When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
Psalm 119:26 ESV
Beginning the stanza of daleth, the psalmist confessed to being in a lowly state (“My soul clings to the dust”), and he prayed for renewed life from God’s Word (“give me life according to your word”). Our present verse runs parallel to verse 25, rejoicing in God’s answer to hearing his prayer, followed by a further cry to be taught God’s statutes.
When I told of my ways. The psalmist told the LORD of his ways, which is to say that he laid his life bare before the Maker of heaven and earth. Such a confession before God likely involved two factors: a confession of sin and a cry for help. The two may have even been connected. Whatever the circumstances, the psalmist was driven to the dust, likely remembering that sin is responsible for returning all of humanity back to the dust. However, we are then introduced to marvelous news: you answered me. God did not remain unmoved to the psalmist’s sorrow; He responded. As Christians, we forever can share in the psalmist’s declaration, for we know that whenever we laid the burden of our sin at Christ’s feet, He cleansed us of all iniquity. Throughout the “ordinary” sufferings and trials of this life, we will not likely see the miraculous response of God; nevertheless, Christ’s first and second comings remain bastions of comfort for us. In His first coming, we have the past comfort of knowing that our God has come down to rescue us and to redeem us, and in His second coming, we have the future comfort of knowing that He will come again to make all things new.
The verse ends with a plea that we have already seen back in verse 12 and will see several more times throughout Psalm 119: teach me your statutes! While in verse 12 the blessedness of the LORD stirred his heart to be taught God’s statutes, here it is God’s response to his sorrow. The psalmist knows his deepest need is to know the LORD and to walk in His ways. Thus, His cry is for God to teach him. Brothers and sisters, this prayer is the very pursuit of wisdom. In Proverbs 1:7, we warned that only “fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The wise hunger to be taught by the LORD, to corrected and rebuked by Him, for they know that His statutes lead to life. Likewise, if we are to walk in the path of wisdom and of life, we must submit to God’s Scriptures, which are “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), and our prayer must ever be, “teach me your statutes!”