast taught me, then my subject shall be thy wondrous works. The wonderous work of making me to understand thee shall be something to speak about, and all the wondrous works of nature, and providence, and grace shall be the subject of my continual conversation.

Psalms 119:28. My soul melteth for heaviness:

For the best of men sometimes suffer the sharpest sorrows. Hearts of stone are not likely to be so sensitive as hearts of flesh. “My soul melted for heaviness.”

Psalms 119:28. Strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

He wants strength, but he does not want to obtain it in any way, but the way of God’s appointment. “According unto thy Word.” Somewhat like our hymn, which says: —

“He that suffered in my stead,

Shall my physician be

I will not be comforted

Till Jesus comforts me.”

“Strengthen thou me,” but let it be “according to thy Word.”

Psalms 119:29. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

Let me not lie. Let me not be tempted to lie. Let me not be pestered with the falsehoods of others. Remove the way of lying far from me, and oh! by thy grace, give me to know the law. That is a remarkable combination of words. “Grant me thy law graciously.” Has law anything to do with grace? Yes, such a law as he speaks of — the law in the heart — the law in the hand of Christ — the law written in the life of the believer — not the law of merit and of salvation by works, but “grant me thy law graciously.”

Psalms 119:30. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

As a seaman spreads out the chart before him, that he may follow the right channel, and not miss his track — as a traveler spreads out his map that he may keep to the right way, “I have chosen the way of truth. Thy judgments have I laid before me.”

Psalms 119:31. I have stuck unto thy testimonies:

As if I were glued to them — sealed to them. They said I was very old-fashioned. They said I did not keep pace with the times. They said I was not a man of thought. I did not care about that. “I have stuck unto thy testimonies.”

Psalms 119:31. O LORD, put me not to shame.

And he never will. If we stick to him, we may be quite sure that we shall came forth out of every difficulty and every opposition triumphantly. “Put me not to shame.” And although he thus spoke, yet you perceive the activity of his soul.

Psalms 119:32. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

Give my heart freedom. Knock off my fetters. Take away my heaviness Remove from me my ignorance. Give my soul room, and she will run, but it will be in the ways of thy commandments.

Psalms 119:33. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

Here is the art of finally persevering. Here is the way of continuing to the end, and the same shall be saved. We must begin with a teachable spirit. He that is not willing to learn has not begun right. We aught to disciple all nations, but he that will not learn is not yet discipled. “Teach me.” But the teaching we must have must come from God. “Teach me, O Lord. I am not content to have the Word second-hand. Be thou my schoolmaster. Teach me, O Lord. I shall never learn unless thou teach me. Thou who didst make me, thou who didst give me a new heart, thou must write that law upon my heart, or it will never be written there. Teach me, O Lord. Teach me the way of thy statutes. Teach me practical godliness. So teach it to me that I shall learn it, and put it into practice and if I be taught of thee, then I shall keep it unto the end; not else.”

Psalms 119:34. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

A want of understanding is a very great lack. There is little wonder that men turn aside from an outward religion which has never taken possession of their thoughts and minds. If they only subscribe to the creed which they have never studied — if they only carry out a life — the mere shell of a life — the inward principles of which they do not know, they will soon turn aside. “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law.”

Psalms 119:35. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

“Not only teach me the way, but make me to go in it. Take hold of me as a mother does of her little child, and teach me how to walk, and help me in the walking.” Make me to go. It is a feeble word — a most expressive prayer. “Make me to go for therein do I delight.” When a man delights in God’s way, he will be sure to be made to go in it.

Psalms 119:36. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies,

Bend it that way — incline it.

Psalms 119:36. And not to covetousness.

For, naturally, my heart would go after the world, and cleave to its riches and its treasures, and begin to covet, but, Lord, bend it the other way. If you do not love God’s testimonies, the tendency will be to become a lover of the world. “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.”

Psalms 119:37. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity;

Or “make mine eyes to pass from beholding vanity.” I am a runner in the race. Do not let me stop to look at anything, but may my eyes pass by vanity. Let me not be like her in the fable who paused to gather the golden apples in the race, and so lost it and was deceived. If the world’s golden apples are thrown in my way, make my eyes to pass from beholding vanity.

Psalms 119:37. And quicken thou me in thy way.

More life towards thee will deaden me to the world. The more I follow after God, the less shall I care to follow after the world.

Psalms 119:38. Stablish thy word unto thy servant,

Make it fast, firm, sure.

Psalms 119:38. Who is devoted to thy fear.

I am established in thee. Establish the Word to me. Thou has bound me fast to thy altar. Oh! give me the fast blessings and sure mercies of David.

Psalms 119:39. Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

I fear lest I bring a reproach upon thee, and then upon myself. Oh! suffer me not to do so. I am not afraid of the reproach of the world. I count the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. But, oh! let them never have to charge me with sin, and let me not fall into such pecuniary difficulties or other troubles, that men will be able to make a charge against me out of them. Help me to provide things honest in the sight of all men. “Take away my reproach, which I fear, for thy judgments are good.”

Psalms 119:40. Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.


Verses 33-40

Psalms 119:33. Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; —

The psalmist is constantly talking about “the way.” We have that expression in the 27th verse, then in the 29th, the 30th, and the 32nd; and now again we have it here: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes;” —

Psalms 119:33-34. And I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

That is not true or right understanding which permits us to go into sin; those who are really wise in heart hate evil and love righteousness.

Psalms 119:35. Make me to go in the path —

Or, say —

Psalms 119:35. Of thy commandment; for therein do I delight.

“Make me to go.” Not only show me the way, but make me to go, like a nurse does with a child when she puts her hands under its arms, and strengthens its tottering footsteps. This is a very beautiful expression: “Make me to go.” Lord, we are very weak; we are like little children; make us to go in the path of thy commandments, for therein do we delight.

Psalms 119:36. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

The heart must love something; it will either love that which is good, or that which is evil. “O Lord,” the psalmist seems to pray, “incline my heart in the right direction. Make it lean towards that which is good; cause me to count thy grace better than all the riches of the world.”

Psalms 119:37. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity;

“Do not let me even look at it, for one may look at an ugly thing until the sense of its deformity gradually disappears, and it becomes attractive. Lord, never let me so fix my eyes upon sin that, at last, I come to reckon it a desirable thing.”

Psalms 119:37. And quicken thou me in thy way.

A man who travels quickly has not time to stop and look at the things in the road. Lord, let me go so fast to heaven that, when the devil hangs his baubles in his shop-window, I may not have time even to stop and look at them: ‘Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.’

Psalms 119:38. Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

That is, “Make thy word to me real and true. Put away my natural skepticism, my proneness to question, my tendency to doubt.” “Stablish thy word.” “Make me to know how firm, how true, how real it is, for I would love it more and more. I do believe it, for I am devoted to thy fear, but I long to be still further established in the faith.”

Psalms 119:39. Turn away my reproach which I fear:

Are any of you fearing reproach? If so, you may well fear it, for you deserve it; yet, even then, you may ask the Lord to turn it away from you.

Psalms 119:39-40. For thy judgments are good. Behold, I have longed after thy precepts:

Some people, whom I know, long after the promises, and others long after the doctrines. I hope that they will all get an equal longing for the precepts, for true believers love the precepts as much as they love the promises or the doctrines: “Behold, I have longed after thy precepts.”

Psalms 119:40. Quicken me in thy righteousness.

This exposition consisted of readings from Genesis 32. and Psalms 119:33-40.


Verses 64-72

Psalms 119:64-67. The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray: —

Prosperity had been to the psalmist like the gap in the hedge through which the sheep wander from the shepherd; but affliction had been to him like the prickly bushes that often stop the sheep from wandering still further, so he says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray:” —

Psalms 119:67. But now have I kept thy word.

What a benefit, then, affliction had been to him; and what a blessing it often is to us! So, instead of dreading it, as we usually do, we ought to welcome it, and be on the look-out for the blessing which is to come to us through it. Many a child of God has joined with Dr. Watts in singing, —

“Father, I bless thy gentle hand;

How kind was thy chastising rod;

That forced my conscience to a stand,

And brought my wandering soul to God!

“Foolish and vain, I went astray

Ere I had felt thy scourges, Lord;

I left my guide, and lost my way;

But now I love and keep thy Word.”

Psalms 119:68. Thou art good, and doest good;

What a delightful description this is of God and his works! Who is good? Our Lord Jesus supplies the answer, “There is none good but one, that is, God.” And his works are like himself: “Thou art good, and doest good.”

Psalms 119:68. Teach me thy statutes.

In the 25th Psalm, David wrote, “Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way;” and here, because the Lord is good, and does good, the psalmist prays, “Teach me thy statutes.” He will teach us that which is good because he is himself good. What a blessing it is for us to have such a Teacher! How wonderful it is that God should be so condescending as to take us into his school!

Psalms 119:69. The proud have forged a lie against me:

They have kept on hammering away until they have finished the falsehood; they have “forged” it, as one forges a deadly weapon in the fire.

Psalms 119:69. But I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.

“It is no use for me to trouble about them. When they have forged one lie, they will probably forge another, and there is practically no end to that black business. It is no use for me to try to answer them; I will turn to a far more profitable occupation: ‘I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.’”

Psalms 119:70. Their heart is as fat as grease;

Insensible, lifeless; — they have no conscience, no feeling; they are so proud of their prosperity that they are afflicted with fatty degeneration of the heart.

Psalms 119:70. But I delight in thy law.

