Daily Family Worship

Psalm 119: 73-80: Love for the Lord’s Word

by | Jun 25, 2024

psalm 119: 73-80

We have now come to the tenth portion of this Psalm, in which each verse begins with the Hebrew letter Jod; but it certainly does not speak of “jots and tittles” and other trifles! Its subject seems to be personal experience and its attractive influence upon others. The Psalmist is in deep sorrow, but he looks to be delivered and made a blessing. Endeavoring to teach, he first seeks to be taught (verse 73); he persuades himself that he will be well-received (verse 74); and he rehearses the testimony which he intends to bear (verse 75). He then prays for more experience (verses 76-77), for the baffling of the proud (verse 78), for the gathering together of the Godly to him (verse 79), and for grace to be given him so that he may be fully equipped and sustained in his witness-bearing (verse 80). This is the anxious yet hopeful cry of one who is under heavy affliction by cruel adversaries, which drives him to make his appeal to God as his only Friend.

“Thy hands have made me and fashioned me,” he declares in verse 73. It is profitable to remember our creation; it is pleasant to see that the Divine hand has had much to do with us, for it never moves without the Divine thought. It excites reverence, gratitude, and affection toward the Lord when we view Him as our Maker – putting forth the careful skill and power of His hands in our forming and fashioning. He took a personal interest in us, making us with His own hands. He was doubly thoughtful, for He is represented as both giving existence and arranging existence; and herein He manifested His love and wisdom, which gives us an abundance of reasons for praise and confidence and expectation in our being and well-being.

“Give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments!” The Lord is our Maker; Who, then, is better fitted to be our Teacher? The essence of the Psalmist’s prayer is this: “Here is the vessel which You have fashioned, Lord; I pray that You would fill it. You have given me both soul and body; grant me Your grace now, so that my soul may know Your will, and so that my body may join in the performance of it.” Without understanding the Divine Law, and without rendering obedience to it, we are imperfect and useless; but we may reasonably hope that the Great Master Potter will complete His work, and give the finishing touch to it by imparting to it sacred knowledge and holy practice. Surely, from the delicate art and marvelous skill which the Lord has shown in the formation of the human body, we may infer that He is prepared to take equal pains with the soul until it shall perfectly bear His image!

A man without a mind is an idiot – a mere mockery of a man. And a mind without grace is wicked, for it is sadly perverted. Let us pray to the Lord that we may not be left without spiritual discernment. It is for this that the Psalmist prayed in verse 66, and here he pleads for it again; for there is no true knowing and keeping of the Commandments without it. Fools can sin, but only those who are taught by God can be holy. We often speak of “gifted persons”; but the person who has the best gifts is the one to whom God has given a sanctified understanding, wherewith he knows and prizes the ways of the Lord. Notice that David’s prayer for understanding is not for the sake of speculative knowledge, and the gratification of his curiosity; rather, he desires an enlightened judgment so that he may learn God’s Commandments, and become obedient and holy. This is the best learning! A man may abide in Christ’s College, where this science is taught, all his days – and yet cry out for ability to learn more! The commands of God are exceedingly wide, and so they give room for the most vigorous and instructed mind. In fact, by nature, no one has an understanding that is capable of compassing such a broad field – hence the prayer, “Give me understanding!” We can learn other things with the natural mind that we have; but God’s Law is so pure, so perfect, so spiritual, and so sublime, that we need to have our minds enlarged before we can become proficient in it. Here David appeals to his Maker to do this, as if he felt that no power short of that which made him could make him wise unto holiness. We need a new creation; and who can grant us that, except the Creator Himself? He Who made us to live must make us to learn; He Who gave us power to stand must give us grace to understand. Let each of us breathe to heaven the prayer of this verse, before we advance one step further; for even in the petitions of this Psalm, we shall be lost unless we pray our way through them, and cry to God for understanding!

O Lord, we acknowledge that, by nature, none of us have an understanding that is capable of understanding and obeying Your holy Commandments. In light of this, we beseech You earnestly to give us understanding! Amen.

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