Tuesday, June 02, 2009

...an exposition of Psalm 119:12 by Charles Bridges

Psalm 119:12
"Blessed are You, O Lord: 
teach me Your statutes."

“Praise is lovely for the upright.” It is at once their duty and their privilege. But what does highest exercise amount to, when placed on the ground of its own merit? We clothe our ideas with magnificence of language, and deck them out with all the richness of imagery; and perhaps we are pleased with our forms of praise. But what are they in His sight beyond the offering of a contemptible worm, spreading before its Maker its own mean and low notions of Divine Majesty? If a worm were to raise its head, and cry—’O sun! You are the source of light and heat to a widely-extended universe’—it would, in fact, render a higher praise to the sun, than we can ever give to our Maker. Between it and us there is some proportion—between us and God none. Yet, unworthy as the offering confessedly is, He will not despise it. No, more, instead of spurning it from His presence, He has revealed Himself as “inhabiting the praises of Israel;” thus intimating to us, that the service of praise is “set forth in His sight as incense;” and at the same time, that it should be the daily and unceasing exercise of one at his own home.

The true character of praise, however, depends entirely upon the state of the heart. In the contemplative philosopher it is only cheerless, barren admiration: in the believer it becomes a principle of comfort and encouragement. For, can he forget the revelation, which his God has given of Himself in the gospel of His dear Son; how it divests every attribute of its terrors, and shines before us in all the glory of His faithfulness and love? The ascription of praise, “Blessed are You, O Lord,” frames itself therefore into the prophet’s song, “Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.”

Truly then He is “blessed” in Himself, and delights to communicate His blessedness to His people. Hence we are emboldened to ask for continual “teaching in His statutes,” in the truths which He has revealed, and the precepts which He has enjoined; that we may “be followers of Him, as dear children,” and “walk with Him in love.”

The practical influence, however, of Divine light, constitutes its peculiar privilege. 
  • Man’s teaching puffs up—God’s teaching humbles. 
  • Man’s teaching may lead us into error as well as into truth—God’s teaching is “the unction from the Holy One, by which we know all things.” 
  • Man’s teaching may make us more learned—God’s teaching makes us more holy. 
It persuades, while it enlightens. It draws the heart, inclines the will, and carries out the soul to Christ. The tried character of God encourages us to look for His teaching, “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore will He teach sinners in the way.” Our warrant is especially confirmed in approaching Him as our covenant God, “Lead me in Your truth, and teach me; for You are the God of my salvation. Teach me to do Your will: for You are my God.”

Reader! do you desire to praise your God? Then learn to frequent the new and living way, “by which alone you can offer your sacrifice acceptably.”And while engaged in this holy service, inquire, surrounded as you are with the means of instruction, what progress you are making in His statutes. Seek to have a deeper acquaintance with the character of God. Seek to be the vessels of honor and glory, into which He is pouring more and more continually, “until they be filled with all the fullness of God.” 

Value the unspeakable blessing of Divine teaching, by which you learn to live the life, and begin the blessedness of God.


Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

What a powerful article from Charles Bridges. I had never heard of him before this. May get his commentary now.

Thank you Steve,

SJ Camp said...

Thanks for your encouraging words. I was a bit disappointed that no one else had commented yet on this really insightful and excellent exposition of this great verse of God's Word.

I would highly recommend his commentary on Psalm 119. It is a treasure and worth every line. I believe that Spurgeon called it the finest work on that chapter of Scripture he ever read.

Grace and peace,