105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.
107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word.
108 Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me thy judgments.
109 My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.
111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.
112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.
The Christian life is a life-long commitment to receiving, believing, and walking in the principles of God’s Word.
So many things in life become old and tired like an old t-shirt. We move on to new things and we forget about the old. This is never how we feel about the commandments of God. When we pick up the Word of God, we know that this must be a forever relationship. We may grow tired of every other book in the world, but we never grow tired of feeding upon God’s Word.
Without God’s Word, we would be sunk into total darkness. We are incapable of knowing anything without access to God’s knowledge. Beyond this, the world is also very dark because of the constant deception that goes on everywhere around us. To make matters worse, our minds have been darkened due to Adam’s fall into sin. Our only hope to lighten our path is the Word of God. Of course, light does not help blind men at all, so we need our minds enlightened before the light can illuminate our way.
When we say that God’s Word is a light to our path, this means more than guiding us towards the right breakfast cereal in the morning. It gives us big-picture direction that inevitably affects all other decisions we make. It constantly rearranges our priorities and checks our motivations. It drives us from the paths of sin and destruction. Where would we be without this light? Every Christian knows that God’s Word is a constant corrective. Just as we must correct the steering wheel of a car twenty times every minute (so as not to run the vehicle into the ditch), God’s Word steers us down the straight path. It is God’s means of saving us and keeping us saved.
There is intensity to this man’s commitment that must not be missed in these verses. The psalmist has gone so far as to bind himself with a vow that he will keep God’s righteous judgments. He does not specify which ones he plans to keep. However, these judgments must include something of God’s principles of jurisprudence. Tyrants will rule by arbitrary whim and injustice, but this man will not do the same. He put his hand on a Bible and took an oath that he would rule by God’s standards of justice, and he will stand by his oath. Yet, the man is also aware of his own weaknesses. He pleads for God’s internal work in his own heart, so that he might follow through on his vows (vs. 107).
Verse 108 is a helpful and simple summary of a worship service. We want to first learn the judgments of God as explained by the preaching of the Word and then we offer the sacrifices of praise. When the psalmist speaks of the “freewill offering” of the mouth, he refers to the praise we bring to God in worship. We may not think of our praise as a gift that we bring to God. If we are half-hearted and bored in the worship service, then, of course there will be no real worship. Yet, this freewill offering cannot be some forced praise from the lips of the man. This is the man who holds nothing back in glorious praise, thanksgiving, adoration, rejoicing, and devotion. This is the man who says, “If Jesus Christ being the Son of God gave Himself for me, there is nothing that I cannot give for Him!”
Evidently, the Psalmist who wrote this was in continual danger of losing his life. There is hardly a nation around today where a faithful, godly leader does not risk his life when he speaks against the doctrines of Islam, or homosexual fascism, or atheistic communism. So this is quite relevant to modern life wherever men of faith reside. Nonetheless, the Psalmist can hardly be bothered with these threats to his life and the constant attempts to defame his name and undermine his work. The biggest danger to his life is to fall into the snare of sin or to walk down the iniquitous path to destruction. Therefore, his mind meditates on God’s Word day and night. This is his continual focus. He spends far more time examining the right path than trying to follow the twisted minds of wicked men who just want to lead him astray.
The prophet Daniel is an excellent example of this spirit. He could care less about the lions. What mattered was his prayer life and his relationship with his God. His three friends could care less about the king’s threats. After given an opportunity to contemplate the horrible circumstance of being tossed into the fiery furnace, they responded with the memorable line: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter!” (Dan. 3:16). You would think the young men would have been a little nervous about their defense in court. But they could hardly be bothered with the question. They knew that their lives were in God’s hands ultimately. Their focus was upon God, not upon the antics of earthly kings.
Now we get a sense for the commitment in this man’s heart and will to keep God’s ways. Following God is more than an agreement of the mind with God’s Word. It is more than an emotional commitment of heart. There must be a commitment of the will to keep the commandments of God. Loving God must involve this commitment of will and “strength,” to actually do what God has told us to do. This is absolutely critical to the life of true faith.
Moreover, the Psalmist commits to living out the Christian life to the end of his life. This is a forever and ever commitment. “I have inclined my heart to perform thy statutes always, even unto the end.” When the Spirit of God changes a man’s heart, it is a forever change. “Old things have passed away, behold all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
We may be willing to listen to the Word of God preached and give some kind of verbal assent to the words of truth. We might enter into the emotions of the message and tears start to flow as we affirm the message internally. Yet true conversion is always attended with a change of internal volition that must change the life. If God works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:12,13), then we will live differently. We will make different choices and establish new priorities in life. However, none of this will happen on our own strength. We must rely on God’s grace to work in us while we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.
Let us view our praise as sacrifices to God. On the one hand, our tithes and offerings are important sacrifices to God. But even more important are our sacrifices of praise. The true test of the genuineness of our heart and the authenticity of our confessions is found in what we say and how we say it in worship. God values the freewill offerings of our mouths above all the gifts we could bring Him.
1. Why do we need God’s lamp to lighten our pathway?
2. What are the “judgments” of God as they apply to a civil leader?
3. What kind of sacrifices do we bring to God in worship?
4. Does the Psalmist appear to be afraid of losing his life? Why or why not?
5. What are the most dangerous things that we should be most concerned about?
1. How has God’s Word served as a lamp to our feet? Give examples.
2. How would you describe our sacrifices or freewill offerings that we bring to God?