Duty to Delight
Reading: Psalm 1
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
In ancient Israel, kings were instructed to meditate on God’s law. They were to know the law inside out so that they could be proper representatives of the true king, the Lord their God, and so that they could administer justice in His kingdom. They were to wake up thinking about God’s law. They were to go to sleep dreaming about God’s law. It was their duty as kings.
We naturally rebel against our duties. No one likes to be told what to do or how to do it. And when we are told we have to read scripture, it feels like a burden. It even threatens to steal the joy of scripture from us because it came to us in the form of a law. It makes reading the scriptures rote and lifeless, just like we’re going though the motions. And so it has little to no impact on our hearts. But it is not the law that enjoins us to read scripture that steals benefits of scripture from us. It is our unholy response to God’s law, namely pride. The law is good, but my sin incites me against it.
But all of this changes when we approach the law on the other side of grace, when we come to the law through Jesus Christ.
When Jesus died on the cross, he fulfilled the law for us. Theologians call it his “active obedience.” And we are the beneficiaries of his active obedience in the great exchange—we receive his righteousness, he receives our condemnation. And because our sin is paid for, that means that the law no longer has any power to condemn us. In Christ Jesus, we are free from the curse of the law.
When we begin to grasp that truth and begin to live from that place of forgiveness, our hearts slowly change as we ask, How may I serve you, Lord? And then it is from that question that we begin to seek out the law of the Lord in a new way. We begin to seek it from a humble place, not a prideful one. We want to know who our Savior is and what it is that pleases him. We don't encounter the law as a curse or a restraint; instead, over time, we encounter the law as an opportunity to love our Lord. And from that place of humility, the duties of God’s laws become our delight. That is a truly blessed place to be.
Father, we don’t naturally delight to do your will, to live by your law. We don’t want any constraints. We don’t like being told what to do. But this pride is ugly. And we want to let go of it. Please dissolve our pride and humble our hearts so that we can look at the law of the Lord as our delight rather than as our condemnation.