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Delight in the Law

Delight in the Law "But his delight is in the Law of the Lord..." Psalm 1:2 What does it mean to take delight in the Law of the Lord? Does it mean being a cheerful Law oriented person? How can we take delight in something that reminds us of our short comings? What is this "Law" that the Psalmist speaks about? What is it's purpose? The "Law" that the Psalmist talks about is not a book of rules by which one could find entrance into heaven if one managed to keep all the rules. Not at all. The Law was a sign of the covenant between God and Israel. It was a culture and an identity. God had made a promise to Israel to bless her and to bless all nations through her, and He gave the Law as a badge of covenant membership. This would of course be something to delight in. It is the same thing as delighting in the fact that you are loved and that God is with you. It is the same thing as delighting in the bonds of marriage, including the symbols of that marriage, such as a wedding ring or "Mr. and Mrs." engraved on the bathroom towels. The Law is the marriage contract between God and His people. The Law is the ceremony and the wedding dress. The Law is the exchange of vows. The Law is something to delight in. But wait a minute, doesn't the Apostle Paul say that the Law condemns us? Yes, he does. Here is the difficult thing about language and interpreting the Bible. We must be very careful, when trying to apply the scriptures to ourselves, that we are using terms, words and phrases with the same meaning as the Biblical text. You and I were never under "the Law" (unless maybe you are an Orthodox Jew) because the "Law" being referenced here is the Mosaic Law, the Torah. We were never in that covenant or under that Law. When Paul talked about the Law condemning "us"; he was not talking about you and me but about the Jew who was a covenant member. Gentiles don't need the Mosaic Law to condemn them. We are already condemned because we are Gentiles and by definition, outside the Law, and hence, outside the covenant and the blessing of the covenant. Though "condemnation" is not my first choice of words to describe the state of the Gentiles. "Lost" would be more accurate. Yes, we were pagans, yes we worshiped idols, yes we committed idolatry and human sacrifice. Yes we were "rebellious" and "sinners". But we were also in ignorance. The Law did not aggressively pursue us in order to condemn us. Rather we simply were outsiders to begin with. If, as Gentiles, we knew anything about the Law, we might be encouraged to know that Law existed to preserve Israel until the time when God would bless the whole world, including the Gentile world, through Israel. That would be good news! The Psalmist says that "sinners" will not stand "in the assembly of the righteous". "The righteous" here are those who are in right standing within the covenant. As Gentiles, we would not be considered "the righteous" by the standards of the Psalmist. We are outsiders to the covenant and outsiders to the Assembly of God. We don't take delight in the Law of the Lord because there is nothing for us to delight in. Unless, that is, we come into the covenant and receive the marks of the covenant, such as observing the Law (the "Torah") through circumcision. We would then take delight in the Law. This is exactly what Ruth the Moabitess did and she has been celebrated in Israel ever since. But in Jesus, we have indeed come under the Law, but not the Law of Moses which condemned it's possessors, but the Law of the Spirit. Again, this is not a law of dos and don'ts by which one might climb their way into heaven. This is an identity badge, a marker by which one might know that he or she is a covenant member. This is the mark of the Holy Spirit, of which, the Apostle Paul says "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." Romans 8:9. I myself have been marked out by the gift of the Holy Spirit as a covenant member of God's family. I take delight in this and I meditate on it day and night. This is nothing that I did for myself. This is nothing that I earned. This was and is an unmerited gift that I received. And the act of receiving it is manifested in the delight that I have in it. Or vice-versa. The fact that I delight in this gift, displays the fact that I receive it. Nobody earns it but still one must receive it. So take delight in the gift that your Father in heaven gives you. Take delight in the fact that He calls us His daughters and sons. Take delight in the fact that He said He is "pleased to give us the kingdom". And take delight in the fact that He has promised to be with us, every minute of every hour of every day for all time, even to the end of the age. Take delight in the fact that we are now called the Children of God. Take delight in the Law of the Lord. This is worth meditating on every day and every night.

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