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The Scriptorium

From the Heart

Keeping God's Law begins here. Psalm 119.58

Psalm 119.57-64 (2)

Pray Psalm 119.58.
I entreated Your favor with my whole heart;
Be merciful to me according to Your word.

Sing Psalm 119.57-59.
(Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
I vow to keep Your Word; You are my portion, Lord.
Let favor fill my heart; have mercy by Your Word!
When I think on my way, I turn my feet to You,
to Your path I shall not delay, Your Word to do.

Read Psalm 119.57-64; meditate on verse 58.

1. What did the psalmist entreat of God?

2. To what end?

The theme of this stanza of Psalm 119 was set forth in verse 57: “I will keep Your words.” The remaining verses of this stanza will tell us how that’s done.

We too often take for granted important words or ideas from Scripture. “Keep” is one of them. What does this mean? Could you explain it to a new believer?

“Keeping” God’s Word begins in His Presence, with the full devotion of the heart. What the psalmist says here is, literally, “I entreated Your face…” To see the face of God, to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4.6), to be seated at His right hand, looking on His glory, gazing into His eyes and meditating on His beauty – this is what it means to see the face of the Lord. When we see the Lord like this – if only with the eyes of the heart (Eph. 1.15-21) – our heart overflows with love. We understand what David meant when he wrote about seeing the Lord’s beauty and face, “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek” (Ps. 27.4).

As we see the beauty of Jesus’ face, love for Him grows, and with it the desire to do all things that accord with His Presence and pleasure (Ps. 16.11). And what do we seek from Him? Mercy and grace for all our times of need all day long (Heb. 4.16).

We will need to make this a daily exercise, lodging our heart and all our strongest positive affections in the power and pleasure of our beautiful Savior. When your heart is thus engaged, His mercy will go with you in all you do, so that you keep His Word as the Lord intends.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
It is very helpful that the psalmist is going to teach us how to keep God’s words (Ps. 119.57). The first step is to ask God to be merciful to us. And not just to ask, but to entreat Him with our whole heart (Ps. 119.58). And as we are pleading for mercy, we are asking God to remember His words to us (Ps. 119.58), that He will do this according to His Word.

Another aspect of God’s favor that we seek with all our heart, is forgiveness of sin.

We must have a clean heart to keep His word. We need His mercy to cleanse us.  “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7.18, 19).

He delights in mercy.

“For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy” (Rom. 9.15, 16). His delight.

From the heart we long to keep His words.
From the heart we plead for mercy.
From His heart He remembers His words to us.

Our Portion. What a Savior.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me,
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.
(Fanny Crosby, 1890)

This is Whose Words we want to keep.

For reflection
1. Why must keeping God’s Law begin in the heart? What is the heart, and how does it function in the soul?

2. Everybody has in mind some image of Jesus, exalted in glory. Describe yours.

3. What could you do to improve this vision of Christ in glory? Why is it important you do so?

Let us observe, then, in the first place, we are aroused from our supineness, that we may exercise our faith by prayer. In the second place, the principal thing for which we ought to pray is, that God, out of his free grace, may be favorable to us, look on our affliction, and grant us relief. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 19.58

Pray Psalm 119.61, 62.
What challenges will you face today in living for God and according to His Word? Thank Him in advance, and ask Him for mercy and grace to help in your time of need.

Sing Psalm 119.61, 62.

(Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
Though wicked ways constrain and bind my hands in sin,
yet I recall Your Word and turn to You again.
By night I thank You, Lord; my voice to You I raise;
for all Your righteous, holy Word I give You praise.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by
clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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