(8) Good and upright (is) Yahweh. Therefore, he instructs sinners in the way. (9) The humble he leads in justice and teaches the humble his way. (10) All the paths of Yahweh are steadfast love and faithfulness, to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. (11) For the sake of your name, Yahweh, forgive my iniquity, for it is great. (12) Who is the man who fears Yahweh? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. (13) His soul shall dwell in goodness, and his offspring shall inherit the land. (14) Intimacy with Yahweh (is) for those who fear him, and his covenant he makes known to them. (15) My eyes are ever toward Yahweh, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
As in the previous paragraph, the repeated words and synonyms in this segment point the way to an understanding of its message. The first half (vs. 8-12) emphasizes that those who are “humble” (used twice in vs. 9) because of their “sin” and “iniquity” (vss. 8 & 11) look to Yahweh to “instruct” them (vss. 8 & 12), to “lead” and “teach” them (both in vs. 9) “in his way” (vss. 8, 9 , & 12), “in justice” (vs. 9), and in his “paths” (vs. 10).
The question and immediate answer (vs. 12) serve as a pivot, reminding us of the theme of the first four verses, namely, Yahweh’s instruction, and previewing the emphasis of the last three verses, the fear of Yahweh and the blessings such reverence brings to our lives. Those who fear the Lord will be favored in several ways. First, they will dwell in the land which God has promised as their “inheritance” (vs. 13). More than that, they will enjoy an intimate relationship with Yahweh (vs. 14). Finally they will be protected from hidden snares (vs. 15). Note how frequently David repeats God’s covenant name Yahweh, six times (vss. 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, & 15). Note also that he mentions the covenant twice (vss. 10 & 14).
What Yahweh promises to those who fear him:
I. Forgiveness of sin and instruction in his ways. (8-12)
II. All the blessings of the covenant (13-16)
- inheritance - dwelling in the land (13)
- intimacy - relationship with Yahweh (14)
- immunity - protection from danger (15)
To those who fear him Yahweh promises the benefits of a covenant relationship.
Paul quotes from Isaiah in making this observation in 1 Corinthians: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit” (cf. Is. 64:4 with 1 Cor. 2:9 & 10). By the Spirit’s inspiration, David in this psalm describes for us what God intends for those in covenant relationship with him. While we can examine what this means in its various details - instruction, forgiveness, inheritance in the land, and protection - we should never lose sight of the big picture. What Yahweh has promised to those who fear him is a personal relationship with God. In essence, Yahweh gives us himself!
With our human limitations, how can we comprehend the significance of such a gift before we actually enter into God’s heavenly presence? The Apostle John comes as close as any author of Scripture when he writes: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God...and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn. 3:1 & 2). Who could ask for anything more?