The Christian's Golden ABC of the Praise, Power, and Value of God's Word.
This beautiful psalm, whose writer is not known, is divided into twenty-two sections of eight verses each. All the verses in the same paragraph open with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet, all twenty-two letters of the Hebrew language thus being used. The outstanding characteristic of this wonderful psalm is the fact that in all but two verses (122 and 132) the Word of God is designated by some expression, such as commandments, judgments, statutes, precepts, testimonies, law, and others, all these terms being used here as synonyms, a fact which makes the psalm of direct value to all believers of all times, a manual of pious thought, especially for all teachers of the Word.
Aleph. OF THE BELIEVER'S CONDUCT IN ACCORDANCE WITH GOD'S WORD. — V. 1. Blessed are the undefiled, the blessed, sincere, irreproachable, in the way, in their entire conduct of life, who walk in the Law of the Lord, being guided by His Word in their entire life. V. 2. Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, the Word in which He testifies of Himself, for the truth and against sin, and that seek Him with the whole heart, desiring to have such a perfect knowledge of Him and His holy will that they will readily conform to it in all their actions. V. 3. They also do no iniquity, no deliberate wickedness; they walk in His ways, arrange their entire life in agreement with the manner prescribed in His Word. V. 4. Thou hast commanded us to keep Thy precepts, the directions which relate to the conduct of men in every circumstance of life, diligently, to observe them most carefully. V. 5. O that my ways, the behavior of the believer in every condition in which he finds himself, were directed to keep Thy statutes, the express laws relating to the various relations in life! V. 6. Then shall I not be ashamed, be brought to shame, heaped with disgrace, when I have respect unto all Thy commandments, those enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, to guard against both sins of commission and of omission. V. 7. I will praise Thee with uprightness of heart, without a trace of hypocrisy, when I shall have learned Thy righteous judgments, the decisions based upon God's justice, of approval as well as of condemnation. V. 8. I will keep Thy statutes, the commands of God's Word which are of permanent value for all men. O forsake me not utterly, for he who is forsaken of God is condemned to a life of unhappiness and to an eternity of woe. The prayer for faithfulness in making one's conduct agree with the Word of God must ever be in the mouth of every Christian.
Beth. OF THE DISTINGUISHING SIGNS OF AN IRREPROACHABLE LIFE. — V. 9. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? When will it be possible for a young person, surrounded with the many temptations of youth, 2 Tim. 2, 22, to be and remain clean in his conduct? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word, by watching carefully over every step and applying the rule of God's Word to every situation with which he is confronted. The state of mind of such an earnest seeker after truth and holiness is now described. V. 10. With my whole heart have I sought Thee, earnestly desiring the closest fellowship with the Lord; O let me not wander from Thy commandments, so as to lose sight of the fundamental directions for conduct. V. 11. Thy Word, all that God had said in revealing Himself and His holy will to men, have I hid in mine heart, like a precious treasure which fills his entire inner life, that I might not sin against Thee, for sin cannot gain a foothold in a heart filled with the knowledge of God and with love for His Word. V. 12. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the object of the believer's joyful praise; teach me Thy statutes, for the more a Christian knows of the precepts of God's holy will, the more he desires to learn the way of sanctification. At the same time he exercises himself in confession. V. 13. With my lips have I declared, he will solemnly proclaim, all the judgments of Thy mouth, especially those decisions of God's justice which approve of a righteous life and act as a constant spur to the faithful. V. 14. I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, in the manner in which God has revealed Himself and all His attributes, as much as in all riches, for therein the true wealth of the faithful consists, in the active possession and in the constant use of the Word of God. V. 15. I will meditate in Thy precepts, pondering them, mulling over them, trying to penetrate ever more deeply into their divine meaning, and have respect unto Thy ways, ever on the lookout for the paths which God's Word prescribes. V. 16. I will delight myself, find the greatest joy, full happiness, in Thy statutes, studying the rules of God's holy will in their relation to the conduct of every person in the world; I will not forget Thy Word. It is this rallying around the Bible which makes the individual and whole church organizations a power in the Lord.