What a blessing it is for us to find our fatness there, — to delight in the marrow and fatness of God’s law!

Psalms 119:71. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

The psalmist, was so impressed with the benefits which he had derived from his afflictions, that he returned to the subject: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” There is much teaching power about God’s rod. He always keeps one in his school, and it is greatly needed for such dull scholars as we are. Many a child of God can repeat the psalmist’s testimony: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” “Thou hast whipped a little knowledge into me, and not much has come in any other way.”

Psalms 119:72. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

David had a great deal of gold and silver, far more than any of us have; but yet he thought very little of it in comparison with God’s law. Many people despise gold and silver because they have not got any. The fox said the grapes were sour because they were beyond his reach. But here is a case, in which a man had as much gold and silver as he could ever want; yet he says that the law of God’s mouth was better than all of it, and he was wise in saying so. For gold and silver can be stolen; riches often take to themselves wings, and fly away; even great wealth may soon be spent and gone; but God’s law never leaves those who love it, nor lets them lose it. When all our spending money is gone, then is the commandment of God our treasure still. Happy is everyone who can say, with David, “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.”


Verses 73-88

In this Psalm we have, as it were, notes from David’s pocket book.

Psalms 119:73. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

This is a very instructive prayer; the psalmist does as good as say, “Lord, thou hast made me once- make me over again. Thou hast made my body; mould my spirit, form my character, give me understanding.” If God should make us, and then leave us without understanding, what imperfect creations we should be! A man devoid of understanding is only a blood and bone creation; and therefore the psalmist does well to pray, “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding.” But what sort of an understanding is desired? That I may learn to discuss and dispute? No: “that I may learn thy commandments;” for holiness is the best of wisdom, and the surest proof of a right understanding is obedience to God’s commandments.

Psalms 119:74. They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.

A hopeful godly man is a continual source of joy to other people. When a man can inspire hope in his fellows, and he cannot do that unless he is full of hope himself, he lights a fire of comfort. Bring such a man into a storm, and he helps you to be brave. “They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.”

Psalms 119:75. I knew, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

We are glad to listen to a man who can tell us that, an old man, a tried man, who can say that God has been faithful in afflicting him, a man who, after having borne the brunt of tribulation, can yet bless God for it. Such testimonies as these are full of joy and gladness to the young folk; they can encounter trial with a joyous heart when they hear what their fathers tell of the goodness of God to them in their troubles.

Psalms 119:76. Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.

“Lord,” he seems to say, “I have been a comfort to others; be thou a comfort to me. Thou hast made others glad to see me; make me glad with the recollection of all my experience of thy mercy: ‘Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort.’” If you have lost your own comfort, dear friends, see where you are to look for it, to the merciful kindness of God. Those are two beautiful words, are they not? “Merciful”-take that to pieces, and it is mercy-full. Is not God full of mercy? Take the next word to pieces-“kindness.” That means, “kinned-ness”-that kind of feeling that we have to our own kin when they are very dear to us. “Lord, let thy mercy-full kinned-ness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.”

Psalms 119:77. Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live:

“I am so broken down, my bones are so full of pain, that if thou dost handle me roughly, I shall die: ‘Let thy tender mercies come unto me.’ I am like a poor flower whose stalk is almost broken through, ready to droop and die; let thy tender mercies bind me up, that I may live.”

Psalms 119:77. For thy law is my delight.

God will not let a man die who delights in his law. You are the sort of man who shall live. If you love the law of God, the Word of God, the will of God, the way of God, he will not let you die. There are none too many of your sort in the world, so the Lord will keep you alive so long as you can serve him here.

Psalms 119:78. Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.

That is a delightful turning of the subject: “They dealt perversely with me, without a cause;” but David does not say, “I will envy the proud,” or, “I will be spiteful to them,” “I will fret myself because of them.” No; he seems to say, “They may do what they will; but I will meditate in thy precepts.” When anyone has treated you contemptuously, or dealt perversely with you without a cause, instead of resenting it, get to your Bible, meditate in God’s precepts. It is the noblest and at the same time the most successful way of fighting against contempt, so to despise the despising of men as to rejoice in your thoughts of God and his truth.

Psalms 119:79. Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.

“Lord, make me such a man that they who fear thee may seek my acquaintance. Of thy great mercy grant that, if any of them have turned away from me through hearing slanderous reports about me, they may be inclined now to come back to me, for I love them, and I would not willingly offend them. ‘Let those that fear thee turn unto me.’”

Psalms 119:80. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

When the heart is right with God, there will be no need to be ashamed. Though you may make some mistakes and blunders, because you are human, yet, if you are sincere, shame shall not overtake you. What a blessing it is to have a sound heart! But when the heart is spiritually unsound, the profession is always in danger. The other day, a friend of ours was taken from us almost in an instant through heart disease; and when Judas sells his Master, or when Demas turns aside to the silver mines of earth, it is the result of heart disease. There are many who go about in the Christian Church with a ruddy face, and apparently with great strength of religion; but on a sudden they prove apostates. Yes, that is the effect of heart disease. Therefore, pray very earnestly with the psalmist, “Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.”

Psalms 119:81. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.

What! faint and hoping, too? Yes, a Christian man is a wonder and a contradiction to many, and most of all to himself. He cannot understand himself; he faints, and yet he hopes. Two apparently opposite emotions may be at the same time in the Christian bosom. Every man is two men, if he is a man in Christ Jesus; I sometimes think that there is a triplet of characters in every man of God, so that he has three different experiences at the same time. Certainly he can have two, for here we have them: “My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.”

Psalms 119:82. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?

“I look for it till my eyes ache; I strain my eyes to see thy word, watching for it till my vision grows dull in waiting: ‘Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying.”’ Oh, then, his eyes could speak! Yes, eyes can say a great many things; and blessed are the eyes that have learned to say this: “When wilt thou comfort me?” It is a good way of praying, sometimes, to say nothing at all, but to sit still and look up. The eyes can say what lips and tongue cannot, so learn well the language of the eyes, and talk to God with them, even as he talks to you with his eyes. “I will guide thee,” says he, “with mine eye.” Be you, therefore, able to speak to God with your eyes, as David was when he wrote, “Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?”

Psalms 119:83. For I am become like a bottle in the smoke;

An old dried-up skin bottle, that is hung in the smoke of the tent over the fire, till it is wrinkled and cracked, and almost good for nothing.

Psalms 119:83. Yet do I not forget thy statutes.

“Beauty is gone, strength is gone, comeliness is gone; but not my memory of thy word, O Lord.” What a mercy it is that, when the worst comes to the worst with us, still the best remains: “I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.”

Psalms 119:84. How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

“Lord, I have but a short life; let me not have a long affliction.” Does he mean, “Lord, I have lived too long in this miserable state; I wish my days were shortened”? We must not murmur at the length of our days, but we may plead that persecution may come to an end. We may even go so far as to say with David, “How many are the days of thy servant? When wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?”

Psalms 119:85. The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.

It is not often that proud men take to digging; but here, you see, these children of the pit learn to dig pits for God’s people; and they have not given over the practice yet. Pits were dug in olden times to catch wild beasts; but now, often, the wicked dig pits to try to catch good men, seeking if they can to make a fault where there is none, or to lead us into a line of conduct which they shall be able to represent unfavorably: “The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.”

Psalms 119:86. All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

What a prayer that is! Store it up for use, dear friend, carry it home with you. That is the kind of prayer to be prayed on the roadside, in a railway carriage, ay, even in an accident: “Help thou me.” “Help thou me,” is a wonderful prayer, it seems to turn on a swivel whichever way you wish; you may use it to ask for anything you need in every time of emergency: “Help thou me.”

Psalms 119:87. They had almost consumed me upon earth;

“They had almost eaten me up; they had almost burned my life out. Blessed be God, they could not consume me anywhere except upon earth! My immortal part would escape the burning of their coals of juniper. They had almost consumed me, but almost is not altogether.” When God delivers his people from the lion and the bear, the jaws of the wild beasts may be almost closed, yet they shall be opened wide enough for us to escape: “They had almost consumed me upon earth.”

Psalms 119:87. But I forsook not thy precepts.

You cleave to the right, and God will not turn away from you, nor will he let you turn away from his precepts.

Psalms 119:88. Quicken me after thy lovingkindness;

That is a blessed prayer for us to offer. If any of you feel dull and drowsy, if any of you are heavy and slow in your movements, cry, to the Lord, “Quicken me after thy lovingkindness.”

Psalms 119:88. So shall I keep the testimony of thy month.

Spiritual life is the root of holiness: “Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.” May God bless this reading to our instruction! Amen.


Verses 81-88

Psalms 119:81. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.

The psalmist was so full of longings, hungerings, thirstings, for God’s salvation that he had come even to faintness through the strength of his desire. Yet, in his faintness, he was not too far gone to hope; and we also have good ground for hoping and believing that God, who gave us his Word, will stand to it, for he is both able and willing to fulfill all that he has promised.

Psalms 119:82. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?

He looked out for a message from God as the watchers of the night looked for the breaking of the morning. His eyes ached to behold the comforts of his God. Oh, blessed state of strong desire! I pray God that we may all experience it

Psalms 119:83. For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.

When an empty skin bottle was hung up in one of the smoky dwellings of the East, it became withered, cracked, useless; and the psalmist says, “‘I am become like a bottle in the smoke,’ — I seem to be good for nothing, withered, dried up; — ‘yet do I not forget thy statutes.’” A good memory is one of the best of things for us to possess; but a good memory for that which is good is better still.

