I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!
Psalm 119:32 ESV
We come now to the concluding verse of stanza daleth, and it is remarkably different from where the stanza began. The psalmist opened with the lament that his soul was clinging to the dust, and he called for the LORD to give life through His Word. Not only has God heard His prayer but now the psalmist is ready to run after God’s ways, as the LORD continues to enliven his heart.
I will run in the way of your commandments. The concept of ways of life has been continuous throughout this stanza. In verse 26, the psalmist made all his ways known to the LORD. In verse 27, he prayed to understand the way of God’s precepts. In verse 29, he resolved to put false ways far away. Finally, in verse 30, he declared his devotion the way of faithfulness. This theme is also common in other passages of Scripture. Proverbs, for example, repeatedly contrasts the way of folly and death with the way of wisdom and life as the only two roads upon which anyone can travel. Jesus perhaps most notably spoke of two paths: one narrow and ending in life; the other broad and ending in destruction. The Apostle Paul used evoked this imagery in the application portion of Ephesians by structuring his exhortations around five “walk commands.”
Indeed, most often when we consider the long road to heavenly Zion we think of a slow and steady walk of life. Eugene Peterson struck it on the head by calling the Christian pilgrimage “a long obedience in the same direction.” Here, however, the zeal of the LORD has consumed the psalmist, and he is prepared to run the way of God’s commandments. Revived from the dust, he now longs to chase after God through His laws. Yet he calls upon the LORD to further enlarge my heart. Although he has already received a spiritual renewal, he longs for more so that he can go even further in obedience.
The psalmist here understands a concept that we repeatedly fail to grasp: true obedience flows from the heart. Jesus taught this whenever He revealed murder and adultery to be sins rooted within the heart. Our problem is not simply that we keep doing bad things; it’s that we are bad people in our very hearts. We fail to obey God’s commandments because we do not love Him with all our heart, soul, and might. Mercifully, God knows the plight of our sin and spoke these words long ago: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). In Jesus, these words have been fulfilled. In Him, our sinful desires are daily being crucified, while His Spirit molds us evermore into His own likeness. In Him, we are new creations, for whom the law no longer brings condemnation and death; instead, as we gaze upon Christ, we increasingly delight in obedience as a beloved son delights in obeying his father.
Let us, therefore, look always to Christ, the Renewer of our hearts, and run after Him and His Word.