Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verses 113-114

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

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

Introduction to the 15th octave:

Samech = support
This octave is about the moral dispositions and decisions of the will, as well as divine arrangements, that support the fulfilling of the commandments:
– v.113: the decision of the will to love the Law
– v.114: Grace’s help always available for that
Powerful synergy between man’s will + Grace’s help.
Hence boldness in pleasing God (v.115)
– v.116: not trusting in one’s strength, but in God’s help, hoping to succeed with His support.
How to sustain that:
– v.117: through prayer
– v.118: remembrance of God’s severity towards sinners
– v.119: observing their disconsolate life
– v.120: the fear of God and of His judgments.

VERSE 113:
Transgressors have I hated,
but Thy Law have I loved.

The psalmist has turned his heart away from transgression, and has cleaved to the Law.
“A turning to the path of goodness is not just the doing of deeds of the Law, but a heartfelt love for them” (p.252).
And hate towards sin. Hatred towards sin grows along with love of virtue.
Check in your heart, if there’s any sympathy for sin and passion hidden there, and eliminate it right away, otherwise it may cause a fire that will destroy your whole spiritual house.

VERSE 114:
My helper and my protector art Thou;
on Thy words have I set my hope.

The psalmist doesn’t pray for that, it’s a fact: God is his helper. We know that God is our helper through life experience. And we are confident. No fear.

on Thy words have I set my hope  = on the promises given by God to people.
Certainty of their immutability.
Complete trust in Him, no wavering.

“Hope is a plea for God’s help” (p.254): so that we don’t consider grace as granted, as an obligation, but need to ask for help.
The enemy tries to convince us that God, whom we have offended, is not going to help us, or that He has forsaken us.

Any reflection on these quotes?

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