Psalms 119:84. How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

“I am not going to live here for ever, Lord; let me not have to wait to be vindicated until I am in my grave. O my God, hasten the day of my deliverance!”

Psalms 119:85-86. The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law. All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

God’s Word is all true; the longer we test and try it, the more shall we find it to be worthy of our fullest confidence. Those who doubt its truth have never really proved its power. Those who mistrust it, in any degree, are as yet like inexperienced mariners who are constantly doubting and fearing what is going to happen; but those who have long done business on the great waters of the ocean of divine inspiration, and who have seen the wonders of the Lord there, will fell you that, though heaven and earth shall pass away, God’s Word shall endure for ever. We have seen a thousand things in the course of our earthly pilgrimage, but there is one thing that we have never seen, and that we never shall see, namely, God proving unfaithful to his promise, and deserting his people in their time of need. What a short yet comprehensive prayer the psalmist prayed when he uttered those three words, “Help thou me!” “‘Help thou me,’ — that I may never be frightened by those who wrongfully persecute me; — that I may never do anything to deserve their persecution; — that I may be able to behave myself wisely while they are plotting against me.” If you are in business, write this prayer on your shops, your offices, and your ledgers; if you are sick, have this petition hanging before your eyes, that you may be constantly reminded to cry to the Lord, “Help thou me.”

Psalms 119:87. They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.

Therefore his enemies could not consume him. As long as the believer holds fast to God’s precepts, he is indigestible even to the old dragon himself; and no adversary shall ever be able to devour him as long as the Word of God is in his heart.

Psalms 119:88. Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

Give me more true spiritual life, inspirit me, revive me, ‘quicken me.’ At this very moment, good Lord, if I am cold, and half frozen, and almost dead, yet since I am like the trees, whose life is in them even when they have lost their leaves, give me a new spring-time: “Quicken me after thy lovingkindness.” We all need this quickening if we are to hold on and hold out to the end; and, blessed be the name of the Lord, — “New supplies each hour we meet while pressing on to God.”


Verses 81-96

Psalms 119:81. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.

The ship rocks, but the anchor holds; the singer is ready to faint, but he is not ready to despair. He knows where his restoring will come.

Psalms 119:82. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?

What a mercy it is to have our eyes on God’s word, full as it is of blessing to be waiting till the blessing comes out of it! Mine eyes watch thy word, that is so full of the rain of comfort; and I say to myself, “When will it descend and refresh me? When will the clouds let fall their silver drops upon my thirsty soul?”

Psalms 119:83. For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statues.

I feel dried up, besmeared and besmirched as with soot, my very beauty is gone from me, and my usefulness too. I am not fit to hold anything, but I have become like a skin bottle that is parched up; yet for all that I have a memory of thy word: the smoke and the heat have not dried out of me the flavour of that good old “wine on the lees well refined” that once filled my heart.

Psalms 119:84. How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

“How many are the days of thy servant;” or rather, how few they are be; not long in coming to me, lest I die whilst thou art still on the road.

Psalms 119:85. The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.

They might make pits for lions and tigers, but not for sheep. These pits were not after God’s law. There are still cruel enemies who would, if they could, entrap the people of God; shall not this make us feel what a great mercy it is we have one to be our guardian and defender who knows where the pitfalls are?

Psalms 119:86. All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully;

There is a fine prayer for us every day in the week: “Help thou me.” Lord, I am helpless if thou do not help me. Thou art the helper of Israel: he that keepeth Israel will not slumber nor sleep. “Help thou me.”

Psalms 119:87. They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.

“They had almost consumed me upon earth.” They seemed as if they would swallow me up entirely, “but I forsook not thy precepts,” and therefore they could not consume me; I was invulnerable and invincible because I stuck to rectitude and kept to thy precepts.

Psalms 119:88-89. Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

There is not a new divine word, or a new gospel, or a new law; but it is a settled gospel, a settled law, a settled revelation, “settled in heaven,” stereotyped, fixed, made permanent. If perfect, then unalterable, if alterable, then would it be imperfect.

Psalms 119:90. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.

“Thy faithfulness is unto all generations.” Thou who wast true to Abraham wilt be true to David; thou who wast true to David wilt be true to me. Thou art ever faithful to thine own nature and Godhead. “Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.” It would rot out of its place, it would rush into space like a truant planet if thou didst not hold it where it is. Thou, therefore, wilt hold thy gospel where it is, and thy servants where they are.

Psalms 119:91. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.

The fixed laws of the universe have their analogy in the fixed rules of revelation. Are not all material things thy servants, and they are kept; thou wilt therefore keep us.

Psalms 119:92-93. Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.

We may well keep to that which is our life. If God’s precepts breed life in us and then quicken us, and so renew that life, let us stand to them, be obedient to them, and that at all times.

Psalms 119:94. I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.

“I am thine, save me.” Oh, what a sweet assertion. “I am thine,” — thy creature, thy redeemed one, thy chosen, thine espoused. “I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.”

Psalms 119:95. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me:

Let them wait.

Psalms 119:95. But I will consider thy testimonies.

I will not consider them, they are not worth it, they would only distract or distress me. I will keep my thoughts fixed upon thy word, and so shall I be at peace and escape from their malice.

Psalms 119:96. I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

Yes: all perfection in the creature! In very deed it is an attribute of the Creator, and whether it be true or false, whether men have the excellence they boast of, or have it not, there must be an end to it all, either as to its extent or its duration; but thy commandment has no limit, it covers everything; and it has no termination; it endures for ever. “Thy commandment is exceeding broad.”


Verses 89-104

Psalms 119:89. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

It is not a changeable or vanishing thing: “Thy word is settled,” settled for ever, settled “for ever in heaven.” As God changes not, so the Word which he has spoken to his servants changes not. If the foundations of the faith could be removed, what would the righteous do? What would any of us do? But, with an eternally fixed Word of God, we have something solid to build upon, a foundation on which we may confidently rest our everlasting hopes.

Psalms 119:90. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: —

God, who kept his promise to Abraham, keeps it also to us though we are far down the ages, and he will keep it to our children and our children’s children as long as the world endures, and then for ever and ever. We need not be afraid to leave the generations to come in his hands. “Thy faithfulness is unto all generations:” —

Psalms 119:90-91. Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.

This material world whose laws appear to be so fixed, abides only because God has established it; but a day will come in which he will roll these things up like an outworn vesture, and he that sitteth upon the throne shall make all things new. But, at present, we have, in the fixity of the laws of nature, a type of the fixity of the promises and purposes of God.

Psalms 119:92. Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.

Notice the love of God’s servant to God’s Word: “Unless thy law had been my delights.” The word is in the plural, for the psalmist not only took a delight in it, but all his delights were there. It was the sea of happiness wherein he bathed his entire soul. “Unless it had been so,” says he, “I should then have perished in mine affliction.” One of the best preservatives for the heart in times of trouble is an intense delight in the Word of God. Oh, to get away from this noisy world, from the turmoil of life, and its endless discussions and controversies, and to sit down, and quietly listen to what that Word has to say to us! This is the best way to recuperate drooping and fainting spirits.

Psalms 119:93. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.

Nothing makes a man remember the Word so well as the fact that it has quickened him. If you owe your spiritual life and the support of it to the Word of God, you will not forget that Word. If you feel that, every time you come into contact with it, it inspires you with fresh life, you will be anxious to be often diligently reading it.

Psalms 119:94. I am thine, —

That is a grand thing for anyone to be able to say, what a heaven of bliss lies slumbering in these three words, “I am thine,” —

Psalms 119:94. Save me; —

That is a good argument: “‘I am thine’ by redemption, so do not lose me. ‘I am thine’ by a new creation, so let not the enemy steal me away from thee. I am thy servant, so exercise a master’s rights over me, and protect me from all my foes. ‘I am thine, save me;’” —

Psalms 119:94. For I have sought thy precepts.

Notice how the psalmist here twice singles out the precepts rather than the promises; even hypocrites may love the promises, but only sincere believers love the precepts. The true servant of God loves the burdens which his Lord and Master lays upon him, and he only wishes that he had more strength to bear still more of them.

Psalms 119:95. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: —

“They have lain in ambush, they have waited to catch me tripping, to ruin my character if possible, so what shall I do, — Counterplot them? No. Watch them night and day? No. ‘The wicked have waited for me to destroy me:’” —

Psalms 119:95. But I will consider thy testimonies.

There is something that seems to me calmly defiant about the psalmist’s resolve. He does not say, “The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will fight them.” No, but he says, “I shall read my Bible, and I shall follow its directions. I shall act in obedience to my God, and in that way I shall baffle them.” To be obedient to God is the surest way to be victorious over wicked men. Keep thou God’s Word, and God will guard thy head in the day of danger.

Psalms 119:96. I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment —

“Ah, there I find perfection: ‘Thy commandment’” —

Psalms 119:96. Is exceeding broad.

It is so broad that there is no limit to it. One of the early fathers used to say, “I delight in the infinity of Scripture,” and well he might, for there is no limit to it. Even one single text might suffice for a man’s meditation for a whole year; if it did not, it would be because of the scantiness of the man’s meditative power, and not because of the exhaustion of the meaning of the verse.

Psalms 119:97. O how love I thy law!

The psalmist breaks out into a transport of delight. He does not say how much he loved God’s law, for the simple reason that he could not tell us that; but he says, “O how love I thy law!”

