Psalm 119:1 – The Undefiled Who Walk5 min read
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Defilement can take various forms and measures. It can be seen in sexual defilement. It can be seen in associational defilement (by your surroundings, friends, and influences). It can be seen in speech. It can be seen in false doctrine. In reality, it is simply this: the opposite of purity.
The psalmist begins his writings about the Word of God, not by telling us how to study it, not the importance or substance of its doctrines (though they are utterly essential), but he begins on an extremely practical note of remaining pure. And to understand what exactly he is telling us, we will look at it phrase by phrase.
If this was a contemporary “Christian” liberal author, he no doubt would have written “Morbid are the undefiled in the way, who wander in the law of the Lord.” It doesn’t sound fun to remain pure by a life consistent with the Word, especially when it means hours of study throughout the week. “We have friends to join, parties to attend, movies to watch, texts to send, etc. The Word is outdated and old-fashioned.” Only those who have never sincerely delved into the Scriptures can make such statements, for no man who has devoted his time to the Word of God has ever regretted it, because this concept of purity by means of the Bible is a characteristic of the “Blessed” or “Happy.”
And so, at the beginning of a psalm devoted entirely to the subject of Scripture it is fitting to impress in the hearts of every dear reading believer that Scripture is worth reading, for it not only brings us closer to the heart of God, but it makes us one of the people called “Blessed.” Let us then, understand the hope that fills this psalm and know that God’s desire for us is not that we might be sad believers but be joyfully enriched by His life-filled Word. “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you – thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
It would be interesting to count how many times the concept of purity is mentioned in this lengthy psalm. God is trying to tell us the essential nature of purity, and He gives three main characteristics of purity in our text to help us understand just who the undefiled are. But before we continue with that, it is essential to understand a principle of purity.
The principle is that it is of one’s character and not necessarily their actions. We can put on an outward display of good deeds, yet inside be dark and hardened. Such has been the case too often. The purity that God demands is not firstly purity of action, but purity of heart, because being a man of undefiled character will always lead to undefiled works. That is why our subject is identified by purity, rather than merely characterized in his actions by it. We must seek to be like Christ rather than merely act like Christ. This is essential to grasp before we move along. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
But as to the characteristics of purity, we see them in our text,
Firstly, the undefiled exhibit purity “in the way.” The ESV says “Blessed are those whose way is blameless.” Life is a journey, is it not? On that journey, we travel upon a certain path, a path that we choose. The Lord holds it precious when His child chooses a path, a way, that is pure. In reality, this implies that we are consistent in being undefiled. Our way, our manner of life is characterized by purity. It is a blessed thing to be known for a path, a way, a manner of life, that is characterized by holiness. What is your manner of life like? What are you known for?
Secondly, the undefiled walk according to “the law.” This denotes a governed life, one ruled by temperance. Sadly, there is a common attitude amongst professing Christians of laxity regarding convictions. Two of the greatest objections today are “Don’t judge me” (which often is only paranoia) and “What’s wrong with this?” Whether there may or may not be an element of truth in one way or another with these statements, the point is missed. Life is not about how close we can come to sin without falling into it, but about maintaining godly convictions in a self-controlled life. And where do those convictions come from?
Well, finally, we see that the source of our undefiled walk is based on the law of the Lord. Truly, the “law of the Lord” refers to His Word, for it is all a pattern of living which we must apply. That is why this psalm exists – to promote the Word of God. The question, then, of where convictions are formed out of is answered by one word: Scripture. Utimately, they come from the Lord. What kind of convictions should we have in order to remain pure? 1 Corinthians 10:23 says “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable; all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” The question here is, “While it may be allowed is it profitable?” Verse 31 of that chapter says “Whatsoever therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” The question here is, “Can I do this do glorify God?” These questions provide a brief view of what a Biblical outlook on life is. Where is our focus when we seek to remain pure? It must be the Law of the Lord, no more, no less. Let us stand by the Word of God, an walk continually in it.