THE JOY FOUND IN OBSERVING GOD’S STATUTES 02/12/2011
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage (Psalm 119:54).
The statutes of the Lord are not to be looked at with drudgery. We do not ask:
Well, do I have to do this? Would God keep me out of heaven for this little sin?
If we do the will of God rather than the orders of God, then it becomes our
highest joy to know His will so we may do it.
Have you ever noticed that if a child is really going to show you gratitude for
the love you have shown to them, they will do so by a tender respect for your
will. They will look for what they can do to please you by wanting to know what
would be your will. They would do this to return with love and gratitude for the
love they have received. If we rightly understand the parental relationship
between us and the Father, then His commandments are not grievous. They become
our chiefest joy and our greatest pleasure.
David said that God’s commands were his song. Joy bursts forth into singing when
our joy reaches a high note. Then we start to understand the joy there will be
in heaven as read in Revelation 15:2-4: “And I saw as it were a sea of glass
mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over
his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea
of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant
of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works,
Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall
not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all
nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made
The result is the perfect harmony you and I have when His perfect will breaks
forth in such a melody. Everyone sings with one voice. The song of Moses is the
victory we gain over the world, death and the grave. The Word of God becomes our
songs in the night. The Word of God becomes our highest delight.
Holding our text in its context, we find that the entire Psalm is devoted to
David’s expression of his delight in God’s perfect will. It begins with the
blesseds as the beatitudes do as we see in Psalm 119:1-4: “Blessed are the
undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that
keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no
iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts
diligently.” It is a blessedness, not a grievous servitude. This is a little
taste of heaven to be able to rejoice in knowing and doing the will of God.
This Psalm so powerfully teaches that our walk of life revealed to the world
must correspond with our profession. If not, we do not have salvation. The new
birth is being renewed in the spirit of the mind. We must put off the old man
with its bitterness and hatred. We start walking according to the law of love.
The great joy spoken of in our text points to the Spirit’s witness in the soul
of how pleased God is when we truly become imitators of Christ. We should get a
glimpse of this from our own children. There is great joy when our children walk
in tender reverent respect for the will of the household. What greater joy is
there than to know that your children walk in the ways of the Lord, that they
reverence the things of God. What do you suppose causes more joy in heaven than
one sinner who comes to a change in attitude, one sinner who repents and comes
to the mind of Christ?
The Father’s love in giving His Son, and restraining that love because of the
love He has for you and me, is rewarded when He sees that we restrain our
fleshly desires because of the love we have for Him. Our desires become
worthless in comparison to the joy we have in pleasing the Father.
We must imitate Christ. Look at Philippians 2:8: “And being found in fashion as
a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross.” The Father’s command was that He lay down His life and take it up again.
He had no sin of His own to die for, but He obeyed His Father’s command to lay
down His life for His people because His Father’s love for His people was so
great. If Christ had shed His blood reluctantly, we would not have forgiveness
of our sins. His humble obedience in giving Himself at the command of the Father
made His blood an acceptable sacrifice.
Now see how the Father was glorified in rewarding His Son for such obedience.
Look at Philippians 2:9-11: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and
given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the
earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the
glory of God the Father.”
When our soul’s eyes are opened to see how the Father is glorified with humble
obedience, then we begin to understand David’s agony expressed in the verse
before our text for those who disdain the authority of God’s Word: “Horror hath
taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law” (Psalm 119:53).
The Lord is worthy that we should obey Him, and this is why it causes such
horror when we see those who disobey His law.
To get some insight into the joy expressed in our text, “thy statutes have been
my songs in the house of my pilgrimage,” we must understand the relationship
between God’s statutes and His promises.
Turn with me to Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our
faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the
shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” He bore the pain
of the cross because of the reward the Father had set before Him. Our obedience
must be motivated by the promises.
Look at Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he
that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them
that diligently seek him.” We must have faith to believe in the reward.
We read in Psalm 19:7-11: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the
LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the
judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are
they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the
honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there
is great reward.”
The law rightly understood changes the attitude. It changes the very soul of
man. The man now delights to do the will of God. There is no drudgery in the law
of God. We do not need to argue that the law has been abolished. Satan wants law
and sin out the window because sin is the transgression of the law. If there is
no law there is no sin. What a crafty trick Satan has here.
The law was not abolished, but it was fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ, and
now we become imitators of Christ, and we begin to delight to do the will of
God. We do not merit anything by obeying the law. It is our evidence that we
have salvation. This shows that we have been renewed in the Spirit of our minds.
