Psalm 119:1 reads, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.” At the end of the opening portion of this verse, we find the phrase, “in the way.” With this phrase we are introduced to an important subject matter of this lengthy psalm. In fact, Psalm 119 includes the words “way” and “ways” eighteen times and includes the word “path” two times. Even so, in this psalm we may find significant truth concerning our walk along the pathway of life. Yea, as we consider these twenty uses in Psalm 119 of the words “way,” “ways,” or “path,” we encounter four categories of truth. We encounter truth concerning the way of this life, concerning the way of our Lord, concerning the way of sin’s lies, and concerning the way of our lives.
With the phrase “in the way,” Psalm 119:1 introduces us to the first of these categories – the way of this life. This is the only occasion in this psalm wherein the phrase “the way” is employed without a modifier. At other places throughout the Psalm, we learn of the way of the Lord’s testimonies, the way of the Lord’s precepts, the way of the Lord’s commandments, the way of the Lord’s statutes, the way of the truth, and the way of lying. Yet the phrase “the way” in verse 1 does not refer to any particular choice of way throughout this life. Rather, this phrase refers to the way of this life itself. It refers to the fact that we all must travel along the pathway of this life. Even so, as we each travel along the pathway of this life, there are three aspects of life that we all must encounter.
The Matter of Challenges
The opening line of Psalm 119:1 implies this aspect of life, saying, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way.” Herein the use of the word “undefiled” implies that there is defilement along the pathway of this life, and that we all must face the challenge of such defilement as we travel along the pathway of this life. Indeed, we all will face many different challenges in this life; and these challenges will come at us in three different ways.
In the first place, we all must face challenges through trouble in our circumstances. Job 5:6-7 declares, “Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Again Job 14:1 declares, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” Even so, in John 16:33 our Lord Jesus Christ made the statement, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.”
In the second place, as believers we all must face challenges through the trying of our faith. James 1:2-3 declares, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Again 1 Peter 1:6-7 declares, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” Yet again 1 Peter 4:12-13 declares, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
In the third place, we all must face challenges through temptation unto sin. The opening line of 1 Corinthians 10:13 declares, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.” Again James 1:14 declares, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” Yet again 1 Peter 5:8-9 declares, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
Each and every day, each and every one of us must face these challenges of life – trouble in our circumstances, the trying of our faith, and temptation unto sin. Even so, as we face these manifold challenges of life each day, we must make choices concerning the direction of our lives.
The Matter of Choices
The closing of line of Psalm 119:1 implies this second aspect of life, saying, “Who walk in the law of the LORD.” Each and every day, with each step of our lives along the pathway of this life, we must make the choice whether we will walk in obedience to our Lord’s law or in disobedience against our Lord’s law. Just as we all will face many different challenges in this life, even so we all must make many different choices in this life. In fact, it is impossible for us to continue step by step throughout this life without making choices of some kind.
Thus we all must make choices moment by moment whether we will yield ourselves unto sin or unto God (Romans 6:13-14). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will yield our members as instruments of righteousness or unrighteousness (Romans 6:13-14). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will put on and abide in our Lord Jesus Christ or make provision for the flesh to fulfill its selfish, sinful desires (Romans 13:14). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will walk after the direction of the indwelling Holy Spirit or after the desires of our selfish, sinful flesh (Galatians 5:16). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will live after the flesh or put to death the works of the flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13).
We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will deny and lose self to follow after and live for our Lord or save self to live for self (Matthew 16:24-25). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will set our affection on things above or on things on the earth (Colossians 3:1-2). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will love and serve our Lord above all else or love and serve our self and this world instead (1 John 2:15-17; Matthew 6:24). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will be conformed to this world or be transformed after the image of Christ (Romans 12:2). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will delight in and meditate upon God’s holy Word or will walk in the counsel of ungodliness and in the way of sinfulness (Psalm 1:1-2). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will only be hearers of God’s Word or be faithful doers also (James 1:21-25).
We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will love others with self-sacrifice or love ourselves with selfishness (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will return evil for evil and railing for railing or good for evil and blessing for railing unto those who mistreat us (1 Peter 3:9). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will hate our enemies or love our enemies (Matthew 6:43-44). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will respond with bitterness, wrath, anger, evil speaking, and malice toward others or with kindness, tenderheartedness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, and forgiveness toward others (Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:8, 12-13). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will pursue strife and vainglory or pursue peace and humility (Philippians 2:3; Romans 12:18). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will let corrupt, grievous communication proceed out of our mouth or that which is good and gracious to the use of edifying (Ephesians 3:29; Proverbs 15:1). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will employ lying and deception or speak the truth in all things (Ephesians 4:25).
We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will trust in our Lord with all our heart or lean upon our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will allow our hearts to be filled with trouble and worry or will place our whole trust in our Lord for peace of heart (John 14:27; Philippians 4:6-7). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will engage in murmuring and complaining or will rejoice in and give thanks unto the Lord always (Philippians 2:14; 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will pursue godliness with contentment in whatever state we are or be filled with covetousness for a greater, better condition in this life (Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:6-10). We all must make choices moment by moment whether we will be “steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the word of the Lord” or become weary in well doing and faint in our minds (1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 12:1-3).
Each and every day, each and every one of us must make choices concerning our direction in this life. Even so, as we make these choices each day, we must reap the consequences of the choices that we have made.
The Matter of Consequences
The whole of Psalm 119:1 implies this aspect of life, saying, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.” Herein the truth is revealed that those who walk undefiled along the pathway of this life, who walk faithfully in obedience to our Lord’s law, will receive the consequence of the Lord’s blessing upon their lives. This truth also implies that those who defile themselves along the pathway of this life, who walk in disobedience to our Lord’s law, will receive the consequence of the Lord’s curse upon their lives. Indeed, every choice that we make in this life possess a corresponding consequence; and this consequence cannot be avoided. Galatians 6:7-8 declares, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Even so, in Deuteronomy 11:26-28 Moses proclaimed unto the children of Israel, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.” Again in Proverbs 8:32-36 the personified wisdom of God’s Word proclaims, “Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” Yet again in Matthew 16:24-25 our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
Yea, Romans 8:13 declares, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Again Proverbs 3:32-35 declares, “For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous. The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.” Yet again Proverbs 4:18-19 declares, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” Finally, Jeremiah 17:5-8 declares, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”