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Your Word Is a Lamp to My Feet

Aleph

111This psalm is an acrostic poem of twenty-two stanzas, following the letters of the Hebrew alphabet; within a stanza, each verse begins with the same Hebrew letter Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
2Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
3who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
4You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
5Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
6Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.22Or your just and righteous decrees; also verses 62, 106, 160, 164
8I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!

Beth

9How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13With my lips I declare
all the rules33Or all the just decrees of your mouth.
14In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

Gimel

17Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
18Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
19I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
20My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules44Or your just decrees; also verses 30, 39, 43, 52, 75, 102, 108, 137, 156, 175 at all times.
21You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
22Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.
23Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.

Daleth

25My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
26When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
27Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
29Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
30I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
31I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
32I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!55Or for you set my heart free

He

33Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.66Or keep it as my reward
34Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
38Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
39Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
40Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!

Waw

41Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

Zayin

49Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
50This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.
51The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.
52When I think of your rules from of old,
I take comfort, O Lord.
53Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
who forsake your law.
54Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning.
55I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
and keep your law.
56This blessing has fallen to me,
that I have kept your precepts.

Heth

57The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
58I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
61Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
62At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
63I am a companion of all who fear you,
of those who keep your precepts.
64The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!

Teth

65You have dealt well with your servant,
O Lord, according to your word.
66Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
67Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
68You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes.
69The insolent smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
70their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in your law.
71It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
72The law of your mouth is better to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Yodh

73Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
77Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.
80May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame!

Kaph

81My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84How long must your servant endure?77Hebrew How many are the days of your servant?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
85The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.
86All your commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88In your steadfast love give me life,
that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

Lamedh

89Forever, O Lord, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
92If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
94I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
95The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
96I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Mem

97Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100I understand more than the aged,88Or the elders
for I keep your precepts.
101I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
103How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

Nun

105Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
107I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
108Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.
109I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
110The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
111Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
112I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.99Or statutes; the reward is eternal

Samekh

113I hate the double-minded,
but I love your law.
114You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.
115Depart from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for your statutes continually!
118You spurn all who go astray from your statutes,
for their cunning is in vain.
119All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross,
therefore I love your testimonies.
120My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgments.

Ayin

121I have done what is just and right;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
122Give your servant a pledge of good;
let not the insolent oppress me.
123My eyes long for your salvation
and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
124Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
and teach me your statutes.
125I am your servant; give me understanding,
that I may know your testimonies!
126It is time for the Lord to act,
for your law has been broken.
127Therefore I love your commandments
above gold, above fine gold.
128Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
I hate every false way.

Pe

129Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
130The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
131I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.
132Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
133Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
134Redeem me from man's oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
135Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
136My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.

Tsadhe

137Righteous are you, O Lord,
and right are your rules.
138You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness
and in all faithfulness.
139My zeal consumes me,
because my foes forget your words.
140Your promise is well tried,
and your servant loves it.
141I am small and despised,
yet I do not forget your precepts.
142Your righteousness is righteous forever,
and your law is true.
143Trouble and anguish have found me out,
but your commandments are my delight.
144Your testimonies are righteous forever;
give me understanding that I may live.

Qoph

145With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep your statutes.
146I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
147I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
148My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
149Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
150They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
they are far from your law.
151But you are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are true.
152Long have I known from your testimonies
that you have founded them forever.

Resh

153Look on my affliction and deliver me,
for I do not forget your law.
154Plead my cause and redeem me;
give me life according to your promise!
155Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek your statutes.
156Great is your mercy, O Lord;
give me life according to your rules.
157Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
but I do not swerve from your testimonies.
158I look at the faithless with disgust,
because they do not keep your commands.
159Consider how I love your precepts!
Give me life according to your steadfast love.
160The sum of your word is truth,
and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

Sin and Shin

161Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
163I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
164Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
165Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
166I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I do your commandments.
167My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
168I keep your precepts and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.

Taw

169Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word!
170Let my plea come before you;
deliver me according to your word.
171My lips will pour forth praise,
for you teach me your statutes.
172My tongue will sing of your word,
for all your commandments are right.
173Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
175Let my soul live and praise you,
and let your rules help me.
176I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.


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21. SCHIN.

