Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Give Me Understanding That I May Live


Eighteenth letter of the Hebrew AlephBeth

You are righteous, LORD,
and your laws are right.

Maybe one of the more obvious statements of this poet; he knows that what One is constitutes what one creates. Whether as a parent, as a leader, as a teacher, as a friend, as an artist, as a lawmaker - who you are becomes infused in what you do and make. Thankfully our God always does what is right and good, so he and his words/works are "fully trustworthy."

For me, this has become the central issue for belonging to God: is He and his words/works trustworthy? The poet goes on to note that the LORD and his words/works are everlasting and true. Those two ideas may inspire you, but for me, my soul wants to experience God's loyalty, faithfulness, and trustworthiness. Will he keep his promises? Will he abandon me? Will he live up to what He claims of himself? Can I see enough of his handiwork in this world to sustain the trustworthiness? With the hardships that I have intertwined into my life, can I still believe that God is trustworthy?

For this psalmist, following the instructions of the LORD, keeping the Torah is where trustworthiness is fleshed out; if I do what God requires, will I receive the benefits that He promised? Jesus is the new Torah, and so in Him trustworthiness is truly fleshed out; will we follow the Way of Jesus, do we trust that the Way of Jesus will "give me delight?"

The final benefit remembered by this songwriter is this: "Your statues are always righteous; [they] give me understanding that I may live." Going the Way of God in Jesus will help me see what is right, help me do what is right, and help me rightly understand this world that I am born into, a world created to be good, a world being redeemed from evil.

One of the great pains in my life is the overwhelming sense of misunderstanding I have about how the world works, why it is the way it is, and what is the next right thing to do in light of how messed up everything seems to be. What is the next right step to take, a step of rebellion against what is wrong in this world, and a righteous step that furthers God's reconciling and redemptive work for those that reach out and take His strong and extended hand.

Oh LORD, please give me understanding that I may live; the instruction of Jesus is always righteous and gives me delight.

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