Psalm 119:35

Psalm 119: An Exposition
Charles Bridges

"Make me walk in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it."

We are not only ignorant of the path of God's commandments, but we are impotent to go in it. Therefore we need double assistance. Our mind must be enlightened and our hearts compelled; otherwise our knowledge of this humbling path would make us shrink from it. But under the complete influence of Divine grace, when understanding has been given to discern the beauty of it, the soul's warmest desire is fixed upon it. Conscious of our helplessness, we look upward--"Make me walk." And he who said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house," speaks the same word of quickening life and power to that listening soul who expects to receive something from him. It is delightful to acknowledge that this work is all of God--that it is he who works in us both to will and to act according to his good pleasure. To God only can it belong. Since our natural inclination is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be, Almighty power must introduce a new and active bias--"Turn me, and I shall be turned" (Jer. 31:18). "Make me walk in the path of your commandments."

But even when brought into this path of obedience, still we need accelerated motion to run with increasing liveliness. We must take the Lord God for our strength, and he shall make our feet like hinds' feet, and he shall make us walk upon the high places. The path, indeed, is uninviting to the eye of sense. This distorted vision brings all its difficulties into full view, hiding all its counter-balancing enjoyments. Let us, however, exercise that faith which is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." If we exhibit our proper character, walking by faith and not by sight, then our discernment of unseen things will be more clear and our enjoyment of them more permanent. The prayer will then be with increasing earnestness, "Make me walk in the path of your commandments."

But we must not be content with merely walking in this way; we must seek to delight in it. Delight is the marrow of religion. God loves a cheerful giver, and he accepts obedience only when it is given, not when it is forced. He loves the service of that man who considers it his highest privilege to render it, and whose heart rejoices in the performing of it. Fervent prayer and cheerful obedience mark the experience of the thriving Christian. As a true child of Zion, he is joyful in his king. He loves his service and counts it perfect freedom, the rule of love, mercy, and grace.

But is the self-condemned penitent distressed by this description of a child of God? He cannot find the same marks in himself. And so he too hastily concludes that he does not belong to the heavenly family, not taking into account that his very grief is caused by his love to and delight in that way in which he is so hindered, and in which he daily prays, "Make me walk." It was probably this same sense of weakness and inability which hastened David's prayer. And if it hastens yours, poor trembling penitent--if it sends you to the throne of grace--you will, ere long, receive an answer of peace and go on your way rejoicing.

This delight in the path of obedience is not only a reflection of David, the man after God's own heart, but it is also the image of David's Lord--the Lord Jesus Christ--and our forerunner in this path. He could testify to his Father, "I delight to do thy will, O my God," and to his disciples, "I have food to eat of which you do not know. . . . My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work." And as proof of the intenseness of his delight he could, to their great amazement, go before them to Jerusalem, unappalled by the baptism of blood which awaited him; yes, even "straitened" with the unquenchable ardor of his love, until it was accomplished.

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