33. Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
34. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35. Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36. Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37. Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
38. Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
39. Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
40. Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!
33. If God does not teach me, I am taught in vain. In the footnotes of my ESV Bible, “keep it as my reward” is an alternate wording for the last phrase of this verse. Could it be that God’s Word (in written form) is not only our current treasure to sustain us on this earth, but will be our reward for the ages (in spoken form) as we see Him face-to-face? This may seem as a bland reward compared to streets of gold lined by mansions (as we are prone to imagine we have coming us in eternity, but has no basis in God’s Word). But, we have only to read what God’s Word says about itself to realize that there is no greater treasure than God Himself, and His communication to us is priceless. Relish His Word so much that you relish the thought of Him speaking with you face-to-face in eternity far above all the material joys that might be yours at that time.
34. Left to my own imagination, I am only prone to devising false applications of God’s Word. Therefore, it is necessary to pray for God to give me proper understanding of His Word. It is also important to discern self-help books and the like whether or not they rightly apply Scripture to life. Just because an application seems good to me doesn’t mean that it is God’s will.
Keeping God’s Word is not an activity I can do on the side. It must consume me. I must be fully committed to God’s Law and meditate on it daily despite what other things demand my attention. A day without time in God’s Word and continued meditation upon it is a day wasted.
35. Like Paul, I want to walk righteously, but my desire is often violated by my will. I do not do what I want to do. God must lead me in His way if I am ever to walk righteously. My delight in His law is not enough. I must delight enough to rely on His strength. And when I fall, I must delight to rise up and do so again.
36. I am not naturally inclined to God’s Word for His sake. I naturally may want to do right in order to benefit myself. A Christian must learn to desire righteous living for God’s glory alone.
37. I may be doing quite well in not looking at wickedness. But, there is always room for improvement. I must learn to discriminate between what is worthwhile and what is worthless. Time spent merely on leisure is appropriate at times, but generally I should seek to always use my time in the best possible way. Life is found in living as God desires.
38. God’s promises will be fulfilled. Asking Him for that, therefore, is asking in accordance with His will. They are, however, not always fulfilled in the way we expect. For example, the promise to children who honor their parents is “your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) I know of children who were honoring to their parents and yet died early. Franklin Graham was a rebel, but did not die during that phase of his life. While we may not understand God’s promises, we should always keep in mind that as long as He does not change, His promises will be fulfilled. We should trust in His character and leave the specific fulfillment of His promises up to Him because His ways are way higher than ours.
The wording of Exodus 20:12 can be properly applied to an eternal reward. Only Christians can truly honor their parents as God commands. Life on this earth is not the reward for Christians. Our reward is eternal life. If we see Exodus 20:12 this way, we can guard against wrong understanding of the promise.
39. In Christ, my reproach is taken away. I will not face the eternal consequences for my sin. I need not fear earthly reproach because I will never face eternal reproach. Praise the Lord!
40. The passionate desire of the psalmist for God’s Word is an example that I want to imitate. I want to long for God as much as I can. There is nothing with as much worth attached to it as God and His Word. True life is found in Him!