29 Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law*!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!
* Through these reflections, those phrases that identify God’s word, revelation, or law will be highlighted in the text in the hopes of accentuating the many and varied ways we can visualize what God has given to us for our good.
It is too often the case that we make decisions based on incomplete information. The consequence of this is that we may never really feel confident in what we decide. We struggle to minimize all of the possible negative outcomes, only to find out we missed something in our assessments.
As we continue living with God, we will discover that perfect wisdom is not something we can ever attain. But, we don’t have too. If our trust is in God and our hope in Christ, we can rely on them to lead us where we should go. There is no need to try and “figure it all out.” We can seek the Lord and he can direct our steps.
My hope cannot be built on what I know. I will never know enough. If we can turn over that desire to God, we may just discover that God is all we will ever need to navigate through life. Let’s rejoice in God’s wisdom as he has given it to us in his word.
Verse 29: The contrast between “false ways” and being instructed in God’s law is a helpful reminder. The deeper our understanding of God’s law, the easier it becomes to fend off the temptation to believe falsehoods. The Psalmist writes this in the forms of a supplication. By framing his request in this way, we learn that we will continually need God assistance. We cannot manage the many ways we can be drawn to what is untrue. We cannot anticipate all of the avenues whereby we many encounter a lie. We therefore need help. And it is right and prudent to seek it.
Verse 30: Here the Psalmist declares a decision of how they will live before and with God. They describe this as “the way of faithfulness.” What a fitting description of how we should strive to live. We are on a journey. But we do not know how long we will be traveling. So, it is wise to make a clear commitment to endure until we have arrived. What we should avoid, as much as we can, is not enjoying the journey itself. And we do that by allowing God’s “rules” to serve as a guide. As we grow in our trust in what God has said, the greater our confidence that we are on the right path.
Verse 31: When the circumstances of life would rob us of joy, and the unexpected obstacles we may have to traverse try discourage us, we should “cling to [God’s] testimonies.” And why should we make a habit of doing this? Because when we do, we position ourselves to be aided by God’s good mercy. As we labor to grow in our understanding of what God has said, the better our ability to see what God is doing. But something else happens. The clearer our memories of of God’s past interventions become. We may not always see it, but God has been present.
Verse 32: This is a simple, and yet beautiful, encouragement here. As we interact and internalize God’s word, our stamina for obedience increases. We will no longer merely walk in God’s commandment. We will be able to run. To advance even faster on the journey toward maturity. And the reason we will have this increased capacity is because God will have enlarged our hearts. Our awareness and sensitivity to God’s movement in our lives will then become easier to identify as a result.