Posted by Gabe Brennan

My family and I were sitting down for breakfast awhile back and I was reading out of Psalm 119 (the longest chapter in the Bible). Psalm 119 is a magnificent portrait of the beauty of God’s instructions.  It is like a poem with each stanza beginning with a letter of the Hebrews alphabet and there is a common theme running through it: The law of God is a precious gift that proves His love for us.  After the reading was finished, one my boys asked me point blank, “Daddy, why do you keep talking about the law?” It was a good question. So I answered him, “Buddy, God loves us so much that He tells us exactly what to do so that we are happy and not sad.” I think that gets at the heart of God’s law.  He does not tell us how to live because He doesn’t love us. He tells us how to live because He does love us.

The writer of this Psalm certainly understood this. Listen to what he said about God’s law: “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.  I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” (15-16) “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.” (20)  “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.” (35) “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (97) “Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.” (127) “I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments.(131) “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.” (164)  “I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.” (174law)

This love sick longing for the instructions of God is a sign of a changed heart.  The hard heart recoils from God’s commands. The soft heart absorbs the commands of God like a sponge.  This is really where the miracle needs to happen.  Until a child understands that daddy’s instructions are motivated by love, he or she will fight it tooth and nail. When the eyes are opened to see the abounding and steadfast love of the father (daddy), the instructions will be embraced, loved and longed for.

How do you see the law of God for you?  If you are avoiding, ignoring or rejecting His good instructions, here is a suggested prayer for you to use. It’s verse 36, “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!” In other words, “Put a longing in my heart to know and live by every word you’ve spoken to me.  Keep me from being selfish and self-centered so that I can be happy following you.” Affections for God are always stirred by prayers of desperation. So feel free to say it the way it is and ask God to meet you where you are.

By the way, we still have not finished reading Psalm 119 as a family! And I am in no hurry. I think God made this the longest Psalm in the Bible to remind us of one thing: God’s law is the consistent reminder of His love. Law = Love.  And even though none of us keep it perfectly, we have a Savior Who has. And He promises to forgive us when we fail and to use our weakness as a catalyst for greater obedience.  So don’t linger too long in regret or apathy.  Pray for passion and run headlong in the paths of our Father’s good commands.
Happily running with you,
Pastor Gabe

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