This sermon is a companion to two previous sermons: In the Way of This Life - Psalm 119:1
In the Ways of Our Lord (Part 1) - Psalm 119:3
Psalm 119:1-3 reads, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.”
In Psalm 119 we encounter the words “way” and “ways” eighteen times and the word “path” two times, indicating that the pathway of our lives is an important subject of this psalm. With the phrase “in the way,” Psalm 119:1 introduces us to the first category of truth concerning this subject matter – the way of this life. Thereby we learn that we all must travel along the pathway of this life, and that we all must deal with the matter of challenges, choices, and consequences in the way of this life.
With the phrase “in his way,” Psalm 119:3 introduces us to the second category of truth concerning our walk along the pathway of life – the way of our Lord. Even so, the intention of Psalm 119 is to exhort us and encourage us to choose this particular way, the way of our Lord, as the direction of our daily walk along each step of the way as we face life’s many different challenges. In addition, Psalm 119:1-3 reveals that the consequence for choosing the way of our Lord as the particular direction for our daily walk is that our Lord’s favor and blessing will be poured out upon our lives. So then, what is involved for us to follow the way of our Lord step by step in our daily walk? In the first part of this message, we considered the first two of the nine elements that are revealed in Psalm 119. They were, first, the need for determination, and second, the need for conviction. In this second part of the message, let us consider the next two of these elements.
The Need for Passion
In Psalm 119:32 the psalmist declared, “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.” Immediately after expressing his determined choice for the way of the Lord and his deep conviction in the truth of God’s Word, the psalmist declared his passionate commitment to obey the Lord’s authority. He made his commitment, not to walk in the way of the Lord occasionally and casually, but to run in the way of the Lord zealously and enthusiastically. Obedience to the authority of the Lord’s way and the commandments of the Lord’s Word would be the driving passion of his heart and life. Indeed, the psalmist committed himself to run the way of the Lord’s commandments with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might. In verse 5 he proclaimed, “O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!” Again in verse 10 he proclaimed, “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.” Yet again in verse 44 he stated, “So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.” In verse 60 he stated, “I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.” Again in verse 106 he stated, “I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.” Yet again in verse 112 he stated, “I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.” Finally, in verse 129 he declared, “Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.” Yea, this is was the very ground upon which the psalmist made his passionate commitment to run the way of the Lord’s commandments, not on the ground of his conclusion that the Lord’s way was agreeable to him, but on the ground of his conviction that the Lord’s way is “true and righteous altogether.”
Even so, it is not our place first to examine the Lord’s way, and then to run in it if we find it acceptable and agreeable to our own interests. Rather, it is our place to commit passionately unto obedience in everything no matter what it may be simply on the ground of conviction that our Lord’s way and Word is always right. Yea, if we would follow the way of our Lord step by step in our daily walk, then obedience to the authority of our Lord’s way and the commandments of our Lord’s Word must be the passion of our hearts and lives. We must love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might (Deuteronomy 6:5). We must fear the Lord our God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Him with all our heart and all our soul (Deuteronomy 10:12). We must diligently, zealously, enthusiastically, and passionately keep the commandments of our Lord’s Word, to do them, to love the Lord our God, to walk in all His Ways, and to cleave unto Him (Deuteronomy 11:22). We must set the passion of our hearts upon the standards and statutes, principles and precepts, counsels and commands, instructions and admonitions of our Lord’s Word, to walk after the Lord our God, and fear Him, and keep all His Word always, and obey His voice, and serve Him, and cleave unto Him (Deuteronomy 13:4). We must lay aside every spiritual hindrance and all besetting sin, and we must run with passion and patience in the way that the Lord our God has set before us (Hebrews 12:1). Indeed, there is the need for passion to obey. Yet in order for this passion, this passionate commitment to walk after the way of our Lord, to be fully effective, it must be inseparably joined with another element.
The Need for Education
In order for our passionate commitment for obedience to be truly effective, we must be taught the right way in which to go. Passion without education will bring forth foolishness. The psalmist understood this principle. Thus in Psalm 119:26-27 the psalmist declared, “I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.” Furthermore, in verses 33-34 he declared, “Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” In fact, nine times throughout this psalm, the psalmist made the request for the Lord to teach him (See Psalm 119:12, 26, 33, 64, 66, 68, 108, 124, 135). In addition, six times throughout this psalm, the psalmist made the request for the Lord to give him understanding (See Psalm 119:27, 34, 73, 125, 144, 169). The great reason for which the psalmist made his request unto the Lord that he might be taught and might receive understanding was in order that he might walk obediently after the way of the Lord. This is the very purpose that he expressed in verses 33-34, saying, “Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.”
Now, the Lord our God is certainly willing to teach us in the way that we should go. He is certainly willing to lead us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. He gave His Holy Word by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit to be profitable unto us “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Indeed, the Lord our God is abundantly willing to teach us in His way if we will be humble before Him to receive His instruction. In Psalm 25:8-9 the truth is revealed, “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” Furthermore, in Psalm 32:8-9 the promise and admonition is delivered, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” Even so, if we would follow the way of our Lord step by step in our daily walk, we must “receive with meekness the engrafted word,” which is able to save our souls from carnality and able to covert our souls unto Christ-likeness (James 1:21). We must look daily into the perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, and altogether righteous Word of God, and must continue therein as obedient doers of the work (James 1:25). We must study to show ourselves as approved workmen before the Lord our God (2 Timothy 2:15). We must search the Word of God daily, and must receive its wisdom with all readiness of mind (Acts 17:11). Yea, we must daily incline our ear unto the wisdom of God’s Word and must hearken unto its instructions. Furthermore, we must faithfully apply our heart unto discernment between good and evil through obedience to the counsels and commands of God’s Word. Finally, we must humbly turn at the reproofs and corrections of God’s Word against our unrighteous character and conduct.