Psalms 119:97. It is my meditation all the day.

That is the best proof of the psalmist’s love of God’s law, for love shows itself by its constant familiarity with it’s chosen object. “‘It is my meditation all the day.’ Every day, wherever I may be, I turn my daily experience into instructive meditation upon thy Word.” One of the best commentaries on God’s written Book is God’s Book of Providence when it is explained to us by his Holy Spirit.

Psalms 119:98. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.

David knew how well God’s Word had instructed him, and first he declared that he was wiser than his enemies; and, next, that he was wiser than his former instructors: —

Psalms 119:99. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.

The man who rightly meditates upon this wondrous Book is, after all, the truly wise man. His wisdom is that of the heart, received by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and it has a power of understanding in it that will make him wiser than those who are merely book-learned or man-taught.

Psalms 119:100. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

First his enemies, then his teachers, and now his elders, the ancients, —he could excel them all; and he gave the reason for it: “Because I keep thy precepts.” Take this Book away, and give the man all the human learning that he could ever acquire, and how little he would know, after all! But let him study the Book, and even in the absence of other books, (though that need not be the case with him, such a man will still be wise, — wise for eternity.

Psalms 119:101. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.

The Bible is a very sanctifying Book. If we keep its precepts, it holds us back from many things into which we might otherwise have run. “I have refrained my feet from every evil way.” Notice the universality of the obedience of a true saint. He does not say, “I will avoid all sin except a certain one for which I have a great liking.” Oh, no: “I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.”

Psalms 119:102. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.

Those who are taught of God are always well taught; they never unlearn what they have learned at the feet of Jesus. Those who backslide and apostatize were never truly taught of the Spirit of God.

Psalms 119:103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste!

Have you a spiritual taste, dear hearer? It is one thing to hear the Word it is another thing to taste it. Hearing the Word is often blessed, but tasting it is a more inward and spiritual thing; it is the enjoyment of the truth in the innermost parts of our being. Oh, that we were all as fond of the Word as were the old mystics who chewed the cud of meditation till they were fattened upon the Word of the Lord, and their souls grew strong in the divine love! I am sure of this, — the more you know of God’s Word, the more you will love it. It is ignorance that misses the sweetness of it.

Psalms 119:103. Yea, sweeter than honey to my month!

There is an indescribable sweetness in it. It is sweet to my heart, and when I utter it, how sweet it is to my mouth! I heard one observe, the other day, that he noted a great difference between the preachers of his youth and many of those of the present day. He said, “Tthe old men used to enjoy the Word so much while they were preaching it; they preached it with their eyes beaming with delight in it. You could see that, if there was no savour in it for other people, there was a divine savour about it for the preachers themselves.” This is the mark of the man who is taught of God, — that the Word is sweet to his mouth when he preaches it to others as well as sweet to his taste when he meditates upon it himself.

Psalms 119:104. Through thy precepts I get understanding: —

The practical parts of God’s Word not only appeal to our understanding but they give us understanding. That is a marvellous thing, but it is true. Sometimes, when you are arguing with a man who is dull of comprehension, you are apt to say, “Well, I can give you arguments, but I cannot give you an understanding with which to appreciate them;” but this Word can give us understanding: “Through thy precepts I get understanding:” —

Psalms 119:104. Therefore I hate every false way.

The best test of a true spiritual understanding is an intense and vigorous hatred of every thing that is false. The lover of truth is a follower of the truth, he is not a man of craft and guile. He keeps to the straight line and in the long run it shall be proved that he is the man who is indeed taught of God.


Verses 89-112

Psalms 119:89. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Other things come, and go, and change, moons wax and wane, tides ebb and flow, everything earthly is changeable; but “Thy word is settled —settled in heaven,” with the eternal settlements. No truth of it can fail, no promise of it can be broken. What a joy this is to our hearts tonight! There is something sure, after all: “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”

Psalms 119:90. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.

That is, God has spoken to nature, and that word has established the earth, and made it to stand securely.

Psalms 119:91. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.

It was God’s word that made the sun, and the moon, and the stars; and it is God’s word that bids creation still exist. And that is the almighty word upon which you and I are resting, if we are truly trusting in the living God.

“His very word of grace is strong As that which built the skies;

The voice that rolls the stars along Speaks all the promises.”

Psalms 119:92. Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.

Let us remember how God’s word has kept some of us alive when we had nothing else to live upon. Hope would have quite failed, and we should have been driven to despair, if it had not been for the precious, priceless word of God.

Psalms 119:93. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.

Nothing sharpens the memory like having been quickened. If we have been at death’s door, and the word of God has brought us renewed life, we shall never forget it.

Psalms 119:94-96. I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies. I have seen an end of all perfection:

No matter who it is that boasts of being perfect, “I have seen an end of all perfection.”

Psalms 119:96. But thy commandment —

There lies the perfection —

Psalms 119:96. Is exceeding broad.

Covering the whole life, covering the thoughts, the intents, the desires of the inner and secret nature.

Psalms 119:97-98. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.

If we have God’s law always with us, we shall be wiser than the most crafty of our enemies; for, after all, there is nothing that puzzles and baffles cunning men like simple honesty. Do that which is right, and you will cut through the nets in which men would entangle you. They cannot trip you up if your feet are settled in God’s ways.

Psalms 119:99-100. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

There is more wisdom in obeying God than in all the ethics of heathen philosophers. It matters not whence they take their precepts and maxims, there is no wisdom like yielding one’s heart to God.

Psalms 119:101-104. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

The man who cannot hate does not love; but he who loves that which is right, is by no means indifferent to the wrong and to the false; he hates it, and the more intensely he loves God, and loves right, the more intensely does be hate every false way. Especially does he hate it in himself. Oh, to be delivered altogether from every trace of falsehood!

Psalms 119:105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

It shows me the way; it cheers me in the way; it reveals to me the difficulties of the way.

Psalms 119:106-107. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.

Are any of you afflicted tonight? I commend this prayer to your use. One would have expected that David would have prayed, “I am afflicted very much: comfort me, O Lord.” Or, “Relieve me, O Lord.” Instead of praying so, he cries, “Quicken me, O Lord,” and he did well. Let us imitate him, for if we get more spiritual light and life, we shall, by that means, get more comfort, and the trouble from which we are suffering will soon cease to vex our spirit.

Psalms 119:108-112. Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments. My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law. The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

Oh, that every one of us might be able to make this declaration of the psalmist our own! God grant it, for Christ’s sake! Amen.


Verses 105-115

Psalms 119:105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

We are walkers through the city of this world, and we are often called to go out into its darkness; let us never venture there without the light-giving word, lest we slip with our feet. Each man should use the word of God personally, practically, and habitually, that he may see his way and see what lies in it. When darkness settles down upon all around me, the word of the Lord, like a flaming torch, reveals my way. We should not know the way, or how to walk in it, if Scripture, like a blazing flambeau, did not reveal it. It is a lamp by night, a light by day, and a delight at all times. David guided his own steps by it, and also saw the difficulties of his road by its beams.

Psalms 119:106. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

Under the influence of the clear light of knowledge he had firmly made up his mind, and solemnly declared his resolve in the sight of God. Perhaps mistrusting his own fickle mind, he had pledged himself in sacred form to abide faithful to the determinations of his God. Whatever path might open before him, he was sworn to follow that only upon which the lamp of the word was shining.

Psalms 119:107. I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.

According to the last verse he had been sworn in a soldier of the Lord, and in this next verse he is called to suffer hardness in that capacity. Our service of the Lord does not screen us from trial, but rather secures it for us. The Psalmist was a consecrated man, and yet a chastened man. Quickening is the best remedy for tribulation, the soul is raised above the thought of present distress, and is filled with that holy joy which attends all vigorous spiritual life, and so the affliction grows light.

Psalms 119:108. Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.

He offers prayer, praise, confession, and testimony — these, presented with his voice in the presence of an audience, were the tribute of his mouth unto Jehovah. He trembles lest these should be so ill uttered so to displease the Lord, and therefore he implores acceptance. When we render unto the Lord our best, we become all the more concerned to do better. If, indeed, the Lord shall accept us, we then desire to be further instructed, that we may be still more acceptable.

Psalms 119:109. My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.

He lived in the midst of danger. He had to be always fighting for existence — hiding in caves, or contending in battles. This is a very uncomfortable and trying state of affairs, and men are apt to think any expedient justifiable by which they can end such a condition, but David did not turn aside to find safety in sin. They say that all things are fair in love and war; but the holy man thought not so: while he carried his life in his hand, he also carried the law in his heart.

Psalms 119:110. The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

Spiritual life is the scene of constant danger. The believer lives with his life in his hand, and meanwhile all seem plotting to take it from him, by cunning if they cannot by violence. We shall not find it an easy thing to live the life of the faithful. Wicked spirits and wicked men will leave no stone unturned for our destruction. He was not snared, for he kept his eyes open, and kept near his God.

Psalms 119:111. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

He chose them so his lot, his portion, his estate; and what is more, he laid hold upon them and made them so, — taking them into possession and enjoyment. David’s choice is our choice. If we might have our desire, we would desire to keep the commands of God perfectly. To know the doctrine, to enjoy the promise, to practice the command, — be this a kingdom large enough for me.

Psalms 119:112. I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes always, even unto the end.

He was not half inclined to virtue, but heartily inclined to it. His whole heart was bent on practical, persevering godliness. He was resolved to keep the statutes of the Lord with all his heart, throughout all his time, without erring or ending. He made it his end to keep the law unto the end, and that without end.

