(Another installment of Psalm 119 cross-posted from Kiln blog; original post.)
This octet of verses is the Song of Loyalty. The psalmist is fully committed, wholly owned by his Sovereign, a loyal servant who shares in the inheritance as a son. That’s the meaning of the first line, and he as offered the ritual of covenant binding, giving his word to live by the Law of his Lord. He held back nothing in secret, but cast his whole being on the favor of Jehovah. He knows there is no master among men who would be so merciful because the Lord for His part gave His word on it.
Upon this commitment, he gave long consideration to his own ways and determined to bend his path to following the ancient markers of God’s eternal road of truth. There was no hesitation at all.
The wicked pay no attention to revelation as they devise a system that favors their comfort, and they have tried to hold the psalmist accountable to their man-made laws. But he simply cannot absorb their false ways as the truth of God echoes down from Heaven into his heart.
It was considered normal in ancient times for adults to awaken at least once in the night and stay up for a while, often doing things that are difficult to do in daytime. It’s a quiet time of private matters, and our psalmist finds his first impulse is to give thanks to God. This is not something you can fake. He finds his mind drawn back to all the amazing things God has revealed in His judgments of what is morally good and bad.
His loyalty is overwhelming, so wherever he encounters someone who lives by a heart-led commitment to Jehovah, the psalmist is that person’s friend and ally without question. When he witnesses someone acting consistent with God’s Laws, he wants to share in their burden of work. Everywhere he turns, there is a vision or song marking God’s mercy; the earth itself trembles and hums to the divine glory. He asks that God use those echoes of mercy to goad him into a life that God outlined long ago.