Psalm 119:97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
Some people hold the “church fathers” in very high esteem. The church fathers are men who are from a previous generation who were the spiritual leaders in their time. Many of the church fathers were traditionalists who held to traditions that had no Biblical foundation. Jesus addressed the Pharisees and accused them of making God’s Word of none effect by their traditions.
David was directed by God to remind us that the person who loves God’s law and meditates on it all day, will be wiser than the ancients who lacked that love of God’s Word. You notice the qualifying statement here: “because I keep thy precepts.” Obedience is not the means of salvation. Obedience is important for the true child of God. It is true that a lost person needs to obey what God says in order to be saved. That includes repenting toward God and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Humbling oneself and trusting in God’s way of salvation is the only way of being saved. There are many religions that have a form of godliness. They have rituals they follow and they claim that is their way of hoping to be saved. The Catholics have their Mary and they have a false Christ that they follow. They have no assurance of salvation. Theirs is a works salvation which is no salvation at all.
David is directed to write here of the person who loves God’s law. He is writing of the saved individual who has more understanding than the ancients because he keeps God’s precepts. The person that is saved has the Holy Spirit indwelling them. The Holy Spirit is there to give understanding to the saved person. He is also there to convict the saved person of sin when he or she goes astray. The Holy Spirit will never teach anyone contrary to what God’s Word declares. He does not speak of Himself, but rather He exalts the true Saviour — Jesus Christ.
In verse 100 we see that the saved person refrains his feet from every evil way. This is not talking about sinless perfection. This is talking about the fact that the saved person has a new nature and thus the desire now is to walk in God’s way. The true child of God can slip and fall, spiritually. However, the true child of God cannot stay down. The true child of God cannot know God’s peace while sinning.
David wrote that the way to keep God’s Word is by following God’s way. The true child of God desires to be a light in a lost and dying world. The Christians in Corinth desired a spiritual walk. They were ignorant of God’s truth and the apostle Paul rebuked them as being carnal and he pointed out sin that needed to be dealt with. They could not know God’s blessing as long as they harboured sin in their camp.
The saints in Corinth did listen to God’s rebuke and they dealt with the sin in their own hearts and with the open sin that was being tolerated in their midst.
In verse 102 David stated that he had not departed from God’s judgments. God had taught him, and he was intent on following God’s way. As we have already noted, the Holy Spirit indwells every true child of God and He will guide the saint in the right way. This guiding does not mean the saint does not need to do anything. This guiding will encourage the true child of God to follow God’s way. God the Holy Spirit gives understanding to the saint as he or she walks humbly with God.
In verse 103 David spoke of the sweetness of God’s Word.
Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
God’s Word is not an interference. It is not a hindrance to knowing joy and peace. God’s Word is true in all things. It is sweet to the soul of the saved person. Years ago as we were attending New Evangelical churches, I often mentioned to my wife that there was something missing in those churches. Over time someone gave me some material to read that was written by men who loved the Lord and followed Him. I mentioned to my wife that this is what had been missing in our lives. These men were teaching God’s Word. They were not trying to dismiss His Word. My soul longed for that truth. I needed that encouragement to take God at His Word. I needed to know that I did not need some type of a “spin doctor” to deceive me into believing something that was not true. I needed to accept what God said as truth and in humility I needed to submit to what God said. I needed to learn to dismiss those men who wanted to deceive. That was the start of a sweeter time in my life. God’s Word has become sweeter for me as I have sought to submit to His authority in all things.
In verse 104 God’s Word is called “precepts”. The Hebrew word here means “mandate.” Our governments have tried to convince us that they have the authority to mandate certain things for us. Many people have believed this lie. Many people now wish they would never have listened to the government with their lies regarding health care. Too many have died from a very bad shot. Others are suffering from long-term negative effects from those shots. The chief medical officer for Canada is still out there trying to deceive people, acting as though she has had a conversation with Mrs. Claus about these things. There is no Santa and thus no Mrs. Santa to begin with. The chief medical officer should be someone that is trustworthy. She has proven over and over again that she is not trustworthy. Too many people have chosen to believe her lies, rather than trusting God.
There are many men and women who stand behind a pulpit who also deceive people with their smooth talking. Many people lack discernment and they reject the truth in favour of following those who have taken leading positions in society.
The Psalmist chose to love God’s law. He chose to follow God’s precepts. God’s precepts gave him understanding. Because he had understanding, he hated every false way. He understood that the false ways were designed to rob him of God’s blessings. He would rather have God’s blessings than go astray and live in misery. David had the opportunity to witness the disastrous results of rejecting God’s way. He witnessed that in king Saul. He also witnessed that first hand when he sinned with Bathsheba and when he chose to number the people. He learned some things. He did not just make some statements because he was caught. He knew the misery of trying to cover up sin. He also knew the blessing of confessing and forsaking sin. He would rather hate every evil way, than try to defend evil ways.
That should be the fact for every born again child of God. You cannot support evil ways and be a faithful child of God. The indwelling Holy Spirit cannot agree with a child of God who wants to fight against God’s truth. The winner will always be God. There are those who will be saved though as by fire. There are many others who will not enter heaven because they chose deception over truth. They did not love God’s law, but chose to follow smooth talkers. The wise person listens to God’s Word and knows His blessings, as described in this Psalm and throughout the Bible.