Psalms 119:113. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

The opposite of the fixed and infallible law of God is the wavering, changing opinion of men. David had an utter contempt and abhorrence for this, all his reverence and regard went to the sure word of testimony. In proportion to his love to the law was his hate of man’s inventions. The thoughts of men are vanity; but the thoughts of God are verity.

Psalms 119:114. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

To his God he ran for shelter from vain thoughts, there he hid himself away from their tormenting intrusions, and in solemn silence of the soul he found God to be his hiding-place. When called into the world, if he could not be alone with God as his hiding-place, he could have the Lord with him as his shield, and by this means he could ward off the attacks of wicked suggestions.

Psalms 119:115. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

If we fly to God from vain thoughts, much more shall we avoid vain men. Evildoers make evil counselors. Those who say unto God, “Depart from us,” ought to hear the immediate echo of their words from the mouths of God’s children, “Depart from us. We cannot eat bread with traitors.”


Verses 105-120

We will read tonight two of the stanzas which make up the 119th Psalm, beginning at the 105th verse.

Psalms 119:105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

God’s Word is full of brilliance; it is always giving out its blessed light. It casts a light upon all our daily life. It is a light for the house, and a light for the way, and happy is the man who never walks abroad without this lantern to light up his pathway. There are many pitfalls on the road, and many places where the traveler’s garments may soon be besmeared, so he has great need of this light to guide him.

Psalms 119:106. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

I scarcely remember ever hearing of a man swearing, and then approving of it, but this kind of swearing is right enough: “I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.” We are to determine, with the most vehement resolution, that, God helping us, we will keep his righteous judgments; for, if we have only a weak resolution, we usually fall short even of our own determination. What shall we do then if that determination is itself weak? Some of us have lifted our hands to heaven, and pledged ourselves to the living God that we will be his faithful people.

“High heaven, that heard the solemn vow,

That vow renewed shall daily hear.”

Psalms 119:107. I am afflicted very much:-

Here is a good man, a better man than most of us, a man who is determined to do right, yet he gets into trouble because he is determined to do right. God’s wheat will be threshed, his gold will be put into the furnace. If you were worth nothing to him, God might not take the trouble to afflict you; but when you are resolved to do right, you may expect that resolution to be tried and tested; and if it is worth anything, it will stand the trial. “I am afflicted very much:”-what will be the next words, “Lord, deliver me”? No, no.” Lord, bring me out of the furnace”? Nothing of the sort.” I am afflicted very much:”-

Psalms 119:107. Quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.

“Give me more spiritual life; give me more spiritual strength; that is what I most need.” Oftentimes, that prayer is answered by the affliction itself. We are afflicted very much, and by that very affliction the Lord quickens our graces, strengthens our souls, drives away many of our wandering thoughts, and brings us nearer to himself.

Psalms 119:108. Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD,-“

My prayers, my praises, my testimonies, my ministries, accept them all, O Lord,”-

Psalms 119:108. And teach me thy judgment.

He who teaches others needs teaching himself. He who hopes that what he says will be accepted by those who hear it opens his ear to hear what God says to him. There will be no acceptance of what thou sayest to others unless thou dost accept what God says to thee.

Psalms 119:109. My soul is continually in my hand:

David’s life was often in jeopardy. Saul hunted him as a partridge upon the mountains. He was sometimes very sick, and ready to die. Perhaps also, at times, he was in such great sorrow that he felt as if his soul was a thing that he held in his hand. We do not know exactly where our soul is, but we usually think of it as being somewhere in the very center of our being. David says that he had his soul in his hand, where he might at any time lose it; but what else does he say?

Psalms 119:109. Yet do I not forget thy law.

“If I have even to die for it, I am willing to die for it. If I have to lay down my life because I will do right, I will do right even while I lay down my life.”

Psalms 119:110. The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

“If I had done so, I should have been caught in their snare, but as I kept straight on in the way of thy precepts, it little mattered how many snares they laid for me.”

Psalms 119:111. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever:-

Some take their own thoughts for their heritage, but it is a poor portion for anyone to have. Some take other men’s philosophies for their heritage, but such a heritage as that is soon gone. But some of us can say, with regard to the eternal and immutable truth of God, that we have got such a grip of it that we cannot give it up. There may come a thousand other changes; but, by God’s grace, there will be no change in this matter: “Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever:”-

Psalms 119:111. For they are the rejoicing of my heart.

Well may a man love that which rightly makes him glad. Shall we ever forsake that which is the source of our greatest comfort? If some men had greater gladness in the gospel, they would be more true to it. If they had ever eaten the sweet, and enjoyed the fat things full of marrow, they would never go away from the old old gospel which has made their hearts so glad.

Psalms 119:112-113. I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statues always, even unto the end. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

Notice that the word “vain” is not in the original, the psalmist wrote, “I hate thoughts,” yet the word for thoughts includes the idea of mere thoughts. So, if any teaching in the world is the result of human thought alone, you may not rely upon it for a moment, for the Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity,” and they never will be anything better than that. The thoughts even of the most profound and the best instructed of men will not bear the weight and pressure of an immortal soul’s eternal interests. Revelation is the one reliable thing that we can rest upon. What God has spoken is all true, but as for what men have thought, I have been so often disappointed and deceived that I can say, with the psalmist, “I hate mere thoughts: but thy law do I love.” In the law of the Lord there are verities, certainties, immutabilities, here may we abide, and rest securely.

Psalms 119:114. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

For thou wilt be sure to do as thou hast said. Thy promises are not like men’s, they cannot be broken, and when I get one of thy promises, O my God, I hide behind it, I am protected by it, and I am comforted through it.

Psalms 119:115. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

Holy men often find that, in order to be holy, they have to be solitary. It sometimes happens that the force of evil companionship is too much for the gracious heart to bear, and the Christian man has to say to the ungodly, “Depart from me.” Now, if even godly David had to say to evil-doers “Depart from me,” you need not wonder that the Lord Jesus Christ will one day say to all impenitent men, “Depart from me, ye evil-doers.” If we keep the commandments of our God, we shall often have to walk in a separate path from the ungodly; and even if we do not keep ourselves to ourselves, we shall keep ourselves to our God.

Psalms 119:116. Uphold me-

I thought we should soon come to that petition. We have been reading about David’s resolutions, and we might have thought that he was too bold in speaking so positively, but now he shows us the modesty of his mind: “Uphold me”-

Psalms 119:116. According unto thy word, that I may live:

The Lord upholds us as a nurse holds up a little child, and teaches him to walk. “Uphold me,” O Lord, for I cannot stand by myself. My good resolutions will soon evaporate unless thou dost sustain me. There is a gracious promise which just answers this petition, “I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Psalms 119:116. And let me not be ashamed of my hope.

O my God, never let me have to say that I have hoped in thee in vain! I know I never shall, but I trust to thee not to disappoint me. “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth me ”

Psalms 119:117. Hold thou, me up,-

One is fond of that short, simple prayer, first it is, “Uphold me,” and then, “Hold me up;” either way it is equally good: “Hold thou me up,”-

Psalms 119:117. And I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.

When God holds us up, there is no fear of our falling down; we have respect unto his statutes when he has respect unto us.

Psalms 119:118-119. Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood. Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross:-

Perhaps some of you have seen the great heaps of slag lying outside the furnace, that is a picture of the ungodly: “Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross:”-

Psalms 119:119. Therefore I love thy testimonies.

What! does love to the truth, and to the God of truth spring out of this putting away of the wicked? Yes, even the stern justice of God makes his people love him, and love his truth. I am of the same mind as the children of Israel were when Pharaoh and his army were swallowed up in the Red Sea, and the emancipated slaves sang unto the Lord who had triumphed so gloriously. Some cannot do that because their sympathy is so entirely with the wicked, but the destruction of all that is evil creates a flow of joy in the heart of the true believer. Still, it is a fearsome joy, full of holy awe and trembling.

Psalms 119:120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.

Well may we also tremble when we see how terrible God is out of his holy places. There is a fear which is akin to love. As there is a fear which perfect love casts out, so is there another fear which love dandles on her knee, and such is the fear which David felt. May we too ever have that holy awe of God in our hearts! Amen.


Verses 113-120

The proper way in which to read these verses is to peruse them in the spirit of prayer, turning every verse into a personal supplication to God. I do trust that many of us may be so in the Spirit today, that these words may suit us.

Psalms 119:113. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

The moralist is quite content to look after his actions, but the Christian is never happy until his thoughts are sanctified. The true believer hates vain thoughts, because they lead to vain words and to vain actions; because vain thoughts nailed his Saviour to the tree; because vain thoughts spoil his devotion, mar his communion with God, and, like the birds which came down upon Abraham’s sacrifice, would destroy all his offering. “I hate vain thoughts.” The converse of this is, “But thy law do I love.” There is nothing vain there; nothing in thy law to distract me; nothing to give me unhallowed thoughts. But, there is a cure for vain thoughts. When you have been assailed of vain thoughts, let your mind be lovingly stored with texts of Scripture, with passages of God’s Word. The Psalmist, whilst writing these words, is evidently under a sense of danger, so he said: —

Psalms 119:114. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Here is a hiding-place to escape to from danger, and a shield to protect whilst in danger. A hiding-place is not enough, because that cannot be moved, but the shield can be carried everywhere. It is buckled, on the warrior’s arm; and into every conflict he can take it. So, at even-time, when I tell my troubles to my God, he is my hiding-place; But all the day long, while I myself abide in, the heat of the conflict, he is my shield. See where the Christian’s hope is, dear friends! It is not in his own integrity, or faithfulness, or sincerity; but “I hope in thy word.”

