All the paths of the Lord - ארחות orchoth signifies the tracks or ruts made by the wheels of wagons by often passing over the same ground. Mercy and truth are the paths in which God constantly walks in reference to the children of men; and so frequently does he show them mercy, and so frequently does he fulfill his truth that his paths are earnestly discerned. How frequent, how deeply indented, and how multiplied are those tracks to every family and individual! Wherever we go, we see that God's mercy and truth have been there by the deep tracks they have left behind them. But he is more abundantly merciful to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies; i.e. those who are conformed, not only to the letter, but to the spirit of his pure religion.
All the paths of the Lord - All the ways that the Lord takes; all that He commands; all that He does. The “paths of the Lord” denote the course in which He himself walks, or His dealings with His creatures. In the previous verse, the psalmist had said that the Lord would teach “His way” to the “meek;” he now says that all His ways are ways of mercy and of truth; or that all will be found to be in the direction of mercy and of truth.
Are mercy and truth - In all His dealings with those who “keep his covenant” He shows Himself to be at the same time merciful and true: compassionate toward their errors; faithful to His own promises.
To such as keep his covenant - To those who are His friends; to those who are faithful to Him. This expression is often used to denote those who are the true people of God, Genesis 17:9-10; Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 29:9; Psalm 132:12. The word “covenant” here is equivalent to “command or law;” and the idea is, that if they keep His laws they will find Him to be merciful and true. On the meaning of the word “covenant,” see Acts 7:8, note; Hebrews 8:8, note; Hebrews 9:16-17, note.
And his testimonies - The word “testimony” in the Scripture, in this connection, refers to that to which God bears witness as “true;” or that which He has declared to be truth. In this sense, the phrase here means those who maintain His truth; or who abide by what He has pronounced to be true. The word is very often used in the Scriptures to denote the truth of God and the commandments of God. In all such cases, there is the underlying idea that the command or the statement referred to is that to which God bears witness as true or right.
This test would reveal the strength of those who with real faith had obeyed what they believed to be the teaching of the word and the Spirit of God. It would teach them, as only such an experience could, the danger of accepting the theories and interpretations of men, instead of making the Bible its own interpreter. To the children of faith the perplexity and sorrow resulting from their error would work the needed correction. They would be led to a closer study of the prophetic word. They would be taught to examine more carefully the foundation of their faith, and to reject everything, however widely accepted by the Christian world, that was not founded upon the Scriptures of truth. GC 354.1
With these believers, as with the first disciples, that which in the hour of trial seemed dark to their understanding would afterward be made plain. When they should see the “end of the Lord” they would know that, notwithstanding the trial resulting from their errors, His purposes of love toward them had been steadily fulfilling. They would learn by a blessed experience that He is “very pitiful, and of tender mercy;” that all His paths “are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” GC 354.2Read in context »