Late last evening, following the completion of a tiring “garage project” I relaxed with some cheese and crackers, and an episode of the retro series, Gunsmoke. This particular episode featured a family working its way toward California. There was no mother; just a nasty, selfish, hard father with his two cowering sons and terrified daughter.
This beastly man was fully self-indulgent, mean to the core, and willing to whore out his daughter in order to line his own pockets. He commanded absolute obedience from his three children. Life was lived the way it was lived, “…because I said so.” Obedience was unquestioned, else one meet with the back of the father’s hand.
This man was the antithesis of our Heavenly Father, whom the Bible describes as the very essence of love. It is not that God is “loving,” but rather that love is the very core of God’s character. It is in that verity that David can say:
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night. – Psalm 1:1-2, NASB
We delight in God’s Law, that which many (even Christ-followers) find harsh and burdensome. The Law of our gracious God is a source of joy and contentment to those of us who love him. The apostle Paul, a man who taught, loved, and lived grace said of the Law that he delighted in it (Romans 7:22), that it was “holy, just, and good.” (Romans 7:12)
King David described the Law of God in anything but harsh and oppressive terminology. His attitude toward God’s Law could not have been more glowing.
The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. – Psalm 19:7-10, NASB
The 119th Psalm lists more than two dozen beneficial attributes of God’s Law. There we see such things as “blessed,” “great peace,” “delight,” “wonderous,” all referring to God’s Law and those who walk in it. Through walking in obedience, I experience God’s goodness firsthand. I “taste and see that the Lord is good,” and I am blessed for taking refuge in him (Psalm 34:8).
Jesus, himself, said that he came not to destroy, but rather to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17-18), and to redeem us from its curse (Galatians 3:13). We also know from Exodus 12:49 that the Law was not for the Jews alone, but also for those Gentiles who sojourned among them.
We know the Law cannot save us. That was never its intent. Neither do we become “more acceptable” in God’s eyes through our obedient behavior. Our Father in Heaven loves us regardless, and he bathes us in grace through all of our stumbles and failures.
We cross a threshold in understanding, however, when we shift from seeing obedience as a burden or a duty, to seeing it as a joy. The mature Christ-follower is one who delights in walking obediently with the Lord (Psalm 37:4). Indeed, how can we not rejoice unendingly when our loving and merciful God of is the treasure of our heart?
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8, ESV
Victoriously in Christ!