“The gospel bears my spirit up;

A faithful and unchanging God

Lays the foundation for my hope

In oaths, and promises, and blood.”

Psalms 119:115. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

By which David did not mean that be would not speak with ungodly men. Monkish seclusion would be no advantage to a Christian. We are to be in the world, though not of it, as a ship is in the sea, but the sea is not in the ship, or else soon would she go to the bottom. We are to take care of the world; to hold such society with them as may come from necessity, but as to any nearer communion, “Depart from me, ye evildoers; your company I cannot bear; your example pollutes the air: ye do me damage; ye vex my ears, ye dishonour my God; depart from me, ye evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God.” You see, it seems as if this was not possible as long as there was an infinite association with the ungodly. I know nothing that is so likely to destroy the purity of a Christian’s life as any intimate association, with ungodly people. You cannot run with the hare and hold with the hounds, too. It is impossible for you to join with the world, and yet be true followers of Christ.

Psalms 119:116. Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

You see, he feels his weakness, and he cries to his God.

Psalms 119:117. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.

The brightest archangel owes all his glory to God, and the perpetuity of that glory depends upon the constant gift of the gracious One. How wise, then, is it of men, conscious of their weakness, to hang constantly upon their God. As the vessel hangs upon the nail, and if the nail can move, the vessel must fall, so must we hang upon God. If he be not faithful, and true, and potent, then must we perish; but, thank God. concerning this we have no doubt.

Psalms 119:118-119. Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their. deceit is falsehood. Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.

You see, the Psalmist’s mind is entirely occupied with this spirit of perseverance. He seems to tremble, and to be filled with awe lest he should by any means prove an apostate, and be unworthy to enter into the kingdom. He looks with solemn mind upon God as casting all the wicked of the earth down under his feet, just as men cast out the refuse: as the slag of the furnace is sometimes thrown down to make the footpath: so, he says, “Thou puttest away the wicked of the earth like dross; thou hast trodden them down.” Filled with a heavy trembling lest this should be his lot — lest, after he had thought he had known and experienced the happiness of communion with God, he should be found to be reprobate silver and be given over to destruction. Does such a fear as this come upon you, my brethren? If it does not, there is room for you to fear, for even our holy Apostle had this as his anxiety, “Lest, after having preached to others I myself should he a castaway.” It is not as to whether God will be faithful to me, but whether I am really his, whether my conversion has beer genuine, and my union to Christ vital. These are questions which breed a holy anxiety, which is one of the very best means of keeping a Christian in the path of right, and so of guaranteeing the perseverance which God has promised.

Psalms 119:120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.


Verses 113-128

Psalms 119:1-3. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

Presumptuous thoughts, erroneous thoughts, wicked thoughts, foolish thoughts,-all three David hated. A good man ought to be a good hater, as well as a good lover. What should he hate? He should hate sin thoughts. What should he love? He should love the law of the Lord. If we do not hate sin in the very egg, we shall not be likely to hate it in its fuller development. The very thought of sin must be detestable to us; and if we do not think of evil, we shall not speak evil, nor do evil. We ought to begin with David at the beginning, and say, “I hate vain thoughts;” yet negative religion is not sufficient, so we should go on to the positive form: “‘Thy law do I love;’ and I love it so much that I wish I could always keep it, and never transgress it, and never forget it.”

Psalms 119:114. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

“Thou art my protection against every kind of danger.” David had been accustomed to hide in the caves of the mountains, but now he says that he hid himself in his God. When he did not hide, but stood out bravely against the serried ranks of his foes, then God was his shield to cover him in the day of battle.

Psalms 119:115. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

If, by your evil example, you would take me off from serving my God, I will make you take yourselves off so that I may neither see nor follow your ill example: “Depart from me, ye evil-doers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.” David puts his foot down firmly, and says, “I will keep the commandments of my God.” It is a grand thing to be able to speak of “my God.” Another man’s God would be of little use to me, but when he is my own God, my God in covenant relationship, then I may well say, “I will keep the commandments of my God.”

Psalms 119:116. Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live:

“Lord, I cannot even live unless thou dost uphold me according to thy promise.” The Christian man is so dependent upon God that he owes his life and the continuance of it to upholding grace.

Psalms 119:116. And let me not be ashamed of my hope.

“If thy promise could fail me, then I should have cause to be ashamed of my hope. Therefore, O Lord, let me never at any time have the shadow of a doubt concerning the truthfulness of thy promises, lest I should begin to be ashamed of my hope!”

Psalms 119:117-118. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually. Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.

“They are like salt that has lost its savour, which is neither fit for the land nor yet for the dunghill, but men cast it out, and tread it under their feet; and this is what thou doest with ungodly men, especially with those ‘that err from thy statutes.’ Then treadest them beneath thy feet, ‘for their deceit is falsehood.’ They try to make it look like truth, but it is falsehood all the while.” How much of deceit there is in this world which men gloss and varnish so that the thing looks right enough though all the while it is deception and a sham! May God keep us from all the trickeries and falsehoods and errors of the age!

Psalms 119:119. Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross:

“As the dross is thrown away when the useful metal has been extracted from it, so, O Lord, when thou hast taken all thy saints out of the world thou will put the wicked of the earth away like dross.”

Psalms 119:119. Therefore I love thy testimonies.

What? Does David love God’s testimonies because they are thus severe? Yes, for it is the mark of a true believer that he does not kick against the severities of his God. Worldlings can rejoice in the god of this age, who is said to be nothing but effeminate benevolence, but the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob is the God of justice, who will by no means spare iniquity; and for that very reason a true believer says, with David, “I love thy testimonies.”

Psalms 119:120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.

This is the man who truly loves God, and this is the kind of fear that perfect love does not cast out. Though we love God supremely, we become for that very reason God-fearing men, and dread to do anything that would cause him anger or sorrow.

Psalms 119:121. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.

When a man is conscious of doing right, he has a good ground of appeal to God. If, when it was in your power, you did not oppress others, you may plead with God that he will not let others oppress you. If it has been your habit to act with judgment and justice towards others, you may respect that God will defend you against all your oppressors.

Psalms 119:122-123. Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me. Mine eyes fail for thy salvation,-

“I have looked for it so long, I have longed for it so eagerly, that my eyes seem to grow inflamed with watching, a film seems to come over them so that I cannot see out of them: ‘Mine eyes fail for thy salvation.’”

Psalms 119:123. And for the word of thy righteousness.

“I look for no salvation except in the way revealed in thy Word, and I do not wish thee to do an unrighteous thing even to save me from my oppressors.”

Psalms 119:124. Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy,-

He dare not ask to be dealt with by God on any other ground than that of mercy. Though he is innocent of that which the ungodly laid to his charge, he is not innocent before God, and therefore he pleads for mercy. He owns that God is his Lord and Master, and that he is God’s servant, and as a man should deal mercifully with his servant he pleads that God will so deal with him: “Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy,” —

Psalms 119:124. And teach me thy statutes.

He had kept God’s statutes so far as the eyes of men could see; but, before God, he takes a humbler position, and begs to be taught what he is to do, asks to be instructed, like a child, in the statutes of his God.

Psalms 119:125. I am thy servant;-

This is the third time in four verses that David mentions this relationship; he seems proud of being God’s servant. Though he were but as a menial, yet would he glory in it: “I am thy servant;” —

Psalms 119:125. Give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.

“Lord, do not merely teach me, but give me understanding.” That is what our teachers cannot do. They may put the truth before us so plainly that we ought to understand it, but they cannot give us understanding.

Psalms 119:126. It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.

And surely this is an age in which this prayer is very suitable. On all hands we see God’s law ridiculed, or denied, or travestied, or else hidden under tradition or under the dicta of so-called scientific men, or in some way or other “made void.” Oh, that God’s right hand of grace might be stretched out to do some miracle of mercy in the land at this very time!

Psalms 119:127. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.

“Therefore” — because the wicked tasted God’s law, and made it void, David loved it all the more. It is a live fish that swims against the stream, it is a live man of God who can say, “They have made void thy law, Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yes, above fine gold.”

Psalms 119:128. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right;-

“Ungodly men think they are wrong; that is an additional proof to me that they are right.” When a certain old philosopher had been praised by a bad man, he asked, “What have I done amiss that he should speak well of me?” And there are some men’s mouths out of which the praise of Christ or the praise of the Scriptures would be to God’s dishonour. They tell me that So-and-so spoke blasphemously against Christ; but why should he not do so? It is natural for him to be a blasphemer. When serpents hiss, do they not act according to their nature? I do not read that Christ stopped men’s mouths when they blasphemed him, but I do know that when the demons bore witness to him, he silenced them, for he liked not to be praised by diabolical mouths. Let ungodly men say what they may, we know the value of their speeches, and we are not troubled by them.

Psalms 119:128. And I hate every false way.

Again David mentions his hatred of all falseness. Some men are such “chips in the porridge” that they neither love nor hate; but the believer is a man who has both loves and aversions. He loves the truth, and therefore he hates every false way.


Verses 119-126

Psalms 119:119-121. Thou putteth away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.

