Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD .
Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.
They do nothing wrong;
they walk in his ways.
You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.
(Psalms 119:1-8, New International Version)
Blameless. Not a word we use often, at least in moments of true, unguarded honesty. I could far more easily prove my blame-full-ness than my blamelessness. But what a strong desire we have. When Adam hid in the bushes, he did so because he knew his own shame. And when God asked him why it had all gone wrong…he sought blamelessness, but couldn’t find it, and instead opted to shift his blame to Eve. And that’s the shortcut we often find ourselves on — trying to dodge the light that reveals our character through blame-shifting rather than confession.
However, the psalmist here won’t settle for such a blatantly cheap imitation. What he seeks is the blessing of knowing truly what it is to be blameless — completely above the finger-pointing and harsh accusation. But how do we get to such a point? How do rise above our own failings and genuine faults to be blameless?
I like how verse 1 reads in The Message: “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD.” Throughout this psalm, the writer will continually point us to two things: 1) You can be found blameless; 2) It is God who reveals the path which leads you there through His revealed Word. The path is a long and winding one, fraught with fear of the unknown and full of wrestling matches between the the Word and our will. It will require stamina, commitment, strength, and true humility. It will require resolve, which causes me to reflect on verse 3 again: “Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!”
Blessed are we when we lay aside our ways that have brought us to a place of blame, and embrace the life of conforming to the Word of God. In the Scriptures (and in the life of “The Word” — Jesus) we find the principles of life that God intended from the beginning. We find out how to keep our hearts pure; we find how to love our families & neighbors; we find out what spiritual impact our actions have — good and bad. All this helps us to better understand how to live our lives in such a way that we are, indeed, by the grace of God and gift of the Christ, blameless. (You’ve no idea how hard it is not to launch into another twenty paragraphs on justification and sanctification! I’m too pressed for time for that now, though.)
I’ll close what I had wanted to be an even shorter post by sharing these two passages which probably ought to help focus the lens through which we read Psalm 119:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
(John 1:1-4, New International Version)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
(Ephesians 1:3-8, New International Version)
Prayer: Father, please guide us today by the truth of Your Word, and help us to more deeply trust and practice your wisdom for our lives. We thank You and praise You for Your unfailing mercy. Through Christ, Your living Word, Amen.