Therefore I love Your commandments. Yes—shall they not have double valuation in my eyes, for the scorn and reproach which the world cast upon them? They count them dross—I love them above gold—yes, above fine gold. This hope, confidence, and idol of the worldling, the love of which has been the ruin of thousands—is not the commandment of God more to be desired than it? "The merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. It is more precious than rubies and all the things you can desire are not to be compared unto it." Here has the Lord unlocked to us His golden treasure, and enriched our souls with "the unsearchable riches of Christ."
This image brings the miser before us. His heart and treasure are in his gold. With what delight he counts it! with what watchfulness he keeps it! hiding it in safe custody, lest he should be despoiled of that which is dearer to him than life. Such should Christians be: spiritual misers: counting their treasure, which is above fine gold; and "hiding it in their heart," in safe keeping, where the great despoiler shall not be able to reach it. Oh, Christians! how much more is your portion to you than the miser's treasure! Hide it; watch it; retain it. You need not be afraid of covetousness in spiritual things: rather "covet earnestly" to increase your store; and by living upon it, and living in it, it will grow richer in extent, and more precious in value.
But have I through Divine grace been enabled to withdraw my love from the unworthy objects which once possessed it: and to fix it on that which alone offers satisfaction? Let me attempt to give a reason to myself of the high estimation in which I hold it, as infinitely transcending those things, which the world venture their all—even their temporal happiness—to obtain. Therefore I love the commandments of God above gold: yes, above fine gold—because, while the world and my own heart have only combined to flatter me, they have discovered to me my real state, as a self-deceived, guilty, defiled sinner before God: because they have been as a "schoolmaster to bring me to Christ"—the only remedy for sin, the only rest for my soul. I love them; because they have often supplied wholesome reproofs in my wanderings, and plain directions in my perplexity. I love them; because they restrict me from that which would prove my certain ruin; and because in the way of obedience to them the Lord has "accepted me with my sweet savor." Should I not love them? Can gold, yes, fine gold, offer to me blessings such as these? Can it heal my broken heart? Can it give relief to my wounded spirit? Has it any peace or prospect of comfort for me on my death-bed? And what cannot—what has not—what will not—the precious word of God do at that awful season of trial? O my God, I would be deeply ashamed, that I love Your commandments so coldly—that they are so little influential upon my conduct—that they so often give place to objects of comparative nothingness in Your sight. O that my heart might be wholly and habitually exercised in them, that I may find the "work of righteousness to be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance forever!"
As it was God's time to work, so it was David's time to love. So far from being swayed by the example of evil men, so as to join them in slighting the Scriptures, he was the rather led into a more vehement love of those divine revelations. He loved not only the doctrines, but the commandments. As he saw the commandments slighted by the ungodly, his heart was in sympathy with God, and he felt a burning affection for his holy precepts. It is the mark of a true believer that he does not depend upon others for his religion, but drinks water out of his own well, which springs up even when the cisterns of earth are all dried. Amid a general depreciation of the law, our holy poet felt his own esteem of it rising so high that gold and silver sank in comparison. Wealth brings with it so many conveniences that men naturally esteem it, and gold as the symbol of it is much set by; and yet, in the judgment of the wise, God's laws are more enriching, and bring with them more comfort, than all the choicest treasures. The Psalmist could not boast that he always kept the commands; but he could declare that he loved them; he was perfect in heart, and would gladly have been perfect in life. He judged God's holy commands to be better than the best earthly thing—gold; yes, better than the best sort of the best earthly thing—fine gold; and this esteem was confirmed and forced into expression by those very oppositions of the world which drive hypocrites to forsake the Lord and his ways.
A miser watches his treasure all the more eagerly when he hears that there are thieves abroad who are in league to deprive him of it The more men hate the eternal verities, the more do we prize them. We can truly say—
"The dearer, for their rage,
Your words I love and own—
A wealthier heritage
Than gold and precious stone."