Eastern kings cannot often say as much as this, but David had been a just king. This was for his comfort when he himself came under unjust treatment. “I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.” It is of the same tenor as another prayer: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” God often deals with men as they deal with others: “With the forward, he will show himself forward”; “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” May our conduct be such that, though we plead no merit, yet we may dare to mention it in prayer.

Psalms 119:122. Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.

As nearly as I remember, this is the only verse which does not mention the law or the Word of God. Here you have a “surety,” and that is something even better. If the law fails us, the surety stands us in good stead. How I like to think of God the surety of his people! When there is a trial against them, and the oppressor is heavy upon them, they can come to God to be a surety for them in the great action of life. “Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.” My Master is surety for his servants; his servant is sure enough.

Psalms 119:123. Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.

I have looked until I have looked my eyes out: I am weary with waiting, with watching, with weeping: “Mine eyes fail for thy salvation.” Some do not even look for him. Here is a man who looked until his very eyes gave out.

Psalms 119:124. Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.

He is a just man; he can plead that he has done justly; but he does not ask to be dealt with according to justice: “Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy” — as far as any one of us can get. If you have been greatly sanctified, have walked very near to God, I would not advise you still to go beyond this prayer: “Deal with thy servant according to thy mercy.” Singular is the next sentence: “And teach me thy statutes.” It is a great mercy to be taught the ways of God, to understand his way, to understand the practical part of it, the statutes. To be made holy is a high honour, a great privilege. When you are seeking great favors of God, ask for great holiness.

Psalms 119:125. I am thy servant;

He called himself “servant” many times before; and in this wonderful passage this is the third time. He is delighted to be the “servant of God.” He says little about being a king; he says a great deal about being a servant: “I am thy servant.”

Psalms 119:125. Give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.

You know, generally a teacher finds the teaching; the pupil has to find understanding But here is a prayer: “Give me understanding.” The last verse he asked to be taught; here he asks to have an understanding given to him. What a God we have to deal with! And when we are taught of the Lord, how effectually we are taught: he not only gives the facts, but gives the understanding with which to get at their meaning.

Psalms 119:126. It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.

When men begin to exercise a destructive criticism upon the Word of God, it is time for God to work. When God’s law is held in small esteem, when men go their own way, call vice by the name of pleasure, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.”


Verses 129-144

Psalms 119:129. Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

It is very wonderful that God should speak to us at all, and still more marvellous that he should write to us such a book as this Bible is. The Book itself is full of wonders, and one of those wonders is that it reveals him whose name is “Wonderful.” Observe that the psalmist, having said to the Lord, “Thy testimonies are wonderful,” does not add, “Therefore do I sit down and wonder at them.” No, his appreciation was practical, let ours be the same: “Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.”

Psalms 119:130. The entrance of thy words giveth light;

Those who are most ignorant, and have least confidence in their own abilities, will nevertheless become very wise if they study God’s Word.

Psalms 119:130-131. It giveth understanding unto the simple. I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.

What a wonderful verse that is! The psalmist cannot describe his longing for God’s commandments except by going to the brute creation for a suitable metaphor. He had probably seen the hunted stag stand still, and pant to get its breath, all the while longing for the waterbrooks. So he says, “I opened my mouth, and panted.” “I could not put my prayer into words, so I panted. My heart, my breath, my lungs, my very soul panted, for I longed for thy commandments.”

Psalms 119:132. Look thou upon me, —

That is all the psalmist wants, and all that we want, too. If a look from us to God will save us, what must a look from God to us do for us? “Look thou upon me,” —

Psalms 119:132-134. And be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.

Some of you, perhaps, may hardly be able to do as you would if you were perfectly free to act, for you are to a certain extent under the government and power of ungodly persons. Well, here is a prayer for you to present to the Lord: “Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.”

Psalms 119:135. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant;

That is the best sunshine for us; let us but have the light of God’s countenance, and nothing can put us out of countenance. If the Lord will smile, men may frown as much as they please. So we pray with the psalmist, “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant.”

Psalms 119:135-136. And teach me thy statues. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

The psalmist felt for others as well as for himself. It was not enough for him to be holy; he would have others to be the same. Sin in other men brought sorrow to his heart: “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.”

Psalms 119:137. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.

After having wept over the sin of men, the psalmist turns with sweet calmness of spirit to the goodness of God.

Psalms 119:138. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.

“Very faithful.” You who have tried and proved God’s promises must have found them so; not only faithful, but very faithful, faithful to the letter, faithful to the moment. God seems rather to exceed his promise than ever to fall short of it.

Psalms 119:139-140. My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. Thy word is very pure: —

Just now the psalmist said, “Thy testimonies are very faithful. Now he says, “Thy word is very pure.” There is no adulteration in this blessed Book; it is pure truth. You cannot add to it or take from it without making it imperfect: “Thy word is very pure:” —

Psalms 119:140. Therefore thy servant loveth it.

It is only a pure heart that loves the pure Word of the Lord; so, if you love the Word of God because of its purity, it is an argument that your heart has been renewed by grace.

Psalms 119:141. I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.

In verse 139, the psalmist complained that his enemies had forgotten God’s words, and he does not complain of the fault in others, and then fall into it himself; but he says, “Yet do not I forget thy percepts.” There are some people who seem to think that it does not much matter what they do. If they were persons of influence, they think that they would be very careful of their example. “But,” says one, “I am only a feeble woman, — a poor mother with a few children.” “Oh!” exclaims another, “I am only a child as yet, I cannot influence others.” “Oh!” cries a third, “I am simply an ordinary working man, nobody notices me.” Listen to what the psalmist says, “I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.” “I do not make all excuse out of my littleness, that I may be careless in my living.” Take that message home, dear friends, and learn its lesson, for it applies to many of you.

Psalms 119:142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, —

What a wonderful sentence! Just now, the psalmist said, “Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteousness.” (See the marginal reading of verse 138.) Now he advances another step, and says, “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.”

Psalms 119:142. And thy law is the truth.

That is what I believe this Book of God is, — “the truth.” I know of nothing infallible but the Bible. Every man must have a fixed point somewhere; some believe in an infallible pope, and some in an infallible church, but I believe in an infallible Book, expounded by the infallible Spirit who is ready to guide us into all truth: “Thy law is the truth.”

Psalms 119:143. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delight.

What a curious mixture this verse describes! Here is a man full of trouble and anguish, and yet full of delight at the same time. Little do they understand human nature, and especially gracious human nature, who cannot comprehend this paradox. There are many seeming contradictions in the Christian life, and this is one of them: “Trouble and anguish have taken hold of me:” — as dogs lay hold of their prey, — “yet thy commandments are my delights.” The apostle Paul pictured another such a case as this when he wrote, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed,” and he also described the Christian paradox, “As unknown, and yet well known, as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” May we all understand these paradoxes is our own experiences!

Psalms 119:144. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.

Now let us read what the Lord Jesus said to those who professed to reverence the Scripture, but who really made it void by their traditions.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 119:129-144; and Matthew 15:1-13.


Verses 137-152

Psalms 119:137. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.

It is well to be able to say this when you are being tried, when the hand of God lies heavy upon you; it is hard to kick against the pricks, but it is very sweet to submit, and to say, “Righteous art thou, O Lord, and upright are thy judgments.”

Psalms 119:138. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.

“Righteous” for the present, “faithful” for the future. There is no mistake about God’s Word, it will never fail, we may trust it implicitly, and we shall never be disappointed.

Psalms 119:139. My zeal hath consumed me,

The psalmist had such zeal for God’s Word that he seemed like a sacrifice consumed with the fire upon the Lord’s altar.

Psalms 119:139. Because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.

First, they despised them, then, they neglected them, at last, they got as far as even to forget them. Forgetfulness of God’s Word is a very dreadful stage of disease in the heart.

Psalms 119:140. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

To love God’s Word for its purity, is an index of a pure heart. Some love it for its poetry, some love it for its doctrine, some love it for its mercy; but he is an advanced man in the kingdom of grace who loves it for its purity.

Psalms 119:141. I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.

Others may, but I am not following their example. It is well when a Christian man is a contrast to other men. When they call him a mere nobody, he adopts their words, and says, “Yes, I am nothing, ‘I am small and despised,’ yet I do not forget the Lord’s precepts.”

Psalms 119:142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

Pilate asked, “What is truth?” Here is the best possible answer: “Thy law is the truth.” Not only does it contain the truth, but it is the truth. The Word of God is not only true, that is its quality; but it is the truth, that is its essence. It is the cream of all truths. “Thy law is the truth.”

Psalms 119:143. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

“Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me:” like two fierce dogs they had fixed their teeth in him; yet even then he could say, “yet thy commandments are my delights.” What a riddle is the man who knows God! He has great trouble and is full of anguish, yet he is delighted; how can these things be? The child of God knows what it is to be troubled on every side, and yet not to be troubled within.

Psalms 119:144. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.

As if he could not live without it, he did not call it true living except as he understood and enjoyed the precepts of his God.

Psalms 119:145. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.

Here we have both a prayer and a resolve; but the resolution grew out of the prayer, and was connected with it. The psalmist prays to God to help him to keep his statutes. Are any of you hard put to it just now by strong temptation? I commend this verse to you: “Hear me, O Lord: I will keep thy statutes.” Cry unto God, “Do help me, O Lord; let not strong temptation drag me away from thee! I do long to be holy, my whole heart’s desire is to keep Thy ways; O help me, I pray thee!” This verse begins with “I cried,” and the next verse begins in the same way: —

Psalms 119:146. I cried unto thee;

It is good when you can cry. The living child cries, and it is the man of God whose prayer is a cry of almost inarticulate utterance and grief: “I cried,” “I cried.” What did he cry?

