Do me a favor and please read Psalm 119:105-112
As I read this psalm one thing that strikes me is this understanding of life that comes to the psalmist in their walk with God and his law. They have suffered much and they declare that God’s word will preserve their life (107); they declare that life is constantly taken into their own hands and yet they will not forget God’s law (109); snares are set for their life (110); the Law of God is their heritage forever and the joy of their heart (111); and their heart is set, to the very end, on God’s decrees (112). Life…life…existence…and more life. The Law of God, for the psalmist, is life-giving and life-preserving.
I have been a Christian my whole life as my parents raised me in the church, shared THEIR love of Jesus Christ, and they made sure that my sister and I knew Him, feared Him, loved Him, and understood what we believed and why. I remember reading Scripture and a daily devotion as a family after dinner as we sat at the table. It was through this time, through scripture and my family conversations, that I grew to understand that the Word of God is more than just words on a page – that they are life-giving. That the Word of God shapes every stage of life. That I don’t just turn to God in need but I turn to him in joy, happiness, sorrow, and grief. And that every word, on every page, gave me a glimpse into history, sin, redemption, love, restoration, and life. That the Law of God wasn’t something to be feared, but something to be understood as it’s a guide towards living, life, and hope.
The psalmist fully understands that the love of God, and the life he gives, is poured out into us by his Law. That God didn’t set up some rules and regulations just to mess with us but that there is hope and life and living in them. That’s why the psalmist speaks of God’s word illuminating their path. That they recognize the pains they are, the snares that are before them, the constant jeopardy their life is in, but that the remedy, the hope, the life is in God’s “righteous rules.” Again, the Law of God is here to save and protect. But does it end there? Is just abiding by God’s rules going to give us life? No, not in the way many want or expect.
God’s Law is not a “fix-all” if we’re looking for it to make my life better…right now. If I’m looking for an immediate remedy to my turmoil, the “snares” in my life, and the harm that is before me then simply abiding by the Law of God is not going to make it all disappear. I wish it did but it doesn’t. What the Law DOES do is HELP us today in our walk with God and each other. What the Law DOES do is guide us towards knowing what is right and wrong and helping us step in those right directions. What the Law DOES do is help us RECOGNIZE (as Paul declares in Romans 7:7-25) the sin in our lives. What the Law DOES do is help us understand that we cannot fight the sin in our lives and we NEED the Law to not only illuminate it, guide us, but help us realize how dependent on God we really are. And ultimately, we recognize that we CANNOT keep/uphold/live the Law out as God commands us thus we need Jesus – the one who fulfills the Law on our behalf (Matthew 5:17-20).
So we’re left reflecting on the words of the psalmist in their declaration of the life-giving, life-savingness of the Law. Is it TO YOU what it is to them?
3 QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CHEW-ON:
- What in this psalm speaks to you? Where are you drawn? Why?
- If the Law of God is a “lamp” unto our feet – how does it light your path? How does it lead and guide you? Do you use it as a guide or do you use only use it when you’re stuck and not sure what/where to go?
- How would you respond to someone who says that the Word of God and the Laws he gives are more “recommendations” but that you really don’t need to follow them.