17–23 May 2015.
Psalm 119:97–104 (click to read).
Can you believe it? – we are still reading through Ps 119, through this writer’s incredibly long song of praise about the law! How can he love the law so much that he goes on for 176 verses about how great it is! It confuses us, because we don’t have a very positive view of our own laws. We think of the law as absolute, as something that limits us, that forces us to act in certain ways. This is certainly the way that policemen use it: “Do this, don’t do that, and if you don’t obey you will be severely punished!” How can we love that?
But God’s teachings aren’t like that. They don’t turn us into controlled slaves; and God is not some evil professor testing us like rats in a maze, waiting for us to go the wrong way so he can zap us! God’s law is different. It creates a framework for us to live in, a supportive structure that guides and protects us. Like the laws of the universe, they guide the way we grow and move. Without those laws in place, without “loving God and loving one another”, everything would collapse into chaos.
That’s why verses 98–100 tell us that respecting these laws leads us to a wisdom greater than that of enemies, other teachers, and the elderly. After all, if enemies always kept God’s teachings near to them, they would be our wise partners rather than foolish enemies. And if teachers don’t seek after God’s truth, if they don’t know that Christ is the Truth, then how can they really be wise? And while we say that wisdom comes with age, that’s because the elderly learn from decades of mistakes. But by focusing on God’s teachings now, even the young can have wisdom today.
It’s little wonder then that the writer rejoices in God’s teachings, calling them “sweeter than honey” (v. 103). How much more reason then do we Christians have to love and cherish the teachings of the Son, and to rejoice in the wisdom of Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
Pastor Stephen Lakkis