For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not wickedly departed from my God.
I. THE PSALMIST'S CHARACTER. This he describes by various words and phrases, which only in part differ from each other.
1. Righteousness. Uprightness, rectitude, moral and spiritual goodness in general.
2. Cleanness of hands. Hands free from the stain of innocent blood, of "filthy lucre," etc.
3. Observance of God's ways. The ways he prescribes of thought, feeling, speech, and action. These are inquired after and followed by the good man.
4. Adherence to God. "Have not wickedly departed from my God" - from his presence, worship, the ways he prescribes, and in which he is to be found. Some degree of turning from God at times, every one who knows himself will be conscious of; but "wickedly" to depart from him, to do so consciously, deliberately, persistently, this is apostasy, the very opposite of godliness and righteousness. The Christian will esteem the slightest deviation from God as wicked; but he justly recalls his perseverance in the habits of piety and holiness, in spite of all temptations, with thankfulness.
5. Mindfulness of his Word, and persevering obedience to it. God's Word is "his statutes," what he has determined and appointed, and "his judgments," what he declares and prescribes as just and right. These the psalmist "kept before" him, and from them he "did not depart." And his attention and obedience to them were universal - they extended to "all" of them. One necessary quality of a true obedience. "Then shall I not be ashamed when I have respect unto all thy commandments" (Psalm 119:6).
6. Uprightness before God. With regard both to him and to men.
7. Avoidance of the besetting sin. "I have kept myself from mine iniquity." There is a particular sin to which each is specially prone. To keep one's self from that, by watchfulness, prayer, and resolute resistance, is special evidence of genuine piety.
8. Purity of life in general. "My cleanness," and that "in his eyesight," a very different thing from being pure in the eyes of men. Includes purity of heart as well as conduct, such as is so true and genuine as to bear the Divine inspection.
II. THE PSALMIST'S RECOMPENSE. In his preservation and deliverance from so many perils and enemies, he recognized the Divine reward of his righteousness, the Divine reply to the calumnies of his enemies, the Divine attestation of his innocence.
1. There is a real righteousness in the character of godly men. By this they are essentially distinguished from others. It is not a mere difference of taste.
2. The Divine recompense of such righteousness is certain. On account of:
(1) The character of God. "The righteous Lord loveth righteousness" (Psalm 11:7).
(2) His relation to the righteous. As their Father, etc.
(3) His promises.
(4) His almighty power. He is able to do all that is suitable to his nature, and that he has bound himself to do by his Word.
3. Those who receive such recompense should recognize and acknowledge it. The righteous do continually receive recompense for their righteousness; rewards, both spiritual, material, and social. But sometimes the happy results of their piety are very manifest, and then they should be specially noticed.
(1) To the glory of God. Praising him and inciting others to praise him.
(2) For encouragement of themselves and their brethren. Increasing their faith, and strengthening their determination to continue in their chosen course, and their assurance of ultimate, complete recognition and reward. For the whole reward is not yet. "Great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:12); but on earth the "guerdon" may be
"Many a sorrow, many a labour, (H. W. Beecher.)
(H. W. Beecher.)
TopicsActed, Departed, Evil, Kept, Sin, Turning, Wickedly
Outline1. David's psalm of thanksgiving for God's deliverance and blessings
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 22:22
8609 prayer, as praise and thanksgiving
LibraryDavid's Hymn of victory
'For Thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that, rose up against me hast Thou subdued under me. 41. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me. 42. They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the Lord, but He answered them not. 43. Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad. 44. Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, Thou hast …
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