“Law” Means “Law” Not Simply “The Bible”

“I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.” (Psalm 119:93)

This falls in an a eight verse octane that begins in verse 89 and continues to verse 96. It starts off saying God’s word is fixed in the sky, that the earth is firm and consistent because it’s creator is, and that all creation serves him and remains where it is because he has put it there.

From there it assert that only because he found joy and pleasure in God’s law was he able to survive great suffering that had caused him persistent pain and distress. This is why he never forgets God’s commands and principles, they saved his life  (probably by providing direction and helping him navigate through the storm) and kept him sane in the midst of great adversity, as we might put it.

Note we often mentally substitute “bible” for “law”  based on “the law” being contained in the first five books of Moses, which are sometimes referred to as “the law” as well as “the testimonies” here. But he’s clear later when he’s only talking about reading the scripture and being inspired by God’s dealings in history with his people Israel.  “The law” does emphasize the side of the scripture where we’re searching it for guidance, principles for living, and, yes, rules. It brings delight and pleasure from producing communion with God and by saving us from the pain and suffering of the consequences of sin.

In the next verses we learn he is again in trouble, despite his diligence to seek and follow God’s ways. He asserts he belongs to God and asks to be saved from enemies seeking to destroy him. He again turns to the bible for comfort, here considering the testimonies of the patriarchs. He also declares, in effect, all earthly claims of how to be perfect are quite limited in application, but God’s commandment is not, it is extremely “spacious, open, full, plain, obvious, unrestrained, general” (i.e it applies universally, in  every situation.)

Lord, open our eyes and our understanding, so we might find the joy and pleasure in your law, not only the promises,  but the principles and guidance in your word for daily living. Show us how to apply your ancient, fixed, unchanging command to our modern, unfixed, ever-changing cultural world. Give us wisdom and hearts that obey you out of love, not fear of punishment. In Jesus’ name we pray, Lord