Daily Family Worship

Psalm 119: 121-128: Love for the Lord’s Word

by | Jun 27, 2024

Psalm 119: 121-128

“I have done judgment and justice,” David says (verse 121). This was a great thing for a king or a ruler to say in those days especially, for many of them were despots who mostly cared more for gain than for justice. Some of them entirely neglected their duty and would not even do judgment at all – preferring their pleasures to their duties. And many more of them sold their judgments to the highest bidders by taking bribes; or by showing respect to higher personages, even if they were in the wrong. Some rulers gave neither judgment nor justice, and others gave judgment without justice; but David gave both judgment and justice, and ensured that his decrees were carried out. He could claim, before the Lord, that he had dealt out even-handed justice, and that he was doing so still. On this fact, he founded a plea with which he backed the prayer: “Leave me not to mine oppressors!” He who has been doing right, as far as his power goes, may hope to be delivered from his superiors when attempts are made by them to do him wrong. A course of upright conduct is one which gives us great boldness in appealing to the Righteous Judge for deliverance from the injustice of others.

In verse 124, he continues to pray: “Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy!” Although, before men, he had such a clear conscience that he could challenge the Word of righteousness; yet before the Lord, as His servant, he felt that he must appeal to mercy alone. We feel safest here! Our heart has more rest in the cry, “God be merciful to me!” – than in appealing to justice. It is a blessing to be able to say, “I have done judgment and justice”; and then to add, in all lowliness, “Yet deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy.” The title of servant is a strong foundation for this plea; for it is a master’s responsibility to clear the character of his servant if he is falsely accused, and to rescue him from those who would oppress him. Moreover, the master should show mercy to a servant, even if he deals severely with someone unknown to him. This is how the Lord graciously deals with us; He does not spurn us, but He communes with us – and He does this in a tender and merciful way; for in any other form of dealing, we would be crushed into the dust. Furthermore, in mercy, He answers the request of the prayer in the rest of verse 124: “Teach me thy statutes.” We may naturally expect a master to teach his own servant the meaning of his own orders. Yet since our ignorance arises from our own sinful stupidity, it is great mercy on our God’s part that He condescends to instruct us in His commands. For our Ruler to become our Teacher is an act of great grace, for which we cannot be too grateful! Among our mercies that we enjoy, this is one of the choicest.

“I am thy servant!” (verse 125) This is the third time that David has repeated this phrase – “thy servant” – in this one section; he is evidently fond of the name, and considers it to be a very effective plea. We who rejoice that we are sons and daughters of God are by no means less delighted to be His servants! Did not the Son of God Himself assume the servant’s form, and fulfill the serv ant’s labor to the full? What higher honor can we desire, than to be made like the Heir of all things?

“Give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies” (verse 125). In the previous verse, David asked the Lord for teaching; but here he goes much further, and craves for understanding as well. Usually, if the instructor supplies the teaching, the pupil finds the understanding. But in our case, we are far more dependent; and so we must beg for understanding as well as teaching. No human tutor can give us this understanding, and so we are thrice happy that our Divine Teacher can furnish us with it! If we confess ourselves to be fools, our Lord will make us wise. The best understanding is that which enables us to render perfect obedience, and to exhibit intelligent faith; and it is this which David desires – “understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.” The servant of God longs to know, in an understanding manner, all that the Lord reveals of man and to man; he wishes to be so instructed, that he may comprehend that which is taught him. Let us imitate the Psalmist now, and ask the Lord to give us understanding also!

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for furnishing us with the understanding that no earthly tutor can give us – that understanding which enables us to render perfect obedience, and to exhibit intelligent faith! Amen.

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