Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”
So, have you heard about the recent college entry cheating scandal involving some well-known movie stars? What about the recent trials of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort? Some years ago, it was the Bernie Madoff scandal where he swindled millions from people in his pyramid investment scheme. In each of these accounts, the perpetrators were flying high before they were found out. They looked the part of the “in crowd” with their beautiful homes, the highest fashion, and reputations as those who had really “made it” in this world. But then reality hit and they stumbled. More than that, their reputations crashed and burned. It’s a sorry condition to be in, but one that could have been so easily avoided.
You see, in each case, if the persons involved had been like the one speaking in the verse above, their failures would not have occurred. No matter how one looks on the outside, to be heavily involved in fraud, cheating, or other hidden sins must bring great inner turmoil if one’s conscience works at all. However, as the psalmist tells us in Psalm 119, a person who loves God’s law has great inner peace.
Such strange language and such a foreign concept to love a law and have peace as a result. Most people complain about laws. Many look for ways to circumvent them, avoid them, or even flagrantly violate them. Such was the condition of those mentioned above, and they thought they were much better off for it.
So why would anyone love a law? More than that, why would they love God’s Law? The only reason that this would be the case is that they love the God Who gave that law. Those who love God love everything He has said, even when they might not fully comprehend it. Jesus said to Pilate as He stood before him, condemned for something He hadn’t done, “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” There He stood, innocent towards God’s law, yet guilty in the eyes of the world. And as He stood there, He had perfect inner peace as He faced the prospect of the cross. That’s the way it is for anyone who knows that their sins have been forgiven and that they stand before God clothed in the very righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 61:10). Meanwhile, Pilate, in his fear of the crowd, condemned an innocent man and was filled with anything but peace.
Believers love the Law of God because they love the God who gave us that Law, and they are convinced beyond any doubt that that God loves them. They know that God not only gave His Law to us, but He also gave it for us. Those who don’t love God and therefore have little concern for His Law think that the way they choose to live is better for them. They foolishly think – perhaps subconsciously – that they, in their “wisdom,” know more about life and how to live it than the Author of Life, the very Creator of heaven and earth. On the other hand, Jesus said in very plain language “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him (John 14:21).”
God wants what is best for us – all the time. He has given us His Word to inform us in the way we should go. He warns us of danger and calls us to a life that glorifies Him and blesses us with peace. But to go our own way, to disregard His infinite wisdom, is to put us on a path of stumbling, sometimes in small ways, or sometimes, as in the examples above, in very large ways. Stumbling hurts. Stumbling brings us down. Stumbling brings embarrassment, humiliation, and even worse. But to this our loving God tells us that to love His law brings great peace, and nothing can make us stumble if we humbly and obediently walk by the awesome light of the Light of the World.
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