Today snuck up on me. I kept turning around and saying “It’s Friday?” So, this study did not go as I had hoped. But, instead of telling myself to just put it up next Friday, I sat down now to write and read and study. Not necessarily in that order. 🙂
I find that time getting away from me is quite a condemning thing considering Psalm 119 is all about spending time with God’s law. So much of Psalm 119 is about taking the time to know God’s law, to spend time daily learning, to soak myself in all that God is telling me so that I know God more through it. And I have not been good about it for a while. This week has been particularly bad.
So, when I was tempted to just push it back to next Friday, I decided to embrace the whole purpose of God giving us His law – so we could know Him more through it. And now, on to the study of Psalm 119 and the word command.
Command – noun – an authoritative order; an instruction; authority; the ability to use or control something
Command – verb – giving an authoritative order; be in a strong enough position to have or secure (something); to dominate; to control or restrain
Some synonyms for command – order, instruction, direction, directive, commandment, injunction, decree, edict, demand, stipulation, requirement, exhortation, bidding, request
Considering these definitions and synonyms for command, what does that imply for us? Off the top, it means we are being told something we should do. We should view God’s law as something authoritative, something to be obeyed, an instruction that we have no choice over. Exhortation is a pretty strong synonym that reminds us that this is God’s will for us. God wants us to know and obey His Law, the ways he wants us to walk and the things he wants us to do.
When we look at the text of Psalm 119 and put these definitions into context, what is our required action? There are 22 verses in the NIV that use the word command(s) for God’s law.
These responses, the actions, are all a very positive way of seeing what happens when we know the commands of God and walk in them. We are set free; we have delight. Singing the praises of God’s law is something that we cannot keep inside when we have meditated on God’s commands and made them a part of our being, the fiber of who we are.
v 6 – Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
v 32 – I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free.
v 35 – Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
v 47 – for I delight in your commands because I love them.
v 48 – I lift up my hands to your commands which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.
v 60 – I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
v 98 – Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.
v 166 – I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands.
v 172 – May my tongue sing of your word for all your commands are righteous.
Strength to speak against those who do not follow God’s law comes to us when we know and have made God’s commands a part of who we are. When we know what God commands, what He expects from us, our responses to others who ignore them or stray from them are formed by God’s law and we are strengthened by him.
v 21 – You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands.
v 115 – Away from me, you evil-doers, that I may keep the commands of my God!
v 143 – Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.
The more we seek God, the more we find Him. His commands are our strength, knowledge, understanding. We have trust and find more and more of God. Seeking God’s commands means that we desire to know Him and to follow His law. God’s protection surrounds those who seek him through His word.
v 10 – I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
v 19 – I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.
v 66 – Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands.
v 73 – Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.
v 86 – All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for men persecute me without cause.
v 96 – To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.
v 127&128 – Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.
v 131 – I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.
I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant for I have not forgotten your commands.
v 151 – Yet you are near, O Lord, and all your commands are true.
A command requires an action from the person who is given the command. If we see God’s Law as a command, then we have no option but to respond to it, to follow it. Not just brushing it aside, since doing so would have dire consequences. A command is given by one in authority – God. This instruction given with authority – God’s Law – should dictate our lives, our choices, and our love to God and those around us.
Matthew 22: 37-40 Jesus is telling those who question him about how to live
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
So, do you respond to the commands of God by wanting to know more? By loving God? By loving your neighbor?
My response is rededicating myself to spending more time knowing God through His commands. I challenge you to make a specific response to God’s commands, write it down, tuck it away, whatever you want to do with it. But respond.