Only two ways lie before us for our choice, "the way of lying," and "the way of truth." God by the light of His word guides us into one—Satan by his temptations allures us into the other. The way of lying is the natural choice of man. The choice of the way of truth is the Lord's work in the hearts of His people—the seal of His special eternal love. His teaching shows us the way; and His grace enables us to "choose" it . And who in his subsequent course has ever found reason to alter his first determination? Does Mary regret her "choice of the good part?" One whose solid and reflecting judgment was not likely to make a rash or hasty choice, tells us, of the outset of his course, "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ." The experience of twenty years—instead of bringing matter for repentance—only confirmed him in his choice: and he repeats his determination with increasing energy of expression; "Yes, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." In the same spirit one of the ancient fathers expresses himself: "If I have any possessions, health, credit, learning—this is all the contentment I have of them—that I may have something to despise for Christ, who comprises in His own person all and everything that is most desirable."
The connection of this verse with the preceding well illustrates the bias of the believer's heart. His experience of the deceitfulness of sin, Satan, and his own heart, stirs up the prayer, "Remove from me the way of lying." But his choice is expressed in this verse, "I have chosen the way of truth." The sincere desire to have "the way of lying removed from us," is a clear evidence, that we have already "chosen the way of truth:" that "the spirit of truth has guided us to Him," who is indeed "the way of truth"—the true and only "way to God!" And of all ways that could be set before the Christian, this is the way he would "choose"—as bringing most glory to his God, exalting the Savior, honoring the Spirit of God, and securing the salvation of his own soul. Whatever becomes of me—the Christian would feel—'I would have no other way than this. Yes, though I should perish, I would abide in it. So transcendent is the discovery of the glory of God—scarcely less clear than the glory of heaven itself!'
The practical pathway, however, is often rugged—always narrow. We may have to encounter not only the reviling of an ungodly world, but even the suspicions of our brethren, who may not always understand our motives. Yet if our heart is upright with God, "none of these things will move us. Our choice is made, and we are prepared to abide the cost."
But that our choice may be daily established, let us not forget the treasury of our life, light, and grace. Let us lay the "judgments of God before us." For we have always some new lesson to learn—some new duty to perform—some new snare to avoid. We must therefore walk by rule—as under the eye of a jealous God, who enlightens and cheers our path—under the eye of the ungodly, who "watch for our halting"—under the eye of weak Christians, who might be stumbled by our unsteady walk—under the eye of established Christians, who will be yet further established by the testimony of our consistent profession. The Gospel affords all the material for this strict and accurate walk. All is given that is needed. The obedience that is enjoined is secured. "God working in us," enables us to work for Him; and while we are humbly looking for further supplies, and diligently improving what has been already bestowed, He is pledged by promise to assist, as we are bound by duty to obey.
What then—let me inquire—is the choice which I have made? I would remember that it is for eternity. And if, through the grace that has first chosen me, "I have chosen the way of truth,"—is the effect of this choice daily visible in a life and conversation well ordered according to the word of God? If it is good to "hide that word in my heart," as a safeguard against sin; it is good also "to lay it before" my eyes, as the chart to guide my course—the model to direct my work—the support to uphold my weakness.
"I have chosen the way of truth." As he abhorred the way of lying, so he chose the way of truth: a man must choose one or the other, for there cannot be any neutrality in the case. Men do not drop into the right way by chance; they must choose it, and continue to choose it, or they will soon wander from it Those whom God has chosen in due time choose his way. There is a doctrinal way of truth which we ought to choose, rejecting every dogma of man's devising; there is a ceremonial way of truth which we should follow, detesting all the forms which apostate churches have invented; and then there is a practical way of truth, the way of holiness, to which we must adhere, whatever may be our temptation to forsake it. Let our election be made, and made irrevocably. Let us answer to all seducers, "I have chosen, and what I have chosen I have chosen." O Lord, by your grace lead us with a hearty freewill to choose to do your will; thus shall your eternal choice of us bring forth the end which it designs.
"Your judgments have I laid before me." What he had chosen he kept in mind, laying it out before his mind's eye. Men do not become holy by a careless wish: there must be study, consideration, deliberation and earnest inquiry, or the way of truth will be missed. The commands of God must be set before us as the mark to aim at, the model to work by, the road to walk in. If we put God's judgments into the background we shall soon find ourselves going back from them.
Here again the sixth stanzas of the third and fourth octaves ring out a similar note. "I have kept your testimonies" (22), and "Your judgments have I laid before me." This is a happy confession, and there is no wonder that it is repeated.