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Your decrees are wonderful;

therefore my soul keeps them.


The unfolding of your words gives light;

it imparts understanding to the simple.


With open mouth I pant,

because I long for your commandments.


Turn to me and be gracious to me,

as is your custom toward those who love your name.


Keep my steps steady according to your promise,

and never let iniquity have dominion over me.

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17. PE.

129 Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

See here how David was affected towards the word of God. 1. He admired it, as most excellent in itself: Thy testimonies are wonderful. The word of God gives us admirable discoveries of God, and Christ, and another world; admirable proofs of divine love and grace. The majesty of the style, the purity of the matter, the harmony of the parts, are all wonderful. Its effects upon the consciences of men, both for conviction and comfort, are wonderful; and it is a sign that we are not acquainted with God's testimonies, or do not understand them, if we do not admire them. 2. He adhered to it as of constant use to him: "Therefore doth my soul keep them, as a treasure of inestimable value, which I cannot be without." We do not keep them to any purpose unless our souls keep them. There they must be deposited, as the tables of testimony in the ark, there they must have the innermost and uppermost place. Those that see God's word to be admirable will prize it highly and preserve it carefully, as that which they promise themselves great things from.

130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

Here is, 1. The great use for which the word of God was intended, to give light, that is, to give understanding, to give us to understand that which will be of use to us in our travels through this world; and it is the outward and ordinary means by which the Spirit of God enlightens the understanding of all that are sanctified. God's testimonies are not only wonderful for the greatness of them, but useful, as a light in a dark place. 2. Its efficacy for this purpose. It admirably answers the end; for, (1.) Even the entrance of God's word gives light. If we begin at the beginning, and take it before us, we shall find that the very first verses of the Bible give us surprising and yet satisfying discoveries of the origin of the universe, about which, without that, the world is utterly in the dark. As soon as the word of God enters into us, and has a place in us, it enlightens us; we find we begin to see when we begin to study the word of God. The very first principles of the oracles of God, the plainest truths, the milk appointed for the babes, bring a great light into the soul, much more will the soul be illuminated by the sublime mysteries that are found there. "The exposition or explication of thy word gives light;" then it is most profitable when ministers do their part in giving the sense, Neh. viii. 8. Some understand it of the New Testament, which is the opening or unfolding of the Old, which would give light concerning life and immortality. (2.) It would give understanding even to the simple, to the weakest capacities; for it shows us a way to heaven so plain that the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

131 I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.

Here is, 1. The desire David had towards the word of God: I longed for thy commandments. When he was under a forced absence from God's ordinances he longed to be restored to them again; when he enjoyed ordinances he greedily sucked in the word of God, as new-born babes desire the milk. When Christ is formed in the soul there are gracious longings, unaccountable to one that is a stranger to the work. 2. The degree of that desire appearing in the expressions of it: I opened my mouth and panted, as one overcome with hear, or almost stifled, pants for a mouthful of fresh air. Thus strong, thus earnest, should our desires be towards God and the remembrance of his name, Ps. xlii. 1, 2. Luke xii. 50.

132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.

Here is, 1. David's request for God's favour to himself: "Look graciously upon me; let me have thy smiles, and the light of thy countenance. Take cognizance of me and my affairs, and be merciful to me; let me taste the sweetness of thy mercy and receive the gifts of thy mercy." See how humble his petition is. He asks not for the operations of God's hand, only for the smiles of his face; a good look is enough; and for that he does not plead merit, but implores mercy. 2. His acknowledgment of his favour to all his people: As thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. This is either, (1.) A plea for mercy: "Lord, I am one of those that love thy name, love thee and thy word, and thou usest to be kind to those that do so; and wilt thou be worse to me than to others of thy people?" Or, (2.) A description of the favour and mercy he desired—"that which thou usest to bestow on those that love thy name, which thou bearest to thy chosen," Ps. cvi. 4, 5. He desires no more, no better, than neighbour's fare, and he will take up with no less; common looks and common mercies will not serve, but such as are reserved for those that love him, which are such as eye has not seen, 1 Cor. ii. 9. Note, The dealings of God with those that love him are such that a man needs not desire to be any better dealt with, for he will make them truly and eternally happy. And as long as God deals with us no otherwise than as he uses to deal with those that love him we have no reason to complain, 1 Cor. x. 13.

133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

Here David prays for two great spiritual blessings, and is, in this verse, as earnest for the good work of God in him as, in the verse before, for the good-will of God towards him. He prays, 1. For direction in the paths of duty: "Order my steps in thy word; having led me into the right way, let every step I take in that way be under the guidance of thy grace." We ought to walk by rule; all the motions of the soul must not only be kept within the bounds prescribed by the word, so as not to transgress them, but carried out in the paths prescribed by the word, so as not to trifle in them. And therefore we must beg of God that by his good Spirit he would order our steps accordingly. 2. For deliverance from the power of sin: "Let no iniquity have dominion over me, so as to gain my consent to it, and that I should be led captive by it." The dominion of sin is to be dreaded and deprecated by every one of us; and, if in sincerity we pray against it, we may receive that promise as an answer to the prayer (Rom. vi. 14), Sin shall not have dominion over you.