When we start to understand the law of God in its right light, then it becomes a
privilege when we see a rebuke in the Word of God. We are warned when we get
into slippery places. We do not obey to merit salvation, but there is a great
David’s reference to “thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my
pilgrimage,” tells us we are rewarded in this life as well as hereafter. Many
think we just look forward to going to heaven and walking on streets of gold,
but in this lifetime we just have to take what comes. This is not what the
“In the house of my pilgrimage” speaks of during this lifetime. The joy and
blessings we receive in this lifetime are a taste of our eternal rest. We get a
taste of heaven in this life and what it means to be reconciled with God and
have communion and fellowship with Him.
We read in Genesis 47:9: “And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of
my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the
years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the
life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” He is talking about this
As we learn to realize that “here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to
come” (Hebrews 13:14), then we become ever more aware of how God is glorified by
our attitudes and actions, or walk of life. We get a little glimpse now and then
of the blessedness there is in Christ, the blessedness there is in the love of
the Father. When we get to heaven we will not be strangers. We will just be
coming home. We will be coming home to a parental relationship with God that we
are not strangers to because we have learned what that means in this life.
I want you to see 1 Peter 2:11-12: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers
and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having
your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against
you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify
God in the day of visitation.”
We become strangers in this world, but we will not be strangers in heaven. We
will be coming to a God we have learned to know. Our goal in this life is to
See how repeatedly scripture, as in our text, teaches the relationship between
our ability to sing of His statutes and our observance of those statutes. You do
not sing of His statutes unless you observe to do those statutes.
I want you to see this in Isaiah 58:6-8: “Is not this the fast that I have
chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let
the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread
to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when
thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from
thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine
health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee;
the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.”
The labor of love becomes the law we delight to do. Then we become lights to the
world, and we start singing His statutes. So many limit the joys of salvation to
going to heaven, but our text says, “thy statutes have been my songs in the
house of my pilgrimage,” that is, in this lifetime.
The joy spoken of in our text comes from the Spirit witnessing with our spirit
that we are the sons of God in this life. In Romans 15:13 we read: “Now the God
of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in
hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” There is joy in believing that
cannot be compared to anything in this world. Having all the gold in the world
would not compare to the joy in believing.
Those who believe and are baptized will be saved, and those who believe not
shall be condemned. To believe not means to defy authority. To believe means to
submit in unconditional surrender to the authority of God’s Word. Our hope of
salvation is in learning in this life to know God and Jesus Christ, whom He has
sent. This is where we find hope.
You cannot enter into this joy in believing when you are out of harmony with
God’s revealed will. If we are not in harmony we will not be able to sing His
praises on the sea of glass. We will not come into harmony after we are dead,
and live and serve the world while we are here. Our hearts come into harmony
with the will of God in this life, and we go from here into the celestial city
with hearts in harmony with His will.
Look at 2 Corinthians 5:17-19: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all
things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath
given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and
hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
This reconciliation has to come from both sides. From God’s side, He was
reconciling Himself to the world by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We read of
reconciliation from our side in 2 Corinthians 5:20: “Now then we are ambassadors
for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead,
be ye reconciled to God.”
When we are reconciled to God we will know what it is to sing of His statutes.
When our hearts are reconciled with His perfect will, we will receive joy in
See the harmony in God’s Word. David said, “Horror hath taken hold upon me
because of the wicked that forsake thy law,” which is immediately offset with
our text, “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.”
The more we can sing the statutes of God, the more our hearts are in perfect
harmony with the will of God, and the more grievous it is to see those who are
out of harmony. Try to picture yourself singing in a choir with perfect harmony,
except for the person next to you, and he is totally off key. It would spoil the
whole assembly. Do you see why there is such horror with those who are out of
See how the Prophet Isaiah’s heart breaks forth with such blessed harmony
between God’s statutes and His promises. We read in Isaiah 58:9: “Then shalt
thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I
am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the
finger, and speaking vanity.”
Can you see how grievous it is to the Lord when we start accusing others and
speaking evil of them?
Continuing in verses 10 and 11, we read: “And if thou draw out thy soul to the
hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity,
and thy darkness be as the noon day: And the LORD shall guide thee continually,
and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like
a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”
The Lord is so pleased, and the promises flow from our obedience. We stop doing
those things that are out of harmony with God’s will.
