Arthur Pink, 1937
"Remove from me the way of lying" (Psalm 119:29). How we should be humbled by such a prayer as this, for it is evidently an appropriate one for all the Lord's people. The fact that it is not only recorded in Holy Writ—but here in the 119th Psalm, rather than in the prayer of a particular individual on some special occasion, plainly intimates this.
There is nothing in all the Old Testament of wider latitude and of more general application, than the various petitions found in this Psalm—each of them is pertinent to the experiences and exigencies of all the saints, and the one now before us is certainly no exception, no matter how hesitant we may be to acknowledge the truth of it. Reader and writer alike are spiritual liars, guilty of dissembling before both man and God.
There are different kinds of lies; some are spoken—others are acted; some are intentional—others involuntary. We often pretend to be what we are not, and are indictable with much formality. We are guilty of making promises to God which we break; of uttering penitential confessions while our hearts are hard and unaffected; of asking for spiritual blessings for which we have no felt need; or returning thanks for mercies which have made no impression upon us. All of this is a species of abominable dissimulation.
When we are convicted and made conscience of the same we cry, "Remove from me the way of lying!" Below is a message recently sent to two dear souls who enjoy little assurance; may it please the Lord to make the same a blessing unto others of His distressed family.
"Remove from me the way of lying." How well suited is this petition to the quickened child of God, who is often made painfully conscious of how much insincerity and hypocrisy is mixed up with his worship, supplications, repentance, and thanksgivings! When an honest heart examines his religious life, reviews his prayers, and ponders his character and conduct, he perceives how little reality and how much dissimulation characterizes all his spiritual exercises, until at times it seems that he himself and all pertaining to his solemn profession is only a sham. If it were not so it would be quite useless for him to pray.
"Remove from me the way of lying." Observe how strongly this is expressed—not simply "deliver me from lying," but "the way of lying"—a regular course, a confirmed habit.
Now the very fact that we find this petition so well-suited to our case, supplies clear evidence that we must be among those who are enabled to see themselves in God's light, for no Satan-blinded and sin-deceived soul feels and knows himself to be a spiritual liar.
Moreover, the petitions which the Spirit of Truth has so graciously recorded in this 119th Psalm are most obviously neither designed for nor suited, to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Should not this very consideration at least revive the spark of assurance which so often waxes dim in your breasts? Furthermore, the very fact that you can, from the depths of your soul, feelingly pray, "Remove from me the way of lying" is clear proof that you are not among those who love darkness rather than light. You want to be genuine with God, to be delivered from all insincerity, and this evidences an honest root amid the rank weeds and thistles of deception and formality.
Perhaps you answer, I follow you thus far—but alas, I have not the ear of God. Countless times have I confessed to Him my lack of sincerity, and begged Him, (in substance at least, if not in those identical words) to "Remove from me the way of lying"; but so far from my prayer being answered, I am conscious of increasing unreality in my devotions.
Thank God that you are so conscious, dear brother and sister—if God had given you up "to a reprobate mind" (as He had the sovereign right to do, and as He has countless millions of our fellow creatures), then you would be quite unconscious of "the deceitfulness of sin," quite indifferent to the unreality of your devotions. I ask you, frankly, Is it not so? Yet, perhaps, that hardly removes your difficulty.
But this does, "Remove from me the way of lying," like many another prayer, awaits its answer until the life to come! We were born in "the way of lying"—it is the very sphere in which "the flesh" lives, moves and has its being; the way of lying ends only when the flesh itself is removed. Until then, the quickened soul is burdened, exercised, shocked, plagued, grieved by it—by the unreality and formality of his devotions—and that very grief finds expression in this prayer which is so well suited to some exercises of soul.
Then step out of your mental gloom for a moment, into the warm sunshine of the clear implications of this verse, and thank God for having placed in your hands, yes, and put into your mouths—such a prayer as this, which, because it is so well suited to your case, denotes that you are entitled to make use of the same; which, in turn, proves you belong to that quickened company who are painfully aware of the plague of their own hearts.