Psalm 119:54

Psalm 119: An Exposition
Charles Bridges

"Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my pilgrimage."

Come, Christian pilgrim, and charm your wearisome journey heavenward by singing the Lord's songs in this strange land. With the statutes of God in your hand and in your heart, you are furnished with a song for every step of your way: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of Yahweh forever" (Ps. 23).

With what delight does this song bring Jesus before your eyes! He, who having laid down his life for you, engages himself as your Provider, your Keeper, your Guide, your faithful and unchangeable Friend! Such a song, therefore, will smooth your path and reconcile you to the many inconveniences of the way. And the recollection that this world is only the house of your pilgrimage and not your permanent home will support your exercise of faith and patience to the end.

How striking the contrast between the wicked who forsake the law and the Christian pilgrim who makes it the subject of his daily song and the source of his daily comfort. Yes, these same statutes that are the yoke and burden of the ungodly lead the true servant of the Lord from pleasure to pleasure, and when cherished by their vigorous influence his way is made easy and prosperous. Our knowledge and delight in the Lord's statutes will, no doubt, furnish a decisive test of our true spiritual condition.

It is important to remember that our cheerful song is connected with a "pilgrim" spirit. Never let it be forgotten that here we are not at home but simply happy strangers on our passage home. Here we have no settled habitation, but as we walk in God's statutes we are seeking for one, our hearts intent upon it. Every day advances us closer, and it is in this spirit that the statutes of the Lord will be our song. They are the deeds of conveyance, our title to an estate not of little account or uncertain interest, but to an inheritance of incalculable value. God's statutes provide sure direction that cannot mislead us. And encouraged by the examples of fellow-pilgrims who have already reached their home, we follow their tracks, partaking of the many refreshments along the way as our eternal home brightens on the horizon.

We have, then, every reason to guard against the debasing, stupefying influence of the world which makes us forget the proper character of a pilgrim. A disciplined battle must be sustained against the sloth and aversion of a reluctant heart to maintain our progress in the journey towards Zion!

Reader, have you entered upon a pilgrim's life? If so, what then is your solace and refreshment on the road? It is dull, heavy, and wearisome work to be a pilgrim without a song. So why not let your song be the blessed experience of the Lord's statutes? If you have tasted that the Lord is gracious, if he has put a new song in your heart, then do not permit any carelessness or neglect to rob you of your heavenly expectation. Keep before you a lively contemplation of the place where you are going, of Jesus your "forerunner" who has entered for you. Hold on to the promise, that he has prepared a place for you and will come again and take you to be with him.

In this spirit and with these hopes before you, you may take up your song: "O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. I will bless the Lord at all times, and his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Thus may you go on your pilgrimage singing of the ways of the Lord. It is a song that begins here below, but in the world of praise above shall never cease.

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