Psalm 119:47

And I will delight myself in thy commandments,
which I have loved.
~ Psalm 119:47

If we consider all the Psalms together, they run the gamut of expression. There are great depths of sorrow, misery, dryness and crumbling because of sin, confession, repentance, praise, God’s glory, and prophecy. It’s a pity these are not demotic, but perhaps that is why they are striking.

Verse 47 of this great Psalm has another expression of this sort. The Psalmist speaks of God’s commandments and speaks of delight and love. This expression is common throughout this Psalm (Psalm 119:47-48, 97, 127, 140, 167, 174).

The word for delight here is also used to speak of a child playing (Isaiah 11:8) and conveys the thought of seeking pleasure or enjoyment. The word for love is used to speak of a diversity of types of affection. So the Psalmist has great affection for the Word and seeks his delight in it. He has obviously made a high treasure of the Word and consequently his heart follows.

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Psalm 119:46

I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings,
and will not be ashamed.
~ Psalm 119:46

I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings

Testifying before kings is a weighty matter. It might seem the Psalmist is ambitious or eager to stand before kings but there might be other considerations. First, given the previous forty-five verses, he may simply be expressing that he is prepared to do so. He has been meditating on the Word of God, hiding it in his heart, being made to understand it, having his eyes opened by God, walking in the way, and finding delight in the Word. In other words, he has something to say if he is given the opportunity. Because of his desire and devotion to the Word, he is supplied with substance to speak.

The second consideration is that the Psalmist could be David and speaking to kings would then be to speak to his fellows. Here again he has been prepared to witness to his peers and has something of substance to say.

and will not be ashamed

To speak and not be ashamed requires at least two conditions. First, it requires a sufficient knowledge of the subject. If you endeavor to speak and then don’t know what you’re talking about, you are ashamed. Second, It requires consistency of profession and practice. If you are going to speak one thing and do another, you will be ashamed as a hypocrite.

The Psalmist’s trust in God and devotion to His Word has fitted him to speak that Word. He has been prepared to speak from the poor to the kings and being made to walk in God’s way means he will not be ashamed before men.

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Psalm 119:45

And I will walk at liberty:
for I seek thy precepts.
~ Psalm 119:45

Verse 45 is connected to verse 44 by the word and. The Psalmist joins the keeping of God’s law continually with walking at liberty. He also supports walking at liberty by seeking God’s precepts. He previously wrote of running the way of God’s commandments (Psalm 119:32).

To our modern mind, we associate law and precepts with restriction and confinement. The word for liberty in this verse means room in every direction. The allusion to running previously also conveys freedom. We could draw a few different implications but it will suffice to say that God’s precepts are for our good. God is not a joy-crusher but a joy-giver and there is glorious liberty in the way of God’s commandments.

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Psalm 119:44

So shall I keep thy law
continually for ever and ever.
~ Psalm 119:44

Verse 44 looks back to two requests the Psalmist has made (Psalm 119:41, 43). He hopes by grace and through innumerable mercies to keep God’s law. He prays and hope for perseverance, “continually for ever and ever.” He doesn’t want fits and starts but rather a steady progress over time.

Contrast this with many who are chasing that one event or one experience that will change everything. Precious few want to be as a tree planted by the rivers of water where they may continually drink and day-by-day grow until they come to full age where they stand tall and spread across the sky full of green leaves and fruit (Psalm 1:1-6).

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Psalm 119:43

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth;
for I have hoped in thy judgments.
~ Psalm 119:43

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth

Manner of life has been more prominent in this Psalm than matter of speech. Speech is important but it has to be prioritized. We can easily say one thing and do another, which is hypocrisy, and thereby nullify the words we speak in the minds of those who hear us. The psalmist previously expressed this principle in prayer (Psalm 119:27), where he understood “the way of thy precepts” to be before and foundational to talking “of thy wondrous works.”

This first phrase is a prayer to God for the word not to be taken from his mouth. The word can be forfeited through inconsistent walk of life but something more is behind these words. He prayed to God for His word not to be taken out of his mouth and the next phrase of the verse explains the impetus behind this prayer.

for I have hoped in thy judgments

The last phrase of this verse explains his dependence of God fulfilling His word. If he has spoken of the mighty promises of God and they fail, the word will be utterly taken out of his mouth. He prays for deliverance based on God’s word. He has declared the wondrous works of God, His judgments, and precepts. So He prays for God to fulfill that the spoken word will not fail.

