i will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me. [psalm 119:8]
i will keep your statutes
do you recoil at this statement? the author surely did not perfectly follow the law the rest of his life, so why promise this? we may not know the answer for sure, but a hint may be in the psalmist’s use of the word statute. the word statute refers to the law, but more specifically as a decree given by a sovereign. when your king commands you to jump, there is only one answer – how high? let’s look at what the roman centurion said when he caused Jesus to marvel at his faith:
Lord, i am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word and my servant will be healed. for i too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. and i say to one, ‘go,’ and he goes, and to another ‘come,’ and he comes, and to my servant ‘do this,’ and he does it. [matthew 8:8b-9]
for the centurion, who was in total authority over his men, his authority was like a light switch, and it was always flipped to “on.” do you find yourself “wiggling” the light switch of your heart, trying to keep it just high enough for the light to stay on? if so, it should come as no surprise that you find yourself forgetting our Sovereign’s statutes consistently.
do not utterly forsake me
if you find yourself in the position of control over your heart, waffling between living for the flesh and in submission to God’s word, you can start with this short prayer: “Jesus, you are the Lord of my life, my heart, and my decisions. forgive me for thinking i can keep myself obedient while still protecting some of my sinful self-will. teach me to let go of the “light switch” of my heart, and to be quick to obey!”