Meditation on Psalm 119:7-8
I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!
Before we jump into verses seven and eight, I cannot help but mention the first verse of this Psalm, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD” (Psalm 119:1). This verse caught my attention and created a thought that I had to wrestle with. This thought was the idea that needing to be blameless disqualifies me from walking in the law of the LORD. The more I think about this blamelessness, the more I realize that no human being, except for one, was indeed blameless and had done no wrong. In fact, Jesus, in spite of being blameless, was still wronged on the cross.
Meditating on God’s word is very comforting. His word provides God’s unconditional love for all of us. We see this unconditional love throughout scripture, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:3-4). God has made us blameless, and Jesus’ sacrifice has reconciled us, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him” (Colossians 1:21-22).
Even with all of our dirt and imperfections, we are blameless in God’s sight and this is because of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus that we have been cleansed and are now presented as holy to God. Wow! Isn’t that amazing? Our God is indeed an awesome God!
When we have fellowship with God, we express our love for Him. By spending time with Him, our daily routine becomes more intentional. As we seek His will, keeping His laws are no longer seen as obligations, instead we delight in obeying him and in doing so, we please Him. The closer we are to Him, the more easily we will praise him. And these praises will naturally follow.
The Psalmist presents two aspects of praising God, “I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me” (Psalms 119:7-8). One side deals with the external (the method of praising God through obedience), and this is what people see. However, the other side deals with the internal (the uprightness of our hearts), and this is what God sees. As said by a commentator, “he (the psalmist) did not want to offer God the image of praise or a moment of praise when the rest of his life was not upright”, this is the challenge to all of us as worshippers of God. Our wonderful assurance is that God sees us through Jesus’ life and sacrifice, and that is what truly matters.
The words “I will keep your ‘huqqim’” is more of a promise that the psalmist has pledged to God to keep His statutes (the engraved, inscribed, written word of God). How authoritative should God’s word be in our lives? Is knowing God’s law enough? Or, should it be a knowing as well as a joyful keeping of God’s law? Is there a tendency to pick through His law, keeping the ones that are convenient, while disregarding the ones that are not? Think about how the psalmist says, “do not utterly forsake me”, does this sound desperate? The psalmist acknowledges the fact that it is impossible to live out God’s word without God Himself. We must have a deep longing and dependency on God in order to keep His law.
Let us take a moment to express our praises to God. We praise Him because from even before the time that Adam and Eve broke God’s law, God had a plan laid out to reconcile us back to Him. He knew that everything, especially our holiness, would spiral down because of their decision. He has provided the way back to Himself through Jesus. This is the God that we worship. Praise be to Him!