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The Scriptorium

To Walk God's Pathway

It's clearly marked. Psalm 119.33-40

Psalm 119.33-40

Pray Psalm 119.35-37.
Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.

Sing Psalm 119.35-37.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Make me walk in Your commandments, let me keep Your holy part.
I will keep Your Law unfailing; from it let me ne’er depart.
For Your Word is my delight, Lord; help me keep it from the heart.

To Your holy testimonies, turn my heart, O gracious Lord.
Let me covet nothing worthless; my delight is in Your Word.
O revive me! O revive me, in Your way, most holy Lord!

Read Psalm 119.33-40; meditate on verses 119.35-37.

1. What does the psalmist want to see happen?

2. What will be necessary for that to happen?

These verses constitute an inclusio in the middle of this stanza, beginning with the word “path” in verse 35 and returning to that idea in the word “way” in verse 37. These are two different words in the Hebrew, but they represent the same idea. The psalmist wants to walk the path marked out by God’s commandments. But He needs the Lord to revive Him in His way. What does that involve?

We must make sure our hearts are right toward the Word of God, and that we delight in it above all else (v. 35). We want to say with Jeremiah, “Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jer. 15.16). For this to be so, we must incline our heart to His Word (v. 36). That is, calling on the Lord, we must discipline our heart to love God’s Word (cf. v. 97) so much that nothing will captivate our affections more. The heart is the most important part of the soul, for from it flow all the issues of life (Prov. 4.23). We must guard and incline it with all diligence.

This requires that we learn to recognize and resist the temptation to covet, and thus to have our affections diverted from God and His Word. Coveting is the gateway to all sin precisely because it hijacks the heart. By setting our heart on God and His Word and seeking Him daily for revival, we can walk His pathway faithfully.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The psalmist understood that the first way to keep himself from coveting was to make sure that he constantly looked at the right things rather than at the wrong: “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things.” (Ps. 119.37)

He also understood that the way God summed up the Ten Commandments agreed with this: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Ex. 20.17). Yup. In Old Testament vernacular that pretty much covers everything that belonged to someone else.

Our psalmist then decided to change his attitude and change his heart. “Revive me in Your way and in Your words” (Ps. 119.37). “You who love the LORD, hate evil!” (Ps. 97.10). Good start. Then, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness” (Ps. 101.3, 4).

He broke the pattern he was in; he repented and turned away by trusting the Lord for the strength to completely change his own way in life. He said, “No, thank you” to all the worthless things that he was doing and looking at. It was the necessary first step.

Paul affirms and confirms the psalmist’s thoughts: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Rom. 12.9).

Then he set out a ten-step program to change our way of thinking and incline our heart to good (Rom. 12.10-21):
1. Be kind and affectionate to one another in a brotherly way.
2. Give preference, with honor, to one another.
3. Diligently do good, and don’t be slow to do it.
4. Be fervent in spirit as you serve the Lord.
5. Rejoice in the hope you have firmly placed in the Lord.
6. Be patient in tribulation and trouble.
7. Pray always and continue steadfastly in this activity.
8. Distribute goods to meet the needs of the church.
9. Be hospitable with the things God has blessed you with.
10. Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

Search the Word daily. In it you will find strength and refreshing promises to guide and guard your heart.

For God promises us that after our every misstep and repentance He will rightly step in and renew us.
“Then I will give them a new heart to know Me, that I AM the LORD; and they shall be My people, and
I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart” (Jer. 24.7). Revived.

Ready once again to walk God’s pathway.

For reflection
1. How can meditating in the Law of God equip us to recognize temptations?

2. What steps should we take to resist temptation when we find ourselves in it?

3. How can you know when you are “walking” in God’s “pathway”? How can you encourage other believers to do so? Whom will you encourage today?

Those that would have the love of God rooted in them, must get the love of the world rooted out; for the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Quicken me in thy way; to redeem time, and to do every duty with liveliness of spirit. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 119.33-40

Pray Psalm 119.33, 34, 38-40.
Pray that God will increase your longing for His Word, that He would teach you and give you understanding, and that you will keep His Law – and all His Word – in everything you do.

Sing Psalm 119.33, 34, 38-40.

(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Teach me, Lord, and help me follow in Your perfect, righteous way!
From my heart I will observe and all Your holy Law obey.
Give me understanding, Jesus: I will keep Your Law always!

Set me firmly in Your statutes, for Your servant, Lord am I.
Fearing You in sweet devotion, let me live until I die.
Let no dread, let no reproach obscure Your judgments from my eye.

For Your holy precepts, Jesus, my whole heart longs earnestly,
for Your judgments all are good; Your Word is a delight to me!
In Your righteousness revive me! For Your goodness I would see!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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 copes of each of these here and here.

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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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