Wonder-Working Grace Empowers Us to Obey

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.” (Psalm 119:30)

Out of context, this can sound like one of those “old covenant legalistic verses.” However, it is apart of an eight verse set and must be read in context. Verses 25-32 speak of our earthly nature as dust our souls cling to and the author longs for life, confesses his ways, and asks god to teach him god’s way, not merely as a list of dos and don’ts to be followed just because god said so, but to teach him god’s ways as principles that have been explained to him so he understands them.

The author reveals he is in such deep sorrow as he writes this, it feels like his heart is melting away, but asks god to give him strength as “according to your word’ in other words, he is looking through the scriptures available to him at the time and seeing where God promised to give life and strength and asking God to reconcile his experience to what is written in the scripture and give him what it promises.

In verse 29, he asks for false ways to be put far from him. No one asks to have removed things they don’t have. Thus the person choosing the way of faithfulness has not been faithful in all things. Rather they are picking themselves up and making a U-turn, determined to stand in God’s grace as God teaches him how to walk rightly before him.

Through all of this, he focuses his thoughts upon the great wonders and miracles the bible testifies of God doing,  and “clings to” God’s “Testimonies,” which, according to m-w.com, refers to the five books of Moses and any divine decree recorded in the scriptures primarily, which is again standing firm upon what God has said about him rather than what his eyes see around him, to ask God that he would not be put to shame. The set ends with the author declaring by faith that he will “run” (not merely walk) as God commanded–because God will “enlarge my heart” or as the footnote suggests, “For you set my heart free.”

Thus it is grace and God’s power at work in us that enable us to declare in faith the same.

Lord, we ask you as the psalmist did, strengthen us to will and to obey. Open our eyes and our hearts to understand your ways. Set us free from anything that holds our hearts captive and holds us back from being all you made us to be. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.