65You have dealt well with Your servant,
O LORD, according to Your word.
66Teach me good (A)discernment and knowledge,
For I believe in Your commandments.
67(B)Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
68You are (C)good and (D)do good;
(E)Teach me Your statutes.
69The arrogant [a]have (F)forged a lie against me;
With all my heart I will (G)observe Your precepts.
70Their heart is (H)covered with fat,
But I (I)delight in Your law.
71It is (J)good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
72The (K)law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (Psalm 119:65-72)
Here we see the example of the one who goes astray from God’s ways, but yet returns. He is the one whom God disciplines, for he is the true son. First, we notice a man who thinks not of himself even as a son, but merely as a servant. But he praises God for his dealings with him and proclaims that God has dealt well with him. He affirms his belief in God’s commands and asks God to teach him discernment and knowledge. Then he acknowledges that he left God’s commands before God “afflicted” him. The key to understanding this stanza lies in seeing that this “servant” is really one of God’s “sons.” Consider Paul’s words to the Galatians:
1I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave,[a] though he is the owner of everything, 2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3In the same way we also, when we were children,(A) were enslaved to the elementary principles[b] of the world. 4But(B) when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son,(C) born(D) of woman, born(E) under the law, 5(F) to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive(G) adoption as sons.6And because you are sons, God has sent(H) the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then(I)an heir through God. (Galatians 4:1-7)
The point here is that the slave, or servant, who responds to God’s discipline through repentance and continued faith is the one who ultimately becomes a “son of God,” one of the elohim.
The Book of Hebrews fleshes this out in more detail, saying,
5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
(J) “My son,(K) do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6For(L) the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”7It is for discipline that you have to endure.(M) God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8If you are left without discipline,(N)in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to(O) the Father of spirits(P) and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good,(Q)that we may share his holiness. 11(R) For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields(S) the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore(T) lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and(U)make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint(V)but rather be healed. 14(W) Strive for peace with everyone, and for the(X) holiness(Y)without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one(Z) fails to obtain the grace of God; that no(AA) “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one is(AB) sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that(AC) afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (Hebrews 12:5-17)
And so we see that stanza Teth of the great Psalm 119 speaks of God’s overcomers, the men and women servants of the Most High who repent when they are disciplined because they had gone astray. They may fall down in sin, but they get back up (through repentance) and go on with their Creator to the fulfillment of their creation, to the time when they will be glorified as an immortal son of God and begin to rule with the rod of iron, God’s Law. Their defining characteristic is their love for God’s intrinsic nature itself, that nature which goes by many names, not the least of which is “God’s Law.” It is this nature when fully infused into men (by their own choice) which brings them the “holiness” without which no one will ever see God. Jesus meant it when he said, “Be perfect, even as my father in heaven is perfect.” Only the overcomers believe that.