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Jason Silver

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Thoughts and Reflections on Scripture



Friday, September 6th, 2019
Related Song

I've observed something funny in my children: they love to point out when their siblings break the rules, but they're not so keen on keeping these rules themselves. It's true for everybody, I think. We like laws when they keep other people in check, as long as own our freedoms remain intact.

It's a common type of hypocrisy. For example, we might complain when other people are speeding, but not even notice it when we ourselves break the speed limit.

While a law-abiding community is a good thing, laws also contribute toward legalism and pride. Sometimes we feel arrogant and confident about our moral uprightness. Maybe we pat ourselves on the back, and look down upon those who struggle to obey. We might congratulate ourselves that we are good people, insinuating that others are not.

If that's true, then we aren't looking at ourselves very closely. We blur over the ways in which we fail to keep all of the law, and focus only on how well we're doing in the areas that are convenient to us.

I think it's important to admit that in our core being, we resist the directives of God. By nature, we want to choose our own path. We are rebels at heart.

Once we learn to embrace the idea of forgiveness, when we understand that we're not saved by keeping any of God's laws, when we see that our hearts are deceitful, and that we are no better than our neighbours, then we can find ourselves actually longing to know the law and keep it- not because it saves us, but because it's the best way to live.

I'm kind of curious what laws the writer of this Psalm is referring to. Was it the 613 Jewish laws in the Talmud and Torah? He seems to understand, in verses 36 and 37, that the ultimate purpose of the law is to become selfless and moderate. He maybe intuited what Jesus said about all of the law and prophets being summed up in two commandments: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," and "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

If we remember that all we have comes from him, then we must agree that even our passion to know him is a gift he has given. It takes a transformed heart, changed by the power of God himself, for someone to even seek God. It takes the Holy Spirit, entering a person's ego like a spark of life, to alter their very character so that they can sing, along with this Psalmist, "See, I have longed for your precepts!"