God is our Creator and therefore we are duty-bound to obey his precepts and to conform ourselves to his word. The Psalmist realizes that he is molded and intricately shaped by God, the divine potter. God is also a weaver who has patterned him into a marvelous form (Psalm 139:13-16): “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb . . . When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.” The psalmist remembered and took to heart the ancient word of Scripture that God formed man from the dust of the ground. Human beings stand above the rest of God’s creation which he merely spoke into existence – but to man and woman God endowed his own image and likeness. The psalmist’s identity was based on God’s word and creative work, and that same word or work informed his purpose and prayer, namely, to “give me understanding to learn your commands” (v. 73).
Of paramount importance for learning the human purpose is to realize that God has created us as a species and as individuals. That knowledge may be a combination of the direct revelation of Scripture and the indirect revelation and reflection from nature. In other words, reflective observers who are perceptive and rational assert that human beings discern a certain awareness of God and their creative likeness to him. In the same vein, the apostle Paul quoted with approval even certain pagan poets who said of the God and human relationship that “‘we are his offspring'” (Acts 17:28).
The Psalmist knows that he was uniquely created by God and therefore he was motivated to probe God’s commands for his own benefit and deeper experience of God. He kept before his conscious thought that he was God’s “offspring” and deliberated on God’s precepts and the nature of God’s character – his righteousness (v. 75), love (v. 76), and compassion (v. 77). Because the Psalmist, in effect, reminded himself that God created him, he neither forgot – nor neglected – to anchor his life in the Lord’s commands.
In merely the first verse of the present stanza (v. 73), the Psalmist’s declaration offers a multi-fold challenge. First, it is a reminder to teach and train young learners to sharpen their intuitive and intellectual awareness of God in order to direct them to a deeper relationship to him through the Scriptures. Second, it is a challenging reminder to seek first God’s word and his righteousness based on our creative being from God.