Not Be Put to Shame | Psalm 119:6

Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments!

Psalm 119:6 ESV

This verse piggybacks directly upon the previous one, which is evident through the word then. Although that verse was a hopeful yearning for the psalmist’s ways to be steadfast in keeping the statutes of the LORD, this verse imagines the joy of such obedience. In other words, this verse answers the question of what the psalmist’s life would be like if he did steadfastly keep God’s statutes.

And that answer is that he would not be put of shame. Because we live in a relatively shameless culture, this thought may be slightly foreign to us. Shame is the feeling of humiliation that follows sin and foolishness, and whether we recognize it immediately or not, sin and foolishness always produce shame. Consider the effect of humanity’s first sin. At the end of Genesis 2, Adam and Eve are blissfully naked in the garden, and they feel no shame. However, once they eat the forbidden fruit, they become acutely aware of their nakedness, and they cover themselves with fig leaves. Shame entered the world for the first time.

The psalmist knows the blessedness that comes from walking in obedience and faithfulness to the LORD. He knows that keeping God’s precepts leads to both God’s glory and his own good. He also knows that sin always ends in shame. The answer is simple. Keep the LORD’s statutes. Steadfastly have our eyes fixed upon God’s commandments and walk in obedience to them. But like the psalmist, we continue to choose shame rather than blessing. We know that sin leads to death, but we still choose its momentary pleasures over the life that God alone can give. The struggle against our own flesh is real. We war against ourselves.

The psalmist, therefore, turns to having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. Should his eyes focus upon his own sin and shame, a kind of negative feedback loop will form, creating more sin and shame. Our only hope of breaking this cycle is to lift our eyes upon God’s Word, which reveals to us God Himself. Fixing our eyes upon His commandments is a resolve to believe and obey His law, and as Paul wrote to the Romans, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (10:11).

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