Gimel. PRAYER FOR ENLIGHTENMENT UNTO A GODLY LIFE. — V. 17. Deal bountifully with Thy servant, giving him a rich measure of favor and of spiritual blessings, that I may live and keep Thy Word, observing the Word of God being the one great object of his life. But he realizes that he cannot, by his own reason and sense, penetrate into the beauties of Holy Writ. Therefore he cries out: v. 18. Open Thou mine eyes, the eyes of his spirit, of his understanding, that I may behold wondrous things, the inexpressible miracles of God's mercy and kindness, out of Thy Law, for it is only with eyes enlightened by the Spirit of God that a person may under. stand and realize. the meaning of the Bible truths. All our study of the Bible should be begun with, and accompanied by, this prayer for enlightenment. This is all the more necessary since we are strangers and pilgrims in this world, looking forward to the great revelation of God and to our eternal stay with God in our heavenly home. V. 19. I am a stranger in the earth, a pilgrim seeking the road which leads to the homeland; hide not Thy commandments from me; for without these heavenly directions of conduct our traveling in this strange world would be like that of a mariner without a compass and with the sky overcast. V. 20. My soul breaketh for the longing, is crushed and faint with eager desire, that it hath unto Thy judgments at all times, to meet with God's approval by following the directions of His Word. V. 21. Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from Thy commandments, that is, the arrogant, who mocked the believer, have encountered the Lord's warning threat, since His curse will surely strike those who set aside His Word. V. 22. Remove from me reproach and contempt, that of the haughty and arrogant scoffers, who delight in heaping scorn upon the Christians for their trust in the Word of God; for I have kept Thy testimonies, observing the revelation of God and His essence for the truth and against sin, and following the guiding principles thus set forth. V. 23. Princes also did sit and speak against me, for it is a sad fact that the mighty and influential people of the earth are in the majority in taking sides against God's revelation in the Bible: but Thy servant did meditate in Thy statutes, deliberately ignoring the haughty criticism of the Bible, which will be apt to confuse even the believers if they pay too much attention to it, since every error in spiritual matters is more plausible to natural man than the revealed truth. V. 24. Thy testimonials also are my delight and my counselors, the constant study of Scriptures being his favorite occupation, and all its truths are like wise men whose advice fortifies the Bible-student against all opposition on the part of the enemies. This fact should encourage and incite every believer to study his Bible day after day and always to seek counsel from the pages of eternal wisdom.
Daleth. THE GRACE OF BEING CONFIRMED IN THE TRUTH. — V. 25. My soul cleaveth unto the dust, is often in great spiritual depression; quicken Thou me, daily filling him with new life and strength, according to Thy Word, it being the privilege of the believers to remind the Lord of His promises and to demand His assistance at such times of affliction. V. 26. I have declared my ways, stating that he would follow the paths of God's Word, and Thou heardest me, accepting his promise as a prayer for assistance; teach me Thy statutes, for it is at such a time that the positive and clear statements of the Word of God uphold the believer's determination. V. 27. Make me to understand the way of Thy precepts, to have a clear conception of the directions of God pertaining to man's conduct in all situations of life; so shall I talk, ponder, always think about, of Thy wondrous works, declaring the miracles of grace and kindness which God performed in his interest, this being the experience of all believers. V. 28. My soul melteth for heaviness, is dissolved in the heat of affliction; strengthen Thou me according unto Thy Word, setting him upright, so that he may walk with a firm tread and fear no dangers. V. 29. Remove from me the way of lying, of unfaithfulness, of denial of the truth, and grant me Thy Law graciously, the believer asking this only as a gift of mercy on the part of God, since he knows that he is in no way worthy of it. It is by the grace of God that we still have His Word, and we should appreciate it accordingly. V. 30. I have chosen the way of truth, of faithfulness to the Lord; Thy judgments have I laid before me, deliberately selecting them to direct his way of conduct in seeking the approval of the Lord. V. 31. I have stuck unto Thy testimonies, clinging to the revealed truth with all his heart; O Lord, put me not to shame, permitting him to become an object of mockery by withholding His strength and help from the believer in every emergency. V. 32. I will run the way of Thy commandments, not with slow and lagging steps, but with cheerful eagerness, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart, because God widens and expands the heart of the faithful with such virtues as are well-pleasing to Him, this including also the zeal for His Word and for true sanctification. Constant study and contemplation of God's Word will result in joyful service of God, in growth in all Christian virtues.
He. THE CONSTANCY OF THE BELIEVER UPHELD AND NOURISHED BY GOD'S WORD. — V. 33. Teach me, O Lord, the way of Thy statutes, just what His holy will wants the believer to do in every situation in life; and I shall keep it unto the end, sustained against apostasy by the power of God which flows from the Word. V. 34. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy Law, with a full and proper appreciation of its import; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart, shunning and despising all half-hearted endeavors where the will of the Lord is concerned. V. 35. Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments, with the strictest attention to all their directions of conduct; for therein do I delight, rather than in honor and glory for himself before men. V. 36. Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, bowing it down to a most careful observance of them, and not to covetousness, this being one of the vices which draws the heart away from the understanding of the truth. V. 37. Turn a way mine eyes from beholding vanity, making them to pass by, causing them not to notice the many exhibitions of wickedness in the world, since the continued offense may make either callous and indifferent to evil or cause evil lust to arise in the heart, especially with reference to idolatry in its various forms; and quicken Thou me in Thy way, giving to the believer the proper spiritual life and power to overcome all temptations. V. 38. Stablish Thy Word unto Thy servant, setting it up firmly, making His promises to be fulfilled for the believer, who is devoted to Thy fear, literally, “which,” that is, the Word of God, “is to those that fear Thee,” it belongs to them, it works the proper fear of God in their hearts. V. 39. Turn away my reproach which I fear, namely, that of denying the Lord, or that of being unjustly accused of such denial; for Thy judgments are good, the decisions of God’s justice, as revealed in His Word, would surely take from him the reproach of apostasy. V. 40. Behold, I have longed after Thy precepts, with an urgent desire to be directed by the Word of God in his entire conduct; quicken me in Thy righteousness, filling the believer with life from above and upholding him in all his difficulties, temptations, and trials.
