33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.38 Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.39 Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good.40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
Sermon 39 (Psalm 119:35)
- We need not only light to know our way, but a heart to walk in it. Direction is necessary because of the blindness of our minds, and the effectual impulsions of grace are necessary because of the weakness of our hearts. It will not answer our duty to have a naked notion of truths, unless we embrace and pursue them.
- The work of a Christian lies not in depth of speculation, but in the height of practice.
- Here you have David’s prayer, and an argument to enforce it. 1. His prayer, make me to go in the path of thy commandments. 2. His argument, for therein do I delight.
- Two things will be here discussed:— [1.] The necessity of the efficacious assistance of grace, that we may walk worthy of God in all well-pleasing. [2.] How acceptable a frame of heart it is when we are once brought to delight in the ways of God.
- For the first, that God from first to last doth make us to go in the path of his commandments.
- As soon as the life of grace is infused, the soul bends towards God.
- There is a power and an ability to do good works when we are renewed; if otherwise, one of God’s most precious gifts would be in vain, if we were altogether without strength.
- Grace received must not lie idle, but be put forth into act. Thus God creates and infuseth such divine qualities as may give us a tendency and preparation of heart, and strength to do that which may be pleasing to him.
- God gives not only life, but the constant motion of that life.
- Though we have grace in our hearts, though we have the law of God to direct us, yet we need also a guide upon all occasions. The rule is the scripture, and the guide is the Spirit of God.
- When we stir up ourselves, and set ourselves to the work in the conscience of our duty, we can better expect God’s help and assistance.
- If so much rain fell in one day as would suffice for seven years, there would be no notice taken of God’s acts of providence; God would not have such witness to keep up his memory to the sons of men. So here; if we had all graces in our souls, and needed not new excitement, but he dispensed all at once, God and we should grow strangers. When the prodigal has his portion in his own hands, he leaves his father: and therefore there must be continual acts of kindness to maintain a holy friendship between God and us.
- The stream cannot be maintained without the spring.
- Doct. 2. That they which delight in God’s commandments will beg his gracious assistance, and are most likely to speed in their requests. I make it to be both the reason of asking and the reason of granting. First, The reason of asking. 1. What is this delight in God?’ What is necessary to it? 2. What are the fruits and effects of it? First, What is necessary to it? 1. A new nature, for what we do naturally we do with complacency and delight. That which is forced and done against the grain and bent of our hearts can never be delightful, and therefore there needs a principle of grace within: Ps. 112:1, Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.’ Where there is true grace and the fear of God, there we will delight greatly.
- Peace of conscience, or a sense of our reconciliation with God, is very necessary to this delight in the ways of God: Rom. 5:11, We joy in God as those that have received the atonement.’ Christ hath made the atonement. Now, when we receive the atonement, that is, are possessed of it, and look upon ourselves as involved in the reconciliation Christ hath made for us, then we joy in God. The joy of a good conscience is necessary to this delight in the ways of God.
- A good frame of heart must be kept up, for the joy of a Christian may be impaired by his own folly and prevalency of carnal distempers.
- Secondly, What are the effects of this delight? 1. A cheerfulness of spirit, a ready obedience: Ps. 40:8, I delight to do thy will, my God.’ They find more solid joy in living holily than in all the pleasure of sin and vanity of the world; therefore they cheerfully practise that which God requireth of them.
- 2. They are full of joy and gladness in all their approaches to God: Ps. 122:1, I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ Oh! then they can go to God, and draw off from the distractions of this world, that they may unbosom themselves, that they may be in God’s company, either in public or private.
- 3. They are weaned from earthly pleasures. When they have tasted of this hidden manna, the garlic and onions of Egypt lose their relish; and they find more sweetness, more rejoicing, in the testimony of their consciences, than ever they could find in the world.
- But now a man that is fallen in love with holiness, and whose heart is sincerely bent to God, desires grace to incline his heart to God and the ways of God, and keep exactly with him.
- Secondly, As this is the reason of asking, so likewise of granting, Make me to go in the path of thy commandments, for therein do I delight.’ Take four considerations for this:—
- 1. God will add grace to grace. When God hath given the will, he will give the deed, further grace, to add new influences to his own seed. We tell God of the dispositions that are in our hearts, that he may perfect them, and ripen his own seed: John 1:16, Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace;’ grace upon grace, or grace after grace. God’s giving one grace is an argument why he will give more grace.
- 2. God looks after affection rather than action. Sometimes he takes the will for the deed, but never the deed for the will. Where there is a will and delight in his ways, that is it which is most acceptable to him. Look, as to love sin is more than to commit it—a man may commit it out of frailty, but he that loves and cherisheth it is exceeding bad—so where there is delight in the ways of God, and the soul is gained to them. This is that God looks after, the affection.
- 3. Of all our affections delight and complacency is most acceptable.
- 4. When this delight is not set upon privileges, but upon grace and obedience, this is more acceptable to God, I delight in thy ways.’ When we set upon obedience it is a sign we mind God’s interest more than our own comfort; that is our own interest, but subjection to God and holiness, that is for his glory; therefore, when the heart is set upon obedience, then he will give in supplies of grace.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible