97 Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
You know the masks that we wear? No, not the Halloween kind. I’m talking about the different identities we put on. Those masks have a profound effect on how others see us, and how we see ourselves. Sometimes, we’re not even sure what is REAL on the inside, because we’re so busy putting on and taking off masks.
One mask I wear is the “Sunday School Mask.” You know, where I know all the Bible stories by heart and where Jesus is always the right answer. I could easily put on this mask when I read our Psalm for today and feel pretty proud that I am wiser than my enemies and have more understanding than the aged. But if I’m honest, that wouldn’t be real.
Or I could put on my “Don’t Care Mask.” When I wear this mask, it protects me from caring too much about what other people do or don’t do. I could easily put on this mask when I read our psalm. Good for you, that you meditate on God’s laws all day, but that doesn’t work for me. I’m gonna put in my earbuds now. But if I’m honest, that wouldn’t be real, either.
The real me, and I’m gonna guess the real you, knows I lack understanding and wisdom. I know I don’t have it all figured out, and some days it feels like I have absolutely nothing figured out. Also, the real me does care. The real me senses that there is a good path out there, and that it’s vitally important to find it.
The real me lays aside my masks and looks over the words of this psalm again–totally raw and unguarded.
Here’s what’s real: I wish I had a friend like this person in the psalm, someone I could hang out with who could show me what this kind of life looks like. I could trust a friend like this. I could learn some things from a friend like this.
The beautiful thing about the psalms is that they so often point us to Jesus.
Jesus wore no mask. He was His true self, the son of Almighty God, the word of Life. This Jesus, who did no pretending, said in John 15:15, “but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Because of Jesus, I have a friend like the one in Psalm 119. He is totally trustworthy–full of wisdom, righteousness and understanding. He invites me daily to hang out with Him, so He can show me what this kind of life looks like.
Even better, this same Jesus invites me to confess the masks that I wear and the sin that I so often try to cover up. When I come to Him with a repentant heart, He forgives my sins! He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). He died and rose again, so He could offer forgiveness to you and to me. That is Good News! That is a great friend.
Jesus, I’m so glad that You are perfect without a mask, and that You called me to be Your friend. Thank You that You are the best friend, who offers sure forgiveness. Help me learn from You today. Amen.