Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
Psalm 119:27 ESV
Continuing the stanza of Psalm 119 which corresponds to the Hebrew letter daleth, we come now to verse 27 which very much piggybacks onto verse 26. In the previous verse, the psalmist laid his ways before the LORD, but now he prays to understand the way of God’s precepts, which is itself similar to his cry, “teach me your statutes!” He then concludes with a resolve to meditate upon all that the LORD has done.
Again and again throughout this psalm, we hear the humble and hungry cry of the psalmist for knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Praying with his soul in the dust, he knows the bankrupt promises that both the world and his own flesh make. Such ways are dead-ends, roads leading only to death and destruction. God’s way, however, is the path to life everlasting, even though it passes “through many dangers, toils, and snares” along the way. The LORD’s precepts are eternal rules of conduct that will never pass away. Thus, this understanding is of infinite value, far exceeding that of gold and jewels. For all earthly treasures will turn to dust (or, what is more likely to come first, we ourselves will), wisdom thus calls to seek what transcends death. We should yearn to understand the way of God’s precepts, and if we do, we shall be satisfied. Jesus, after all, spoke these words: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). Is not the psalmist’s prayer for understanding of God’s precepts such a desire for God’s righteousness?
The second half of the verse is a continuation upon the first, since they are joined with the conjunction and. This connection is significant because meditation upon God’s wondrous works does not occur in isolation; rather, it flows from understanding God’s Word. Or perhaps we can say it like this: the more we understand the Scriptures, the more we should also desire to meditate upon them. Indeed, if they are truly the path to life, revealing to us what the Almighty has spoken, why would we not desire to meditate upon them, to ponder over them again and again? Of course, as we meditate upon Scripture, we should also come to understand it more clearly. Thus, the LORD establishes a positive feedback loop: He gives us understanding of His Word, which causes us to joyfully meditate upon His Word, which then deepens our understanding, which then deepens further our desire to meditate continually, and so the process goes ever on. Pray, therefore, for understanding of God’s precepts and the grace to obey, and then resolve to delightfully meditate upon His mighty works.