May your unfailing love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise.
The Lord’s love is unfailing – it does not, and cannot weaken – and his salvation is always prefigured and promised.
Then I will answer the one who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
Our answer to the accuser, or the accusing voice of self-criticism, comes from God’s love for us, not from our understanding or ability, and the effect of this argument is that it teaches us to trust in God. The accuser can be the Devil, as Jesus found in the wilderness, and exactly so did he make his answer: with the word, based on his knowledge of the father’s love for him. The accuser can be our guilt or any obstacle in life: all receive the same, simple, child-like, foolish answer: God has love for me and has promised to save me and he will not fail – he will change me if I have done wrong and been sinful and he requires me simply to believe this.
Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth,
for I have put my hope in your laws.
The word can disappear from our lives, if we cease our eating of it. Then we will look around in anger and sorrow, seeking the thing we have lost, but ineffectually until we submit ourselves and our behaviour to God’s changing power. The transformational power of God’s word is so strong that absolutely anybody can come to faith in an instant and believe, but absolutely no-one can remain as they were in character and behaviour if they are to remain in his Word. We have to pray, Lord, please don’t take your utterance away from me like the world seeks to take it away. Plenty of things remove God’s word from my mind and my mouth – too many – but to hope in God’s laws is to speak of it, and speak it – to breathe it in and out – and we should want to say ‘I cannot live without it any longer’. This is the air I breathe… this is my daily bread… your holy presence living in me, your very word, spoken to me.
I will obey your law
forever and ever.
Talking of God’s law, it is eternal. And it makes us eternal.
I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
Freedom from the law of the world and from the world’s pattern of being only comes when we seek the pearl of great worth and renounce everything else. A maturing believer must choose to prioritise this over all things.
I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
Our evangelism, our witness, will be fruitful wherever we go because of the pattern of our new life, which is not an outward veneer but the natural expression of a changed heart.
For I delight in your commands
because I love them.
This heart-search becomes a simple love story: we go where we love to, when we seek God’s power and his breath and his will.
I lift my hands to your commands, which I love,
and I meditate on your decrees.
Worship and meditation on all that God says is the life and breath of this seeking for God’s word. We worship with it – speaking his own words as truth in our lives – and dwelling, chewing, discussing his law and his parables and his instructions. Thank you, Father, for Scripture, for Jesus and the faithful reports of his good friends who have given us their testimony. May each of our lives be a testimony to the God who speaks and gives life through grace!