But I Thought The Road Was Narrow?
Psalms 119:45 and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.
Here in the second half of the Waw octave, we hit what at first glance seems to be a startling statement. David announces that he shall walk in a wide place. But didn’t Jesus tell us the gate is narrow that leads to life (Matthew 7:14)? Dear Christian, as always there is no contradiction here between the wide place our psalmist walks and the narrow path that leads to life of which our Lord spoke during His incarnation.
Yes, the path to eternal life is narrow and hard! But there is a glorious truth that we must consider, and that is that the path is through Christ our Lord, himself. We enter into the Ark through the only door provided by our gracious God and, thus, avoid the waters of His judgment. And yes, the path itself is fraught with difficulty, but whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36). The path of the saint of God is one of liberty and security. We follow a narrow path by staying our minds on Christ, but the place we are set upon is wide enough for the weakest saint to stumble and stay within.
We can profess with David that we will keep God’s law (Psalm 119:44), and trust that by continuing to seek His precepts (Psalm 119:45) that we will be free of the fear of condemnation. God has put us in a wide place and not even the Devil himself can knock us into a ditch—for it is Christ himself who is our guardrail as we trod the path. What a beautiful truth that God’s law has now become dear to us in Christ. Let us recognize what Spurgeon tells us about this verse in his Treasury of David: “Those who keep the law are sure to seek it, and bestir themselves to keep it more and more,” and never slack in our efforts.
No Fear of Man
Psalms 119:46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame,
In verse 13 we begin to see how the psalmist ought to open his mouth to declare all the rules of God’s mouth. Verses 42 and 43 are more urgings to open our mouths and testify of the Lord’s rules and goodness. We are to speak of God and do so frequently, without fearing the reproach of man. How can someone not speak of what they have seen and heard (Acts 4:20) when it pertains to the perfection of Yahweh?
Earlier we saw that even though princes sit plotting against [him, the] servant will meditate on God’s statutes (Psalm 119:23). Now we see the next step in the process of dealing with earthly rulers—testifying to them. A man who meditates on God’s statutes is always preparing himself for whatever God has in store for Him. And some men, including David and our Lord Jesus himself, actually stand before royalty, heads of state, princes and kings. And the man who has prepared his heart in the oven of God’s love with devotion to God’s Word shall not be put to shame in that circumstance.
And why should he be? Dear saints, we have the testimonies of God in our arsenal. When we speak before parliaments or kings or any such thing, we have the words of eternal life, (John 6:68) to whom shall we go? So it is with Jesus who did not fear Herod or Pilate and arguing from the greater to the lesser, so it is with us. You may not speak of the testimonies of God before a government official, a judge, or even a police officer. But each of us has the same responsibility to proclaim the testimonies of God wherever we may go. Are they not your delight (Psalm 119:24)? Follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and the man after His heart, David, and open your mouth. You will not be put to shame, but have the hopeful expectation of hearing “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
How Do You Know You Love God?
Psalms 119:47 for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.
Jesus said that if you love Him you will keep His commandments. And what are His commandments but a proclamation of His very goodness? To love God is to love His people and His commandments (1 John 5:2). One of the clearest tests of whether you are of the faith is to take an honest look at your disposition towards God’s commandments. Do you find prayer, Bible study, memorization, or singing songs of praise to be a chore? Do you have sin in your life which you enjoy so much that you will not mortify it?
The psalmist proclaims that he will speak of God’s testimonies before kings and “not be put to shame” because he finds his delight in God’s commandments. It is as if there is no power of hell nor scheme of man which can even feign to take away the joy of the one who testifies of Christ before man. Because to speak of Christ or His law is the very delight of His saints! Jesus told us so himself in John 15:10-11. God’s commandments are both for His joy and our joy. It is our joy to hear them, to proclaim them, and to obey them. And it is God’s joy to see them fulfilled.
One aspect of the atonement that is so mind-blowingly amazing is this: Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled these verses. It was Jesus who spoke of the testimonies of God before kings and was not put to shame. He was innocent before Pilate and Herod and all mankind! Jesus found His delight in His Father and the commands of scripture, and the Father took immeasurable pleasure in His Son. So for God to smite Jesus, (the only One in whom He rightfully had any pleasure at all), in order to appease His wrath towards us who did not delight in His law is truly an amazing display of His love for us.
