There are man-made laws which we must keep or be punished. We are not by man commanded to love these laws but to keep them to the letter. With God's laws it is different. We must keep them but also love them. And the psalmist teaches us this in Psalm 119:69,70 when he writes, "The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep Thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease but I delight in Thy law."
Surely keeping God's law with the whole heart is hard to find because there is so little delight in God's law. When one forges a lie against us, we do not merely want to get even, but want to do more harm to him than he did to us.
Delighting in God's law and keeping it with our whole heart means that we show nothing but love to our neighbor, even when he hurts us. It means that we find joy in treating our enemies in love. Our versification presents it thus:
The proud have assailed me with slander;
Thy precepts shall still be my guide;
Thy law is my joy and my treasure,
Though sinners may boast in their pride.
This means then that our sin hurts us. We do not simply say that we did wrong. We say, when we hurt our neighbor with tongue or hand, that we hurt our own hearts. And the same thing is true about God's law in the first table of it. To delight in God's law means that it hurts us in our hearts when we displease God in any way and to any degree.
How important then it is that every night before we go to sleep we examine our hearts. Do they ache because we did not obtain the same measure of earthly joy that those did whose "heart is as fat as grease"? Or do they ache because we love to walk in love to God, but find that we did very little that day in keeping His law? In the measure that we return blow for blow, word for word, to those who hurt us, we are as sinfully proud as they are, and we cannot then say that we delight in God's law.
Song for Meditation: Psalter #20
Why not sing along??
“This is the rule, and this must be the verdict: Either go to hell or consider your own human righteousness a loss and mere dirt.” Martin Luther
- Date: 21-July