“Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through Your law.” -Psalm 119:29
The psalmist loves what God loves and hates what God hates. Deceit is lying, either to another or oneself. Here the psalmist does not want a false view of himself and mistakenly think his spiritual condition is better than what it actually is. People deceived in this way are blinded by their own spiritual pride. The psalmist is aware of this pitfall so he prays for the Lord to help him see his inner man rightly through the lens of the law. It is a grace for God to show us our sin so that we may return to Him in confession and repentance, restored in happy fellowship. In His loving-kindness our Father does not reveal all our hideous sin nature to us at once.
In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, there is a scene in which the miserable Eustace turns into a dragon after pursuing dragon-ish (sinful) desires. Aslan restores him back into a boy by tenderly though painfully taking off many dragon layers which Eustace was not able to accomplish on his own. God prunes our hearts in a similar way, so that as His disciples we will bear fruit. Through gradual understanding of His truth, He peels off our dragon layers one by one with the goal to make us look like Christ.
“I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on Your laws.” -Psalm 119:30
The psalmist has prayed for God’s strength and grace in his pursuit of truth. Now he makes a bold declaration, a line in the sand, of where his allegiance lies. Only a changing heart can utter these words and mean it. This is the pilgrim’s banner. When we see God’s ways as good and even to be desired, instead of burdensome, His good work is taking root in us. There is sure to be fruit.
Grace upon grace,
Grow deeper: John 15