What a fruitful harvest did David reap from his glowing love, and "daily meditation on the law of God!" He became wiser than his enemies in "subtlety"—than all his teachers in doctrine—than the ancients in experience. Yet he is not speaking of his extraordinary gifts as a prophet, but of his knowledge gained by ordinary means. Nor is he here boasting of his own attainments: but commending the grace of God in and towards him—You through Your commandments have made me wiser. How much more wisdom does the persecuted believer draw from the word of God, than his persecutors have ever acquired from the learning of this world! Those, however, who have been effectually taught of God, need to be daily taught of Him. While they rest upon their God, and seek counsel in His word, they are wise indeed; yet when they trust to their own wisdom, and turn to their own counsel, they become a bye-word and occasion of offence by their own folly. Was David wiser than his enemies or his teachers, when he dissembled himself before Achish—or when he yielded to the indulgence of lust—or when in the pride of his heart he numbered the people? Alas! how often do even God's children befool themselves in the ways of sin!
But how did David attain this Divine wisdom? Not by habits of extensive reading—not by natural intelligence—but by a diligent meditation in the testimonies. In order to avail ourselves, however, of this means—a simple reception of the Divine testimony is of absolute importance. We can never obtain that assurance of the certainty of our faith, which is indispensable to our peace, or resist the influence of unenlightened teachers, or the long-established worldly maxims of the ancients, except by entire submission to the supreme authority of Scripture. Many sincere Christians—especially at the outset of their course—are much hindered—either by the skepticism of others, or of their own minds; or from their previous habit of studying the Bible in the light of carnal wisdom, or in dependence upon human teaching. Such need special prayer for humility of mind and simplicity of faith. Under this gracious influence they will discern that path to glory, which in infinite condescension is made so plain, that "the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein," and the unlearned believer, who has the word before his eyes, in his heart, and in his life, shall become "perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
In our Christian progress, David's habit of scriptural meditation will prove of essential service. For while those who "confer with flesh and blood" cannot have their counselors always at hand; we, seeking our wisdom from the word of God, have the best Counselor ever with us, teaching us what to do, and what to expect. Obedience also, as well as meditation, directs our way. David found understanding, because he kept the precepts. And David's Lord has pointed out the same path of light: "If any man will do God's will, he shall know of the doctrine." "You meet him who rejoices, and works righteousness—those that remember You in Your ways." Your ways truly are ways of light, joy, and love!
Now let us turn in, and inquire—What is our daily use of the word of God? Are we satisfied with a slight looking, or do we seek an intimate acquaintance with it! Is its influence ever present—ever practical? Do we prize it as a welcome guest? Is it our delightful companion and guide? Oh! meditate in this blessed book. "Eat the word," when you "have found it; and it will be unto you the joy and rejoicing of your heart." The name of Jesus—its great subject—will be more precious—your love will be inflamed—your perseverance established—and your heart enlivened in the spirit of praise. Thus bringing your mind into close and continual contact with the testimonies of God, and pressing out the sweetness from the precious volume, it will drop as from the honeycomb, daily comfort and refreshment upon your heart.
"You through your commandments have made me wiser than my enemies." The commandments were his book, but God was his teacher. The, letter can make us knowing, but only the divine Spirit can make us wise. Wisdom is knowledge put to practical use. Wisdom comes to us through obedience: "If any man will do his will he shall know of the doctrine." We learn not only from promise, and doctrine, and sacred history, but also from precept and command: in fact, from the commandments we gather the most practical wisdom, and that which enables us best to cope with our adversaries. A holy life is the highest wisdom and the surest defense. Our enemies are renowned for subtlety, from the first father of them, the old serpent, down to the last cockatrice that has been hatched from the egg; and it would be vain for us to try to be a match with them in the craft and mystery of cunning; for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light We must go to another school and learn of a different instructor, and then by uprightness we shall baffle fraud, by simple truth we shall vanquish deep-laid scheming, and by open candor we shall defeat slander. A thoroughly straightforward man, devoid of all policy, is a terrible puzzle to diplomatists; they suspect him of a subtle duplicity through which they cannot see; while he, indifferent to their suspicions, holds on the even tenor of his way, and baffles all their arts. Yes, "honesty is the best policy." He who is taught of God has a practical wisdom such as malice cannot supply to the crafty; while harmless as a dove, he also exhibits more than the serpent's wisdom.
"For they are ever with me." He was always studying or obeying the commandments; they were his choice and constant companions. If we wish to become proficient we must be indefatigable. If we keep the wise law ever near us we shall become wise, and when our adversaries assail us we shall be prepared for them with that ready wit which lies in having the word of God at our fingers' ends. As a soldier in battle must never lay aside his shield, so must we never have the word of God out of our minds; it must be ever with us.