49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.
57 You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees.
Sermon 59 (Psalm 119:53)
- He now showeth that, seeing God’s horrible judgments on the wicked, he was seized and stricken with a very great fear. In the words observe— 1. A great passion described. 2. The cause of it assigned.
- Doct. It argueth a good spirit to be grieved to see God’s laws broken, and to be stricken with fear because of those judgments which come from God by reason of the wickedness of the wicked.
- The reasons are:— First, Here is matter of great commotion of spirit to any attentive and serious beholder; for the cause assigned in the text is, because they forsake thy law.’ There are two things in the law—the precept and the sanction, by penalties and rewards. Now, they that forsake the law violate the precept and slight the sanction; and so two things grieve the godly—their sin and their punishment, how grievously they sin, and what grievous punishments they may expect!
- If we consider the intrinsic evil of sin, we shall see that it is not a small thing, but a horrible evil in itself; a thing not to be laughed at, but feared, whether our own or others.
- There is folly in it, as it is a deviation from the best rule which the divine wisdom hath set unto us.
- Now shall we slight his direction, and in effect say our own way is better? Reason requireth that they who cannot choose for themselves should obey their guides, and since they are not wise for themselves, content themselves with the wisdom of others who see farther than they do.
- Laws are not only to direct, but have a binding power and force from the authority of the lawgiver. God doth not only give us counsel as a friend, but commandeth us as a sovereign; and so the second notion whereby the evil of sin is set forth, is that of disobedience and rebellion; and so it is a great injury done to God, because it is a depreciation and contempt of his authority.
- Sin robbeth God of his propriety in the creatures. If we consider his natural right, sin is such an injury and wrong to God as theft and robbery. If we consider our own covenant, as we voluntarily acknowledge God’s propriety in us, so it is adultery, breach of marriage vow; and with respect to the devoting and consecrating ourselves to him, so it is sacrilege.
- Their punishment. This relateth to the sanction by penalties and rewards. They that forsake the law have quite divested themselves of all hope, and cast off all dread of him. The law offereth death or life to the transgressors and observers of it:
- Surely God meaneth as he speaketh in his word, he will make good his word to the obedient; but the sinner thinketh not so, and therefore is loath to undergo the difficulties of obedience, because he hath so little sense and certainty of fulfil ling the promise.
- Well, then, forsaking the law, despising the precept, and slighting the sanction, should be a matter of great horror to a tender and gracious spirit.
- It argueth that they have a due sense of things, though others have not. They have a due sense of the evil of sin. They have a due sense of the wrath of God.
- Few lay to heart the terrible effects of God’s heavy wrath; but the righteous do; they are truly affected with it, and with the cause of it, which is sin
- The certainty of the threatenings. God’s people see wrath and judgment in the face of sin, whereas those who are drowned in sensuality and carnal delights scoff at God’s menaces and jest at his judgments, neither crediting the one nor expecting the other, as if it were but a mere mockery.
- So far as we are carnal we are pleased with sin, so far as we are spiritual we are vexed with it.
- When his glory is obscured, it is a wound to the hearts of his children; as a child cannot endure to hear or see his father disgraced. Surely God’s glory is dear to the saints.
- Compassion to men. Though they are wicked men, yet they are men, made after God’s image, remotely capable to know and love God, and live with him for ever, whom they should otherwise embrace as brethren; to see them treasure up wrath against the day of wrath should be a grief and a trouble to us; to think of the everlasting; destruction which they will bring upon themselves should afflict us.
- It deterreth us from sinning ourselves, and so we are kept from being tainted with the contagion of evil examples; for what we mourn for in others we will not commit ourselves.
- Surely reproof had need to be managed with great tenderness and compassion, that it may not seem to flow from hatred and ill-will to the persons reproved, nor from petulancy of spirit, nor a desire of venting reproaches, but from pure zeal to the glory of God, grief to see him dishonoured, souls in danger to be lost, or hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; therefore holy men, in their sharpest invectives against sin, or oppositions of it, have always mingled compassion.
- It is but a deceit of heart to declaim against the sins of the times, and not to mourn bitterly for our own sins: this is to translate the scene of our humiliation, and to put it far off from ourselves. Surely that grief will be most pungent and afflicting which doth most concern ourselves, and we know more by ourselves than possibly we can by other men; therefore we should often think of the merit of our own sins, their heinous nature, their dreadful consequences, if God be not the more merciful to keep us humble and thankful.
- To persuade us to be of this temper, to be deeply affected when we see God’s laws broken. It requireth—The general grace of a soft heart, which must be asked of God. There needeth eminent holiness for such a frame, that we shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible