Rev. VanderWal is pastor of Hope Protestant Reformed Church in Redlands, California.

O how love I thy law! 

It is my meditation all the day. 

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: 

For they are ever with me. 

I have more understanding than all my teachers: 

For thy testimonies are my meditation. 

Psalm 119:97-99

What a love to profess before men! What a love to confess to God!

Oh how love I Thy law!

Upon the law of God the psalmist has set his affection. Ardently, and with great zeal, he devotes himself to God’s testimonies. His delight is fixed upon God’s commandments. His desire is for the judgments of His God.

Oh how love I Thy law!

These words are an intense expression of feeling. They are spoken with fervor and zeal. The strength of the words uttered shows the strength of love for God’s law.

This strong profession of great love is made before God. “Oh how love I thy law!” It is a prayer raised up before God. Consciously it is directed to His throne. The Lord has commanded. His commandments are heard. A word returns to Him, entering into His ear: “O how love I thy law!”

But is this profession of love true? We hear many professions that are not true. God hears many professions. Some of them are genuine. Others are empty. God hears expressions of intentions that never come to pass. He hears men professing affections that they imagine to be deep and lasting, but that quickly show themselves to be only passing fancies or whims. He hears words of committed love that are quickly and easily broken, leaving heartache and broken lives. Such professions were spoken with great fervor and zeal. But where are those words now? What happened to the strong feelings those words conveyed?

We hear professions of love. By the sound of them, we often feel assured that they are genuine. But are they? Where is the proof?

O how love I Thy law!

Proof abounds for the genuineness of this profession. The genuineness of the profession of love for the law of God is revealed in this, as expressed in the words that immediately follow: “It is my meditation all the day.”

The psalmist makes that law his meditation. He brings the law of his God into his mind, in its words and sentences. He examines closely its words and the joining together of those words into sentences. He examines the thoughts that are given in those words.

He keeps the law of his God before his mind. With that law he occupies his thoughts. Things that might otherwise seem important, demanding his attention, are put in their proper place. The law of God is his aim and focus. He continually meditates upon it.

He examines that law by revolving it in his mind. He examines it from every conceivable angle. He examines it in its application to all kinds of different circumstances. He searches out all the implications of each of the words of this law of his God.

O how love I Thy law!

All the day that law is his meditation. Constantly the psalmist holds the law of God before himself. So devoted is he to that law. He never grows weary of it. It never becomes worn or old to him. As long as he looks into it, he finds new things. He finds new points of obedience and new points of understanding. He finds more and more knowledge of God, more and more of the kindness of God to him.

All the day that law is his companion. All the day he refers to it as his guide. He enters into situations that require him to descry good and evil. That law points him to the good. He clings to that good and does it. That law shows him the evil. He flees from it or fights against it. That law protects him from sin in all kinds of circumstances.

All the day he tests that law of his God, and all the day he finds that it keeps him. All the day his love thus grows for that law.

O how love I Thy law!

The psalmist’s love for the law of God is well grounded. It continually brings forth much fruit. He grows in the love of God and he grows in his love for the people of God. He seeks and finds opportunities to bring glory to God and help to God’s people.

O how love I Thy law!

“Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.”

Through his meditation upon the law of his God, this man finds sure protection from his enemies.

His enemies are shrewd. They are not so bold as to attack openly and destroy. Instead they employ cunning and subtle strategies to accomplish their hateful goal, the destruction of the psalmist’s soul. They scheme. They use intrigue. Perhaps they employ other people to assail a man. Perhaps they operate under a cloak of open friendship. But their hearts are filled with hatred, and their determination is to destroy.

His enemies are clever. And by their devilish wisdom they would surely destroy this one that boasts in the law of his God. But, “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies, for they are ever with me.” The psalmist finds his refuge in the commandments of God. What evil can befall him?

By God’s gift of wisdom to him, the psalmist sees the temptations that his enemies set before him. By that wisdom he is able to keep from yielding to them. He keeps himself in right paths. By that wisdom he recognizes that their friendship is fraudulent. God having made him wiser than his enemies, he sees through their deceitful gestures and words. He sees the evil of their ways, having known so well the commandments of his God. Thus warned, he is kept safe from all the temptations of the wicked.

He is kept safe! God, by His commandments, keeps him. God makes him wiser than his enemies.

O how love I Thy law!

Still more amazing, this man is given more understanding than all his teachers.

His teachers did have understanding. And they imparted that understanding to this lover of God’s law.

Oh, it might be said that there was something lacking in their instruction. Perhaps these teachers did not have the same love for the law that the psalmist did. Perhaps they were hypocritical teachers, like the Pharisees. They would then teach and not do. The law they taught would be a superficial law. Thus would their understanding be found wanting.

The psalmist could then say: “I have more understanding than all my teachers.” He would understand that true blessedness is not to be found in the mere hearing of God’s testimonies. Blessedness is in the doing of them. He would understand that true blessedness is not found in barren and frigid speculations about God’s commandments. Blessedness is found in loving them with the heart, and in the sincere endeavor to live from the heart according to them all.

In that love of the heart and the sincere endeavor to live out of it is the proof of the profession.

O how love I Thy law!

Indeed, the psalmist would have more understanding than all his teachers.

But we must say yet more. Let us suppose that these teachers were not hypocritical. Let us suppose that they were filled with a love for the law of the Lord. Let us suppose that they had a proper and true understanding of the law of the Lord. And yet this man is still able to say, “I have more understanding than my teachers.”

Why? Because the testimonies of God are his meditation.

These teachers led him to the testimonies of the Lord. They faithfully reminded him of the commandments of his God. They taught him the law of God in righteousness and truth.

Those teachers led him to those testimonies and commandments and to that law, in order that he should make them his meditation, and keep them with him.

The psalmist follows their teaching. He keeps the testimonies of God with him. Those testimonies are his constant, beloved companions. He preserves them and cherishes them in his heart.

Those testimonies show him much. He understands his life without. He understands his own outward words and deeds, and the words and deeds of other men around him. He understands what is right and what is wrong. By that understanding he is equipped to speak and do what is right.

Those testimonies also show him his life within. He understands the ways of his mind and the thoughts of his heart. He understands what is right and what is wrong in his mind and heart. The wrong in his mind he puts down. The right in his heart he encourages and promotes.

He grows in his understanding. He becomes greater than his teachers. By the work of the Spirit of Christ in his heart, he is enabled to go beyond what mere men can teach.

Through all his teachers he received the knowledge of God’s law. By the Lord’s commandments he is made wiser than his enemies. That law is his meditation all the day. So he exults in that law.

O how love I Thy law!

How great this man becomes! Yet his wisdom and his understanding he still finds in God. The Lord has made him wiser than his enemies. The Lord has taught him, giving him more understanding than his teachers.

This law is the law of the Lord. These are the commandments of God. These are the testimonies of Jehovah. These gifts he properly treasures. These words he properly uses. But he also sees through them. He sees through the gifts to the Giver. His love for the law of God he professes. That love he directs to God. Ascribing the gift to the Giver, he praises the Giver. He blesses the Giver.

O how love I Thy law!