Psalms 119:146. Save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.

David had no notion of salvation without obedience; so he prays, “Save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.” Is that the salvation you desire, —salvation from sin? If so, you shall have it. God, the Holy One, delights to bestow holiness; and he will speedily hear and answer such a prayer as that.

Psalms 119:147. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried:

The psalmist was still crying, crying early in the morning; before the sun was up, he was up, and crying unto God.

Psalms 119:147. I hoped in thy word.

It is well when hope goes with prayer, when you begin to see daylight even before the sun is up. “I hoped in thy Word.” Not in any enthusiastic impression of his own, but in God’s Word itself, the psalmist placed all his confidence.

Psalms 119:148. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

As he was up before the sun, so he was praying before they set the guards for the night-watch; and when they were changing guards, and he heard the cry of the hour from the watchman, he was still crying to God; and at the same time he was meditating: “that I might meditate in thy Word.” Ah, that is the way to cry! Meditation is very much neglected nowadays; we read, perhaps, too much, we meditate, for certain, too little; and meditation is to reading like digestion after eating. The cows in the pasture eat the grass, and then they lie down, and chew the cud, and get all the good they can out of what they have eaten. Reading snips off the grass, but meditation chews the cud. Therefore, “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.” In this matter we often fail; we shall be wise to imitate David, who devoted the early morning to prayer, and the night watches to meditation.

Psalms 119:149. Hear my voice —

So the psalmist used to pray aloud. It is a very great help in prayer if you can do the same. If we pray aloud to be heard of men, it is a sin; but if we pray aloud that we may hear ourselves, so that our devotion may be excited, we shall often find it very profitable, and if people hear us by accident, so much the better; they are not hearing anything that will do them hurt, they are hearing that which may do them good.

Psalms 119:149. According unto thy lovingkindness:

That is, do not hear it to judge it, to censure it, to criticize it, but hear it as a father hears his child, loving to hear its little voice speaking in broken accents.

Psalms 119:149. O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.

Just now, the psalmist prayed, “Hear me, O Lord!” In the 146th verse, he cried, “Save me;” now his prayer is, “O Lord, quicken me!” When God puts more life into us, then we have more strength to bear our burdens, and having more spiritual life, we have more power to resist temptation. Quickening is an essential mercy, containing within itself a multitude of blessings: “Quicken me according to thy judgment.”

Psalms 119:150. They draw nigh that follow of after mischief:

He could hear the sound of their feet behind him; they were running after him, and he could detect the pit-pat of their malicious footsteps.

Psalms 119:150-151. They are far from thy law. Thou art near, O LORD

What a comfort that is! They are trying to get near, but thou art near. I can hear the tread of their feet behind me, but I can see thy face close to me. How comforted is the psalmist in the time of trouble! His adversaries may be as keen of scent as bloodhounds, but God is with him, therefore he fears them not.

Psalms 119:151-152. And all thy commandments are truth, Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

So that this Psalm was written by David when he was an old man. He had known the Lord’s commandments when he was young, and now, in his declining days, he can say, “I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.” O young men, if you want to be happy old men, begin by knowing God’s Word! If you have known that God has founded his Word of old, you know that which will comfort you when you grow old. In fact, you have found a perpetual spring within your heart, if from your youth up you have known in the fullest sense the Word of the Lord. Some are changing their creed every day in the week, as the weather changes, but blessed is that man who has so learned Christ to begin with that he keeps in the old way all his life. He is the man who can truly grow. Transplant a tree six times a year, and you will not get any fruit from it; but blessed are they that are planted in the courts of the Lord, for they shall flourish there, and shall still bring forth fruit in old age.


Verses 145-168

Psalms 119:145. I cried with my whole heart: hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.

In the time of trouble there is no resort like that of prayer, but it must be intense and earnest. “I cried with my whole heart.” And sometimes it should be accompanied with a resolve to profit by the affliction. “I will keep thy statutes.” As the child under the rod prays to be spared because he hopes in future to be obedient, so does the Psalmist here say, “Hear me, O Lord; I will keep thy statutes.” This ought to be the effect of every affliction, to make us more careful in our obedience. It is not always so, but so it ought always to be.

Psalms 119:146. I cried unto thee: save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.

As if he felt that the force of gratitude would constrain him to obedience. He did not merely promise it, but he prophesied it as a matter of certainty that he should keep the Lord’s testimony.

Psalms 119:147. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.

Early prayers seem seasonable. Before we have gone into the world, should we not first go to our God? Prayer ought to be the key of the morning to open it, as well as the key of the night to close it. And notice what should always be associated with prayer, namely, hope. “I hoped in thy word.” There is no prayer like a hopeful prayer, in which a man hopes, believes, expects, that God will send him a blessing.

Psalms 119:148. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

Before the watchman can cry the hour of night, mine eyes are upon the Word of God, and I am studying that. Oh! it is well when we prove our love to the Word of God by our meditation upon it, our constant, searching into it.

Psalms 119:149. Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness:

Not according to my earnestness, much less according to my merit, but “Hear my voice, according to thy loving-kindness.” Oh! what a large measure this, for who can tell how boundless is the loving-kindness of God? Such be the answer to my prayer, O my Lord.

Psalms 119:149. O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.

As thou dost try me, quicken me. Just as thou art I have need of it give me more spiritual life.

Psalms 119:150. They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.

Dogs are at my heels. I have heard them long ago pursuing me, but now they are getting nearer to me than ever.

Psalms 119:151. Thou art near, O LORD

Is not that a blessed sentence, that, when the adversaries are near, the Friend of friends is near too? What if he be like a hunted stag, and the dogs are at his heels, yet the omnipotent Lord, the Interposer, can come between and save his darling from the power of the dogs.

Psalms 119:151; Psalms 119:159. And all thy commandments are truth. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

It is an old story with me that thy love is without beginning, thy covenant from all eternity, thy grace immutable, not fickle, changeable as if it were founded yesterday upon the sand, but “Thou hast founded them for ever.”

Psalms 119:153-155. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law. Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.

If they sought that salvation, they would cease to be wicked; they would find salvation; but while they follow out their wicked ways they get further and further away from anything like salvation.

Psalms 119:156-158. Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

It is enough to make any man grieve that the Word of God, which is so right, so just, so good, should be despised. What madness is this which is in the hearts of men, that they despise the best of the best?

Psalms 119:159. Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.

It is a fair argument; as a friend may say to another, “Consider how I love you;” as a child might say to his angry father when he is about to chasten him, “My father, I love you, although I have transgressed; look at my heart, and see how I love you, notwithstanding all the mistakes of my character, and even the faults that I have committed.

Psalms 119:160-161. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

“Princes have persecuted me without a cause; but my heart standeth in awe of” — them? No, but “of thy Word.”

Psalms 119:162-166. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love. Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments, Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

Present duty, future expectation. It is no use our hoping for great things unless we ourselves cultivate good things. God will make tomorrow bright: let us make today holy.

Psalms 119:167-168. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.

I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.


Verses 153-174

Psalms 119:153. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.

As much as if he said, “Lord, I do not forget thee; do not forget me.” Thy grace has kept my memory; let thy grace keep me altogether.

Psalms 119:154-156. Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. Salvation is far form the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.

Oh! how the saints want quickening. They know they do. They feel that they get dull, and they cannot endure it. They are not happy unless they possess vivid grace and true light.

Psalms 119:157-158 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies: yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

The very sight of them gave me sorrow. Even though they tried to be mirthful, I was not amused by them, and beheld them and was grieved, “Because they kept not thy word.”

Psalms 119:159. Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.

My heart is right, I do love thee; but I feel dull and heavy. Lord, come and quicken me, not according to my love to thee, but according to thy lovingkindness, come and quicken me. “Thy word is true from the beginning” — from the first page of the book of Genesis to the very last —true about everything, true from the first moment it began with me. Every promise has been kept. Tthere has not been a falsehood all the way through.

Psalms 119:160. Thy word is true from the beginning: and everyone of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

“Princes have persecuted me without a cause.” David was a prince and a man expects to be fairly dealt with by his peers; but it was not so in this case.

Psalms 119:161. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

When we are in awe of God’s word, we shall not be in awe of princes. The fear of God is the best cure for the fear of men.

Psalms 119:162. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

He had more joy in reading the Scriptures than in winning a great battle, or in being surprised at the finding of a great treasure.

Psalms 119:163. I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

Now the Orientals did not hate lying; they generally tried to be proficient at it. The only fault about lying with them is to be found out. Then they think they must have been very unskillful. David, therefore, was far ahead of his time — far ahead of his fellow-countrymen.

Psalms 119:164. Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

He could not have enough of praise; he did it often, he did it perfectly —seven times a day — and if he praised God seven times a day because of his righteous judgments how much more ought we to do it because of his abounding grace! Ah! there is a special cause for thanks.

Psalms 119:165-166. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments,

Two good things to put together — hope in God’s mercy, and obedience to God’s will.

Psalms 119:167-174. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word. Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word. My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes. My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts. I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD and thy law is my delight.

Cannot we say that, dear friends, this morning? I hope we can — with all our failings and wandering, yet the law of God is our delight, and if we could have our wish, we would never again go beyond its restraints, nor fall short of its demands.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 119:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-119.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, July 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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