Establish your word to your servant, who is devoted to your fear.
By the "Word" here, some understand simply the promise of God. But, in truth, the meaning is far larger, and comprehends the whole Word of God's revelation — truth, precept, command, judgment, promise — he prays for the confirmation or stablishment of the whole.
I. IN RESPECT TO ITS TRUTH. Are there any serious intellectual doubts about the "Word" of God? About its Divine origin? its inspiration? its great doctrines? These doubts must be dealt with in their own nature, and for what they are. As they affect a man's mind he must meet them with his mind — he must examine the evidences which have been adduced for the disputed points, and take time to make the examination complete. If a man, for instance, reads a good deal of the sceptical criticism of the time, and a good deal of light literature, which is not unfrequently spiced by a little scepticism to make it more piquant, and — nothing, or something by the merest chance, in the department of the Christian apology and defence — that is not fair, either to the truth or to the mind. He is not taking the proper way to solve his doubts. He is feeding them. The Book itself should be read. It carries its own light, evidences, defences. To read it is, in many an instance, to find an answer to the objections made against it. Then, again, there are doubts and irresolute conditions of mind which can only be exchanged for faith and fixedness by the instrumentality of work — honest, earnest work for God. "Exercise thyself unto godliness." But our text seems especially to remind us that there are some doubts — affecting the Word of God as truth — which will yield only to prayer. Not to thinking, not to "reading," not to Christian working — only to prayer. The text is a prayer. It is the looking of the shadowed soul up to the very source of light. "Stablish Thy Word unto Thy servant;" and unless religion is all a dream, and our hopes in God the greatest vanities of our life, there must be answer.
II. IN RESPECT TO ITS PRECIOUSNESS. The Gospel is exceedingly precious. When first consciously received, it is accepted with thankfulness and joy. The first love is fed by fresh discoveries, by wondering thought, by rapid acts of faith, by grateful memories, by new-born hopes, — these all make fuel for that holy flame. Alas! that it should change, and cool, and wane, and darken! Just where and when discovery is made of decline and failure, there and then begin renewal and repair.
III. IN RESPECT TO ITS PRACTICAL POWER. If there be one point in human experience more dangerous than another, it is exactly the point between faith and practice, between inward love and outward work. That point, or region rather, is one where Satan has great advantage. He persuades us that it is enough to think truly, to feel tenderly, and that we really need not fritter away the fine bloom and strength of the inner man in constant rounds of dusty activity. Are there not many intelligent Christian people who do very little visibly and expressly for Christ? Our emotion should not be a turbulent and intermittent thing, like the pool of Bethesda, which took motion and gave healing only after it had been "troubled" by the angel; but rather like "the waters of Siloah — that flow softly," but also steadily, and equably, all day long, and all through the year. "Continuing in Christ's Word, we become His disciples indeed."
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.