With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 119:10 ESV
Having addressed the nature of this second stanza in its introductory verse (i.e. obtaining purity through guarding oneself with God’s Word), the psalmist proceeds to describe this process. He begins in this verse with a prayer of his intention and for the LORD’s steadfast security to uphold him.
First, he prays, “with my whole heart I seek you.” This already is alluding back to the second beatitude of the psalm in verse 2: “Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.” He, therefore, is declaring before the LORD his obedience toward doing this very task. His heart is not simply offered up to God; his whole heart, rather, is fixated upon the joy and blessed labor of seeking God. Perhaps he also had the words of Deuteronomy 4:29 in mind, “But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” He knows, sinful though he is, that God will be found by all who seek Him.
Yet though seeking God brings the glorious blessedness of knowing God Himself, the heart does not easily conform to this task; rather, it is “deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9). Feeling the inward pull of his sinful flesh, he then cries to God: “let me not wander from your commandments!” He is, as the hymn says, “prone to wander,” so he is petitioning the mercy of God to keep him. This is a glorious image of our present walk of sanctification. We commit our whole heart to seek God, yet we place no confidence in ourselves, only in God’s faithfulness in keeping us.