1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.
3 They do nothing wrong;
they have walked in his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.
(vs. 1-3) The psalmist first exemplifies those who are blessed because they are blameless because of their ability to maintain God’s law; these who keep God’s statutes and seek him with all their heart. He says they do nothing wrong and have walked in God’s ways. These are lofty goals for anyone’s standards – and humanly speaking: unattainable. In our own power we will never be good enough. We can never walk fully each day, every moment seeking God. As un-regenerate humans we are bound to our sinful nature of rebellion towards God – refusing to honor Him and give thanks to Him – this is the beginning of falling away.
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. – Romans 1
(vs. 4-6) The psalmist recognizes that it is impossible to fulfill the righteousness and blessedness of those he has just envisioned, and cries out with a longing of wanting to be like that. He desires to be ever ready to follow God’s commands, never giving up and never faltering. He shows faith that if God could grant him this request, he will follow through. If only this were possible, the psalmist says, then he would have no doubt that he was in God’s company because he was able to fulfill all God’s law – this is the beginning of sanctification.
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. – Romans 3
(vs. 7-8) The psalmist now declares 3 things (which we also should take to heart).
- Praise God with a heart that yearns for Him, a heart that desires to be righteous.
- Learn God’s law – read His word, the Bible.
- Obey God’s decrees – those being summed throughout His word: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” – Deut. 6:5
And in the end the psalmist realizes again his need for help as he says, “do not utterly forsake me.” He knows that he will not be able to maintain these things apart from God’s help, and we should understand the same. But if we are in Christ then we have been give a gift that enables us to believe that God is able: the Holy Spirit. His help is ours for the asking – but we have to ask in faith.
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 6:11