When was the last time that you thought about…or meditated upon…or found delight in God’s Law?
Today’s Old Testament reading (Psalm 119:137-160) comes from a psalm that offers an extended reflection on the blessings of the Law; and because I preached on a different section of the same psalm last Sunday, a few helpful insights are still fresh in my mind. Most significantly, I’m reminded that the “Law” or “Torah” was not viewed solely as a list of external rules by which God sought to control life. Instead, God’s commands and decrees — His statutes and promises — were the internal compass through which God gave life. In giving the Law, God was giving Himself — which is what allows the psalmist to say things like: “your commands give me delight” (v. 143); “give me understanding that I may live” (v. 144); “I have put my hope in your word” (v. 147); “preserve my life, LORD, according to your laws” (v. 149); and “see how I love your precepts” (v. 159).
Of course, among those of us who live on this side of the cross and resurrection, there often seems to be an assumption that the Law no longer applies. Oh sure, the Ten Commandments still apply; and Jesus’ “summary” of the Law (“Love the Lord your God…love your neighbor as yourself”) remains eternally valid. But doesn’t the Bible tell us that “through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set us free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2)?
And yet, Jesus told us that He didn’t come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17-18). And how are we to understand what that fulfillment means — and more to the point: how are we to know how that fulfillment is meant to shape us and give us life — unless we do think about…and meditate upon…and find delight in God’s Law?
I’ve been the pastor of a local church for more than 14 years now. And in that time, it strikes me that I’ve preached very few sermons (and I’ve done relatively little deep, personal study) on the “Law” of God. I wonder how much delight and hope and life I’ve been missing?
What are your feelings about the Law? And how has God’s Law spoken to you and sustained you recently? How much interest, if any, would you have in a sermon series or a Bible study that looked closely at the Law to examine what it says, how it is fulfilled in Christ, and how it gives life to those who continue to treasure it?
“All your words are true,” the psalmist says, “and all your righteous laws are eternal” (v. 160). May we desire and seek and know God’s law today. And may we discover in the process that it allows us to know the Truth who sets us free.