Verse 67: Before I was troubled, I went wrong: but now I have kept thy word.
In the life of the believer affliction comes as a corrective. Trouble prompts us to think and test our ways. It is the application of the divine brakes in our wayward lives. Over-confidence, presumption, arrogance, and impulsiveness can be characteristics of the Christian when times are smooth and gratifying, and especially in early experience. The young author of the psalm is learning with what ease we stray from God in our false optimism and ambition. Blessing from God can make us boastful and also belittling of others. It is so easy to become puffed up and incautious, and to think our thoughts always run parallel to God’s. Self-confidence makes us susceptible to Satan’s subtle suggestions. The word has ceased to influence and guide us. Troubles are used by God to turn us back, especially when we do not realize we are on the wrong track. But now things are better for the writer. He has begun again to keep the word and finds that the word keeps him.
Verse 73: Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: O give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.
Humility is the fruit of affliction in the truly Christian heart. Our folly is recognized and deeply rued. We are the handiwork of God, obviously in the material sense, but also in the conversion of the heart that senses its stupidity, cupidity, and the need to be curbed. Therefore, self-will is silly. We must look continually to our Maker for a well regulated life and thought pattern. Trouble reveals how headstrong we can be and that we are skilled in whimsy but not wisdom. Our supposed smartness is artless and we are bound to see ourselves after chastisement as learners – always and forever in this life.
Verse 74: They that fear thee will be glad when they see me: because I have put my trust in thy word.
There is always a mutual concern among believers: not a patronizing, controlling or critical attitude but a general delight in our common spiritual wellbeing. When divine discipline sobers the mind of a brother or sister in the Lord’s family there is generous rejoicing in the expression of beatitudes. A friend has been restored and is once again a source of blessing to others through his or her maturation. The more we communally trust and teach the word the more all are encouraged and confirmed in faith.
Verse 75: I know, O Lord that thy judgments are right: and that thou of very faithfulness hast caused me to be troubled.
Deliverance from divinely sent trouble corrects flawed opinions and attitudes and vindicates the wisdom of the Lord in providence and the moral and spiritual spheres. He proves himself to us, convincing us that he is right and faithful in all dealings. But only grace gives us this perception and enables its reception. “O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thy anger, lest thou bring me to nothing” (Jeremiah 10:24. Psalm 6:1. BCP Introductory Sentences).
Verse 76: O let thy merciful kindness be my comfort: according to thy word unto thy servant.
Mercy is deeply appreciated after a season of affliction. It is seen to be just that - mercy! undeserved pity and infinite compassion. Affliction renders us appreciative. To find comfort in God is the ultimate good. It is granted to us in the word of his promise. “According to the word” is our life style, strength, and confidence. Everything we are and all that God is, meets in the place of holy rendezvous – the Scared Scriptures.
Verse 77: O let thy loving mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.
Whenever God turns us around he affords us fresh views of his favourable aspects. It is better to taste of his goodness than feel the terrors of his disapproval. His loving overtures and embrace of those who stray are addictive and the essence of life and means of protection. Again, it is the word of God in guidance and guarantee that sustains the heart in gladness.
Verse 78: Let the proud be confounded, for they go wickedly about to destroy me: but I will be occupied in thy commandments.
Pride is the most objectionable thing in human nature. It haunts us and hangs around continually and it sickens the sanctified soul in the secrets of their own hearts. Overt pride that is fully indulged is the characteristic of the rebel and it repels the Lord. It makes people overbearing and exploitative. It is repugnant and rude. The young man of the psalm has his rivals and detractors. They may envy his potential and ridicule his faith which makes him modest and non-compliant with wickedness. Still, he will not regard them but preoccupy himself with God’s revelation, prescriptive and descriptive.
Verse 79: Let such as fear thee, and have known thy testimonies: be turned unto me.
The psalmist requests the fellowship of those who like-mindedly love the Lord through his word. Let him share his discoveries with them to mutual edification.
Verse 80: O let my heart be sound in thy statutes: that I be not ashamed.
The wanderer wants stability. He wants true and stabilizing understanding so that he will not be put to shame by sin and senseless behaviour.