It may just be a personal opinion, but I think Psalms 119 is one of the greatest passages of scripture in the whole Bible. Considering the covenant of grace through faith in Christ which is our salvation, it becomes even more meaningful. Our motivation to be obedient to God should spring forward out of our gratitude for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. The timeless words of the psalmist, written long before the time of Christ, but under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, strongly allude to this motivational factor. I’ll quote from the NLT, which really helps it spring to life for me:
“Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!
I acquired a copy of the NLT for the purpose of praying through the Psalms, which a friend had suggested to me when I was going through a bad time and a lot of stress. I thought praying one Psalm a day would be good, since they are such comprehensive thoughts. As I prayed, I began to notice that the words from the Psalms somehow reflected the mood I was in on that particular day, and that the words often echoed things I wanted to pray about. When I came to 119, it was just way too much to try to pray in one sitting, so I broke it up and spent 22 days praying it. The prayer that came from this particular passage is one that I have repeated many times since.
These words remind me that I serve God not out of some sense of obligation or guilt, but because my life needs to be a continuous “Thank You!” for what he has done for me through Christ. Obedience to the will of someone else isn’t always a pleasant experience, and it requires self discipline. To be a person of integrity, avoid compromising with evil, joyfully obeying God’s laws and searching after him with all your heart requires the full assistance of the Holy Spirit. That’s a God-sized task while we live in the flesh, hence the appeal at the end of this passage, “Please don’t give up on me!”
It’s great to have the assurance that he won’t.