Scripture: Psalm 119:1-8 Commentary
1 Joyful are people of integrity,
who follow the instructions of the Lord.
2 Joyful are those who obey his laws
and search for him with all their hearts.
3 They do not compromise with evil,
and they walk only in his paths.
4 You have charged us
to keep your commandments carefully.
5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect your decrees!
6 Then I will not be ashamed
when I compare my life with your commands.
7 As I learn your righteous regulations,
I will thank you by living as I should!
8 I will obey your decrees.
Please don’t give up on me! (NLT)*
In this long psalm, the poet expresses that God has communicated much to his people that brings them joy. God gives instructions (v.1), statements about how to things. He gave laws (v.2), the Torah, a system of righteous government. He reveals his paths (v.3), tracks that lead us to him. His commandments (v.4) tell us how to behave righteously. He has handed down decrees (v.5), righteous judgments about sin. He directs us through commands (v.6), authoritative orders which rein us in. Finally his righteous regulations (v.7) point out the right way to live our lives.
How often I and other believers pray, “Lord, show me what to do.” Yet Scripture is very clear about the will of God. The apostle John writes, “And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another” (1 John 3:23, NLT). So why do I experience the recurring need to pray for direction. When I compare my life with God’s commands (v.6), I see where I fall short. Following his commands requires me to seek his loving path. Sometimes, I’m ashamed to admit, I resist loving as he loves. I can identify with the psalmist’s plea, “Please don’t give up on me.”
Father, thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for revealing the way you would have me live. Empower me by your grace to reflect your decrees consistently. Forgive me when I resist and when I fail. Renew my passion to seek you with all my heart. Fill me with your joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
*(NLT) New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation, Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.