What Do You Do When You Love God?
Psalms 119:48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.
In verse 48, notice the repetition of the psalmist’s love for God’s commandments with a little detail added. For what we find our delight in we will soon find ourselves giving our lives to. Is it not so with you, beloved, that you dedicate the most time, effort, and energy toward that which you love the most? You want to know what a man loves? Direct your attention to where he spends his money, his time, and his gaze, and you will quickly know!
A man (or woman) of God is expected to lift up his hands toward God’s commandments. There is a sense of awe or worship embedded here. It is not that God is saying “worship the commandments,” but it is more likely that we are seeing the psalmist reaching upward as an indicator of the direction he must go to grow closer to God. For we who are afar off are made to still feel afar off when we are confronted by God’s law, even after we’ve been indwelt by His Spirit. So we lift up our hands like poor beggars, expecting the promised grace to persevere to the end. And our only hope is that what we delight in aligns with God’s moral law. For it is our clear conscience during promised tribulation that is our only consolation in this world.
Finally, how else do we expect to know God’s commandments in order to delight in them or obey them unless we meditate on them? The blessed man meditates on God’s commandments day and night (Psalm 1:2) and it is only through persistent meditation that we can expect to take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We find it to be profoundly true that what we most delight in we have no problem meditating upon regularly, and what we meditate upon regularly is what we grow in affection for. Your “god,” my friend, is whatever you are most submitted to! And you can only serve one. So be sure to make your calling and election sure by setting aside time and energy for meditation upon the glorious commands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
See all posts in this series
Psalm 119:1-4 — Blessed!
Psalm 119:5-8 — Blessed!
Psalm 119:9-12 — Purity is the Objective
Psalm 119:13-16 — Declare and Delight!
Psalm 119:17-20 — Open My Eyes!
Psalm 119:21-24 — The Comfort of God
Psalm 119:25-28 — Thirst and Life
Psalm 119:29-32 — Shame Shifting
Psalm 119:33-36 — Seeking The Way
Psalm 119:37-40 — Behold God's Promise
Psalm 119:41-44 — Answering the Taunter
Psalm 119:45-48 — A Wide Place
Psalm 119:49-52 — Comfort Amidst Affliction
Psalm 119:53-56 — Righteous Anger?
Psalm 119:57-60 — What's Your Portion?
Psalm 119:61-64 — Companionship
Psalm 119:65-68 — Afflicted by God
Psalm 119:69-72 — More Affliction?
Psalm 119:73-76 — Sovereign Creator
Psalm 119:77-80 — May God Supply!
Psalm 119:81-84 — Our Whole Being Longs for God
Psalm 119:85-88 — They Have Dug Pitfalls
Psalm 119:89-92 — Established
Psalm 119:93-96 — Limited Perfection
Psalm 119:97-100 — Elevated Wisdom
Psalm 119:101-104 — Sweeter Than Honey
Psalm 119:105-108 — Freewill, Oaths, and More Affliction
Psalm 119:109-112 — Sorrows, Snares, Sons, and a Savior
Psalm 119:113-116 — My Hiding Place and My Shield
Psalm 119:117-120 — God Discards the Dross
Psalm 119:121-124— Deliverance
Psalm 119:125-128— God's Law > Everything on Earth
Psalm 119:129-132 — Into The Light
Psalm 119:133-136 — Does Your Love Bring You To Tears?
Psalm 119:137-140 — Zeal + Ignorance = Worthless Religion
Psalm 119:141-144 — Assurance of Perseverance
Psalm 119:145-148— Meditate on the PROMISE
Psalm 119:149-152 — Be Comforted For God Is Near
Psalm 119:153-156— Christ Alone Delivers
Psalm 119:157-160 — We Are In A Battle
Psalm 119:161-164— Do You Hate Falsehood?
Psalm 119:165-168 — Cause → Effect
Psalm 119:169-172 — Eruption of Praise
Psalm 119:173-176 — Seek Your Servant Like a Lost Sheep