Psalm 119.97-104 (6)
Pray Psalm 119.101, 102.
I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
Psalm 119.101, 102.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
I guard my steps from evil ways that I may keep Your holy Word.
I keep Your judgments for Your praise, for You my Teacher are, O Lord!
Read Psalm 119.97-104; meditate on verses 101, 102.
1. What did the psalmist do in keeping God’s Law?
2. How was he able to do that?
Keeping the Law of God requires continuous attention. We need to “walk circumspectly”, as Paul would say (Eph. 5.15), paying attention to what we’re thinking, doing, proposing, and saying. Life is a journey toward the Presence of God forever. The lover of God wants to walk each step of that journey in the pathway God has marked out for us. That way we know God’s Presence and pleasure here and now, which serves to increase our anticipation of being with Him forever then and there.
But our natural bent – since the law of sin still operates in us (Rom. 7.21) – is to consider other paths, to want to detour into what seem to more alluring ways, and to wander or be drawn away from the path of righteousness.
So we have to restrain those evil inclinations (v. 101): See the evil and just say “No!” Keep your spiritual sensors on continuous alert so that you don’t drift, wander, or depart God’s path (v. 102). Learn God’s Law so completely and delight in it so fully that it tunes your conscience to hold to the Lord’s pathway and reject all other ways.
The Spirit of God is writing the Law of God on our hearts (Ezek. 36.26, 27), giving us new desires and aspirations, and a new map from which we must not depart. On the pathway to the eternal Presence of God there is only one exit ramp. You will recognize it by the brightness of Christ’s glory under the lamp of God’s Law; and if you pay careful attention, you will hear, all along your pilgrim’s journey, the Spirit saying continually to you, “This is the way; walk in it” (Is. 30.21).
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.).
Isn’t it absolutely incredible that God would be our Teacher? That He would be with us along the way saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Is. 30.21), is astonishing, any way you look at it.
The way the psalmist phrases it is so astute. He doesn’t just opine that God taught him; or the Spirit informed me; or I learned this from the Lord. No. He says emphatically, “You Yourself have taught me” (Ps. 119.102).
But there is something we need to do to put ourselves in His classroom—restrain our behavior from every evil way, and never depart from His judgments (Ps. 119.101, 102).
Psalm 119.33-40 contains the prerequisite activities to attain a seat in the study group:
1. We have requested to be taught by Him.
2. We have asked for understanding to keep His law.
3. We have wanted Him to make us walk in the path of His commandments.
4. We have leaned into His testimonies and made them our own.
5. We have stopped looking at worthless things and set our minds to work.
6. We have appealed as His servants that He would establish His word in us.
7. We have desired that He forgive our sins and look on us with mercy.
8. We applied His percepts in our life so that He would revive us in grace.
“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity;
and by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil” (Prov. 16.6).
Now we’re ready to don our backpack, get our lunch box, and set out to His school.
“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Pet. 3.14, 18).
On God’s pathway to learning the sweetest Words ever written or taught to mankind (Ps. 119.103).
1. What should you expect to learn while you are in the Holy Spirit’s “classroom”? How will you know when you’ve learned it?
2. How can you prepare yourself each day to restrain your sinful tendencies and keep within the pathway of the Lord?
3. What does it mean for you to “walk circumspectly” throughout the day?
From this we learn the profitable lesson, that in order to our keeping God's Law, we must, from the commencement, beware lest our feet should step aside into crooked by-paths; for with a nature so corrupted as ours is, amidst so many allurements, and with minds so fickle, we are in the greatest danger of being led astray; yea, it is a rare miracle if any man hold on in his life in a right course, without turning aside in one direction or another. The faithful, therefore, have need to exercise the greatest circumspection, in order to keep their feet from going astray. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.101
Pray Psalm 119.97-100.
Thank God for what His Spirit is teaching you about the Word. Ask Him for wisdom beyond what you’ve ever known to live that Word, in the power of the Spirit, in all your walk and work today.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
O, how I love Your Law, O Lord! I ponder it throughout the day.
The wisdom of Your holy Word keeps all my fiercest foes at bay.
Your Word is with me ever more; it fills my soul and guides my hand.
More than all those who’ve gone before Your holy Law I understand.
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.