Preachers wrestle a professional hazard; relegating endeavor in God’s Word to the relentless quest for the next scintillating sermon. Like any believer, it is incumbent to spend time daily in God’s Word simply to hear His voice, grow in grace, and heed His Spirit. I’m normal; I have to work at this discipline.
At the time of this writing, in my routine of personal Scripture reading, I am working through Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. It deals extensively with the value and practical benefit of God’s Word.
Today, verse 47-48 uniquely caught my attention.
I shall delight in Your commandments,
Which I love.
And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments,
Which I love;
And I will meditate on Your statutes.
Did you notice the repetition? Somebody shared that if something is repeated, it’s important. (Then, they said it again, to underscore the point.) When I started university, I had no idea how to succeed. Wise counsel advised, “If the Professor repeats something, write it down, you’ll see it a third time; on the exam.” A familiar method of Hebraic instruction, which Jesus regularly employed, was simple repetition. “Truly, truly” waved a flag to catch our eye and open our ears. Paul wasn’t fooling when he wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice!”
Twice the Psalmist speaks about honoring God’s commandments, inserting the editorial assessment, “which I love”. Don’t miss it. Oft times when we hear God’s commandments, we view them an irritation, restriction, or imposition. The Psalmist is elevating our hearts and our game to a higher plane. This writer, who also penned, “I delight to do Thy will” is echoing the sentiment of the Apostle John who wrote, “His commandments are not burdensome”.
When you love the Lord, you love His Word and you love His ways. Let’s give specific application. Scripture unashamedly commands us to:
- Give our money generously
- Forgive an old enemy willingly
- Keep ourselves pure sexually
- Gather for worship regularly
- Serve the Lord joyfully
That’s just a few pump primers.
When you and I hear those Bible commands, we experience three possible visceral responses: we can loathe them, leave them, or live them. If you love God, you love His commandments. Conversely, when you love His commandments, you love God. I don’t know which comes first, but I do know they go together!