Great peace have they which love your law: and nothing shall offend them.
I. THE CHARACTER OF THOSE WHOM THE PSALMIST DESCRIBES. They love God's law. At the outset of religion our thoughts are generally fixed on God as a God of mercy and compassion. We almost lose sight of His other perfections: but this cannot last. And when we come to survey Him as the Just One, the Holy One, the Faithful One, as well as the Merciful One; the more we consider God as a combination of perfections — oh, we shall presently see that there is no safety for us unless and until those perfections are all and each on our side. But when this feeling is engendered, and we are brought naturally to love the law just as we do the redemption, we satisfy the law. The law is not merely admired, not merely reverenced, the law is loved — loved as what it was worthy of God to give — what it was worthy of Christ to fulfil, and what Christ has fulfilled by a Suretyship which leaves not one jot to be exacted from the sinner. And why have they "great peace"? Because there is no attribute of God to which they who love the law cannot find themselves reconciled.
II. TAKE THE CHARACTER THUS DECIPHERED, AND EXAMINE WHY IT HAPPENS THAT THERE ARE NOT STUMBLING-BLOCKS TO THOSE WHO POSSESS IT. Suppose we take certain of the hindrances which men meet with in following Christ, and endeavour to show you in each how, through loving the law, the obstacle is surmounted. For instance, the unequal distribution both of good and of evil in this life is often a perplexing thing to the righteous. But now observe — he who loves the law is exactly equipped for surmounting this offence. In being brought to love the law, a man has been brought into acquaintance with each and every attribute of God. Therefore he is quite assured of the justice of God; he is quite assured of the faithfulness of God. Again, when afflictions come thick on the godly man, they have a tendency to stagger him, or to serve as a "stumbling-block." But it will certainly be the man who loves God's law who is best prepared to meet such impediments; for it is required by the terms of the law that we should know God's attributes, and take delight in them all. Knowing each attribute, loving each attribute, he will be meekly confident that the issue must be. right, though the process may be dark. And there are other kinds of offence, or stumbling-blocks, which may be met with by the Christian. Living, as we all must live, in some considerable degree, in association with our fellow-men, we are necessarily exposed to an influence, direct or indirect, excited by their conduct; for you can scarcely find the man of whom it can be truly said, that he is independent of the behaviour of others; that is, in the sense that his own moral character is not likely to be either advantaged or prejudiced by the deportment of those about him. Look, for example, at the faults and inconsistencies of religious professors. The faults of any one religious professor — covetousness, for example — ambition — the love of show — the ready association with the world — the facility in keeping piety out of sight, when it is likely to keep him out of favour — all these inconsistencies, put forth in the name of one professor of godliness, are calculated to damp the ardour of a hundred others, and bring into disrepute all those realities of religion, which, being removed, there remains nothing but the skeleton of Christianity. Who, we want to know, is best prepared to meet this offence? He who is a lover of the law. If I have reached the point of loving the law, if I love God because He hates sin, if I love God because He will punish sin, if I love God because He requires "holiness in the inward parts" — and all this, yea, and a vast deal more is love of God's law — then I have such an acquaintance with God as puts me far beyond the reach of accidents or contingencies. I know God — if the expression may be allowed — thoroughly; I know Him too well, under those very aspects with which the generality of Christians are least familiar, to render it necessary that I should infer His properties from what is done by others, or from what happens to others; and thus my love of the law gives me practically independence on the conduct or intercourse of my fellow-Christians; and I can overleap the obstacles which their failures may have thrown in my way; and thus I can verify the assertion "Nothing shall offend" those who "love the law of their God."
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.