I found myself somewhat stunned when I looked up the definition for the word PRECEPT.
a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought (from a Google search for the word)
What it showed next, though, is where the big stunner came. It showed the origin and history of the word. It comes from Latin, the oldest word trace meant before and then the next part meant warn or instruct.
Put that all together, take the whole context, and a precept is a warning instruction given before we need it in order to help us make good choices in regards to our thoughts and behaviors.
When we see the word PRECEPT, then, in Psalm 119, we should know that these imply something that was intended to help. And the Psalmist really seems to get that. He knew what the precepts were worth and he took them to heart. We read over and over the Psalmist saying “I obey” or “I meditate on.” These are ongoing actions. They are not a one-and-done action. The example given us by the Psalmist is to continually obey and continually meditate on these rules God gave us in instruction before we needed them.
If we meditate on these precepts, theses laws, God is instructing us and giving us all we need to not make poor choices. To take action according to what is right and good and on His path.
I took notes on the verses that all use the word PRECEPT and I found a continual theme of knowing that these are good things that will help the writer moving forward and that any who do not follow these warning will encounter something less than cheerful. We see words such as
- obeyed (v 4, 56 100, 134, 168)
- meditate/consider (v 15, 78, 128)
- understand (v 27, 104)
- long for (v 40)
- sought out (v 45, 94)
- follow (v 63)
- keep (v 69)
- never forget (v 93, 141)
- love (v 159)
- chosen (v 173)
When you think of God’s law do you think along these lines? Are these your emotions regarding what God has given us? They should be. I do often feel like these. I desire to spend time in God’s word, trying to learn more, making sure I am doing what God wants me to. Plenty often, though, I don’t feel these ways. I am half-hearted in my attitude and my seeking to understand
So, what do I do on those days? I remind myself what I should be about by picking up the word of God and reading about His laws. When I read something like Psalm 119, I suddenly realize that my luke-warmness is damaging and I have to change. God warns me of that in Revelation, among a number of other places. I need to find some additional heat and I can only do that by intentionality and time in His word. So, off I go to read Psalm 119 yet again. I seem to find more each time I pick it up that makes me smile and feel a warm gratitude to the God who loves me so much that he gave me his PRECEPTS, his warnings about my behavior and thought.
I need to do more to heed these PRECEPTS. Surprises such as I found in looking at this word encourage me to seek out more in God’s laws. Until next week,
Tagged: God's Law series