Vau. THE NEED OF A FEARLESS CONFESSION OF THE DIVINE TRUTH. — V. 41. Let Thy mercies, the many manifestations of grace which every believer experiences, come also unto me, O Lord, even Thy salvation, the full deliverance which the Lord has promised to His believers, according to Thy Word. The psalmist seems to have particularly such cases in mind in which the faithful are attacked by unbelievers on account of their faith, when they need help to stand up under the vile attacks and to defend the truth. V. 42. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me, attacking him for his trust in the Lord; for I trust in Thy Word. The knowledge, based upon the clear statements of God's Word that every believer has salvation, is his means of defense against the enemy's insinuation that he cannot be sure of God's mercy. V. 43. And take not the Word of Truth, the believer's only weapon in his battle against unbelief, utterly out of my mouth, this punishment of the Lord having occasionally struck such as did not properly appreciate His merciful visitations; for I have hoped in Thy judgments, placing his trust in them alone. V. 44. So shall I keep Thy Law, cling to the instruction of God's Word in the strength given by the Word, continually, forever and ever. V. 45. And I will walk at liberty, not cramped, but in a space which permits freedom of movement, that being the condition in which all children of God find themselves as they follow the precepts of His holy will, not in the station of slaves forced to obey, but in that of children glad to obey; for I seek Thy precepts. V. 46. I will speak of Thy testimonies, of the Word of God, in which He has revealed Himself, which is the essence of truth, also before kings, as Jesus later told His disciples, Matt. 10, 18. 19, and will not be ashamed, not stand there as one disgraced by virtue of his allegiance to God's Word. V. 47. And I will delight myself in Thy commandments, finding the greatest pleasure in studying Holy Writ more and more, which I have loved. V. 48. My hands also will I lift up unto Thy commandments which I have loved, for prayer and confession must go hand in hand; and I will meditate in Thy statutes, never growing weary of pondering the saving and sustaining truths of God's Word. Such witnessing for the truth is well-pleasing to the Lord and will be rewarded by Him by His granting true willingness also to suffer for His sake if need be.
Zain. PATIENCE IN PERSECUTION AND CROSSES. — V. 49. Remember the word unto Thy servant, the reference being to any of the wonderful promises of God in which He assures His servants of His assistance, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope. This is the proper importunity of prayer, to hold the Lord to His promises, Ps. 27, 8. V. 50. This is my comfort in my affliction, serving to console and uphold him in his misery; for Thy Word hath quickened me, filled him with new life and strength. The darker the days which come upon the believers, the more eagerly they watch for every ray of light from God's Word. V. 51. The proud, the arrogant and frivolous mockers, such as are always found where the true children of God are following the precepts of God's holy will, have had me greatly in derision; yet have I not declined from Thy Law, in fact, such mockery causes the believer to cling all the more closely to the Word of God. V. 52. I remembered Thy judgments of old, O Lord, in this case particularly the decisions of God concerning the condemnation of the godless, and have comforted myself, since the righteous judgments of the Lord according to His Word would be sure to be maintained. V. 53. Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Thy Law, that is, he is filled with indignation on account of their wickedness, a holy anger causes him to flare up in zeal for the honor of the Lord and to rebuke the unbelievers with merciless sharpness. At the same time the psalmist is determined to make the Word of God his one rule of life. V. 54. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage, that is, while the godless jeer with songs of mockery, he will uphold his courage with hymns of praise as long as he is in this earthly house of his pilgrimage, knowing that a complete change will take place in the heavenly home. V. 55. I have remembered Thy name, O Lord, in the night, the quiet of which is conducive to prayerful meditation, and have kept Thy Law, he has been faithful to the Word at all times. V. 56. This I had, that was his special privilege, because I kept Thy precepts, looking to the Word for directions to guide his conduct at all times. Thus the believers are ever rich and happy in the possession of the Word.
Cheth. TRUE PIETY THE CALLING OF THE BELIEVERS. — V. 57. Thou art my Portion, O Lord; I have said that I would keep Thy words. To realize at all times that God is his Portion, his Inheritance, and that for that reason he intends to observe the words of the Lord, this is the calling of the faithful, in this everyone who is a child of God fulfils his destiny. V. 58. I entreated Thy favor, literally, “I appealed with supplications to Thy face,” with my whole heart, begging for a manifestation of divine grace; be merciful unto me according to Thy word, the believer once more holding the Lord to His promise. V. 59. I thought on my ways, carefully examining them from all sides to see whether they were in agreement with God's Word, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies, deciding quickly in favor of following the Word of God all alone. V. 60. I made haste, for the Lord delights in quick decisions in His favor, and delayed not to keep Thy commandments, always ready to exercise his piety in good works. V. 61. The bands of the wicked have robbed me, rather, “the cords of the wicked have surrounded me,” that is, they have laid their snares for him as they do for all children of God who show that their profession of godliness is sincere; but I have not forgotten Thy Law; in fact, the remembrance of the Word of God gives to the believer his wonderful strength. V. 62. At midnight, as he meditates upon the wonderful manifestations of God's favor, I will rise to give thanks unto Thee because of Thy righteous judgments, to acknowledge with proper gratitude the judgments of God's righteousness. V. 63. I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, whose piety causes them to seek companionship of people of their own way of thinking, and of them that keep Thy precepts. All believers are united by their common faith, in a common cause. V. 64. The earth, O Lord, is full of Thy mercy, the evidences of His merciful blessings are everywhere to be found; teach me Thy statutes; for only the proper appreciation of the Word of God as the highest treasure given by God will cause one to realize the incomparable greatness of His mercy. All Christians are eager to possess the light, the consolation, and the strength of the Word of God.
