Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verses 92-93

Psalm 118Psalm 118:
A Commentary
by Saint Theophan the Recluse

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

If Thy law had not been my meditation,
then should I have perished in my humiliation.

Having explained that everything is subservient to the Lord, he passes over in silence his own intention “to walk in the will of God”.
And he only talks about the good consequences of that: “in humiliating circumstances only the study of God’s law has saved him from destruction”.
The psalmist then illustrates this with several examples: David and Saul; Joseph in Egypt; the children in Babylon; Job; martyrs.

I will never forget Thy statutes;
for in them Thou has quickened me.

Now he talks about the consequence of having experiences these “salutary effects” (just mentioned in v.92): his resolve, “I will never forget Thy statutes”.

I will never forget, not only in memory and thought, but also in deed and life — I will not forget to walk in them, to carry them out.”

Theophan adds a comparison: it’s just like someone who recovers from a serious illness doesn’t forget the medicine that helped him.

It’s first a “quickening” of life.
“Finally, the fullness of life takes up its abode in the heart”. This occurs when the Lord comes with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and makes for Himself or habitation in the soul, for its long, constant and patient faithfulness to the commandments. (p.221)

Any reflection on these quotes?


  1. Your last reflection especially touches me beginning with the beautiful quote:“Finally, the fullness of life takes up its abode in the heart.” As you (and Theophan) explain, the Lord comes with the Father and the Holy Ghost to abide in us, which is so much the substance of the Last Supper discourse in John 14, 15, and following. And this all depending on the bond of love from our keeping His commandments, His Word. Jesus must have deeply loved this Psalm, and as always, He fulfilled it perfectly. Surely He still does love us to meditate on it! Thanks!


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