It is funny how we look back to certain times with fond memories. When we remember actually being in these times, we remember we were not so happy when we were there. One of the times many look back on is high school. Really? How many of you had a great high school experience? The other is college. I would love to go back to college at this time in my life, but I certainly don't want to go back to how it was when I was in college previously. I don't miss the poverty too much. Also, it felt like no time was really free time. Anytime I was not studying, I was feeling guilty and the weight of what I should be doing was always there. I remember how it felt when a semester was over. I would have a few days not being chased by the thought that I should be studying. I was free!
Psalm 119:41-48 (CSB)
41 Let your faithful love come to me, Lord,
your salvation, as you promised.
42 Then I can answer the one who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Never take the word of truth from my mouth,
for I hope in your judgments.
44 I will always obey your instruction,
forever and ever.
45 I will walk freely in an open place
because I study your precepts.
46 I will speak of your decrees before kings
and not be ashamed.
47 I delight in your commands,
which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands to your commands,
which I love,
and will meditate on your statutes.
The Psalmist is speaking of walking freely. The NASB says "I will walk at liberty." What does this mean? It means the he would be able to freely move around. Not just move around a little, but widely. How does he accomplish this? By seeking or studying God's precepts.
We rarely think this way, do we? We see God's law as limiting. You know, don't do this or that or you will be in trouble. Our natural inclination is to think that the only way to be free is to have things our way. We want what we want, when we want it, how we want it.
Why can't we have our way? Why are we not free to do as we please? Why is God's way better and freeing rather than limiting? God's instruction is meant to protect us. We rarely see our self-interest as a prison. We go about life trying to maintain our grip so we will not be subject to a will other than our own. We fail to see that the only road to freedom is to follow God's precepts or instruction. God's ways are not for our enslavement, but for our benefit.
When I was in college, I had to submit myself to certain constraints in order to accomplish an end. The end (my degree) served to provide a great deal of freedom for me. I am in an entirely different economic position because I was willing to subject myself to school. I still maintain this economic freedom by being subject to a wide, sophisticated set of laws. I am not unhappy. It has helped me and my family to flourish.
It is the same with God. His ways reflect His character and are for our benefit.
Will you seek His ways and purpose to believe that with them you will find the freedom to move about in a large, wide territory? Will you ask Him to walk along?
Will you pray this stanza of Psalm 119 as a prayer today?