It’s that time of year again when people resolve to do all kinds of things they know are good for them but haven’t been able to make themselves do. Getting deeper into the Bible is one of those. I have marvelled at the passion that the author of Psalm 119 had for the law. I’ve found it helps to understand what he meant by “law”.
Vine’s Expository Bible Dictionary says the Hebrew word is “primarily signifies direction, teaching, and instruction.” It comes from a verb meaning to throw or cast, specifically and arrow which was used figuratively meaning to point out or teach. In this understanding, says Vine, the law “is not restriction or hindrance, but instead the means whereby one can reach a goal or ideal.” The Old Testament Law was given as a means to teach and to point and lead people to God. Unfortunately the means became the end ultimately becoming a burden. The question remains why was the Psalmist so passionate about the law? I think an illustration is in order.
One of my favorite places in the world was always my Grandparents farm and I loved making that trip. We’d leave Edmonton on hwy 16 crossing the North Saskatchewan River and then taking the second exit onto hwy 14a. That would take us past refinery row. I loved going past all those huge tanks because I knew that meant we were on our way to “the farm”.
That road curved eastward becoming hwy 14. Shortly thereafter we would pass a little country school we kids were certain must be the one my mom’s youngest brother attended even though we were still two and a half hours away. We were just so excited to get to the farm.
Then I’d count off the towns; Tofield, Riley, Holden, Viking, Irma, our excitement building as each one fell behind us. And then Wainwright! The last town before the border. And of course we had to look for the famous buffalo.
Then as the farm land rolled more and more into hilly range land I eagerly waited for the tell-tale sign we’d crossed over into Saskatchewan – the bump and bounce as we left the smooth Alberta highways. Woo hoo! We’d be past Marsden in just minutes and hugging Grandpa and Grandma in no time!
I loved that drive, not because it in itself was so wonderful, but because of where it took me. I love the law, the Bible, because it takes me to God.