Teth. THE REALIZATION THAT GOD'S HUMILIATION OF MAN IS SALUTARY. — V. 65. Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O Lord, according unto Thy Word, not with the intention of harming His servant, but of impressing upon him the fact that the believer's path is one of crosses and sorrows, as the Word of God so frequently states. A course in the school of suffering always works benefits to the children of God. V. 66. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, enabling him to distinguish carefully between good and evil; for I have believed Thy commandments, for it is only by following the path of God's Word with the greatest exactness that one is kept out of the mazes of error and sin. V. 67. Before I was afflicted, before God chose to lay the burden of suffering upon him, I went astray; but now have I kept Thy Word. It was the tribulation laid upon him which caused the psalmist to realize the hollow mockery of everything which this world offers, as well as the emptiness of his own righteousness. V. 68. Thou art good and doest good, even when God lays upon His children the burden of suffering, since His purpose is always one of kindness and mercy, teach me Thy statutes, for tribulation drives the believer into the Word. This appreciation of the Word is increased, moreover, on account of the lies which the godless are pleased to spread concerning the believers. V. 69. The proud have forged a lie against me, smearing falsehoods all at once over him, making the true nature of things hazy by daubing them over with false colors or pasting on deceit; but I will keep Thy precepts with my whole heart, in spite of all the falsehoods which are circulated about him and which cause men to look askance at him. V. 70. Their heart is as fat as grease, altogether without sensitiveness; it is impossible to make an impression upon the majority of the godless, to convince them of the wrong of their mockery; but I delight in Thy Law, his pleasure in studying the Word of God growing with every new attempt of the enemies to discredit him. V. 71. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, he now gratefully acknowledges the benefit which he has received from the afflictions laid upon him, that I might learn Thy statutes, for he might never have learned this important lesson if God had not taken him into the school of suffering. Therefore he concludes this section with a shout of triumph, v. 72. The Law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver; for he has now learned that all the wealth of the world cannot compare with the precious content of the Word, which is the true treasure of all Christians.
Jod. THE CONSOLATION OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE AND GOVERNMENT. — V. 73. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me, the special creation of man being referred to here, and the implication being that God will not destroy His noblest creature. Give me understanding, leading the believer back to the original knowledge of the heavenly Father, that I may learn Thy commandments, for the renewal of the image of God in the heart of the believers works in them righteousness and true holiness, so that their entire conduct agrees with the directions given in His Word. V. 74. They that fear Thee will be glad when they see me, rejoicing at the prosperity of the faithful. as they consider his cause their cause and glorify God for the revelation of His mercy, because I have hoped in Thy Word, for this hope never disappoints the believer. V. 75. I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments, His decisions of condemnation as well as of approval, are right, they served for his benefit, for his salvation, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me, dealing with him as a faithful Friend and Father, the chastisement which was laid upon him being just the right thing to turn him away from sin and from the allurements of this world. V. 76. Let, I pray Thee, Thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, to sustain him in the trials which his weak and sinful nature found so hard to endure, according to Thy Word unto Thy servant, another reminder of God's faithful promises, upon which he relies absolutely. V. 77. Let Thy tender mercies come unto me, the believer being unable, of his own reason and strength, to come to them or to earn them, that I may live, for the mercy of God is the source of all true life in man; for Thy Law is my delight, the Word of God's mercy sustains him. For this reason the psalmist now asks God to frustrate the plans of the enemies. V. 78. Let the proud, the arrogant mockers, be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause, both by intimating that his sufferings were an evidence of his rejection by God and by trying to discredit him everywhere; but I will meditate in Thy precepts, continuing to fashion his conduct in accordance with the Word of God. V. 79. Let those that fear Thee turn unto me, realizing that the charges of his enemies are untrue, that God is not making him an example by punishing him in anger, and those that have known Thy testimonies, for all true believers will rally to his side in this emergency. V. 80. Let my heart be sound, perfect and sincere, in Thy statutes, making the Word his one rule of doctrine and life, that I be not ashamed, disgraced before the enemies on account of his trust and disappointed in his hope of salvation.
