The Old Testament’s book of Psalms is famous for its patterns, parallels and precepts.
Psalm 119 is a lesson of how important it is to read, study and obey God’s commands. Turning from God’s law is the first step into sin. If we read, study and obey God’s word, we can keep ourselves from becoming enslaved to sin.
Verses one through four have an interesting pattern of “walk, keep, walk, keep” in the King James Version. The American Standard Version departs from the KJV in verse 4 when it uses “observe” instead of “keep,” but it is the same idea.
To “walk” means to follow something or someone. In the New Testament, the word is often used to describe conduct or manner of life. The word in Hebrew most often means “to follow.”
The word “keep” means to observe, guard, or kept close. All of the meanings are about the same kind of thing. When we keep God’s word we obey it. We use it to act as a guard for our lives and therefore it should be kept close to us at all times.
Verses six through eight tell us what benefits await those who walk and keep. It’s a statement of plain logic. IF we walk within and keep God’s word, THEN the benefits will be the following.
First, the inspired Psalmist tells us we will never be ashamed of ourselves. When we have the utmost respect for God’s word and obey it, there will be no behavior contrary to it. Shame comes when we abandon God’s word and then commit sin. Leaving God’s word is always rebellion.
Next, “I will praise you with uprightness of heart.” This follows because right doing depends upon right thinking and right thinking only comes from God’s word. It’s amazing how the world uses the word, “ought,” when it really disconnects right thinking and living with obeying God’s word.
Verse eight makes a promise. The Psalmist says, “I will keep your statutes.” So should we all make the same promise.