This Week's Article
By Colly Caldwell
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb.” (Psalm 19:7-10).
When I was a child, policemen were called peace officers. The apostle Paul said that God intends for them to be His ministers to us for good (Romans 13:1-7). Are you afraid when you see a police car on the road or a policeman on the street? They are meant by God to be a “terror” only to those who do evil. It is sad when some of our fellow law-abiding citizens distrust the very ones whose role in society is to protect, defend, and even praise them; not to terrorize and abuse them. And it is sad when those in law enforce-ment do not understand that their role is to provide peace and safety to the citizens whom they serve. God did not mean for us to feel negatively about law and its role in good peoples’ lives today.
Before Jesus lived on earth, God developed a nation of people through whom He would bring His Son into the world. God knew that there would have to be orderly discipline so that the people could live together in peace. So He provided guidelines for living in that society. We call it the Law of Moses because God delivered it to the people of Israel through Moses, their leader for the first forty years of their collective existence as a nation. As we read in the Old Testament, when taken as a whole it was an extensive and comprehensive compendium of instructions designed to provide governance for the welfare of the people.
The Law was summarized in several succinct statements we call the Ten Commandments when it was first given to the people at Mount Sinai. Perhaps because eight of the ten are stated in the negative prohibiting specific activity, people have come to consider the Law as being a restrictive measure to stifle the enjoyment of life. Of course the very opposite is true. The Law’s purpose was to make life safe, smooth, consistent, and less complicated than society would be without order including punishment for harm created by self-seeking lawless criminals. For the law-abiding citizen, the law itself was meant to be a “friend” providing an easier life than when everyone could act with impunity; i.e., “free from consequences.”
Of course, the law is not a person but it can metaphorically be one’s friend to provide and comfort as needed. A blind man might speak of his guide dog as his best friend because of the safety it provides when managing to go and come in his home and neighborhood. A wife might speak of her washing machine and vacuum as her friends... next to her husband, of course. However, these “friends” aid us in life and the Law, coming from the great Friend in heaven was meant to be a positive blessing.
Does that understanding help to see how the Psalmist would write that “the law of the Lord is sure making wise the simple, right rejoicing the heart, and pure enlightening the eyes.” He continued saying, “More to be desired are they than gold...sweeter also than honey...”
Isn’t it wonderful that the Psalmist could express his emotions at viewing God’s creation? He looked up into the heavens and down and around at the earth and he saw the glory of God. But then an unexpected shift in thought. He looked into God’s Law and experienced that same sensation. His heart was filled with the glory of God. He saw His wisdom, His authority, His love for His people, and His good providence in the fulfillment of His promises. The Law made life better. The Law worked for the benefit of the people. The Law made the people happier whether they realized it or not. They were safer and more secure with law than without it. The Law was there to bless, not to frustrate!
Jesus came to fulfill the Law (Matt. 5:17). In doing so, He proved Himself to be our greatest Friend. He showed us the intent of the Law by living it perfectly. And while we do not imitate Him perfectly, we see the glorious benefit of keeping His commandments and following His example. In fulfilling the Law, He added new spiritual applications that draw us closer to God. He enlarged the definitions of commandment keeping to include the thoughts of our hearts and the intents of our minds. His Gospel message makes our lives richer and more fulfilling as he expands our faith and leads us to glorious life through following his Word.
We need to see obeying the Lord as fully and completely as possible as being to our benefit. Not a chore, but a blessed opportunity to enrich our lives and bring us closer to being ready to live with God eternally. His Word is a “lamp unto our feet and a light to our pathway.” I hope we can all see that God’s Word is a blessing for all of us as we proceed through life and look for the eternal peace found in the blessing of heaven to come.