Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Those Happy Law-Keepers

"The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart:" (Psl. 19:8a)
"[H]e that keepeth the law, happy is he." (Prov. 29:18)

I am fully aware that the Law cannot make us holy (Rom. 3:20, 28). My claim is merely that of David and Solomon: People who keep God's laws are happy people. I realize, too, that the idea of living within a framework of rules and guidelines would seem, on the surface, to deflate the balloon of happiness; but bear with me. You should know, also, that I am loathe to interchange the word "happy" here with "blessed," as is often done; since I think we are in danger of losing a blessing if we do. Let's just allow the old Book to say what it says.

We have all seen children who are, for all practical purposes, given free rein, and we have also seen examples of adults whose childhood reflected this. Are these happy children? More importantly, are these happy adults? The obvious answer to both questions is, "No." Even a child knows that no limit mean no one cares. Do you think God Almighty cares less for His children then we do our own? Just as a child may say, "My dad said 'No,’” so, too, I have had to say at times, "My Father (not my pastor!) said, 'No.'" Ideally, the child who has learned obedience at a young age will hear the word "No" less and less as he or she matures. And the child of God who learns early and well to obey the Father will hear the word "No" less frequently, as they, too, grow in grace. However, none of us will ever reach a plateau where the word is only an echo.

I think the main reason the statutes of the Lord rejoice my own heart is that I know they are right. God's clear commands do not lurk in some fuzzy, gray area. As Paul said, there are some things of which every man must be "fully persuaded in his own mind"; but, “The statutes of the Lord are right.” Period When I know that what I'm doing is right, I am deliciously happy! Happy now, and even happier later, when I stand before the Lord.

Do you see now what I meant about the word “happy"? It is just the perfect word!

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