AND THESE WORDS, WHICH I COMMAND THEE THIS DAY, SHALL BE IN THINE HEART…(Dt 6:6)
Command. The word has such a “bad” reputation in the world, doesn’t it? Despite this, the Psalmist declares in the 119th Psalm, over and over, that the Lord’s commandments are good.
Your rules are good…I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules…All your commandments are sure…(Ps 119: 39, 62, 86)
And we, along with him, obediently attest to that and heartily declare it with a loud “Amen!” We argue with our fellow man (or woman!) that God’s Word is not simply a set of rules to follow…it is grace and eternal life, good and pleasing for the one who obeys! We wholeheartedly – and correctly – hold fast to the belief that not only is our God good, but that His commands are good. Good for us, good to us, and good around us.
But as we read through Psalm 119, we see the Psalmist saying something else about God’s commands that we don’t always remember. He doesn’t just believe that God’s commands are good. He delights in their goodness; he longs for their goodness. He takes deep, slow breaths through the nostrils of his soul and fills his lungs up with them. And then he exhales, slowly and purposefully, allowing these commands to pour out again, resting and delighting in the bliss and joy of abundant fruit down in the very darkest depths of his soul. These words…they pick up and give him all the pieces of his broken life, putting them in order through the righteousness of the giver of the Word: Christ. Yes, indeed, they are his very life’s breath.
Are they ours?
In the first 8 verses alone, the Psalmist describes God’s commands by using seven different Hebrew words to describe it. Why? It seems maybe God’s commands – God’s Word – this life giving, all-consuming, soul satisfying Word – is not as simplistic as commands to obey and good things to shout “Amens” to. His Word cannot be contained, described and explained in one simple…word. His Word is more than this because our God is more than one simple word. His dominion is everlasting, beyond our mind’s capacity to comprehend. His grace is higher than we can see, and His faithfulness lasts before our lifetime and beyond it. And this “more” that His Word is, is cause for delight. It is cause for delight because these commands are the very Words of God Almighty Himself. These words, they are with God Himself. They are God Himself. The very nature and character of the great I AM. Through these commands, we see our promised portion in brilliant, shining, life-giving light.
Are we delighting in His commands? Are we longing for His Word to the very core of our being? Do we want this hunger in us? Have we ever experienced this hunger? Has it come but gone? Is it there in the secret place, but now has been left lying cold in the recesses of our soul?
Do not grow weary, little soul. Your Father, your sweet, caring Shepherd, is the overseer of your soul. He longs for you to delight in His Word, more than you could ever desire it yourself. He always has a heart for you – His beloved.
I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame! (Psalm 119:31)