Page:An Exposition of the Old and New Testament (1828) vol 3.djvu/567

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PSALMS, CXIX.

desired to know them more, and do them better; and am still pressing forward toward perfection." Tastes of the sweetness of God's precepts will but set us a longing after a more intimate acquaintance with them. He appeals to God concerning this passionate desire after his precepts; "Behold, I have thus loved, thus longed; thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I am thus affected."

2. He prays for grace to enable him to answer this profession. "Thou hast wrought in me this languishing desire, put life into me, that I may prosecute it; quicken me in thy righteousness, in thy righteous ways, according to thy righteous promise." Where God has wrought to will, he will work to do, and where, he has wrought to desire, he will satisfy the desire.

6. VAU.

41. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word.  42. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

Here is, 1. David's prayer for the salvation of the Lord. "Lord, thou art my Saviour, I am miserable in myself, and thou only canst make me happy; let thy salvation come to me; hasten temporal salvation to me from my present distresses, and hasten me to the eternal salvation, by giving me the necessary qualifications for it, and the comfortable pledges and foretastes of it."

2. David's dependence upon the grace and promise of God for that salvation. These are the two pillars on which our hope is built, and they will not fail us. (1.) The grace of God; Let thy mercies come, even thy salvation: our salvation must be attributed purely to God's mercy, and not to any merit of our own. Eternal life must be expected as the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, Jude 21. "Lord, I have by faith thy mercies in view; let me by prayer prevail to have them come to me." (2.) The promise of God; "Let it come according to thy word, thy word of promise: I trust in thy word, and therefore may expect the performance of the promise." We are not only allowed to trust in God's word, but our trusting in it is the condition of our benefit by it.

3. David's expectation of the good assurance which that grace and promise of God would give him; "So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproaches me for my confidence in God, as if it would deceive me." When God saves those out of their troubles who trusted in him, he effectually silences those who would have shamed that counsel of the poor, (xiv. 6.) and their reproaches will be for ever silenced, when the salvation of the saints is completed; then it will appear, beyond dispute, that it was not in vain to trust in God.

43. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.  44. So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

Here is, 1. David's humble petition for the tongue of the learned, that he might know how to speak a word in season for the glory of God; Take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth. He means, "Lord, let the word of truth be always in my mouth, let me have the wisdom and courage which are necessary to enable me both to use my knowledge for the instruction of others, and, like the good householder, to bring out of my treasury things new and old, and to make profession of my faith whenever I am called to it." We have need to pray to God, that we may never be afraid or ashamed to own his truths and ways, nor deny him before men. David found that he was sometimes at a loss, the word of truth was not so ready to him as it should have been, but he prays, "Lord, let it not be taken utterly from me; let me always have so much of it at hand as will be necessary to the due discharge of my duty."

2. His humble profession of the heart of the upright, without which, the tongue of the learned, however it may be serviceable to others, will stand us in no stead. (1.) David professes his confidence in God; "Lord, make me ready and mighty in the scriptures, for I have hoped in those judgments of thy mouth, and if they be not at hand, my support and defence are departed from me." (2.) He professes his resolution to adhere to his duty in the strength of God's grace; "So shall I keep thy law continually. If I have thy word not only in my heart, but in my mouth, I shall do all I should do, stand complete in thy whole will." Thus shall the man of God be perfect, thoroughly furnished for every good word and work, 2 Tim. iii. 17. Col. iii. 16. Observe how he resolves to keep God's law, [1.] Continually, without trifling; God must be served in a constant course of obedience every day, and all the day long. [2.] For ever and ever, without backsliding; we must never be weary of well-doing. If we serve him to the end of our time on earth, we shall be serving him in heaven to the endless ages of eternity; so shall we keep his law for ever and ever. Or thus, "Lord, let me have the word of truth in my mouth, that I may commit that sacred deposit to the rising generation, (2 Tim. ii. 2.) and by them it may be transmitted to succeeding ages; so shall thy law be kept for ever and ever, from one generation to another," according to that promise, (Isa. lix. 21.) My word in thy mouth shall not depart out of the mouth of thy seed, nor thy seed's seed.

45. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.  46. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.  47. And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.  48. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

We may observe in these verses,

1. What David experienced of an affection to the law of God; "I seek thy precepts, v. 45. I desire to know and do my duty, and consult thy word accordingly; I do all I can to understand what the will of the Lord is, and to discover the intimations of his mind. I seek thy precepts, for I have loved them, v. 47, 48. I not only give consent to them as good, but take complacency in them as good for me." All that love God, love his government, and therefore love all his commandments.

2. What he expected from this. Five things he promises himself here in the strength of God's grace.

(1.) That he should be free and easy in his duty; "I will walk at liberty, freed from that which is evil, not hampered with the fetters of my own corruptions, and free to that which is good, doing it not by constraint, but willingly." The service of sin is perfect slavery, the service of God is perfect liberty. Licentiousness is bondage to the greatest of tyrants, conscientiousness is freedom to the meanest of prisoners, John viii. 32, 36. Luke i. 74, 75.

(2.) That he should be bold and courageous in his duty: I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings. Before David came to the crown, kings