Summary: Each decision we make in life is not a discrete unit. It is connected in a long chain of decisions that leads in a trajectory either towards the character of the Lord or away from it. This part of Psalm 119 helps us set the right course in life.
105 – 112
Verse 105 is one of the coolest verses in the Bible. It really speaks to the working of God’s Word in our lives. A “lamp to my feet” suggests providing guidance in the near-term, the everyday sorts of decisions in life: how do I answer, how should I react, what should I do today?
The Bible is chock full of ways to inform and guide our daily lives. “A gentle answer turns away anger,” (Proverbs 15:1), is just one example. But the Bible isn’t just a detailed owners manual giving you specific instruction for every possible situation like “turn left at the next light”, or “take the job offer.” Instead it is an outline of who God is and what His plan is for the universe and us. As we give our lives over to Him, He infuses us with His character and we take those things like “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience”, etc. (Gal 5:22) and we put into everyday practice through God’s Spirit.
But His Word is also a “light on my path.” This is the more long-range trajectory of our lives. As we look at where our lives have been: the choices we’ve made, the direction of our character, we can begin to see the influence of God’s Spirit as He is transforming us “from glory to glory” (2 Cor 3:18) into God’s character. We also know from God’s Word that Jesus is going to come back and that we will rule and reign with Him, and that evil will be recompensed.
This becomes important for the psalmist because he is under extreme pressure from those that want to do him harm; kill him if they can. He wants assurance that he will escape. And that’s what God’s Word also gives us—guidance for our character in trials, and hope that no matter what happens He will “bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom.” (2 Timothy 4:18)
108 In the midst of this turmoil he is still worshiping and bringing God praise!
109 In the midst of danger he holds onto Scriptures that he has memorized.
110 In the midst of trial he let’s God’s Word enlighten his steps, and illuminate his path so he will not wander.
111 In fact, he makes God’s Word “the joy of my heart.” And he is “resolved” to follow God’s character. That word means “to incline towards” or “bend towards” something. He has set his heart on a course that he will not abandon, no matter what faces him (112)!
113 – 120
The double-minded are those who reject God’s Word and want it both ways. They want fire insurance for judgment but also want pleasure and security from the world. The psalmist doesn’t want to have anything to do with them—he wants to be distraction free so he can concentrate on following God with his whole heart. I love verse 116—his prayer is that God will sustain him in this resolve and that, in the final analysis, he will not be sorry for placing his total and complete trust in God. The voices in this age sound so smooth but they are lying to you. Only God controls this world and knows how it will end – and that end will not be good for those who reject God.
121 – 128
The gist of this section is that the psalmist is getting impatient for God to deliver him from his trouble. He has placed himself on a trajectory of following Yahweh and turned his back on those that reject God. But God hasn’t come through yet. God hasn’t rescued him. He pleads with God to “guarantee” or “pledge” to him for his “well-being.” That word means “pleasant” or “good.” “Bring about good in my life!” he cries out, “not the evil they intend for me.” We might feel “stuck” here, surrounded by those who do not love God.
2Cor. 5:5 “He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
129 – 136
The psalmist realizes that God’s Word, unlike anything else, breaks through to bring the light of truth. God’s Word opens doors like nothing else.
Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Once he learned this, he wanted God’s truth like an animal pants for water in times of thirst. But he also realizes there are those that reject that truth, and it makes him mad! He asks God for grace, and for steady steps. And he prays that no particular sin would “dominate” him. Is there a particular weakness that you have that has seemed to grow over time? This is a good prayer for us as well—“God, let Your Word dominate me, not this sin!”