The psalmist begins this section with a statement of strong assurance: ‘The Lord is my portion.’ He has been saved from his sins and forgiven by God. Yet his confidence does not lead to laziness. Assurance is always accompanied by gratitude, and the way the psalmist shows his appreciation is by dedicating himself to obey God’s requirements (v. 57).
Accompanying his dedication is earnest prayer: ‘I entreat your favour with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise’ (v. 58). True prayer is never offered in a casual manner. Instead it is expressed in a sincere way. At the same time, sincere prayer is expectant, not because of the petitioner’s commitment, but because of God’s promises.
How does dedication show itself? The psalmist describes several aspects in the remaining verses of the section. First, he thinks about what he is doing: ‘When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies’ (v. 59). Dedication for a Christian is never mindless. Instead it involves an awareness of what God has instructed his people to do.
Second, dedication includes prompt obedience: ‘I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments’ (v. 60). One can never be too quick in obeying God’s law. The best time to practice them is right away. A true understanding of God’s Word stimulates immediate conformity to its demands.
Third, dedication involves persistence when the going gets tough: ‘Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law’ (v. 61). These cords may be temptations or they may be threats. Whatever they are, a dedicated disciple will resolve to obey God, no matter the situation.
Fourth, dedication is marked by a delight in praising God for his goodness in providing such clear information about the kind of lives that his people should live. Here the psalmist says that he is so pleased with God’s grace that he will not sleep without spending some time in praising the Lord: ‘At midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules’ (v. 62). Or perhaps he means that he will find a time for praise when he cannot be disturbed by others, and midnight is such a time.
Fifth, dedication to God is marked by delight in his people: ‘I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts’ (v. 63). It is important to note that he befriends all of God’s people. The psalmist reminds us that the way to show that we fear God is by living in obedience to his laws. Brotherly love depends on obedience to the Lord.
Sixth, those who are dedicated to God discover that his grace is everywhere: ‘The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love’ (v. 64). Whether he looks at the sky or on the fields, at the mountains or at the seas, he observes the abundance of what God faithfully provides. In light of all that goodness, he can only pray, ‘Teach me your statutes!’