March 4

If you are following F. LaGard Smith’s The Daily Bible, you are in the middle of that wonderful section on the Laws of Moses. I imagine it is at this point that many get discouraged with their daily reading as they trudge through the meticulously detailed ceremonial laws that range from faithfulness to the Ten Commandments to what to do if your house has mold in it. You would think that those who lived under that Law would feel bound and enslaved. And even New Testament writers acknowledge the blessing of living under the “better” covenant through the sacrifice “once for all” of Jesus Christ.
However, those who recognized God’s love “beyond the sacred page” were able to not only appreciate the Law but even joyfully seek to obey it. ACU professor and Old Testament scholar Dr. John Willis in his Insights from the Psalms has this to say about the attitude of the psalmists toward God and His Law:
“Although the psalmist’s subject is God’s ‘law,’ he is far from being a ‘legalist,’ and from thinking of God’s word as a set of rigid rules that one must mechanically obey as a heavy burden…He loves God’s law and wants to do what it says because he is genuinely grateful for what God has done for him…He delights in God’s word…and values it above great riches…The psalmist’s primary concern is not in keeping God’s commandments externally, but in doing this from the heart….For the psalmist, life with God is not a cut and dried matter of God giving a commandment and man obeying that commandment. Rather, he enjoys a daily intimate personal relationship with God, and because of and out of this relationship he yearns to know and to do what God wills.”
Perhaps this excerpt from the closing verses of Psalm 119 will help us see this love for God’s Law. The longest psalm, and longest chapter in the Bible, is devoted to expressions of love for God and His Word, as well as the desire to be in relationship with God, serving and obeying Him wholeheartedly.
166 I wait for your salvation, LORD, and I follow your commands. 167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. 168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you. 169 May my cry come before you, LORD; give me understanding according to your word. 170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. 171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. 172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. 173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. 174 I long for your salvation, LORD, and your law gives me delight. 175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. 176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.
The question is, how do you feel about God and His Law? Are you joyfully seeking to serve Him and obey Him and maintain a close relationship with your Creator and Savior? Or are you resentful that the One who has called you and loves you and gave His life for you has said, “Be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15-16)?

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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