A Dutiful Prayer and a Wise Resolution
Psalm 86:11
Teach me your way, O LORD; I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name.


1. "Teach me Thy way."(1) Man's need of Divine instruction.

(a) This is obvious from the darkness of his understanding. In consequence of this, he does not see things as they really are, and, as a result of this, the estimate he forms of them is false and deceptive. Hence the most pernicious results must necessarily accrue. These are manifest in the wrong objects which he naturally pursues, the sinful pleasures he seeks after, and the forbidden things in which he delights. No change for the better need ever be expected on the part of man's darkened understanding, for it possesses no power of self-rectification. He must receive light from above, just as the sun-dial must receive the sun's rays if it is to be of any practical utility.

(b) This is obvious from the hardness of his heart. This state of hardness is one which does not remain stationary, for, just as in the continuance of frost, the ice thickens and the ground hardens, so in like manner, under the operation of his depraved tastes and habits, the heart of the natural man waxes harder and harder.

(2) The psalmist doubtless desired instruction, at least, in two important points — viz., in God's way of pardon, and in the way of purity and spiritual progress.

(a) Pardon is a blessing of universal need and measureless value. It is God's prerogative to forgive sins, for "who can forgive sins but God only?" The way of pardon being provided, it is indispensable that we know it before the blessing can be enjoyed.

(b) A renewal of heart is as essential as a reversal of condition: for how can two walk together except they be agreed? Without holiness, no man can see the Lord.

2. "Unite my heart to fear Thy name."(1) This petition obviously implies the conviction that reverence is due to Jehovah. This reverence for God requires the concentration of the heart's affections.

(2) It is plainly implied that God alone can beget in us this reverential spirit. O let us be persuaded that from God alone all holy thoughts and pure desires proceed.

II. THE WISE RESOLUTION. "I will walk in Thy truth." His resolution intimates progress. Whether conscious of it or not, progress is a law of our being — progress in that which is good, or growth in that which is evil. The resolution of the psalmist implies progress in the right direction. "I will walk in Thy truth." The objects to be sought are to possess the sanction of the God of Truth, the life that is to be lived is to be that which is enjoined by the God of Truth, and in prosecuting life's journey he is to take God's truth as a light to his feet, and as a lamp to his path. Religious profession and Christian practice must, therefore, correspond.

(A Brunton.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.

WEB: Teach me your way, Yahweh. I will walk in your truth. Make my heart undivided to fear your name.

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