Resolved By God’s Grace Psalm 119:1-8

Resolved By God’s Grace Psalm 119:1-8


  • If you’re anything like me, you do a better job making New Year’s resolutions than keeping them.
  • Have you become completely cynical about New Year’s resolutions?
  • This passage concludes with a joyful resolution, expressed from a dependent heart.
  • Read Psalm 119:1-8
  • The psalmist is explaining how to get what all of us are after, happiness.
  • The gospel doesn’t lead us to make excuses for our sin, but to delight in obedience.
  • Joyful obedience requires dependence.
    • Augustine, “Give what Thou commandest; command what Thou wilt.”
    • Until you grasp how the law can bring you happiness, you will go through the motions of Christianity never experiencing the joy of your salvation. Paradoxically, you will wind up depending upon yourself.

Let’s consider this principle further, specifically how we might keep it…

In Pursuit (1-3)

  • Outward Obedience (1 & 3)
  • Inward Obedience (2)
  • WCF 16:3 “Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of His good pleasure: yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.”
  • Inwardly, we abhor our sin, and thirst after holiness. Wherever the heart is not engaged, where obedience is hypocritical, joy and satisfaction will be lacking.
  • Even our “best works” will be full of many weaknesses and imperfections, but offered in sincerity they are made acceptable in Christ.

So that is the Christians pursuit, but what does it look like…

In Practice (4-8)

  • Purpose (4) We should be striving, making every effort to keep God’s law. Our demand for an explanation is often simply a diversion from obedience.
  • Prayer (5-6) Here we see the psalmist’s struggle. He knows very well what he is supposed to do, but his course is not always firmly established to follow. When our commitment is weak and partial, our shame increases.
  • Praise (7) His praise has integrity. He is no longer simply going through the motions. His praise is not formal, hypocritical, or lukewarm. There is a link here between the psalmist’s knowledge and his praise.
  • Resolution (8) We finally come to the psalmist’s resolution. He is resolved to keep God’s statutes. But immediately following on the heels of his resolution comes a recognition of his utter dependence upon God.
  • Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions were lifelong commitments that he read weekly. Preface: “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace
    to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.”
  • Do you see obedience as something to escape from or to delight in?
  • Joyful obedience requires dependence.

The psalmist progresses from pursuit to prayer to praise to resolution.


  • We cannot truly engage one without the others.
    • If we pray without praise we become self-centered.
    • If we pray without resolve we become unconcerned with obedience.
    • If we praise without prayer we imagine a God who is unconcerned and uninvolved with our everyday lives.
    • If we praise without resolution we minimize God’s ongoing work in our lives.
    • If we make resolutions without prayer we become legalistic.
    • If we make resolutions without praise we fail to acknowledge all that God has already done.