The Soul's Longing unto God's Word
Psalm 119:17-24
Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live, and keep your word.

Such seems to be the theme of this third section of this psalm. This longing is shown -

I. IN HIS DESIRE FOR GOD'S CHIEF MERCIES ONLY THAT HE MAY KEEP GOD'S WORD. If most of us were called on to fill up this ver. 17 after the word "and," what should we insert? Most desire to live and have God's bounty, that they may get rich and become prosperous or achieve some other earthly good. But the psalmist desires God's bounty and life only that, etc. What an estimate of that Word does such prayer show!

II. IN HIS PRAYER FOR OPEN VISION. (Ver. 18.) He desires this because he is certain that there are wondrous things in God's Word which as yet he has never seen, and which he never will see until God cloth open his eyes. And this is true of us all. To how many the Bible is all dark and dull, incomprehensible in many parts, and void of interest in others! It is because the films of sin and prejudice have rendered their eyesight dark and dull. Let their eyes be but opened, and they will behold, not, as now they do, mere words, but wondrous things out of God's Law.

III. IN HIS PITEOUS PLEA THAT GOD'S WORD MAY NOT BE HIDDEN FROM HIM. "I am a stranger in the earth." Hence homeless, friendless, helpless, with none to sympathize or succor, lonely, unused to the ways of those around him, desolate in heart, and often in all else. Therefore thou who hast commanded thy people to show kindness to strangers, will not thou do so for me? Hide not thy commandments from me, for they are to me as home and friends and all needful help. Illust.: Robinson Crusoe's joy on finding a copy of the Bible when on his desert island. The joy of the persecuted Malagasy in the Scriptures they had managed to preserve.

IV. BY HIS DEEP DISTRESS WHEN GOD'S WORD IS WITHHELD FROM HIM. (Ver. 20.) He may have had the letter of the Scriptures, but what he wanted was to find God in those Scriptures. Until this longing was satisfied, "all times" were alike sad to him. They who have known the joy of God's manifestations through his Word will know no joy until they are thus blessed again.

V. BY HIS DEPRECATION OF THE DOOM OF THOSE WHO DESPISE GOD'S WORD. (Ver. 21.) Misery, shame, and ruin are along the path they tread - a path which he would ever shun. It is well for us to look steadily on to the end of the sinner's path - the broad road - that we may the more steadily adhere to the ways of the Lord.


1. From reproach and contempt. (See homily on ver. 6.) He had kept God's testimonies, and he knew that therefore reproach and contempt in all their power to distress or harm him would be taken away.

2. From all fear of man. (Ver. 23.) Princes may, and probably did, strive to browbeat and terrify him - as with Paul, Luther, and many such another; but the memory of God's Word mused and meditated upon made his soul strong. How true is the verse! -

"Fear him, ye saints; and you will then
Have nothing else to fear:
Make you his service your delight,
Your wants shall be his care."


1. God's testimonies had been his delight. See how our Savior delighted in God's Word.

2. His counselors. No one finds God's Word his delight unless he first makes it his counselor. But if we will, then, etc. - S.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

WEB: Do good to your servant. I will live and I will obey your word.

The Largeness of Divine Dealings
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