It is not reasonable that we should expect God to grant what we ask if we
disregard what He has commanded us under the law of love. Look at 1 John 3:22:
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and
do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
This does not mean we have merited His favor. This means His reward is His favor
because He is so pleased with childlike obedience.
What was the commandment referred to here? We see in the answer in verses 23 and
24: “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son
Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that
keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that
he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
Because we are pilgrims here, that is, because we show clearly by our actions
that this is not our place of abode, the world treats us as strangers and not
fellow citizens. When we come into harmony with the will of God, we lose our
harmony with the world. We can no longer sing their songs. We can no longer
enjoy what they enjoy.
I want you to see this in 1 Peter 4:1-4: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered
for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that
hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live
the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the
Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings,
banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye
run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.”
Our refusal to run with them to the same excess of riot alienates us from the
world as we see in John 15:19: “If ye were of the world, the world would love
his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the
world, therefore the world hateth you.”
The world is blinded from seeing the hope we have of a better home in the
mansions of bliss. In fact we get only a glimpse of it ourselves in this life.
The world does not understand the joy we have in believing. They think something
is wrong with us. They think we are not normal.
I want you to see what we read in 1 John 3:1-2: “Behold, what manner of love the
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:
therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we
the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that,
when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
The one thing we so little realize is that we are sentenced to death, and we are
all on death row. We have committed capital crimes. We are only awaiting the day
I read in the paper about a man who was sentenced to die for committing a
gruesome capital crime. He showed no sign of remorse. The judge and the
prosecutor warned him that if he did not show remorse before he was executed, he
would have to expect that Satan would greet him with open arms.
Now the question is: Do we realize that we have committed capital crimes? Do we
have remorse over having sinned against such love? Have we repented, or will
Satan catch us with open arms? If we have repented, we will be met with open
arms by our Saviour.
The great difference between the wicked and the righteous is that those who are
reconciled with their Creator not only have a better hope for eternity, but as
David they can say: “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my
pilgrimage” (Psalm 119:54).
While we are waiting for that day of execution, we can rejoice in yet having a
day of grace to do His will.
The attitudes and actions of the righteous speak louder than their words. We
read in Hebrews 11:13-14: “These all died in faith, not having received the
promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and
embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.”
What is better evidence that we can claim the grace of God for our souls than
the fact that we are strangers in the world, that the world hates us because we
do not walk in their ways?
When King Jeroboam caused Israel to sin, Jehu came to sort out those who served
the Lord from those who served Baal. He called for a sacrifice and told the
worshipers of Baal to determine if any servants of the Lord were there. Those
who do no worship God can identify those who worship God easier than you and I
can because they are not in harmony with them. They are the ones who put us out
of their company. We are the light of the world, and that light is their
This word seek implies diligence. We use the means of God’s grace, diligently
seeking His will. See what we read in 2 Peter 1:10-11: “Wherefore the rather,
brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do
these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto
you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
What are these things? See their context in 2 Peter 1:2-4: “Grace and peace be
multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto
life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory
and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:
that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the
corruption that is in the world through lust.”
What is our evidence that we have these things? Continuing in verses 5 to 8 we
read: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to
virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and
to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly
kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that
ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus
We see the two tables of the law of love in these verses. Godliness is loving
God with our heart, soul and mind. Brotherly kindness is the second table of the
law, loving our neighbor as ourselves. Charity is to think and speak about our
brother in the best possible light.
“If these things be in you, and abound,” you will be able to say with David in
our text, “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.”
Look into the lives of those who serve the Lord as their greatest delight and
you will see in Psalm 19:8: “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the
heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
Not only do those who delight to do the will of God have joy in believing, but
their end is peace. Look at Psalm 37:37-38: “Mark the perfect man, and behold
the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be
destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.”
We must examine our hearts to know whether we have grounds to believe we have
been saved. Where is our delight? Do we rejoice in the things that glorify God
or do we rejoice in things that serve the flesh? It is just that pure and
simple. The Scriptures tell us this from beginning to end.
Our text says, “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage”
(Psalm 119:54). This becomes the highest pleasure and delight of our hearts.
There is such blessed harmony between God’s statutes and His promises for us in
this lifetime. Look at John 14:23: “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man
love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come
unto him, and make our abode with him.”
Could you tell me anything that would be greater fruition for God’s people in
this life than if God the Father and His Son come and make their abode in us?
They warm our hearts.
Jesus said in John 15:14: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command
you.” What command was He referring to? We see the answer in verse 12: “This is
my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”