How To Love God's Law
"Oh how I love your law! It is my mediation all the day." Psalm 119:97
Have you ever read through the Psalms and wondered how David (or anyone) can say they love God's law? I mean, the law brings death. The law is a set of rules and who loves rules?
As I have been camping out in the Psalms, this love for God's law seems to be a recurring theme. I have been asking the Lord if He would please show me how to love His law instead of struggling against or feeling bitter toward His ways. The analogies He brought to my mind all have to do with driving...
God's law is a map.
"lead me in the way everlasting" Psalm 139:24b
My husband and I traveled to Ireland for our 10 year anniversary. It was a lovely trip but it had a bumpy start. I can vividly remember sitting in the airport parking garage, staring at the gear shift and steering wheel on the wrong side of the car and feeling so lost and out of my element. Ben was driving (and he was fine) but I broke down in tears and dramatically announced that this was how we were going to die - in a rental car in a foreign country! As we headed out of that parking garage (on the left side of the road) we came to love our maps and all of the road signs that helpfully reminded us which way we were supposed to drive through a roundabouts etc. We could not rely on experience or instinct - we had to lean on these other guideposts.
God's word is a map. It tells us where we are, where we want to go, and how to get there. It tells us which paths are narrow and which are wide, which roads lead to life and which to death. There are many days that I approach my Bible with a sense of apathy - just one more thing to check off my to-do list. But when I find myself in seasons in which I am lost (big life changes, depression, vertigo from sinful behavior) I LOVE my map. It is my compass - a precious treasure to which I cling.
God's word is a light.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" Psalm 119:105
Have you ever driven through a snowstorm? I grew up in California and didn't even know how to turn my windshield wipers on for my driver's ed exam (because I hadn't ever needed them!) so the idea of driving in snow took some getting used to. I still try to avoid driving in heavy snow but when necessary I always keep my eyes on the tail lights of the car in front of me. (Hopefully they can see better than me!) Those tail lights become my focus, my life-line, when I can no longer see the lines on the road. The Bible tells us God's Word is a light and do you know who loves light? People who are stumbling (or driving) in darkness! I've been that person. Have you?
God's word is a guardrail.
"How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word." Psalm 119: 9
Finally, in keeping with our driving analogy, I'd love for us to envision a guardrail on a mountainous highway. Can you remember driving on such a road? The views are majestic until you look down and start thinking about how one wrong turn could send you and your family over the cliff! God's law is a guardrail for our life and the more close calls we have experienced, the more passionately we can proclaim, "I love your law!" When we view God's law as a merciful and loving boundary, meant to keep us from death, we will stop struggling against it.
I have never come upon a guardrail on the highway and thought, "Why won't this state let me drive wherever I want?!? Why is this piece of metal trying to keep me from living my best life?" I never say that because I'm not a fool. I can see with my own eyes what would happen if I crossed that boundary and it would not be good. Sin is more deceptive, however. We cannot always see the immediate and deadly consequences that lie in wait on the other side of the railing. And so we must believe that God is good and that His law is good. This is what it always comes down to, isn't it? Is God really good? Are His ways really best?
These analogies have been helpful for me and I hope they might serve you as well. When I am lost, I love my map. When it is dark, I love the Light. And as I navigate through treacherous pathways, I love the law that keeps me on the way everlasting.
If you want some ideas on how to introduce God's law to your children, check out the following article: Laying Down the Law