Psalm 119:99
Then follows a series of reasons why.

I. IT FURNISHES HIM WITH HAPPY THOUGHT ALL THE DAY LONG. (Ver. 97.) It is good to cultivate the habit of turning our thoughts to the things of God as they are told of in his Word. The habit is not natural to us, but God, by his Spirit, will help us to cultivate it. And how full of help and blessedness it is, none but those who have acquired it can declare; but such have declared this, as the psalmist here, again and again.

II. WITH PRACTICAL WISDOM, SO THAT HE CAN ORDER HIS WAY ARIGHT. This is what is meant here by "wisdom" and "understanding." By means of it he can:

1. Outwit his enemies (ver. 98), no matter how crafty their policy.

2. Become wiser than his teachers. They may be full of sound doctrine, but the soul that is partaker of God's grace is wiser than they.

3. Understands more than the men of olden time. "Understanding gotten by the precepts of the Word is better than that gotten by long experience.

III. HOLDS HIM BACK FROM SIN. (Ver. 101.) He has come to love righteousness and hate iniquity; but he knows that if he is to keep in this mind he must refrain, etc. He that will go into sin grieves and banishes from his soul the Spirit of God. Many people desire to be holy, but they desire ever so many other things along with it - this, for example, that occasionally they may allow themselves in some evil way. And so they never attain to holiness; such double-hearted ones never can. God must teach us this (ver. 102).

IV. BECOMES HIS DELIGHT. (Ver. 103.) This is the meaning of the metaphor of this verse. The soul has its relish as well as the palate. And it is a blessed thing when the soul has a real relish for the things of God. Christ said, "I delight to do thy will, O my God." So was it foretold of him (Psalm 40.). And he himself said, "My meat and my drink is to do the will of him that sent me." The religion of fear, of conscience, of sense, of duty, of hope, of reward, is feeble - must be so - but the religion that delights in God is strong for all things.

V. GIVES HOLY HATRED OF ALL SIN. (Ver. 104.) He whom God has taught so to understand will thus hate all sin. Blessed hatred is this. - S.C.

I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation.
1. By obeying the commands of Scripture we learn that these commands really come from God; by trying we make proof; by doing we come to know. Now, how comes this to pass? It happens in several ways.(1) The Bible tells us to be meek, humble, single-hearted, and teachable. Now, these are qualities of mind necessary for arriving at the truth in any subject, and in religious matters as well as others. On the other hand, impatient, proud, self-confident, obstinate men, are generally wrong in the opinions they form of persons and things. Prejudice and self-conceit blind the eyes and mislead the judgment, whatever be the subject inquired into.(2) Those who are trained carefully according to the precepts of Scripture gain an elevation, a delicacy, refinement, and sanctity of mind, which is most necessary for judging fairly of the truth of Scripture. The pure in heart shall see God; whereas the proud provoke His anger, and the carnal are His abhorrence.(3) Those who try to obey God will evidently gain a knowledge of themselves at least; and this is the first and principal step towards knowing God.

2. The Bible, then, seems to say, "God is not a hard master to require belief, without affording grounds for believing; only follow your own sense of right, and you will gain from that very obedience to your Maker, which natural conscience enjoins, a conviction of the truth and power of that Redeemer whom a supernatural message has revealed; do but examine your thoughts and doings; do but attempt what you know to be God's will, and you will most assuredly be led on into all the truth: you will recognize the force, meaning, and awful graciousness of the Gospel Creed; you will bear witness to the truth of one doctrine, by your own past experience of yourselves; of another, by seeing that it is suited to your necessity; of a third, by finding it fulfilled upon your obeying it. As the prophet says (Malachi 3:10).

(J. H. Newman, B. D.)


II. THE INFERIORITY OF MERE INTELLECTUAL ATTAINMENTS. The meanest student of Scripture is wiser than the most learned professor of scientific knowledge. He is wiser —

1. Scientifically. Boasted science is all chaff; after all, it comes back to the Scripture.

2. Morally. No system of ethics is perfect but the Scripture system.

3. Practically. No other writers can tell of what is beyond and what is the course to be pursued in relation thereto.

III. THE POWER AVAILABLE, TO ALL. Meditation on God's testimonies. Meditation includes —

1. Reading. This is the first step.

2. Digesting. Dwelling on, feeding upon, making them part of our intellectual selves.

3. Carrying out in action. The real test of all consists in development and the outward proof of the inward principle.


I. MEDITATION ON THE DIVINE. It is by meditation alone that men become philosophers and artists; by it they penetrate the veil of phenomena, descry and grasp the eternal principles that govern the universe. By it alone we can get mental nourishment. From the impressions that are made upon us, the observations we make, and the thoughts that flash through us from the works we read. It is the digestive faculty of the soul. As the best food taken into the stomach is not only useless, but injurious to the system if not digested, so the richest information rather encumbers than strengthens the soul if not reflected upon. But the subject of meditation must be Divine in order to reach the highest wisdom. "Thy testimonies." Meditations upon human history, speculation, or enterprise, will conduct to a certain kind of wisdom, but not to the highest wisdom — the wisdom that cometh from on high.

II. PRACTISING the Divine. "I keep Thy precepts." it is only as a man translates his ideas into actions that they become part of himself. The greatest ideas of God are comparatively worthless unless embodied in life. In temporal matters the highest philosophy helps on the world just as its theories are reduced to practice. "Genuine work alone," says Carlyle, "what thou workest faithfully, that is eternal as the Almighty Founder and World Builder Himself."


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