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Psalm 119:42

So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me:
for I trust in thy word.

~ Psalm 119:42

So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me

The Psalmist furnishes further reason for the mercies of God to come to him, that he would have an answer to his enemies. God’s people are quickly reproached whenever their circumstances look grim. Let one of God’s people endure a visible trial and the gainsayers quickly line up to rain reproaches on his head.

The relief here sought is similar to David’s prayer in trials (Psalm 86:17; 35:1-4). It is actually a common prayer for God’s people (Psalm 31:17-18; 35:26; 40:14-15; 70:2-3; 71:24). So it is also a guide and comfort to us today when people mock and say, “Where is thy God?” (Psalm 42:3).

for I trust in thy word

This trust is had while he is yet awaiting God’s mercies. He is in the midst of trial and though he does not yet have answer for his enemies, his heart and hope are fixed. The pleader of God’s mercies does not doubt their arrival, it is only a matter of when. Here again he trusts in the word, for God’s mercies will come in His time (Galatians 1:15).

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Psalm 119:41

Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD,
even thy salvation,
according to thy word.

~ Psalm 119:41

Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD

A prayer for mercy is an acknowledgement of need. It is not the prayer of the proud or self-sufficient. He acknowledges that God’s mercies must come to him because he cannot go to them. It is a prayer for preservation for by God’s mercies we are not consumed and daily there is a fresh supply (Lamentations 3:22-23). He seeks it like his daily bread.

even thy salvation, according to thy word.

Salvation is the chief of God’s mercies. It is a rescue, a deliverance. It refers to these in both temporary, physical ways and in the ultimate, spiritual way. It is a prayer to be delivered from temptation and every evil snare.

He prays best who lays hold of God’s word to pray. Prayer is mighty effectual when we plead God’s own writ promises before His throne. Let us never forget that throne is a throne of grace where we obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

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Psalm 119:40

Behold, I have longed after thy precepts:
quicken me in thy righteousness.

~ Psalm 119:40

Behold, I have longed after thy precepts

Desire for God’s Word has been expressed in terms of God’s word, judgments, commandments, precepts, way, and testimonies. Taken together these express a longing for the entire Word of God. His desire is for every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

The godly do not find God’s commandments grievous (1 John 5:3), but rather delight in them (Psalm 1:2). While unbelievers may cherry-pick some sweet expression of love from the Bible and think it beautiful, they despise God’s judgment and wrath. Greedy unbelievers will misinterpret the Proverbs and think they teach how to get rich, but they will all the while despise the true wisdom of God. The heart of the godly is truly manifest in the hunger and desire for all of God’s Word.

quicken me in thy righteousness

This is the final plea of this stanza and it is a renewed request for life. He seeks to be enlivened by the Word that he might keep it, walk in it, and do it. His aforementioned longing is not satisfied in hearing only (James 1:22).

The Psalmist frequently prays for life in this Psalm. He is seeking the vital energy to walk in God’s ways. It is an humble admission that we so often lack the power in ourselves to perform what we want and know to be right (Romans 7:18). It is only by continual reliance upon and renewal in the Spirit that we can walk after the Spirit (Romans 8:5, 13).

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Psalm 119:39

Turn away my reproach which I fear:
for thy judgments are good.
~ Psalm 119:39

Turn away my reproach which I fear

When there is any cause for legitimate reproach in a believer’s life, it discredits God and the Word. The testimony of our mouth is only so much hot air when the walk of our life discords with it.

We are blessed when we are reproached for righteousness’ sake (1 Peter 3:14). We are blessed when we are reproached for the name of Christ (1 Peter 4:14). However, we are brought to shame when we are reproached as a thief, liar, or gossip (1 Peter 4:15).

The Psalmist’s prayer is to be turned from shameful reproach. He doesn’t want a profession-practice dissonance to be the source of God, Christ, the Word, or the faith being blasphemed.

for thy judgments are good

The world continually criticizes the Bible and charges that it is not good. It is scoffed, mocked, scorned, slandered, and disbelieved in every age. But the Word of God is eternally settled (Psalm 119:89) and cannot be removed. It will stand and all things in it shall come to pass (Matthew 5:18).

Regardless of man’s accusations, the Word is good, holy, and pure (Proverbs 30:5). The goodness of God’s word is the basis for the Psalmist’s prayer. His heart-desire is for a life that will shine a light and will reflect the goodness of God.

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