“My soul cleaveth unto the dust:
Quicken thou me according to thy word.”
So too does the Psalmist refer to his lot in this world, elsewhere he speaks to his lot as that of a worm and no man (Ps 22:6), he knows the Lords words to Adam as, from dust he came and to dust will he go (Ps 104:29, see also Eccl 3:20), of Paul the apostle who speaks of his lot as nothing but wretched (Rom 7:24). This is that which all those born of God now see themselves. Far from thinking themselves ‘holier than thou’, no, they think rightly, that they are dust.
It is true we never see the sweet Psalmist of Israel speak of himself more highly than he ought to think. He knows his low estate, even more low when he compares himself to the Lord. Without the Lord he is but a dead man.
But life is what he desires, “Quicken thou me” make me alive, though my soul cleaves to the dust, yet you can make me to live, you add value, let it be done “according to thy word”. We are reminded that the words he speaks to us are indeed life (John 6:63), our life in him.
“I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me:
Teach me thy statutes”
As with the last verse the psalmist has declared his ways, he spoke and made clear that his soul cleaves to the dust, that his soul breaks for its longing of the word of God, that his eyes are blind to the wondrous things of the law. Many more we’ll see are the declarations of the ways of the Psalmist.
Like each of us he is imperfect, like many of us he has declared his ways to the Lord and the Lord heard him, but unlike many of us the Psalmist desires nothing more than to be taught the statutes of the Lord. It is his highest goal, his greatest desire, it is the true longing of his life to know the word of God, why?
Because it is through the Word of God that he comes to know his Saviour (2 Sam 22:3), through scripture that he comes to greater understanding than his teachers (Ps 119:99), through the Bible that he is changed and perfected (2 Tim 3:16-17), finally it is through the statutes of God that he is transformed into his likeness (Ps 17:15).
“Make me to understand the way of thy precepts:
So shall I talk of thy wondrous works.”
What blessed truth this is; it is not the Church, it is not a School and neither is it any man through whom we gain understanding of the Scriptures, it is none other than through the very author himself that we gain understanding; “make me to understand thy precepts”. What marvelous wonder this is, to think that we do not need the great expense of the ‘best’ Colleges, nor to seek out the greatest and most popular pastor to make us understand the precepts of the Lord. And why should we cow down to such meager teachers as these, when we have the Lord of glory as our master and his spirit as our illuminator?
How many are the passages that confirm this wonderful truth? The spirit within is our teacher (John 14:26), the Lord himself will teach his ways (Ps 25:8-9, Isa 54:13), God the father is he who provides wisdom and understanding, even in the hope of our calling (Eph 1:17-18).
But let’s not think this is all for naught, for our understanding compels us to joyfully speak of his wondrous works.
“My soul melteth for heaviness:
Strengthen thou me according unto thy word.”
Deep gowning’s, heaviness of heart and heaviness of soul, it’s in these times that believers wonder from where their joy and hope is to come. Set free from sin, heaven to gain, Christ within and the very God to inherit and we ask and wonder why our soul is so heavy it “cleaveth unto to the dust” (v25)?
There are times when we can understand such heaviness of soul. A burden without, an event that struck our hearts tearing away our joy. There are times also when it is sin within, when the acts of our flesh do not correspond with the nature of that temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor 6:19) and we grieve him (Eph 4:30).
But there are times of heaviness that we don’t know from whence it came, we can’t tell its origin, but we just feel so incredibly sad and our souls melt for heaviness. It is during these times we cast ourselves onto the words of God, remembering our Lord is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isa 53:3), and we will be like him (1 John 3:2).
“Remove from me the way of lying:
And grant me thy law graciously.”
To separate verse 29 from verses 30 and 32 may be somewhat of a fool’s errand to attempt. The exposition therefore must be in agreement and contextual ascent to those verses, as they give the complete thought of the passage.
To the one this verse is in opposition, “I have chosen the way of truth”, and to the last it stands in juxtaposition, “I will run the way of thy commandments”.
The first is that prayer that can only be attended to by the Lord, and is followed quickly by the choice we make to that which is right, the way of truth. And it’s given direction by the third, where it before stood opposed, in that all truth must agree with the way of the Lords commandments.
This law of God is to be given graciously as the pure replacement for that way of lying that would damn the soul of all men, “for it is by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).
“I have chosen the way of truth:
Thy judgments have I laid before me.”
Even in one verse we may find exposed the error of the sovereignty of God to the exclusion of the free will of man. This holy man of God cannot speak truth if his choice to the way of truth were imposed by supernatural force. So here we find that first a man must choose by his own will to live in the truth. It may take time to come to decision but, the decision, when made is made in a moment.
Pilot asked “what is truth” (Jn 18:38) to the Way of truth standing before him, and we would also need to ask for the standard to lay before us. Truth is not ours, it is not a personal ascent of the opinions of man, but the way of truth is an absolute, true for all men at all times, it is not subjective but objective. Men the world over seek for truth apart from God, they search in vain. With his judgements laid before us we have opened both the way, the truth and the life.
“I have stuck unto thy testimonies:
O Lord, put me not to shame”
How wonderfully expressive is the word of God to us. To be “stuck unto thy testimonies” is somewhat of an immovable position. We have seen already that the position the Psalmist takes is one of choice, he had determined that the testimonies of the Lord was that which he had ‘chosen’ (v30), which he took ‘delight’ in (v24) and did ‘meditate upon’ (v23). The Psalmist certainly was not surprised to be ‘stuck’ on the testimonies of the Lord, his only prayer is that he would be unashamed of the decision.
We so often find ourselves in fear that to abide in the testimonies of the Lord and to live as though each and every word is true, may be considered extreme. But brethren, the words of the Lord have found themselves truer than any broadcast word of man, whether televised or written. No, to be stuck on the testimonies of the Lord will never leave us ashamed, so many more are the words given to us to confirm the canon; much fewer were the words trusted by the psalmist.
“ I will run the way of thy commandments,
when thou shalt enlarge my heart.”
“When” is the key word in the verse before us. In its context the Psalmist is not placing a condition upon his claim to “run the way of thy commandments”, but rather it is that which shall naturally follow an enlargement of the heart. The grace of God, experienced in the heart through faith in the sacrificing atonement of Christ, means that there follows a natural enlargement of the heart, even to “run”, the way of our Lords commandments.
“When” is therefore an expectation and not a question of probability. It is a certainty to all who have been drawn of the father, because the Son has lost none who come to him. It is an absolute to all who have experienced the conviction of sin, the fear of damnation and the want of a future hope, when they have laid their burden at the cross of Christ and are born again, their heart is changed.
The enlarged heart is a new heart that is given, this heart will indeed run the way of thy commandments.
Pr Edi Giudetti