Today’s Reading: Psalms 23-30
Today’s Reflection: Psalms 25:4-5
4) Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. 5) Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Asking God for guidance and instruction in what is right, as David does in this Psalm, is a common theme throughout scripture. Jesus was often questioned by Pharisees and Sadducees eager to trick him, and by people genuinely seeking answers to the issues of life. But one interesting thing Jesus did often in response to these questions was to ask a question in return. Examining these situations, what becomes clear is that Jesus was really saying to the questioner ‘you’re asking the wrong question.’ The very fact that they’d asked the question meant they’d missed the point.
The rich young ruler came to Jesus asking what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments, and the wealthy young man said he was already doing this (Luke 18:18-21). This fact alone is fascinating. According to his own account, the rich young ruler was following all of the instructions of God, and yet he recognized that something was still missing. But he didn’t know what it was, hence his encounter with Jesus. And Jesus did reveal there was something beyond just keeping the commandments that the wealthy young man was indeed lacking (Luke 18:22-23).
If you’re keeping the commandments, what could you possibly be lacking? A lot, as it turns out. Our view of keeping God’s rules often takes the shape of boundaries or wanting to know where the line is drawn. This may appear to be honourable on the surface, but the reality is most of us are really trying to figure out how much we can get away with before it officially becomes sin. This mindset is not that of one who wants to truly desires to know and serve God, but rather that of someone who doesn’t want to get caught. In essence, someone who wants to skate into heaven on a technicality.
David was not like this. He didn’t ask for a one-time explanation of lines, boundaries or distinctions so he could self-sufficiently live out his own version of righteousness. David desired to immerse himself in God’s presence and truth at all times. He spent each day waiting on God, for His leading, His direction, His guidance, His wisdom and His voice showing the way to Go. David made himself vulnerable to God, constantly confessing his faults, misdeeds, wrong attitudes and sins to the Lord. David wasn’t trying not to get caught. He was trying to be as much like God and as close to God as possible. David hungered for God’s righteousness. This allowed David to be open to God and to remain humble and teachable.
David’s example shows that your attitude towards God is much more important than your understanding of one or another particular law, statute or commandment of God. If your theology is wrong, but your heart is open to God and to hearing what He desires of you, He can and will eventually lead you to correct understanding. But if you have the right theology and your heart is closed to God—if you just want to know enough to not get into ‘trouble’ with God—you will never truly understand that theology. You will be like the rich young ruler, keeping all of the commandments in your own wisdom, but with the sneaking suspicion that something crucial, something you can’t quite identify, is missing.
Psalm 25:8-9 – 8) Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 9) He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.