Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
8 I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!
Why not Drinking Scalding Coffee is a Good Idea—and Other Helpful Warnings
“Careful, the beverage you’re about to enjoy is extremely hot.”
Man, am I thankful for Starbucks’ warning printed on the lids of their coffee cups. While not drinking hot liquids might seem like common sense, seeing it written on the lid keeps it top of mind for me when I’m ready to gulp down my vanilla latte.
The same is true of God’s commands. Certainly, God’s commands show us our sin and need for a Savior, but they also tell us how to live life as God has designed. Much like the warning to not drink hot coffee, God’s commands keep us from hurting ourselves and those around us.
The author of Psalm 119 understands this. The psalm begins with a celebration of God’s statues and commands. Verse 6 recognizes that, “I shall not be put to shame having my eyes fixed on all your commands.” Keeping God’s commands top of mind keeps us on the right path.
But sometimes it can seem like God’s commands are more about keeping us from having fun as the world defines it. What’s the big deal if I skip church? Is sex before marriage really that bad if we love each other? No one will even know if I illegally download this movie. God’s commands can seem stiff and uptight.
But hear this: The God of the universe specifically and intricately created every detail of the whole world to work together in a way that He calls “very good” (Gen. 1:31). He gives us His commands with your best interest at heart. Because He created you and the whole world, God knows what is best for you, the people around you, and all of creation. God’s commands are the exact opposite of a buzz kill. They’re the guidelines for a life lived to the fullest as God intended life to be (John 10:10).
Starbucks commands us not to drink hot coffee. This isn’t because they want you to have to wait even longer before enjoying your caramel macchiato. Rather, not drinking scalding hot coffee is what’s best for you so you don’t burn your mouth and tongue. They want you to enjoy the beverage. Not only does burning your mouth cause you pain, but it also makes the tasty coffee a little less enjoyable thereafter because your taste buds are compromised.
Similarly, God commands us to live according to His ways because He wants what is best for us. He wants us to enjoy all the good gifts He gives us in the life to their full. When we don’t follow God’s commands, we aren’t enjoying the richness of His creation. Furthermore, just like drinking coffee with a burnt tongue, not following God’s commands can further damage us and our future enjoyment of the same gift.
Rather, the psalmist exclaims that we will not be put to shame when we follow God’s commands. As we walk in the law of the Lord, we are blessed because we are walking with Jesus. Jesus—the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He knows what is best for us and wants to give us all the good gifts life has to offer according to His will and plan.
Reflection: Which of God’s commands are especially difficult for you to follow? Write them down and bring them to God in prayer. None of us can keep God’s commands perfectly. That’s why Jesus came! But that doesn’t mean we don’t continue to strive towards more closely aligning our hearts and lives with God’s commands as we follow Jesus.
Pray: Dear Father and Creator, thank You for having my best interest in mind and giving me Your good gifts. Thank You for Your commands, for giving me warnings and directions for how to live life as You intended it to be. I struggle to keep Your commands perfectly, especially __________. For Jesus’ sake, forgive me. Renew a right spirit within me. Holy Spirit, work in my life that I would daily die to myself and rise a new creation in Christ Jesus. Empower me to live a life according to God’s commands. Amen.
Challenge/Takeaway Activity: One way the Israelites kept God’s commands on the top of their mind was by writing them on their doorposts, where they would see them every day. Pick a verse from this psalm or another reading about God’s commands and put it somewhere you’ll see every day. Write it with a dry erase marker on your bathroom mirror, tape a notecard to your headboard or locker, or create a wallpaper for your cellphone. Use this to remind yourself of the blessings God has in store for you when you live as He has designed.