Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!
Psalm 119:40 ESV
To conclude the He stanza, the psalmist cries out to the LORD, behold, I long for your precepts. This is no new idea to Psalm 119. In verse 20, he declared, “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.” A longing, a desperate desire for God’s Word drips from every word of this Psalm; thus, we as readers may already testify to the psalmist’s longing for God’s precepts. Two questions might rightly be considered. First, do you, likewise, long for God’s Word? Second, is your longing for the Scriptures evident to those around?
The second line of the verse explains one of the manifold reasons why the psalmist longs for God’s precepts: they display God’s righteousness, which is life-giving. Indeed, only in Scripture is the righteousness of God revealed to mankind, giving us directions for how to imitate our heavenly Father. Yet by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, this verse has greater depth than I believe the psalmist originally knew. Of course, when it comes to imitating God’s righteousness, we fall short, woefully short, damnably short. But the righteousness that is revealed to us in Scripture is not merely for the purpose of imitation but also imputation. Jesus, who is righteousness manifest, was not simply a pattern for us to follow; rather, He has grafted His righteousness onto all who believe in Him by faith. In this way, it truly is God’s righteousness alone that gives us life.
Note: I will be posting the concluding post of The Mortification of Sin on Friday this week.