Reflections on Psalm 119 (ו Waw)

freedomPsalm 119:41-48

41 May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,
that I may meditate on your decrees.

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” Submitting to God’s commands would seem to take away our freedom rather than increase it. But while human beings have freedom to choose, we don’t have an unlimited array of options in front of us. All of our crucial decisions are moral ones, which leaves us with two options: God’s way or the devil’s. There is no Switzerland, and every disobedient path can be boiled down to narcissism ― self-will ― which was Lucifer’s downfall. Satan’s rebellion is embodied in the “me first” philosophy that has been successfully sold to countless billions down through the ages, many of whom doubtless believed their self-indulgence made them intrepid adventurers. But it only made them sheep in the wrong fold, without a future or a hope.

Freedom doesn’t imply the absence of rules. Without rules, the world would be a formless, colorless, featureless stone. Rules are simply God’s created order, which brings forth beauty, honor, peace, kindness ― and a hundred other things that are found much less often, and in degraded form, in the narcissist’s camp. The disobedient find themselves crashing into divinely established boundaries, but the redeemed learn to walk the path of life. Jesus spoke of this life: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Lord, help me to find more of it.


About Douglas Abbott

I am a freelance writer by trade, philosopher and comedian by accident of birth. I am an assiduous observer of humanity and endlessly fascinated with people, the common elements that make us human, what motivates people and the fingerprint of God in all of us. I enjoy exploring the universe in my search for meaning, beauty and friendship. My writing is an extension of all these things and something I did for fun long before I ever got paid. My hope is that the reader will find in this portfolio a pleasing and inspiring literary hodgepodge. Good reading!
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