God’s Gracious Word

Psalm 119:41-48
Let Your mercies come also to me,
O LORD –
Your salvation according to Your word.
So shall I have an answer for him
who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.
And take not the word of truth
utterly out of my mouth,
For I have hoped in Your ordinances.
So shall I keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.
I will speak of Your testimonies
also before kings,
And will not be ashamed.
And I will delight myself in
Your commandments, which I love.
My hands also I will lift up to
Your commandments, which I love,
And I will meditate on Your statutes.

If I am honest with myself and others, I must confess that I am a terrible sinner, perhaps the worst of all sinners, although that is admittedly difficult to judge. As a result, it is very easy for almost anyone to find fault with me if they so choose, but the 6th stanza of Psalm 119 offers a response to those who would impugn the character and sincerity of any true believer. I can, without denying or minimizing the gravity of m sin, say with the Psalmist that I have experienced God’s mercy in salvation according to His word.

My only hope is in God’s faithfulness to keep His word, and all who live without the knowledge of God’s truth remain destitute of such hope. As we live in a biblically illiterate culture, despair abounds and hope is hard to find, but for those of us who have received the merciful hope of God in salvation as revealed in His word, we have the opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of knowing God’s truth to those who are looking for hope. This is not to say that we can keep God’s law apart from His grace, but as God enables us to retain the truth, we ought to live according to it.

In the last five verses of this stanza, the Psalmist makes five declarations of his intent with respect to God’s word. I will keep God’s law as much as God enables me to retain even the slightest hold on the truth (v.44). We must recognize that it is beyond our power to faithfully keep our commitment to the Lord, but it is His faithfulness that enables us to keep his law forever. I will walk with great freedom, literally, “in a wide place,” having been freed from the bonds of sin (v.45). Scripture encourages us to consider ourselves dead to sin, but alive unto Christ whose Spirit lives within, freeing us to walk worthy of our calling in the Lord. I will speak boldly of God’s word without regard for the rank or power of those who would hear me (v.46). When we have confidence in the absolute truth of God’s word, we can speak boldly without fear of shame before a skeptical world. I will love God’s word, delighting in the content of the word, the liberty obtained by the word, and God’s grace in giving me His word (v.47). Not only do we learn about God’s grace from His word, we experience His grace when we, though undeserving, receive His word. I will lift up my hands to God’s word, both in praise for it and with a heart yearning to keep it (v.48). As those who have tasted God’s goodness, we ought to make much of His word and gladly display our love and dedication to it.

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