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Your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light to my path.


I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,

to observe your righteous ordinances.


I am severely afflicted;

give me life, O Lord, according to your word.


Accept my offerings of praise, O Lord,

and teach me your ordinances.


I hold my life in my hand continually,

but I do not forget your law.


The wicked have laid a snare for me,

but I do not stray from your precepts.


Your decrees are my heritage forever;

they are the joy of my heart.


I incline my heart to perform your statutes

forever, to the end.


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14. NUN.

105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Observe here, 1. The nature of the word of God, and the great intention of giving it to the world; it is a lamp and a light. It discovers to us, concerning God and ourselves, that which otherwise we could not have known; it shows us what is amiss, and will be dangerous; it directs us in our work and way, and a dark place indeed the world would be without it. It is a lamp which we may set up by us, and take into our hands for our own particular use, Prov. vi. 23. The commandment is a lamp kept burning with the oil of the Spirit; it is like the lamps in the sanctuary, and the pillar of fire to Israel. 2. The use we should make of it. It must be not only a light to out eyes, to gratify them, and fill our heads with speculations, but a light to our feet and to our path, to direct us in the right ordering of our conversation, both in the choice of our way in general and in the particular steps we take in that way, that we may not take a false way nor a false step in the right way. We are then truly sensible of God's goodness to us in giving us such a lamp and light when we make it a guide to our feet, our path.

106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

Here is, 1. The notion David had of religion; it is keeping God's righteous judgments. God's commands are his judgments, the dictates of infinite wisdom. They are righteous judgments, consonant to the eternal rules of equity, and it is our duty to keep them carefully. 2. The obligation he here laid upon himself to be religious, binding himself, by his own promise, to that which he was already bound to by the divine precept, and all little enough. "I have sworn (I have lifted up my head to the Lord, and I cannot go back) and therefore must go forward: I will perform it." Note, (1.) It is good for us to bind ourselves with a solemn oath to be religious. We must swear to the Lord as subjects swear allegiance to their sovereign, promising fealty, appealing to God concerning our sincerity in this promise, and owning ourselves liable to the curse of we do not perform it. (2.) We must often call to mind the vows of God that are upon us, and remember that we have sworn. (3.) We must make conscience of performing unto the Lord our oaths (an honest man will be as good as his word); nor have we sworn to our own hurt, but it will be unspeakably to our hurt if we do not perform.

107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word.

Here is, 1. The representation David makes of the sorrowful condition he was in: I am afflicted very much, afflicted in spirit; he seems to mean that especially. He laboured under many discouragements; without were fightings, within were fears. This is often the lot of the best saints; therefore think it not strange if sometimes it be ours. 2. The recourse he has to God in this condition; he prays for his grace: "Quicken me, O Lord! make me lively, make me cheerful; quicken me by afflictions to greater diligence in my work. Quicken me, that is, deliver me out of my afflictions, which will be as life from the dead." He pleads the promise of God, guides his desires by it, and grounds his hopes upon it: Quicken me according to thy word. David resolved to perform his promises to God (v. 106) and therefore could, with humble boldness, beg of God to make good his word to him.

108 Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me thy judgments.

Two things we are here taught to pray for, in reference to our religious performances:—1. Acceptance of them. This we must aim at in all we do in religion, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of the Lord. What David here earnestly prays for the acceptance of are the free-will-offerings, not of his purse, but of his mouth, his prayers and praises. The calves of our lips (Hos. xiv. 2), the fruit of our lips (Heb. i. 15), these are the spiritual offerings which all Christians, as spiritual priests, must offer to God; and they must be free-will-offerings, for we must offer them abundantly and cheerfully, and it is this willing mind that is accepted. The more there is of freeness and willingness in the service of God the more pleasing it is to him. 2. Assistance in them: Teach me thy judgments. We cannot offer any thing to God which we have reason to think he will accept of, but what he is pleased to instruct us in the doing of; and we must be as earnest for the grace of God in us as for the favour of God towards us.

109 My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.   110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

Here is, 1. David in danger of losing his life. There is but a step between him and death, for the wicked have laid a snare for him; Saul did so many a time, because he hated him for his piety. Wherever he was he found some design or other laid against him to take away his life, for it was that they aimed at. What they could not effect by open force they hoped to compass by treachery, which made him say, My soul is continually in my hand. It was so with him, not only as a man (so it is true of us all; wherever we are we lie exposed to the strokes of death; what we carry in our hands is easily snatched away from us by violence, or if sandy, as our life is, it easily of itself slips through our fingers), but as a man of war, a soldier, who often jeoparded his life in the high places of the field, and especially as a man after God's own heart, and, as such, hated and persecuted, and always delivered to death (2 Cor. iv. 11), killed all the day long. 2. David in no danger of losing his religion, notwithstanding this, thus in jeopardy every hour and yet constant to God and his duty. None of these things move him; for, (1.) He does not forget the law, and therefore he is likely to persevere. In the multitude of his cares for his own safety he finds room in his head and heart for the word of God, and has that in his mind as fresh as ever; and where that dwells richly it will be a well of living water. (2.) He has not yet erred from God's precepts, and therefore it is to be hoped he will not. He had stood many a shock and kept his ground, and surely that grace which had helped him hitherto would not fail him, but would still prevent his wanderings.

111 Thy testimonies have I taken as a heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.   112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

The psalmist here in a most affectionate manner, like an Israelite indeed, resolves to stick to the word of God and to live and die by it.

I. He resolves to portion himself in it, and there to seek his happiness, nay, there to enjoy it; "Thy testimonies (the truths, the promises, of thy word) have I taken as a heritage for ever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart." The present delight he took in them was an evidence that the good things contained in them were in his account the best things, and the treasure which he set his heart upon. 1. He expected an eternal happiness in God's testimonies. The covenant God had made with him was an everlasting covenant, and therefore he took it as a heritage for ever. If he could not yet say, "They are my heritage," yet he could say, "I have made choice of them for my heritage; and will never take up with a portion in this life," Ps. xvii. 14, 15. God's testimonies are a heritage to all that have received the Spirit of adoption; for, if children, then heirs. They are a heritage for ever, and that no earthly heritage is (1 Pet. i. 4); all the saints accept them as such, take up with them, live upon them, and can therefore be content with but little of this world. 2. He enjoyed a present satisfaction in them: They are the rejoicing of my heart, because they will be my heritage for ever. It requires the heart of a good man to see his portion in the promise of God and not in the possessions of this world.

II. He resolves to govern himself by it and thence to take his measures: I have inclined my heart to do thy statutes. Those that would have the blessings of God's testimonies must come under the bonds of his statutes. We must look for comfort only in the way of duty, and that duty must be done, 1. With full consent and complacency: "I have, by the grace of God, inclined my heart to it, and conquered the aversion I had to it." A good man brings his heart to his work and then it is done well. A gracious disposition to do the will of God is the acceptable principle of all obedience. 2. With constancy and perseverance. He would perform God's statutes always, in all instances, in the duty of every day, in a constant course of holy walking, and this to the end, without weariness. This is following the Lord fully.