97Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Psalm 119:97-104
The 22nd chapter of Matthew’s Gospel records a very important exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees:
Pharisee: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
Jesus (quoting Scripture): “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
When we read scripture like today’s Psalm, and it says things like, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day,” (Psalm 119:97) we can form this mental image of someone who just sits and reads the scriptures all day, a luxury for which few of us have the time. Someone has to go to work, take the kids to school, make meals, pay bills, maintain the house. But before we just walk away from today’s Psalm with an attitude of “must be nice there, Psalmist-guy, to just be able to read God’s Word all day, but some of us have jobs to do,” let’s consider the great gift that Jesus gave us in response to the Pharisees. “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Perhaps you don’t have an expert’s grasp of scripture. That’s fine, Jesus didn’t launch into a complex theological debate or offer a dissertation on the nuances of the Law of Moses or the revelations of the prophets. No, it was “love God, love people,” a much more manageable thing to keep in the forefront of our minds!
Today let’s be like the Psalmist and delight in that summation of God’s Word for us. In any given moment, when faced with life’s challenges, we may not recall chapter and verse what God’s will for us may be. But we CAN be like the Psalmist in that we hold to the truth of “Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.” (Psalm 119:97) Love God, love people. Yes, it is hard to actually live out, and sometimes we may need help in how to practically do those things. That is what the entirety of scripture is for. But, we can be wiser than our enemies, avoid evil, and distain falsehood by simply meditating on the commands to love God and love each other. What’s more, knowing the scriptures inside and out, doing all sorts of amazing things, and really having your act together doesn’t amount to anything at all if you don’t keep the love of God at the center of it all. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Let’s do our best to keep this “royal law” to love God and others close at hand, in our hearts, and on our minds. If these things are our focus, we can be just as joyful and content as the Psalmist who wrote today’s scripture.
Prayer for Today:
Father, thank You for the glorious wisdom of Your Word. May it guide me in my life each day so that I may do Your will. Jesus, thank You so much for showing me the Father’s heart, that in loving You and those around me, I can best live out all the commands You have blessed me with. When I am tempted to forget Your Word, to be selfish, or to despair, send Your Holy Spirit to remind me of Your love. Keep love at the center of all I do today, Lord, so I may be obedient to Your will. Amen.