Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes.
With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
I delight in the way of your decrees
as much as in all riches.
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.
As Christians, we often find ourselves questioning right from wrong; we desire the purity that comes from following the footsteps of Jesus; we seek His discernment but fall short of temptation too often. Consequently, we ask ourselves, what is the right way to live in accordance with God and his vision?
My best answer is we must carefully revert back to the calmness and goodness of the Bible. In Psalm 119, Verses 12-16, the psalmist praises and exalts God, telling Him all the different ways that they follow His commands. There is a use of synonymous words that resound throughout the text: decrees, laws, statutes, precepts, ways, word. All of these words relatively mean the same as “law.”
Without any biblical context, some may find the word “law” appalling; we naturally (or at least me) do not like to face rules. However, when it comes to our Lord, our Best Friend, Guide, Leader, Inspiration, Dwelling, and Heart, it is His authority that opens the gateways to endless peace and freedom. Stop and think about that; isn’t it ironic that rules and guidelines lead to freedom?
An excellent note from an author in my life application Bible states in response, “Most of us chafe under rules, for we think they restrict us from doing what we want. At first glance, then, it may seem strange to hear the writer talk of rejoicing in following God’s statutes as much as in great riches. But God’s laws were given to free us to be all he wants us to be. They restrict us from doing what might cripple us and keep us from being our best.”
Oftentimes because we do not know all of God’s Ways, we have to perceive information in the Bible to derive the meaning, make personal conclusions, and form educated guesses. It is far too easy to fall into the trap of “perceiving” something that we want to think is right but is actually false. To avoid this, we can ask ourselves, “Is there a more probable meaning to God’s text, even if it is something that I do not like the idea of as much?” I can imagine that the Pharisees either approached the text with a closed mind or a selfish one. For example, they condemned many acts of lawful work on the Sabbath. However, one time, Jesus implied that acts of grace like healing cannot be punished even on the Sabbath. Although the Pharisees should have intuitively known that, Jesus had to explain it regardless.
While Jesus was good every second of his life, there will never be a human that can match his perfectness. For that reason, we must acknowledge our wrongdoings and humble ourselves. God’s true law, the epitome of Jesus’s life, may guide us, and anything else we may deter. You may achieve this by seeking the transparent truth, knowing that you might be unconsciously wrong with your end belief, and that is okay as long as you can acknowledge the possibility of being wrong. So, when we think of God’s law now, we need to know that good or bad things can come out of it, and if we can extract the truth of God’s laws, they will bring immense beauty to God, ourselves, and our loved ones. So go be like the psalmist! “Meditate” on the Lord’s Ways, and “Rejoice” in them like you “Rejoice” in great riches! Open your heart to God’s laws as his heart is open to you! Amen!