I will praise you with an upright heart
when I learn your righteous rules.
In the psalmist’s mind, the goal is to praise. What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. What is the intended outcome of education, spiritual development, discipleship? To praise God.
But not simply praise. The psalmist envisions a certain quality of praise, such that sounds from a self trained in obedience to God’s rules. What a noble ambition: To possess the habit of voicing your admiration for God, and that from a heart that’s honest and conscientious and principled!
And we might add: and praising thus without self-consciousness: “And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise.”
What stands between us and this Big Hairy Audacious Goal* are two categories of hurdles:
A) Not Praising: Inattentiveness, complaining, taking the credit ourselves
B) Crooked Heart: Cowardice, apathy, sluggishness, little and big lies, cockiness, double-mindedness, self-righteousness, etc etc
God, train us in Your rules. Until we start worshiping You. And we mean, the good kind of worship.
*Thanks, Jim Collins!