Living the Good Life - Psalm 119:4
Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently (Ps. 119:4).
God tells us how to live our life. This is a verse that the Devil has a problem with. There are precepts, principles, and instructions that God wants us to obey. And when we are being honest this verse that is difficult for us too. God’s commands and precepts are not just advice that we can take or leave. We are required to follow. We are required to submit. We are required to obey.
There is an ultimate chain of command. God has reserved his right, as our creator, to tell us what to do. God is the one that defines for us what is right and what is wrong.
There are three errors that are easy to slip into:
The first is to flatly disobey. God says do not get drunk, you get sloshed. God says do not steal. You stuff your pockets at the mall and run away. Straight forward disobedience is a sin, and the answer is straight forward repentance. Turning away from our sin and doing what we are told. Agreeing with God that we have sinned, asking for forgiveness, and then responding to God’s forgiveness with obedience.
The second is to see that there is a chain of command, that God gives commands, and then assume that whatever you believe is right and wrong is therefore a command from God. Because, of course, God wants us to do what is right. He has commanded us to do what is right. Therefore whatever I think is right and wrong must be a command from God. But God has commanded us, and it is his commands that are binding. Not what you think his commands are, or what you think would have also have been a good idea.
This is one of the sins that Jesus went after most often, the sin of treating your own commands as if they have the force and authority of God’s commands.
They do not.
We study the scriptures and discover God’s commands, and it is those commands that are binding.
And lastly, we see that God has given us commands, and so we grit our teeth, and obey, even though we think God’s commands are a heavy burden. We obey with a bad attitude. Or we obey and then act like we are martyrs because we are being kept back from something better by God’s commands. We obey the fourth verse of Ps. 119 while not believing the first three verses.
It is a blessing to be on the path of the Lord. It is a blessing to be able to walk in the law of the Lord (1). It is a blessing to be able to keep God’s testimonies. It is a blessing when our whole heart is trained on Jesus (2). Because when we know the Law, and are blessed by God with the ability to keep it, we are actually living the good life (3).
The law is not keeping us from the good life. The law is not an obstacle course that we have to get through before we can start living the good life. The law is a dissected description of the good life because it is a dissected description of the life of our Trinitarian God. The law is God saying, “Follow Me.”
God gives us commands because he wants us to know how to live. The law is only restrictive the way the string on a kite is restrictive. It is the restriction on the kite that makes it able to capture the wind.
But we have disobeyed. We have treated God’s law like a punishment. God commands us to stay out of the cage of sin. And we respond like some scrimpy and stingy god is abusing us. But God is not stingy or tight-fisted at all. Instead, he is merciful and generous. Confess your sin and taste his forgiving grace.