“Oh how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. In the original Hebrew, it was quite a poetic masterpiece, made up of twenty-two acrostic stanzas. The author is anonymous, but he was obviously good at what he did. For this work of art, he chose quite an interesting topic, different from the usual ones of God’s love or protection. All 176 verses of this psalm dwell on one special theme—God’s perfect law.
At first, this might seem like an odd choice for such a massive work. But in reality, God’s law is one of the most precious things in the world. It’s clear that the author believed this; his fervent desire to obey God and keep His precepts is evident in every line. When he wrote about being in trouble, his main reason for asking for deliverance was so he could keep God’s law (v. 146). When people persecuted him and mocked him, he turned to God’s testimonies (v. 95). He viewed God’s words as a great treasure (v. 162), as something sweeter than honey (v. 103). There was nothing he wanted more than to follow this law.
For me, this is very convicting. It’s one thing to know that God’s law is good and perfect; it’s quite another to rejoice in it like this psalm does. We tend to view God’s rules in a somewhat negative light, viewing them as hard to follow and sometimes harsh. But Psalm 119 eloquently strikes down these ideas. According to this psalm, God didn’t give us His rules to make life hard for us, but rather so we can come to know Him. By studying His Word and making it an active part of our lives, we learn more about Him and how He works, as well as what He wants us to do. We were made to serve Him, and loving His law is a great step in that direction. His rules are not cumbersome; He promises us that His burden is easy and light (Matthew 11:30). His law is not something to be spurned, because following it is how we learn about Him. We are called to find our delight in His words, to love them “above gold, above fine gold.” (v.127) In His precepts, we have life (v. 93). “Great peace have those who love Your law; nothing can make them stumble.” (v. 165)