Psalm 119 is a beautiful text about God’s word. It begins with the psalmist tells us the only people in this world who are blessed are those “whose way is blameless,” (Ps 119:1). Of course, nobody is actually blameless in the sense of being “perfect,” and the psalmist knew that, too. He means that people are blessed “who walk in the law of the Lord,” (Ps 119:1). That is, you’re blessed if you do what His word says.
This is simple to understand. We get it. But God wants more than blind, rote conformity. Dead externalism is a waste of time; if you’re just “going through the motions,” then don’t bother. Read Malachi 1 or Isaiah 1, and see for yourself! The psalmist knows that, too. It’s why he clarified (Ps 119:2-3):
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
God doesn’t want fake conformity. He wants people who not only keep his testimonies, but do it for the right reasons; “who seek him with their whole heart,” (Ps 119:2). When you think about your Christian life, think about your motivations for doing what you do. Why do you go to church? Why do you serve? Why do you give? Why do you do anything? Do you want to seek God with your whole heart? Or is this whole thing more of a routine, a mindless exercise you engage in while you think of other things?
The psalmist wants to do what God says; it’s what motivates him! He wrote (Ps 119:4-6):
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
Do you ever read the Bible and say the same thing to yourself, in your heart? Do you ever read God’s word and say, “I wish I could do that better!” or “I wish I prayed more!” or “I wish I could be a better husband for my wife!?” You’re not perfect, and God knows that. But, this psalm shows us the heart of someone who really loved God and wanted to serve Him because of that love. Can you echo these words, in your own heart and mind? Do you feel sincere shame when you let God down? Or, have you become numb to it all?
Again, this is about motivation from the heart more than outward actions. Our service for God flows from our heart. The psalmist concluded (Ps 119:7-8):
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!
The psalmist didn’t think he knew everything. He wanted to learn more, and promised to praise God the more he learned about His “righteous rules.” The more we know about our Lord, the more we ought to praise Him. Do you want to seek and know God with your whole heart? Then, read Psalm 119 and consider what it has to teach you about how precious and special God’s word should be to you.