Today’s Reading: Psalms 119
Today’s Reflection: Psalms 119:165
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
This text provides two tests for determining whether you are living in harmony with the laws of God: 1) Are you at peace? 2) Are you steady in your faith, or stumbling?
Peace often described as a state of calm, but as examples like Jesus sleeping in the boat as the storm raged around Him and the panicking disciples shows us (Matthew 8:23-27), peace is being confident in God regardless of the circumstances. So if you are living in harmony with God’s law, you too will have peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), peace that allows you to remain faithful even through the darkest times and events.
Being steady or steadfast has to do with remaining obedient to God’s instruction regardless of your circumstances. It’s often easy to be obedient when you feel you are getting everything you need, want, or think you deserve in life. But when things are not going your way it’s much easier to justify sin. It’s easier for a poor person to justify stealing than someone who has all of the necessities of life, but it’s equally wrong for either person. The person who lives in harmony with God’s law will obey it even at times when it seems impractical or inconvenient.
There are three key reasons why people who believe in God don’t love His law:
1) They don’t know it. There are just too many of us who are CINOs—Christians In Name Only—and these people harm the church and the image of Jesus Christ in the world. People who don’t study the bible, people who don’t pray, people who don’t seek God’s instruction or wisdom. When encountered by non-believers perhaps seeking an answer, perhaps just wanting to know what Christians are about, they make a poor impression and damage the credibility of all professed Christians
2) They don’t understand it. This was the case with the Pharisees, who not only knew God’s Word, but actually had it memorized. Yet when the Word made flesh appeared among them most of them couldn’t recognize Jesus for who He was—God Himself. Though the Pharisees knew the Word and God’s law, they attempted to keep the law in their own strength rather than through a relationship with God’s aided by His direction and instruction. As a result they couldn’t truly understand the truth of God’s Word or the laws in it.
3) They don’t apply it. We are instructed to be not just hearers of the Word, but doers of it also (James 1:22-25). Anyone who spends any time studying the Word of God will come away from the experience understanding that there are things God expects and requires of us. The Word isn’t a book to be studied, but a guide to a life to be lived, led by our relationship with God Himself.
Isaiah 48:18 – Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.