Caph. THE CONSOLATION OF GOD'S WORD IN THE MIDST OF GREAT TROUBLES. — V. 81. My soul fainteth for Thy salvation, in the extreme longing brought about by a further attack of sorrow; but I hope in Thy Word, he refuses to let go this trust. V. 82. Mine eyes, strained with gazing for the coming of salvation, fail for Thy Word, on account of his waiting for the fulfilment of God's promises, saying, When wilt Thou comfort me? The assistance which he longed for seemed so slow in coming that he was filled with impatience and begged for a speedy revelation of God's mercy. V. 83. For I am become like a bottle in the smoke, a wine-skin shriveled up and blackened from being suspended high over the fireplace, the point of comparison being in the discarding of a useless article; yet do I not forget Thy statutes, he clings to God's Word, which alone has permanent value for a poor sinner. V. 84. How many are the days of Thy servant? This question arises in his heart on account of the shortness of human life, this fact causing him to fear that he may not live long enough to see himself vindicated before his enemies. When wilt Thou execute judgment on them that persecute me? He begs that God would interfere in his behalf very soon, since the enemies are showing an increased activity. V. 85. The proud have digged pits for me, plotting with the intention of destroying him, which are not after Thy Law, that is, although they pretend to be actuated only by the highest motives, in our days, for instance, by the welfare of the state, by the demands of a universal brotherhood, yet they have, in truth, no basis for their action in the Word of God. V. 86. All Thy commandments are faithful, altogether trustworthy and dependable; they persecute me wrongfully, with the usual false accusations as to his being an enemy of existing order and obstinately wanting his own way; help Thou me. V. 87. They had almost consumed me upon earth, their plans to destroy him had almost succeeded; but I forsook not Thy precepts, he would not give up his trust in the Word of God. V. 88. Quicken me after Thy loving-kindness, giving him new spiritual life and strength, both for enduring persecutions and for overcoming his enemies; so shall I keep the testimony of Thy mouth, for every new evidence of God's power in the life of the believers tends to strengthen their faith in the testimony of God for Himself, for the truth, against sin.
Lamed. THE IMPERISHABLE NATURE OF THE DIVINE WORD. — V. 89. Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven; like the essence of God, out of which it flowed, it is unchangeable and will endure throughout eternity. Cp. Matt. 24, 35; Luke 21, 33. V. 90. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations, remains the same from one generation to the next, absolutely trustworthy: Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth, standing as long as God's will so ordains. V. 91. They continue this day according to Thine ordinances, the earth and all it contains being subject to His Word, obliged to carry out the dictates of His will; for all are Thy servants, humbly obeying His unalterable laws. The trust in the eternal faithfulness of Jehovah has sustained the psalmist in his affliction. V. 92. Unless Thy Law, the Word of God with its divine instructions, had been my delights, the one thing affording him true happiness, I should then have perished in mine affliction, God's Word alone giving him strength to endure. V. 93. I will never forget Thy precepts, the special directions of God's holy will; for with them Thou hast quickened me, given him new spiritual life and endurance in the midst of his trials. V. 94. I am Thine, save me, delivering him from the difficulties which beset him; for I have sought Thy precepts, endeavoring earnestly to live up to all the directions which the Lord has laid down for the conduct of His children. V. 95. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me, their object being thereby to remove the Word which the servant of the Lord always quoted against them; but I will consider Thy testimonies, for the Word of God will abide in spite of all the efforts of the enemies to destroy it. V. 96. I have seen an end of all perfection, that is, no matter how perfect anything may seem here on earth, it has its limit or end, for absolute excellence is wanting where fallibility is natural; but Thy commandment is exceeding broad, the Word of God is not bound by the narrow limits of a human, earthly production. Man, be he never so wise, never outgrows the Word of God.
Mem. GOD'S WORD THE ESSENCE OF TRUE WISDOM. — V. 97. Oh, how love I Thy Law! the entire instruction in God's holy Word, as the revelation of His holy will. It is my meditation all the day; the longer he ponders upon it, the dearer it becomes to him. V. 98. Thou through Thy commandments, by which He directed the entire conduct of His servant, hast made me wiser than mine enemies, who believed themselves to be people of superior intelligence in possessing a large measure of this world's wisdom; for they are ever with me, the directions of God's words, which the psalmist made his companions, enabled him to vanquish the enemies in the field of knowledge, where they thought themselves supreme. V. 99. I have more understanding than all my teachers, those who taught a mere worldly wisdom; for Thy testimonies are my meditation, and with the knowledge which he had gained from studying the Word of God he was able to show the insufficiency of mere worldly knowledge. V. 100. I understand more than the ancients, those advanced in years, for age is no help against stupidity, if old people refuse to bow to the wisdom of God's Word, because I keep Thy precepts, the Bible being the basis and key of all true knowledge. V. 101. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, having gained the ability to mark and to shun wickedness in every form, that I might keep Thy Word, through which both knowledge and strength are given. V. 102. I have not departed from Thy judgments, making it a point to watch God's decisions of approval and condemnation; for Thou hast taught me. The Word of God is very clear on that point; one must but do what it teaches. V. 103. How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! pleasant for spiritual edification; yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth, for such is the effect of the Gospel promises upon every believer. V. 104. Through Thy precepts, as related to his entire conduct, I get understanding, practical knowledge in all matters pertaining to this world and to the world to come; therefore I hate every false way, he is able immediately to recognize any false tendency of the times and Will promptly withdraw from anything which might implicate him, even as all Christians love the good and hate the evil.