161 Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

David here lets us know, 1. How he was discouraged in his duty by the fear of man: Princes persecuted him. They looked upon him as a traitor and an enemy to the government, and under that notion sought his life, and bade him go serve other gods, 1 Sam. xxvi. 19. It has been the common lot of the best men to be persecuted; and the case is the worse if princes be the persecutors, for they have not only the sword in their hand, and therefore can do the more hurt, but they have the law on their side, and can do it with reputation and a colour of justice. It is sad that the power which magistrates have from God, and should use for him, should ever be employed against him. But marvel not at the matter, Eccl. v. 8. It was a comfort to David that when princes persecuted him he could truly say it was without cause, he never gave them any provocation. 2. How he was kept to his duty, notwithstanding, by the fear of God: "They would make me stand in awe of them and their word, and do as they bid me; but my heart stands in awe of thy word, and I am resolved to please God, and keep in with him, whoever is displeased and falls out with me." Every gracious soul stands in awe of the word of God, of the authority of its precepts and the terror of its threatenings; and to those that do so nothing appears, in the power and wrath of man, at all formidable. We ought to obey God rather than men, and to make sure of God's favour, though we throw ourselves under the frowns of all the world, Luke xii. 4, 5. The heart that stands in awe of God's word is armed against the temptations that arise from persecution.

162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

Here is, 1. The pleasure David took in the word of God. He rejoiced at it, rejoiced that God had made such a discovery of his mind, that Israel was blessed with that light when other nations sat in darkness, that he was himself let into the understanding of it and had had experience of the power of it. He took a pleasure in reading it, hearing it, and meditating on it, and every thing he met with in it was agreeable to him. He had just now said that his heart stood in awe of his word, and yet here he declares that he rejoiced in it. The more reverence we have for the word of God the more joy we shall find in it. 2. The degree of that pleasure—as one that finds great spoil. This supposes a victory over the enemy. It is through much opposition that a soul comes to this, to rejoice in God's word. But, besides the pleasure and honour of a conquest, there is great advantage gained by the plunder of the field, which adds much to the joy. By the word of God we become more than conquerors, that is, unspeakable gainers.

163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

Love and hatred are the leading affections of the soul; if those be fixed aright, the rest move accordingly. Here we have them fixed aright in David. 1. He had a rooted antipathy to sin; he could not endure to think of it: I hate and abhor lying, which may be taken for all sin, inasmuch as by it we deal treacherously and perfidiously with God and put a cheat upon ourselves. Hypocrisy is lying; false doctrine is lying; breach of faith is lying. Lying, in commerce or conversation, is a sin which every good man hates and abhors, hates and doubly hates, because of the seven things which the Lord hates one is a lying tongue and another is a false witness that speaks lies, Prov. vi. 16. Every man hates to have a lie told him; but we should more hate telling a lie because by the former we only receive an affront from men, by the latter we give an affront to God. 2. He had a rooted affection to the word of God: Thy law do I love. And therefore he abhorred lying, for lying is contrary to the whole law of God; and the reason why he loved the law of God was because of the truth of it. The more we see of the amiable beauty of truth the more we shall see of the detestable deformity of a lie.

164 Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

David, in this psalm, is full of complaints, yet those did neither jostle out his praises nor put him out of tune for them; whatever condition a child of God is in he does not want matter for praise and therefore should not want a heart. See here, 1. How often David praised God—Seven times a day, that is, very frequently, not only every day, but often every day. Many think that once a week will serve, or once or twice a day, but David would praise God seven times a day at least. Praising God is a duty which we should very much abound in. We must praise God at every meal, praise him upon all occasions, in every thing give thanks. We should praise God seven times a day, for the subject can never be exhausted and our affections should never be tired. See v. 62. 2. What he praised God for—because of thy righteous judgments. We must praise God for his precepts, which are all just and good, for his promises and threatenings and the performance of both in his providence. We are to praise God even for our afflictions, if through grace we get good by them.

165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Here is an account of the happiness of good men, who are governed by a principle of love to the word of God, who make it their rule and are ruled by it. 2. They are easy, and have a holy serenity; none enjoy themselves more than they do: Great peace have those that love thy law, abundant satisfaction in doing their duty and pleasure in reflecting upon it. The work of righteousness is peace (Isa. xxxii. 17), such peace as the world can neither give nor take away. They may be in great troubles without and yet enjoy great peace within, sat lucis intus—abundance of internal light. Those that love the world have great vexation, for it does not answer their expectation; those that love God's word have great peace, for it outdoes their expectation, and in it they have sure footing. 2. They are safe, and have a holy security: Nothing shall offend them; nothing shall be a scandal, snare, or stumbling-block, to them, to entangle them either in guilt or grief. No event of providence shall be either an invincible temptation or an intolerable affliction to them, but their love to the word of God shall enable them both to hold fast their integrity and to preserve their tranquility. They will make the best of that which is, and not quarrel with any thing that God does. Nothing shall offend or hurt them, for every thing shall work for good to them, and therefore shall please them, and they shall reconcile themselves to it. Those in whom this holy love reigns will not be apt to perplex themselves with needless scruples, nor to take offence at their brethren, 1 Cor. xiii. 6, 7.

