OUR PRAYER FOR THE COMING YEAR – “LORD MAKE ME TO GO IN THE PATH OF THY COMMANDMENTS!”
“Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for therein do I delight.” [Psalm 119:35].
There was a time when David had confidence in his own ability and ‘will power’. But his sin with Bathseba and his murder of Uriah which followed changed all that!
There was a day when he had boasted – “”I WILL behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt Thou come unto me? I WILL walk within my house with a perfect heart. I WILL set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I WILL not know a wicked person” (Ps. 101:2-4),
Commenting on the above verses, Pink says – Note the repeated “I will” in the above passage, and learn therefrom how much the “will” of man is worth”!
Now after many falls and serious sins, David was convinced that if he was going to go in the path of God’s commandments, GOD would have to make him go! As I have found out and proved through many years of bitter experience that only TO WILL is present with me, but to PERFORM that which is good I FIND NOT! And most often, the good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, THAT I DO! [Rom 7:19]
Augustine was right when he said – “Grant what Thou commandest and then command what Thou wilt”!
The man with the withered arm in Matthew 12 is a case in point. Remember what the Master told him to do? The Lord said – ‘Stretch forth thine hand”! Did he have the power to comply in his own strength and ability to stretch it forth?! Commenting on this Pink says –
“Listen! Here was a man with a withered hand, paralyzed, and Christ says. “Stretch forth thine hand”; It was the one thing that he could not do! Christ told him to do a thing that was impossible in himself. Well then you say why did Christ tell him to stretch forth his hand? Because DIVINE POWER WENT WITH THE VERY WORD THAT COMMANDED HIM TO DO IT! Divine power ENABLED him to. The man could not do it of himself. If you think that he could you are ready for the lunatic asylum, I don’t not care who you are. Any man or woman here who thinks that that man was able to stretch forth his paralyzed arm by an effort of his own will is ready for the lunatic asylum! How can paralysis move”? Good question!
And every regenerated child of God, unless Divine power enables him is much like the man with the withered arm! The inability under which he labors is not an inability to exercise volition, but an inability to be willing to exercise HOLY VOLITIONS. And it is this phase of it which led Luther to declare that ‘FREE WILL’ IS AN EMPTY TERM, WHOSE REALITY IS LOST; and a lost liberty, according to my grammar, is no liberty at all”!
“Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for therein do I delight”!
SPURGEON’S COMMENT –
“To will is present with me; but how to perform that which good I find not.” Thou hast made me to love the way, now make me to move in it. It is a plain path, which others are treading through thy grace; I see it and admire it; cause me to travel in it. This is the cry of a child that longs to walk, but is too feeble; of a pilgrim who is exhausted, yet pants to be on the march; of a lame man who pines to be able to run. It is a blessed thing to delight in holiness, and surely he who gave us this delight will work in us the yet higher joy of possessing and practicing it. Here is our only hope; for we shall not go in the narrow path till we are made to do so by the Maker’s own power. O Thou who didst once make me, I pray Thee make me again: Thou hast made me to know; now make me to go. Certainly I shall never be happy till I do, for my sole delight lies in walking according to Thy bidding.
The Psalmist does not ask the Lord to do for him what he ought to do for himself: he wishes himself to “go” or tread in the path of the command. He asks not to be carried while he lies passive; but to be made “to go.” Grace does not treat us as stocks and stones, to be dragged by horses or engines, but as creatures endowed with life, reason, will, and active powers, who are willing and able to go of themselves if once made to do so. God worketh in us, but it is that we may both will and do according to his good pleasure.
The holiness we seek after is not a forced compliance with command, but the indulgence of a whole hearted passion for goodness, such as shall conform our life to the will of the Lord. Can the reader say, “therein do I delight”? Is practical godliness the very jewel of your soul, the coveted prize of your mind? If so, the outward path of life, however rough, will be clean, and lead the soul upward to delight ineffable. He who delights in the law should not doubt but what he will be enabled to run in its ways, for where the heart already finds its joy the feet are sure to follow.
Note that the corresponding verse in the former (Psalms 119:27 ) was “Make me to UNDERSTAND,” and here we have “Make me to GO.” Remark the: order, first understanding and then going; for a clear understanding is a great assistance towards practical action”. [Amen!]
One last quote from Thomas Manton – “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments. David, in the former verses, had begged for LIGHT, now for STRENGTH TO WALK ACCORDING TO THIS LIGHT. We need not only light to know our way, but a heart to walk in it. Direction is necessary because of the blindness of our minds; and the effectual impulsions of grace are necessary because of the weakness of our hearts. It will not answer our duty to have a naked notion of truths, unless we embrace and pursue them. So, accordingly, WE NEED A DOUBLE ASSISTANCE FROM GOD; THE MIND MUST BE ENLIGHTENED, THE WILL MOVED AND INCLINED. The work of a Christian lies not in depth of speculation, but in the height of practice.
The excellency of Divine grace consisteth in this, — That God doth first teach what is to be done, and then makes us to do what is taught: “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments.”