Nun. TRUSTING IN THE LEADERSHIP OF GOD'S WORD. — V. 105. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, guiding his footsteps past the abysses of so many and severe dangers, and a light unto my path, not with a dim and uncertain illumination, but with a direct and clear ray, which makes every foot of the way unmistakable. Cp. 2 Pet. 1, 19. V. 106. I have sworn, with a solemn oath, and I will perform it, that I will keep Thy righteous judgments, observing with great care all those things which, according to God's righteousness, meet with His approval. V. 107. I am afflicted very much, bent down to the earth under the heavy burden of misery laid upon him; quicken me, O Lord, filling him with new spiritual life and strength, according unto Thy Word. V. 108. Accept, I beseech Thee, the free-will offerings of my mouth, O Lord, for such is the nature of all his prayers, vows, and confessions, freely flowing out from faith, and teach me Thy judgments, so that his knowledge of the Word may increase in proportion to his needs. V. 109. My soul is continually in my hand, he realizes that death may seize him at any time, and therefore is always prepared for it; yet do I not forget Thy Law, his constant remembrance of the Word of God, in fact, giving him the strength to meet death without flinching, if die he must. V. 110. The wicked have laid a snare for me, to destroy him unawares; yet I erred not from Thy precepts, not daring to wander away from his one certain source of comfort and strength, the Word of God. V. 111. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever, making them his most cherished possession. which he would not relinquish; for they are the rejoicing of my heart, they only work true happiness. V. 112. I have inclined mine heart to perform Thy statutes alway, even unto the end, for only he that endureth unto the end shall be saved, as our Lord Himself says, Matt. 24, 13.
Samech. THE NEED OF A FIRM STAND FOR THE TRUTH OF GOD'S WORD. — V. 113. I hate vain thoughts, literally, “wavering ones I hate,” that is, those who are divided between two beliefs, those who waver in their loyalty, not knowing whether to turn to God or to false gods; but Thy Law do I love. People who are irresolute in their belief are, in away, more dangerous than out-and-out enemies of the truth; for their unionistic attitude is apt to influence such as are weak in faith. The best plan, therefore, is to have nothing to do with such spirits, but cling to the Word of God alone. V. 114. Thou art my Hiding place, affording him protection against the attacks of the enemies, and my Shield; I hope in Thy Word, confidently resting on its teachings and promises of grace and mercy. V. 115. Depart from me, ye evil-doers, he wants nothing to do with such as deliberately indulge in wickedness; for I will keep the commandments of my God; resolved to do the will of God, he is sure of the Lord's protection in taking such a decided stand for the truth. V. 116. Uphold me according unto Thy Word, in agreement with the many promises of grace which are found in Scripture, that I may live, constantly drawing new life and strength from the Source of all life, through the agency of the Word; and let me not be ashamed of my hope, since, if the Lord would forsake His servant and not vindicate his cause, the enemies would have reason to sneer at him as being a fool on account of his trust. V. 117. Hold Thou me up, sustaining him in the natural weakness with which even believers are obliged to battle, and I shall be safe, sure of deliverance and salvation; and I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually, his faith receiving new nourishment with every new manifestation of God's help. V. 118. Thou hast trodden down all them that err from Thy statutes, rather, the Lord despises people of this kind who wander away from the truth of the Word, seeking to establish their own philosophy of religion; for their deceit is falsehood, that is, their net, which they weave in order to entrap the godly, is woven of deceit, and yet their expectation is vain. V. 119. Thou put test away all the wicked of the earth like dross, the slag, or refuse, left in the smelters after the pure metals have been gained from the ore, such dross being discarded and dumped out; therefore I love Thy testimonies, for the very fulfillment of God's threat of punishment upon the ungodly draws the believer more closely to the Word. V. 120. My flesh trembleth for fear of Thee, particularly when he witnesses the punishment of the Lord upon the wicked, and I am afraid of Thy judgments, this same holy awe and reverence of the righteous God serving the Christians of all times to keep their flesh in bounds and to shun evil in every form.
Ain. THE PROPER ESTIMATION OF GOD'S WORD IN THE MIDST OF OPPRESSION. — V. 121. I have done judgment and justice, performing and observing the rules of conduct which have been labeled with God's approval in His Word; leave me not to mine oppressors. Just as the consciousness of guilt aggravates any suffering, so the feeling of having performed one's duty yields at least a measure of comfort. V. 122. Be surety for Thy servant for good, becoming his advocate and so answerable for him against the slurs and accusations of the enemies; let not the proud the arrogant mockers, oppress me, by making use of cruelty whenever opportunity offers and they feel that they have the power to use it. V. 123. Mine eyes fail, with anxious gazing, for Thy salvation, for the final deliverance promised to all believers, and for the Word of Thy righteousness, in which the righteousness of the Lord is promised to all those who accept it in faith. This is, of course, not a matter of merit on his part, as the psalmist says: v. 124. Deal with Thy servant according unto Thy mercy, according to His free grace and favor, the outflow of His love, and teach me Thy statutes; for every believer, having accepted the mercy of the heavenly Father, is anxious to show his appreciation of it by following the precepts of His holy will as closely as possible. V. 125. I am Thy servant, desiring nothing more than to occupy a position of the lowest service before Jehovah; give me understanding, a proper appreciation and insight, that I may know Thy testimonies, the Word in which God testifies of Himself, for the truth, against sin. V. 126. It is time for Thee, Lord, to work, all the signs and conditions of the times point to the urgent need of the Lord's interference; for they have made void Thy Law, set aside His Word as no longer possessing validity, just as the godless scoffers are trying to do in our days. A thorough and firm knowledge of the Word being all the more necessary when the enmity against it is so great, the psalmist adds: v. 127. Therefore I love Thy commandments above gold, yea, above fine gold, which might be his as the reward of denial of the truth. V. 128. Therefore I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right, he is bound to acknowledge all the directions of the Lord as good and praiseworthy, not only in matters of doctrine, but also in instructions pertaining to the everyday conduct of life; and I hate every false way, utterly rejecting every tendency which does not conform to the rule of the divine Word. It is true to this day that the Bible instructs the conscientious Christian in every question pertaining to his entire conduct, and therefore it should not only be consulted, but also followed with constant faithfulness.
