Psalm 119:1-8

  1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
    1. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
    2. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
    3. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
    4. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
    5. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
    6. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
    7. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

These first eight verses are taken up with a contemplation of the blessedness which comes through keeping the statutes of the Lord. The subject is treated in a devout manner rather than in a didactic style. Heart-fellowship with God is enjoyed through a love of that word which is God’s way of communing with the soul by his Holy Spirit. Prayer and praise and all sorts of devotional acts and feelings gleam through these verses like beams of sunlight through an olive grove. You are not only instructed, but influenced to holy emotion, and helped to express the same.

Lovers of God’s Holy Word are blessed, because they are preserved from defilement (verse 1), because they are made practically holy (verses 2 and 3), and are led to follow after God sincerely and intensely (verse 2). It is made clear that holy walking must be desirable, because God commands it (verse 4); therefore the pious soul prays for it (verse 5), and feels that its comfort and courage must depend upon obtaining it (verse 6). In the prospect of answered prayer, yea, while the prayer is being answered, the heart is full of thankfulness (verse 7), and is fixed in solemn resolve not to miss the blessing if the Lord will give enabling grace (verse 8).

The changes are rung upon the words “way”—“undefiled in the way,” “walk in his ways,” “O that my ways were directed”: “keep”—“keep his testimonies,” “keep thy precepts diligently,” “directed to keep,” “I will keep”: and “walk”—“walk in the law,” “walk in his ways.” Yet there is no tautology; nor is the same thought repeated, though to the careless reader it may seem so.

The change from statements about others and about the Lord to more personal dealing with God begins in the fourth verse, and becomes more clear as we advance, till in the later verses the communion becomes most intense and soul moving. “I will praise thee. I will keep thy statutes. O forsake me not utterly.” O that every reader may feel the glow of personal devotion while studying this first section of the psalm!

Charles Spurgeon

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

%d bloggers like this: