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The Scriptorium

Love Hurts. Sometimes.

And it's all good, really. Psalm 119.68

Psalm 119.65-72 (4)

Pray Psalm 119.68.
You are good, and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.

Sing Psalm 119.68-70.
(Open My Eyes: Open My Eyes, That I May See)
Lord, You are good, and good You do; teach me that I may do good, too.
Wicked men my true pathway distort: I keep Your Word with all my heart.
Their heart is dark with sin’s cruel blight, but in Your Law is my delight.
Let me not turn from Your sweet Light, nor from Your Word.

Read Psalm 119.65-72; meditate on verse 68.


1. How did the psalmist regard the Lord?

2. What did he want God to do for him?

God, the psalmist confesses, is good (טֽוֹב). Consequently, He does good (מֵטִ֗יב). God does what He is, and this should be a goal for our own walk with Him: So to learn His Word that it sinks into every component of our soul – heart, mind, and conscience – and puts down firm anchor there. The Holy Spirit uses the Law of God to show us the glory of Jesus Christ and to transform us into His image (2 Cor. 3.12-18). So the more of God’s Law we learn from Him, the more of Jesus and the goodness of God will show through us. The more we hide the Word of God in our heart, so that it dwells abundantly there (Col. 3.16), the more we will do the works and talk the talk that reflects the very character of the Word of God – of Jesus Himself.

To what was the psalmist referring when he wrote that God does good? Obviously, to the affliction that had come upon him as he began to stray from God’s path (cf. vv. 69, 67). What’s good for us is what we need at any time to remain faithful and fruitful in the Lord. That doesn’t mean it’s always pleasant (Heb. 12.3-11). Love hurts sometimes. The love of God must hurt us to break through our rebellion, reclaim our soul, expose and eradicate our sins, and get us back on path. He is a good God Who does such good and loving things for us, to prompt and empower us to draw closer to Him and to remain in His Word.

Love hurts sometimes. Ask Jesus.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Our daughter Ashley makes wedding cakes and cupcakes. They are fantastically beautiful, delicious, and good. I ask her, “How do you do this?” And she patiently explains it. I listen. But frankly, there is not a chance that I will ever be able to learn how to do what she does.

I feel the same way about this verse. We state the obvious, “You, God, are good. And You do good.” And then the psalmist adds this in: “Teach me Your statutes.” (Ps. 119.68) Seriously? Is there a chance that we can learn to do good? Like God does, if He teaches us His statutes?

Well, it is certainly the first, and only place to start. As Paul wrote, “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Rom. 7.12). So, goodness is encompassed in keeping the Law of God.

Also, as Jesus said to the person who approached Him with this question, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”: “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 16, 17). Life itself is attached to keeping the Law of God.

The prophet Isaiah quotes God as saying, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Is. 1.16, 17). God holds out hope for us that we can indeed learn from Him how to do good. We are first to repent from our evil ways, and then we can set about learning from the Law how to do good.

Paul has some words of encouragement for us. He wrote, “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thess. 3.13). Practicing the Law without ceasing increases our learning of the Law. And in so doing, we are imprinting on our lives the possibility of actually doing good.

Back to our analogy of wedding cakes and cupcakes. I will never be able to so what Ashley does, but; I can learn to make muffins. And maybe even good muffins. It is the best I can do.

God, our loving heavenly Father, “pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103.13, 14). But He also expects us to do the best we possibly ever can, to obey Him and follow Him. He is willing to “Teach us His statutes” (Ps. 119.68).

And Jesus adds, “Learn from Me” (Matt. 11.29).

O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend:
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.

(Bode, 1866)

For reflection
1. We can’t do everything, but we can do whatever God appoints for us to do, in our own sphere. What opportunities for serving Him and obeying His Word are before you today?

2. What dangers or temptations might cause you to stray from God’s path?

3. How can you prepare to resist those temptations and hold fast to the Law and Word of God?

He beseeches God to exercise his goodness towards him, not by causing him to increase in riches and honors, or to abound in pleasures, but by enabling him to make progress in the knowledge of the law. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.68

Pray Psalm 119.65-67.
Thank God for His goodness, and for all the ways He has shown His goodness to you. Call on Him to teach you more of His Law and to help you in your daily walk with Him to keep His Word and to exercise “good judgment and knowledge”.

Sing Psalm 119.65-67.
(Open My Eyes: Open My Eyes, That I May See)
You have dealt well with me, O Lord, just as You promised in Your Word.
Teach me good judgment, help me to know all that I need to love You so.
Let Your commandments light my way. Send sweet affliction when I stray,
that I may walk Your holy way and keep Your Word.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Psalm 119 by clicking here.

What is the Law of God and how should we learn and obey it? Two books can help. The Law of God arranges the statutes and precepts of God’s Law under their appropriate number of the Ten Commandments. This book is an excellent tool for meditating on God’s Law and thinking about its application in our time. The Ground for Christian Ethics, on the other hand, explains why the Law matters and how we are to use it. You can order free copies of each of these here and here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

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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