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The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Your decrees are my delight. (Psalm 119:24)
Most people don’t like being told what to do. Especially as we grow up, rules seem less necessary and even a little stuffy. Try this simple test: what is your first reaction when you think of the Ten Commandments? Don’t they remind you of things you had to memorize when you were a child rather than a set of life-giving guidelines that you keep close to your heart every day?
So why is today’s psalmist so excited about rules? When it comes to God’s decrees, says the psalmist, nothing could be better. They are more precious than gold and silver, sweeter than honey. He goes so far as to yearn for God’s commands, as if to say, “More! Give me more!”
Here’s something to notice, however. The psalmist has a lot of different words for the law: decrees, promises, precepts, word. It’s not just a matter of commandments that we have to follow. It’s a way of life that brings fulfillment and peace.
This makes sense if we consider the books known as “the Law” in the Jewish Scriptures. These first five books of the Bible include a lot more than just rules; there are history, drama, spiritual lessons, and a host of colorful characters. Taken together, these books tell the story of God’s redemptive work among his chosen people. This story, this sweep of salvation history, is what the psalmist is so enthusiastic about!
Still, even if we do narrow our view to the Ten Commandments, we can find cause for rejoicing. Pick any commandment. What would be the long-term results of disregarding it? Pain, brokenness, separation from others and from God. Contrast this with the benefits of following that commandment. A healthy relationship with God, a stable family life, relationships of trust with friends and neighbors, a balanced life. God’s decrees really are sweeter than honey!
Take some time today to think about one of the commandments that you have been obeying pretty consistently. Maybe you are respectful toward your parents. Perhaps you set apart the Sabbath for rest and worship. Now think about all the good fruit that has been borne in your life because of your obedience to this one law. Doesn’t this thought fill you with delight?
“Father, thank you for showing me the way to life.”
Revelation 10:8-11; Luke 19:45-48
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