Monday, October 10, 2022

Love of the Law (Psalm 119:41-88)

"And I will delight myself in Your commandments which I love" (Ps. 119:47).

One of the main motifs found in Psalm 119 is the writer’s delight in the law of the Lord. The psalmist is motivated to obey God by nothing else than love: “My soul keeps Your statues, and I love them exceedingly” (v. 167). This verse goes against the opinion that all saints of the Old Testament lived in servile fear of the law, that they had no faith, no grace, to enable them to obey God’s commands. Yet the psalmist clearly says that he delights in obeying God’s laws—such a love as this can come from no other source than the Holy Spirit.

It is to the church’s shame today that most believers do not exhibit even a fraction of the love for God’s ways as shown in this psalm. Rarely do you hear people say, “I have rejoiced in the way of your testimonies as much as in all riches” (v. 14); or, “I will delight myself in Your statues; I will not forget Your word” (v. 16); or, “Your testimonies are my delight and my counselors” (v. 24). The psalmist says God’s enemies are callous and unfeeling, but “I delight in Your law.” Are you callous and unfeeling toward God’s ways? Can you say with the psalmist as he does in verse 72, “The law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver or gold”?

Calvin recognized the deprivation of love for God’s law in the church even in his day: “For it is an indication of rare excellence when a person so arranges his sentiments and affections as to renounce all the enticements pleasant to the flesh, and take delight in nothing so much as in the service of God.” There is the crux of the matter—to love God’s ways is to deny the flesh, to lay down your life of flesh for the glory of God.

Yet the psalmist does not hesitate to do just that because he knows God’s Word contains manifold comforts, “I remember Your judgements of old, O LORD, and have comforted myself” (v. 52) and “unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction” (v. 92). Paul says God’s law is holy and good, and for it we should give thanks: “At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, because of Your righteous judgements” (v. 62). Let God’s ways delight your soul every day.

Why can true, sincere obedience only come from a heart that loves God’s ways? What is the relation between your love for Christ and delight in His commands? Can you really say that you love Christ if you hate to obey Him? If you don’t love Christ can you truly be a Christian?