Be still and rest in the Lord.
Psalm 119:1-8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Happy are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who keep his decrees,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways.
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
O that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous ordinances.
I will observe your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me.
Obviously, there is a tension–the history of humans’ relationship to God is the interplay between obedience and disobedience. Jesus Christ is the only one who has been able to keep all the commandments with the right attitude.
But there has been a litany of people who had the right attitude to do so. David may have written this psalm and for sure has demonstrated the great desire to be in the sweet spot of living the right life before God, but failing to do so. Again, there is something to be said for the intention to follow God’s laws and ways out of the motivation of glorifying God. Think of Noah, Abraham, Moses, and anyone from the 11th chapter of Hebrews whose greatest desire was to live for God’s glory and honor. All of these people were commended for their faith, yet every single one of them were also known to have made some major mistakes throughout their life.
So what are we to make of this–the blessed person is the one who does no wrong, and fully keeps the commandments…well. Thank goodness for vss 5-7. This is my prayer–“O that my ways were steadfast.” There is the thought in this psalm of progression–not that we have already achieved all these things, but one thing I do as Paul says…I strain toward what is ahead to take ahold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me…Our continual sanctification leads to praise–this is where the thought of righteousness by faith enables us to be proper worshippers of God. It is by faith we become blessed and become more and more like Christ in our mind, heart, and actions.
Merciful God, you have called us to be perfect even as you are perfect. Make it my greatest desire to be ever true to you and your ways. When I fail, forgive me and strengthen me that I might keep pursuing you. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Go with God!