PSALM 119:97-104: “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.”
OBSERVATION: What makes a man wise? What gives a man understanding? What helps a man avoid the pitfalls of temptation and sin? What gives a man spiritual discernment? The Psalmist declares – the Commandment of the Lord! The Psalmist is speaking of much more than the 10 Commandments. He is speaking of the revelation of God’s Word in its’ entirety. The list of its’ benefits is worthy to note.
“Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies.” What will act as a shield over both our hearts and a guard over our lips? God’s Word! The Psalmist says it makes him wiser than his enemies because it is – “…ever with me.” It is in his heart and his mouth. When pushed by those who oppose him, the Word of God comes to give him words of grace to speak, and raises up a shield to guard his heart from the fiery darts of the enemy. I believe this is what David had in mind when he prayed asking the Lord to put a guard over his mouth and to keep him from presumptuous sins.
“I have more understanding than all my teachers.” This may sound like a prideful statement. However, it is really a statement of humility. The Psalmists knows that understanding begins with the fear of the Lord, not the knowledge and wisdom of man. Therefore, he makes the commandments of the Lord his daily meditation. It is through the meditation of the Word of God that he develops the fear (reverence) of the Lord, that leads to the understanding of the Lord, the source of all knowledge and wisdom. If we look to human wisdom as the final source of knowledge and authority we will be greatly disappointed. True knowledge comes from the Creator of all things, from the Lord God Almighty!
“I understand more than the aged.” Again, this may sound like a prideful statement at first glance. Yet, it is an understanding and acknowledgment that understanding does not come simply from the number of years that have been lived. True understanding comes from both “hearing” and “doing” the commandments of the Lord. The Psalmist does not claim to simply possess this understanding. Rather, he gained it through abiding in the Word, meditating upon the Word, and acting on the Word (obedience). He says this is true – “…for I keep Your precepts.” Jesus affirmed this truth. He told His disciples – “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 ESV) To Jesus, abiding in the Word was more than mere meditation. It was both meditation and application!
Finally, the Psalmist list the benefits of a life that abides, meditates, and daily obeys the commandments of the Lord. “I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” It keeps us from the evil way. It keeps us on the pathway of life. It leads us to the green pastures of God’s Grace where we taste and experience the presence of the Lord. It gives us God’s perspective on life, which creates both a righteous hatred for that which is evil and destroys life, and a compassionate heart for the lost who desperately need the Gospel of Life!
Lord, this morning I stand in awe of Your Word! I humble myself before You and open my heart and mind to receive. May I abide in, meditate upon, and walk according to Your commandments today. I do not do this to earn my righteousness and standing before You, for this is only possible by grace through faith in my Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, I do this as a response of Your Grace working in me and through me. I do this as an act of worship and to be a light of Your Love and Grace! In Jesus Name!