The Psalmist having spoken of the pleasure, now speaks of the profit—of the word—the teaching connected with its sweetness. Before, he had mentioned the avoiding of sin in order to profit—now, as the fruit of profit. So closely are they linked together. Man's teaching conveys no understanding—God's teaching not only opens the Scriptures, but "opens the understanding to understand them," and the heart to feel their heavenly warmth of life. Thus having learned "the principles of the doctrine of Christ," we shall "go on to perfection" "growing in grace, in the knowledge of Christ." Many inconsistencies belong to the young and half—instructed Christian. But when through the precepts he gets understanding, he learns to walk more uniformly and steadily, abiding in the light. In this spirit and atmosphere springs up a constant and irreconcilable hatred of every false way; as contrary to the God he loves. These ways will include a thousand devious paths—all meeting in one fearful end—often discovered too late. In doctrine can we too much turn away from the thought of putting anything—the Church, ordinances, repentance, prayers—in the place of Jesus—another "foundation" in the stead of that which God Himself "laid in Zion?" Oh, for spiritual understanding to hate this false way with a deadly hatred! What think we of the ways of the sinful world—so long trusted to for happiness—yet so delusive? The sinner thinks that he has found a treasure, but it proves to be glittering trash—burdensome instead of enriching—only leaving him to the pain of disappointed hope. Rightly are such ways called false ways; and of those that tread in them, it is well said, "This their way is their folly." Strewed they may be with the flowery "pleasures of sin." But they are "hard" in their walk, and ruinous in their end. Inquire of those, whose past wanderings justly give weight and authority to their verdict—'What is your retrospective view of these ways?' Unprofitableness. 'What is your present view of them?' Shame. 'What prospect for eternity would the continuance in them assure to you?' "Death." Let them then be not only avoided and forsaken, but abhorred; and let every deviation into them from the straight path, however pleasing, be "resisted" even "unto blood."
But let me ask myself, Have I detected the false ways of my own heart? Little is done in spiritual religion, until my besetting sins are searched out. And let me not be satisfied with forbearance from the outward act. Sin may be restrained, yet not mortified; nor is it enough that I leave it for the present, but I must renounce it forever. Let me not part with it as with a beloved friend, with the hope and purpose of renewing my familiarity with it at a "more convenient season:" but let me shake it from me, as Paul shook off the viper into the fire, with determination and abhorrence. What! can I wish to hold it? If through the precepts of God I have got understanding, must not I listen to that solemn, pleading voice, "Oh! do not this abominable thing that I hate?" No, Lord: let me "pluck it out" of my heart, "and cast it from me." Oh, for the high blessing of a tender conscience! such as shrinks from the approach, and "abstains from all appearance of evil;" not venturing to tamper with any self-pleasing way; but hating it as false, defiling, destructive! I have noticed the apple of my eye—that tenderest particle of my frame—that it is not only offended by a blow or a wound; but that, if so much as an atom of dust find an entrance, it would smart, until it had wept it out. Now such may my conscience be—sensitive of the slightest touch of sin—not only fearful of resisting, rebelling, or "quenching the Spirit," but grieving for every thought of sin that grieves that blessed Comforter—that tender Friend! To hate every false way, so as to flee from it, is the highest proof of Christian courage. For never am I better prepared to "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ," than when my conscience is thus set against sin. Would not I then submit to the greatest suffering, rather than be convicted of unfaithfulness to my God?
Lord! turn my eyes, my heart, my feet, my ways, more and more to Your blessed self. Shed abroad Your love in my heart, that sin may be the daily matter of my watchfulness, grief, resistance, and crucifixion.
"Through your precepts I get understanding." God's direction is our instruction. Obedience to the divine will begets wisdom of mind and action. As God's way is always best, those who follow it are sure to be justified by the result. If the Lawgiver were foolish his law would be the same, and obedience to such a law would involve us in a thousand mistakes; but as the reverse is the case, we may count ourselves happy to have such a wise, prudent, and beneficial law to be the rule of our lives. We are wise if we obey, and we grow wise by obeying.
"Therefore I hate every false way." Because he had understanding, and because of the divine precepts, he detested sin and falsehood. Every sin is a falsehood: we commit sin because we believe a lie, and in the end the flattering evil turns a liar to us, and we find ourselves betrayed. True hearts are not indifferent about falsehood, they grow warm in indignation: as they love the truth, so they hate the lie. Saints have a universal horror of all that is untrue; they tolerate no falsehood or folly, they set their faces against all error of doctrine or wickedness of life. He who is a lover of one sin is in league with the whole army of sins; we must have neither truce nor parley with even one of these Amalekites, for the Lord has war with them from generation to generation, and so must we. It is well to be a good hater. And what is that? A hater of no living being, but a hater of "every false way." The way of self-will, of self-righteousness, of self-seeking, of Worldliness, of pride, of unbelief, of hypocrisy, of lustfulness—these are all false ways, and therefore not only to be shunned, but to be abhorred.
This final verse of the strophe marks a great advance in character, and shows that the man of God is growing stronger, bolder, and happier than aforetime. He has been taught of the Lord, so that he discerns between the precious and the vile, and while he loves the truth fervently he hates falsehood intensely. May all of us reach this state of discrimination and determination, so that we may greatly glorify God!
Exposition of Verses 105 to 112
YOUR word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep your righteous judgments.
I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto your word.
Accept, I beseech you, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me your judgments.
My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from your precepts.
Your testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.
I have inclined my heart to perform your statutes always, even unto the end.