Pe. THE NEED OF SPIRITUAL LIGHT IN THE MIDST OF GODLESSNESS. — V. 129. Thy testimonies are wonderful, elevated above everyday life and the common understanding, becoming more marvelous the longer one contemplates them; therefore doth my soul keep them, anxious to have the light of the Word fall into his dark heart and illumine it with rays of divine mercy and beauty. V. 130. The entrance of Thy words giveth light, that is, the opening, the unfolding, of His Word, as His Holy Spirit explains it to the heart of man, makes the words of divine wisdom clear; it giveth understanding unto the simple, to those without any pretense or show of learning in this world's wisdom, for that is not essential for the understanding of the fundamental divine truths. V. 131. I opened my mouth and panted, with great eagerness, as a traveler in a hot desert pants for a cooling breeze and for a refreshing draft of water; for I longed for Thy commandments, his desire was for the refreshment of God's Word. V. 132. Look Thou upon me, instead of averting His face in anger, and be merciful unto me, as Thou usest to do unto those that love Thy name, or, “according to the right of those that love Thy name.” It is true that God's gift of grace is a gift of His free love, but it is true also that the believers may expect it of Him on the basis of His merciful promise. V. 133. Order my steps in Thy Word, making them firm in accordance with His promise, and let not any iniquity have dominion over me, which would cause him to stray from the path of rectitude and obedience to God. V. 134. Deliver me from the oppression of man, since it was bound to hinder him in his duties of obedience toward God; so will I keep Thy precepts, observing them with eager cheerfulness. V. 135. Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant, with the assurance of His grace, Num. 6, 25, and teach me Thy statutes, His Word assuring the believer that he was truly a child of God. V. 136. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, in deep grief and sorrow over the manner in which men reject the Lord and bring destruction upon themselves, because they keep not Thy Law. It is not overweening pride which causes the believers to speak to the godless in such an emphatic manner, but a sincere love for their soul's salvation.
Tzaddi. THE PROPER APPRECIATION OF THE WORD OF GOD. — V. 137. Righteous art Thou, O Lord, and upright are Thy judgments, for the right knowledge of God is gained from Scriptures and results in the proper worship of God. V. 138. Thy testimonies that Thou hast commanded, whose observance He has laid upon all men, are righteous and very faithful, literally, “righteousness and faithfulness,” not falsehood and deceit, as the enemies of the Word falsely state. V. 139. My zeal hath consumed me, has brought him near to destruction, has almost robbed him of his life, because mine enemies have forgotten Thy words. All believers, filled with true zeal for God and His Word, consume themselves in fighting false doctrine and godless life. V. 140. Thy Word is very pure, like a precious metal which comes out of the assayer's refining without a trace of dross; therefore Thy servant loveth it. V. 141. I am small and despised, young and insignificant, without influential connections in the world, his opinions, therefore, being belittled and ridiculed by the wise and mighty of this world; yet do I not forget Thy precepts, they had not been able to shake his convictions concerning the Word. V. 142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, outlasting all earthly cavil and enmity, and Thy Law is the truth. Cp. John 17, 17. V. 143. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me, on account of the opposition of the enemies; yet Thy commandments are my delights, wherefore he continues to cling to them in spite of all affliction. V. 144. The righteousness of Thy testimonies is everlasting, they had proved their. power in the past and would again do so in the future, upon this fact he could rely; give me understanding, and I shall live, be partaker of true spiritual life through the knowledge of the Word, the source from which all believers draw life and strength day after day.
Koph. CONSTANT PRAYER FOR FAITHFULNESS OVER AGAINST OPPOSITION. — V. 145. I cried with my whole heart, putting the full effort of his desire into his prayer; hear me, O Lord! I will keep Thy statutes, guarding the Word of the Lord as his precious treasure. V. 146. I cried unto Thee; save me, with a gracious deliverance, and I shall keep Thy testimonies, observing carefully what God testified of Himself and His works in His Word. V. 147. I prevented the dawning of the morning, being awake before the coming of dawn, and cried; I hoped in Thy Word. V. 148. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, the coming of each of which finds him awake, that I might meditate in Thy Word, give himself to its undisturbed contemplation. V. 149. Hear my voice according unto Thy loving-kindness, on the basis of His mercy and grace alone, there being no merit on the psalmist's side which he might urge. O Lord, quicken me according to Thy judgment, reviving his heart by such declarations of gracious approval as served this purpose. V. 150. They draw nigh that follow after mischief, surrounding the Lord's servant with threats of violence; they are far from Thy Law, not guided by its precepts. V. 151. Thou art near, O Lord, with His help stepping between the psalmist and the enemies seeking to hurt him, and all Thy commandments are truth, especially those promises of the Word which proclaim deliverance to the oppressed. V. 152. Concerning Thy testimonies, on the basis of his knowledge as gained from the Word, I have known of old that Thou hast founded them forever. No matter how much time and effort the godless spend in trying to discredit the Word, the believers refuse to be led astray, since they know the eternal nature of God's Word.
