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The Scriptorium


Making vows is serious business. Psalm 119.106

Psalm 119.105-112 (2)

Pray Psalm 119.106.
I have sworn and confirmed
That I will keep Your righteous judgments.

Sing Psalm 119.105, 106.
(Slane: Be Thou My Vision)
Your Word a lamp is to brighten my way.
Lord from Your pathway let me never stray!
I give my word now as I have before:
Your righteous Law I will keep ever more.

Read Psalm 119.105-112; meditate on verse 106.

1. On what was the psalmist resolved?

2. How did he describe the judgments of God?

The psalmist declares his determination to keep the judgments of God. He has sworn and has bound himself (NKJV, “confirmed”) to this resolution. That is, he has taken a vow before the Lord to keep His Word. Such a vow can be taken in private, as we see Jacob doing in Genesis 28.20-22. More often, vows are taken publicly, as in marriage vows, or the vows church officers take as they assume their calling.

Vows are solemn promises, made to God, to undertake and fulfill certain specific commitments. Here, in our psalmist’s case, that commitment was to “keep” the judgments of God. We saw what that entails back in the ח stanza of Psalm 119: seeking God’s favor for understanding and obedience, committing one’s heart to the Word, thinking on it, remembering it, giving thanks for it, fulfilling its requirements, and hanging out with like-minded friends. Why would anyone make such a demanding commitment?

Because of what it promises.

Vows are made in expectation of blessing, not because blessing has been fully received. In marriage vows, for example, the couple has come together because they believe they’re going to find happiness, fulfillment, family, and more at the hand of God. So they vow before God their commitments to love, honor, cherish, and so forth, in the expectation of blessing. As they keep their vows, God releases blessing to them.

So vows are an act of faith. A vote of confidence in God and His Word, that fulfilling the vow will result in the pleasure of God. And vows doubly resolved, like this one of our psalmist, not only require extra diligence, but promise extra blessings. Nothing compares with the blessings that accrue to us from learning and keeping the Word of God. We should renew our vows daily to keep the judgments of God, and all His Word, as the Spirit teaches and empowers us throughout the day.

Can you say that you are resolved to keep the Word of God? Doubly resolved?

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Tiger Day. Yes, it is a holiday. Well, maybe not for you, but it is for us. It marks the day of our official agreement to be married. This year we exchanged poems that we had written for each other. As I was experiencing the joy of the poem written exclusively for me, I realized that so much of Psalm 119 is a love poem written to God from this psalmist.

He longs for the Lord to know of his absolute love.
He assures the Lord of his faithfulness to Him.
He works hard to find out how to show his love for God.
He vows to live only for Him.
It is a pure love that he writes about.

“You are my portion, O LORD;
I have said that I would keep Your words” (Ps. 119.57).

In the same way that we borrow words from other writers to express our feelings,  he may have used the words of Asaph to express his love:
“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none that I desire besides You” (Ps. 73.25).

We can use these words, and more, to speak to our Beloved—we are, after all, His bride (Rev. 21.9).
“My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2.16).
“Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it” (Song of Solomon 8.7).

It is established that we love the Triune God. So, now what? Are we free to go our own way, live our own lives, do what we want, or be unfaithful if we choose? That is certainly not the way it works with earthly relationships, and I am assuredly sure that is not the way it works with God.

Peter posed this question: “…what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…?” (2 Pet. 3.11, 12) As we anticipate joining God in His new heaven and earth someday, and as we live daily, on this earth, to honor and glorify our Beloved “we must be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…” (2 Pet. 3.14).

Writing with our lives, each day, a poem for Him—because we have sworn and bound ourselves to Him, to keep His righteous judgments.

“With my whole heart I have sought You;
oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!” (Ps. 119.10)

Because I love You.

For reflection
1. Why are vows an important part of the life of faith?

2. What does God promise those who receive His Word and obey it?

3. Look at Ecclesiastes 5.1-5. How does this help us in thinking about the solemnity of vowing to God?

By the word swear, he intimates that he had solemnly pledged himself to God not to alter his determination. The true manner of keeping God's law is to receive and embrace what he commands heartily, and, at the same time, uniformly, that our ardor may not forthwith abate, as is often the case. This also is the proper rule of vowing, that we may offer ourselves to God, and dedicate our life to him. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.106

Pray Psalm 119.109, 110.
Pray about the day ahead and all you will be doing in it. Offer it to the Lord and commit yourself to obey His Word. Call on the Spirit to keep whispering to you, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Sing Psalm 119.109, 110.
(Slane: Be Thou My Vision)
Daily I take up my life in my hand,
working to keep to Your gracious command.
Let not the wicked turn me from Your way;
I from Your precepts, O Lord, will not stray.

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
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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.
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