The Source of Peace and Energy

"Princes also did sit and speak against me; but Thy servant did meditate on Thy statutes" (Psalm 119:23).

"I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart" (Psalm 119:32).

The Psalmist desired that his way might be directed by God's statutes (v. 5): he desired that it might be cleansed from every sin and inconsistency by His word (v. 9) and that he might not at any time wander from the commandments of God (v. 10), and he was sure that only God by His Word could preserve him from this, so he sought Him with His whole heart. Yet for all that he was a misunderstood man, not by those who were poor and humble, but by the princes of his people. Notice how he puts it: "princes did SIT." While he walked and laboured they sat and watched him. They did not sit in the learner's seat, but on the judge's bench, and from thence they spake against him. Well, that is easy, even if it be presumptuous work. It requires no spiritual power to sit and speak against others, no God-given purpose, no earnest prayer, no diligent study of the Word, though all these are needed if a man is to walk in the way of God's commandments.

Now while these princes sat in the judgment seat they were neglecting their God-appointed work. He had called them to bring their offerings to Him, as we read in Numbers 7; and to dig the wells for the refreshment of the people, as we read in Numbers 21:18. God had given to them this two-fold ministry — offering to God, and refreshing the people; but these princes had forgotten their high and holy calling and were spending their time speaking against a man whose heart was set upon the ways of God.

But the Psalmist was a wise man, made wise by the Word that he loved, and though he felt the hard words that were spoken against him, and felt them keenly, he did not retaliate, he does not seem to have thought it worth his while to defend himself. He turned to God and His word. He says "But THY SERVANT did meditate in THY STATUTES." Wise man, he knew the source of hope and comfort and peace. It was the word that had caused him to hope (v. 49), and that same word was his comfort in his affliction (v. 50). We are reminded of a beautiful New Testament word, "That we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Rom. 15:4).

It is a great stay to the soul of a man when he can look up into the face of God and say, "I am Thy servant;" he will be ready then to serve all, even the weakest of saints, and the weaker and more ignorant they are the more keen will he be to serve them; he will be ready to serve all men, yet be the servant of none. God's thoughts and will for His servants are revealed in His word and there alone, hence the Psalmist says, "Thy servant did meditate in Thy statutes." What peace that meditation would give him, what poise to his soul! How it would lift him above the irritation that this criticism would otherwise have caused him! How it would help him to adjust his ways not to the opinions of his self-appointed judges, but to the will of God whose servant he was!

His meditation in the word of God revived his soul and made him eager not to walk in God's way only but to run in it. "I will RUN in the way of Thy commandments," he says. Now God's commandments are not grievous, yet not many seem eager to run in the way of them, and many who do desire stumble and fail, and seem to lack the spiritual power and energy necessary. The Psalmist had discovered the secret of this zeal and energy. "I will run," he says, "when Thou shalt have enlarged my heart." No man can run in the way of God's commandments if his heart is narrowed and his spiritual affections cramped. The Christians at Corinth made a sad mess of their testimony and made no progress in the heavenly race because they were straightened by their worldliness and party strife, they had but a feeble apprehension of the fullness of the love wherewith God loved them, and the breadth and greatness of His interests on earth.

"Be ye enlarged" urged the Apostle. "I will run in the way of Thy commandments," said the Psalmist, "when Thou shalt have enlarged my heart." Fetters that bind the feet drop off when the heart is enlarged. Think of the words, "Strengthened with all might by His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ might dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:16-19).

The traditions of men and their rules and regulations and standards of conduct chill and narrow the heart; it is this love that passes knowledge, love that never faileth, that enlarges the heart, and the man with the enlarged heart will run, he cannot help it, and he will run in the way of the commandments of the Lord. "And this is His commandment that ye should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and LOVE ONE ANOTHER, as He gave us commandment" (1 John 3).