166 Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

Here is the whole duty of man; for we are taught, 1. To keep our eye upon God's favour as our end: "Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation, not only temporal but eternal salvation. I have hoped for that as my happiness and laid up my treasure in it; I have hoped for it as thine, as a happiness of thy preparing, thy promising, and which consists in being with thee. Hope of this has raised me above the world, and borne me up under all my burdens in it." 2. To keep our eye upon God's word as our rule: I have done thy commandments, that is, I have made conscience of conforming myself to thy will in every thing. Observe here how God has joined these two together, and let no man put them asunder. We cannot, upon good grounds, hope for God's salvation, unless we set ourselves to do his commandments, Rev. xxii. 14. But those that sincerely endeavour to do his commandments ought to keep up a good hope of the salvation; and that hope will both engage and enlarge the heart in doing the commandments. The more lively the hope is the more lively the obedience will be.

167 My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.   168 I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.

David's conscience here witnesses for him,

I. That his practices were good. 1. He loved God's testimonies, he loved them exceedingly. Our love to the word of God must be a superlative love (we must love it better than the wealth and pleasure of this world), and it must be a victorious love, such as will subdue and mortify our lusts and extirpate carnal affections. 2. He kept them, his soul kept them. Bodily exercise profits little in religion; we must make heart-work of it or we make nothing of it. The soul must be sanctified and renewed, and delivered into the mould of the word; the soul must be employed in glorifying God, for he will be worshipped in the spirit. We must keep both the precepts and the testimonies, the commands of God by our obedience to them and his promises by our reliance on them.

II. That he was governed herein by a good principle: "Therefore I have kept thy precepts, because by faith I have seen thy eye always upon me; all my ways are before thee; thou knowest every step I take and strictly observest all I say and do. Thou dost see and accept all that I say and do well; thou dost see and art displeased with all I say and do amiss." Note, The consideration of this, that God's eye is upon us at all times, should make us very careful in every thing to keep his commandments, Gen. xvii. 1.

22. TAU.

169 Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word.   170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.

Here we have, I. A general petition for audience repeated: Let my cry come near before thee; and again, Let my supplication come before thee. He calls his prayer his cry, which denotes the fervency and vehemence of it, and his supplication, which denotes the humility of it. We must come to God as beggars come to our doors for an alms. He is concerned that his prayer might come before God, might come near before him, that is, that he might have grace and strength by faith and fervency to lift up his prayers, that no guilt might interpose to shut out his prayers and to separate between him and God, and that God would graciously receive his prayers and take notice of them. His prayer that his supplication might come before God implied a deep sense of his unworthiness, and a holy fear that his prayer should come short or miscarry, as not fit to come before God; nor would any of out prayers have had access to God if Jesus Christ had not approached to him as an advocate for us.

II. Two particular requests, which he is thus earnest to present:—1. That God, by his grace, would give him wisdom to conduct himself well under his troubles: Give me understanding; he means that wisdom of the prudent which is to understand his way; "Give me to know thee and myself, and my duty to thee." 2. That God, by his providence, would rescue him out of his troubles: Deliver me, that is, with the temptation make a way to escape, 1 Cor. x. 13.

III. The same general plea to enforce these requests—according to thy word. This directs and limits his desires: "Lord, give me such an understanding as thou hast promised and such a deliverance as thou hast promised; I ask for no other." It also encourages his faith and expectation: "Lord, that which I pray for is what thou hast promised, and wilt not thou be as good as thy word?"

171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.

Here is, 1. A great favour which David expects from God, that he will teach him his statutes. This he had often prayed for in this psalm, and urged his petition for it with various arguments; and now that he is drawing towards the close of the psalm he speaks of it as taken for granted. Those that are humbly earnest with God for his grace, and resolve with Jacob that they will not let him go unless he bless them with spiritual blessings, may be humbly confident that they shall at length obtain what they are so importunate for. The God of Israel will grant them those things which they request of him. 2. The grateful sense he promises to have of that favour: My lips shall utter praise when thou hast taught me. (1.) Then he shall have cause to praise God. Those that are taught of God have a great deal of reason to be thankful, for this is the foundation of all these spiritual blessings, which are the best blessings, and the earnest of eternal blessings. (2.) Then he shall know how to praise God, and have a heart to do it. All that are taught of God are taught this lesson; when God opens the understanding, opens the heart, and so opens the lips, it is that the mouth may show forth his praise. We have learned nothing to purpose if we have not learned to praise God. (3.) Therefore he is thus importunate for divine instructions, that he might praise God. Those that pray for God's grace must aim at God's glory, Eph. i. 12.

172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.