Resh. THE INCREASING CONFIDENCE OF THE BELIEVER. — V. 153. Consider mine affliction, taking careful note of its severity, and deliver me; for I do not forget Thy Law, and he sets up his childlike obedience as a reason why God should regard his prayer favorably. V. 154. Plead my cause, God Himself acting as the great Advocate of His servant, and deliver me; quicken me, with new life and strength, according to Thy Word. V. 155. Salvation is far from the wicked, on account of their own obstinate disobedience; for they seek not Thy statutes, refusing to heed the Word of the Lord. V. 156. Great are Thy tender mercies, O Lord, to which the inspired singer appeals throughout the psalm, to the unmerited favor of the Lord; quicken me according to Thy judgments, reviving his soul with the wonderful and merciful decisions of approval found in His Word. V. 157. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies, their number increasing in proportion to his faithfulness to the Word; yet do I not decline from Thy testimonies, refusing to be turned aside from the Word, with its revelation of the great God and His love. V. 158. I beheld the transgressors, those who willfully reject the Word, and was grieved, filled with loathing; because they kept not Thy Word, for this fact, with its accompanying unbelief, shuts them out from the mercies of God. V. 159. Consider how I love Thy precepts, marking well this love for the Word which is characteristic of all true children of God. Quicken me, O Lord, according to Thy loving-kindness, the appeal being again to God's mercy and grace alone. V. 160. Thy Word is true from the beginning, its sum, the whole body of revelation, the Bible, being the truth; and everyone of Thy righteous judgments endureth forever, His decisions of approval encouraging His children in the midst of all the present tribulations and opening up vistas of eternal glory before them.
Schin (and Sin) THE BELIEVER'S FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD IN PRAYER. — V. 161. Princes, the mighty and influential ones of the earth, have persecuted me without a cause, although he had done nothing which might justly have provoked their hatred; but my heart standeth in awe of Thy Word, in reverential fear of its marvelous strength and beauty: V. 162. I rejoice at Thy Word, instead of currying the favor of the wicked princes, he finds his greatest joy in the Word of his Lord, as one that findeth great spoil, being enriched by its possession beyond the dreams of avarice. V. 163. I hate and abhor lying, unfaithfulness to the covenant of God in any form; but Thy Law do I love. V. 164. Seven times a day do I praise Thee, in a continued course of devotional exercises, because of Thy righteous judgments. The hearts of the believers are temples of the Holy Spirit, in them the incense of their praise rises in continual adoration. V. 165. Great peace have they which love Thy Law, for in the midst of all the battles of life they have the assurance of the grace of God promised in the Word; and nothing shall offend them, causing the believers to stumble and fall, since they are upheld by the strength of God. V. 166. Lord, I have hoped for Thy salvation, longing for it as Jacob did of old, Gen. 49, 18, and done Thy commandments, obedient to the holy will of God, as laid down in His Word. V. 167. My soul hath kept Thy testimonies, observing them carefully, and I love them exceedingly. V. 168. I have kept Thy precepts and Thy testimonies, in an earnest effort to follow the way of sanctification; for all my ways are before Thee. All believers should strive to reach this level of calm assurance in urging the sincerity of their lives before the face of God.
Tau. CONCLUDING APPEAL. — V. 169. Let my cry come near before Thee, O Lord, with no obstructions to hinder it in its course; give me understanding according to Thy Word, since the Word alone is the source of all true knowledge. V. 170. Let my supplication come before Thee, be brought into His presence for favorable consideration; deliver me according to Thy Word, the psalmist's appeal time and again being to the mercy and to the promise of the Lord. V. 171. My lips shall utter praise, proclaiming His glory, when Thou hast taught me Thy statutes, leading him ever more deeply into the glories of His Word. V. 172. My tongue shall speak of Thy Word, being constrained so to do by the miracles related in the Word; for all Thy commandments are righteousness, in full agreement with eternal right and truth. V. 173. Let Thine hand help me, literally, “Be Thy hand for my help”; for I have chosen Thy precepts, thereby placing himself entirely on the side of the Lord, with the right to expect help from Him. V. 174. I have longed for Thy salvation, O Lord; thus his eagerness once more causes him to exclaim; and Thy Law is my delight, he finds his greatest pleasure in the knowledge of the Word. V. 175. Let my soul live, in full fellowship with the heavenly Father, to whom he has appealed in his wonderful prayer, and it shall praise Thee, and let Thy judgments help me, sustaining him in all trials and leading him safely to the home of the Father. V. 176. I have gone astray like a lost sheep, apparently all forsaken in the midst of a host of enemies; seek Thy servant, to bring him back to rest and shelter; for I do not forget Thy commandments. On the side of men there is ever erring and getting lost; on the part of God there is ever seeking and finding and taking home to the enjoyment of eternal blessings. 6)