Have you ever touched a hot stove? Dealing with a burned hand, or even several fingers, is not pleasant. The pain lasts a long time and if the burn is bad enough, the scar can last a lifetime. Parents often warn their children: “Don’t touch it, it’s hot!” These parents might be trying to help their children avoid the pain that they themselves experienced if as a child, they disobeyed their parents and touched a hot stove. God gives us similar warnings to prevent us from getting hurt. They are in our best interest, so why do we so often disregard His warnings?
That answer is simple. Satan, the great deceiver, varnishes over the truth and tricks us into thinking that we know what is best for ourselves. He leads us to believe that the desires of this world will bring us happiness. Satan is a liar.
Of course it is not just the hot stove that parents caution their children about, it’s the hot iron, hot oven, hot soup, hot chocolate, and hot pizza, all in addition the other endless lists of warnings parents have for their children. Parents have this long list of warnings because they never want to see their children get hurt. In a similar way, God has a long list of safeguards for us.
For the same, very loving reason, God gave us the law and commandments. His commandments are not edicts to make our life miserable, they are quite the opposite. Their core purpose is to give us joy in this life and to guide us to eternity with Him in the next.
While riding in the car recently, I listened as Psalm 119 was narrated on the radio. One verse really caught my attention. This is what I heard: “Truly I love your commandments more than gold, more than the finest gold.” When I heard it, I asked myself: “Do I truly love the commandments or do I dread them and see them merely as roadblocks that prevent me from doing things I want to do?” Then I wondered if anyone loves the commandments like we should. I realize that God knows what is in our best interest more than we do, yet too often His instructions just seem like a list of rules. I decided to read Psalm 119 in more detail, and reading it inspired today’s message.
God wants nothing more than for us to have life abundantly and for us to spend eternity with Him. He didn’t want us to, “get burned.” He cares too much for us. His teachings and commands assure us of the outcome He seeks for us. Why don’t we always see them that way?
Let’s look at a few of the key phrases the psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:
- I have examined my ways and turned my steps to your testimonies. I am prompt, I do not hesitate in observing your commandments.
- The earth, LORD, is filled with your mercy; teach me your statutes.
- Teach me wisdom and knowledge, for in your commandments I trust.
- Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I hold to your promise. You are good and do what is good; teach me your statutes.
- Your law is my delight.
- It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your statutes.
- Truly I love your commandments more than gold, more than the finest gold.
- Thus, I follow all your precepts; every wrong way I hate. I sigh with open mouth, yearning for your commandments.
The Psalmist gave praise to God and found joy in all of His laws. The psalmist knew that God’s word was guiding and directing His footsteps. Maybe we should each add one or two of these statements to our daily prayer.
Lord God, your ways are truly above my ways, help me to embrace your statutes because I know you only want what is best for me, amen.
- Do I truly embrace God’s commandments?
- Are there a few of His laws I find hard to accept?
- Do I sometimes see His commands as “gotcha” clauses merely designed to prevent me from reaching Heaven one day?
- Why do you think we frequently disobey God’s directives and as a result “burn our fingers”?
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