Observe here, 1. The good knowledge David had of the word of God; he knew it so well that he was ready to own, with the utmost satisfaction, that all God's commandments are not only righteous, but righteousness itself, the rule and standard of righteousness. 2. The good use he resolved to make of that knowledge: My tongue shall speak of thy word, not only utter praise for it to the glory of God, but discourse of it for the instruction and edification of others, as that which he himself was full of (for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak) and as that which he desired others also might be filled with. The more we see of the righteousness of God's commandments the more industrious we should be to bring others acquainted with them, that they may be ruled by them. We should always make the word of God the governor of our discourse, so as never to transgress it by sinful speaking or sinful silence; and we should often make it the subject-matter of our discourse, that it may feed many and minister grace to the hearers.

173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.   174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight.

Here, 1. David prays that divine grace would work for him: Let thy hand help me. He finds his own hands are not sufficient for him, nor can any creature lend him a helping hand to any purpose; therefore he looks up to God in hopes that the hand that had made him would help him; for, if the Lord do not help us, whence can any creature help us? All our help must be expected from God's hand, from his power and his bounty. 2. He pleads what divine grace had already wrought in him as a pledge of further mercy, being a qualification for it. Three things he pleads:—(1.) That he had made religion his serious and deliberate choice: "I have chosen thy precepts. I took them for my rule, not because I knew no other, but because, upon trial, I knew no better." Those are good, and do good indeed, who are good and do good, not by chance, but from choice; and those who have thus chosen God's precepts may depend upon God's helping hand in all their services and under all their sufferings. (2.) That his heart was upon heaven: I have longed for thy salvation. David, when he had got to the throne, met with enough in the world to court his stay, and to make him say, "It is good to be here;" but still he was looking further, and longing for something better in another world. There is an eternal salvation which all the saints are longing for, and therefore pray that God's hand would help them forward in their way to it. (3.) That he took pleasure in doing his duty: "Thy law is my delight. Not only I delight in it, but it is my delight, the greatest delight I have in this world." Those that are cheerful in their obedience may in faith beg help of God to carry them on in their obedience; and those that expect God's salvation must take delight in his law and their hopes must increase their delight.

175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.

David's heart is still upon praising God; and therefore, 1. He prays that God would give him time to praise him: "Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee, that is, let my life be prolonged, that I may live to thy glory." The reason why a good man desires to live is that he may praise God in the land of the living, and do something to his honour. Not, "Let me live and serve my country, live and provide for my family;" but, "Let me live that, in doing this, I may praise God here in this world of conflict and opposition." When we die we hope to go to a better world to praise him, and that is more agreeable for us, though here there is more need of us. And therefore one would not desire to live any longer than we may do God some service here. Let my soul live, that is, let me be sanctified and comforted, for sanctification and comfort are the life of the soul, and then it shall praise thee. Our souls must be employed in praising God, and we must pray for grace and peace that we may be fitted to praise God. 2. He prays that God would give him strength to praise him: "Let thy judgments help me; let all ordinances and all providences" (both are God's judgments) "further me in glorifying God; let them be the matter of my praise and let them help to fit me for that work."

176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

Here is, 1. A penitent confession: I have gone astray, or wander up and down, like a lost sheep. As unconverted sinners are like lost sheep (Luke xv. 4), so weak unsteady saints are like lost sheep, Matt. xviii. 12, 13. We are apt to wander like sheep, and very unapt, when we have gone astray, to find the way again. By going astray we lose the comfort of the green pastures and expose ourselves to a thousand mischiefs. 2. A believing petition: Seek thy servant, as the good shepherd seeks a wandering sheep to bring it back again, Ezek. xxxiv. 12. "Lord, seek me, as I used to seek my sheep when they went astray;" for David had been himself a tender shepherd. "Lord, own me for one of thine; for, though I am a stray sheep, I have thy mark; concern thyself for me, send after me by the word, and conscience, and providences; bring me back by thy grace." Seek me, that is, find me; for God never seeks in vain. Turn me, and I shall be turned. 3. An obedient plea: "Though I have gone astray, yet I have not wickedly departed, I do not forget thy commandments." Thus he concludes the psalm with a penitent sense of his own sin and believing dependence on God's grace. With these a devout Christian will conclude his duties, will conclude his life; he will live and die repenting and praying. Observe here, (1.) It is the character of good people that they do not forget God's commandments, being well pleased with their convictions and well settled in their resolutions. (2.) Even those who, through grace, are mindful of their duty, cannot but own that they have in many instances wandered from it. (3.) Those that have wandered from their duty, if they continue mindful of it, may with a humble confidence commit themselves to the care of God's grace.




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