“Who can learn the counsel of God?
Who can discern what the Lord wills?
The reasoning of mortals is worthless.
Our designs are likely to fail.
A perishable body weighs down the soul.
This earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind.
We can hardly guess at what is on earth.
What is at hand
We find with labor.
But who has traced out
What is in the heavens?
Who has learned your counsel,
Unless you have given wisdom?
You sent your Holy Spirit from on high.
Thus the paths of those on earth
Were set right.
People were taught
What pleases you.
They were saved by wisdom.”
What is the will of the Lord (θέλει ὁ Κύριος)? How can you have counsel with God (βουλὴν Θεοῦ)? What man is able to know (ἄνθρωπος γνώσετα) these things because human reasoning is worthless? By our own designs we are likely to fail. Then we have the Platonic thought about how our perishable body (σῶμα) weighs down our souls (ψυχήν) as our earthly tent holds back our minds. We can only guess what is going on even when we work hard here on earth (γῆς). We have no idea what is going on in heaven (οὐρανοῖς). The only way that we know anything is with the counsel and the wisdom (σοφίαν) that your Holy Spirit (τὸ ἅγιόν σου πνεῦμα) gives to us. Here is a clear rare explicit mention of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament books. This is the only way that we can stay on the right path. We are saved by wisdom (τῇ σοφίᾳ).
“Fools mock at the guilt offering.
But the upright enjoy God’s favor.
The heart knows its own bitterness.
No stranger shares its joy.
The house of the wicked will be destroyed.
But the tent of the upright will flourish.
There is a way that seems right to a person.
But its end is the way to death.
Even in laughter
The heart is sad.
The end of joy is grief.”
Although the Hebrew text is difficult, it appears that fools do not see any value in the guilt offering. God scorns the wicked people, but he enjoys the upright ones. The heart knows the bitterness that no stranger can share in. The house of the wicked person will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will be fine. Sometimes we think that we are on the right path but it may actually lead to death. Even when some people laugh, their heart is sad, since the end of their joy leads to grief.
“Trust in Yahweh
With all your heart!
Do not rely on your own insight!
In all your ways
He will make straight your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes!
Turn away from evil!
It will be healing to your flesh.
It will be refreshment to your body.”
At the heart of wisdom is trust in Yahweh. You are to trust God with your whole heart. Do not rely on yourself for insight. Acknowledge God in all ways. He will lead you down the right path. Do not pretend to be wise in your own eyes. Fear God. Turn away from evil. This is straight forward advice that will bring healing and refreshment to your body.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet.
Your word is a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath.
I have confirmed it.
I will observe your righteous ordinances.
I am severely afflicted.
Give me life!
According to your word!
Accept my offerings of praise!
Teach me your ordinances!
I hold my life in my hand continually.
But I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me.
But I do not stray from your precepts.
Your decrees are my heritage forever.
They are the joy of my heart.
I incline my heart to perform your statutes,
To the end.”
The word of Yahweh is a lamp and a light so that the psalmist might walk in the right path. He had sworn an oath to observe the righteous ordinances. Despite his sufferings, he would continue to offer praise. He wanted to be taught about the ordinances since he never forgot the law. Even when the wicked set a snare for him, he never forgot the law. He never strayed from the precepts of Yahweh. They were his heritage forever, the joy of his heart. He would follow the statutes of Yahweh forever, even to the bitter end. Thus this section on the fourteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Nun, came to an end.
“But as for me,
I walk in my integrity.
Be gracious to me!
My foot stands on level ground.
In the great congregation
I will bless Yahweh.”
This psalm ends with the innocent David’s self-righteous plea that he had always walked in integrity. He wanted Yahweh to redeem him. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him. He had kept his feet on the level right path. In the congregations he blessed Yahweh. Therefore he was on the right side with Yahweh.