Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
Psalm 119: 105-106
“It’s better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission”, my friend told me laughingly when I informed her of a decision I’d made and acted on without consulting my husband. My husband has almost always said “Yes” to my requests. He is generous and open minded about most things. But this particular day, I wondered “What if he says no? What then? I’ll be stuck!” So I acted and now I was nervous because I knew my actions really said: “I don’t trust you to know what is best for us.”
As I struggled with regret, I realized that I’d treated some of God’s precepts and laws the same way at times. How about you? Most of us cut corners and make up our own rules as if our wisdom surpasses God’s. We do all sorts of things that break what we would call “little rules” while keeping the “big ones”. We’d never rob a bank, but do we handle our money according to God’s Word? We’d never harm someone intentionally, but do we break God’s heart by lacking compassion or a willingness to give to those less fortunate than us?
The reality of my own disobedience hit me even more when I read about a man named Jack who’d been pulled over (once again) for speeding. He was going about 55 miles per hour in a 30 zone when he was caught. To his dismay, the police officer was an acquaintance from his prayer group at church. He was embarrassed, but that didn’t stop him from trying to get out of his ticket and hoping his relationship would help his cause.
Despite his efforts at levity and good excuses; the officer remained very stern. Jack waited and waited for his ticket. Finally, the officer returned to his car and handed him a folded piece of paper with the admonishment, “Slow down, Jack”. Jack sat there with the paper in his hand as the patrol car rolled away. He opened it slowly expecting a hefty fine. It read:
Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it — a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free…free to hug his daughters, all three of them. I only had one, and I’m going to have to wait until Heaven, before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I’ve tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Pray for me. And be careful. My son is all I have left.
God gives us boundaries – not to restrict our freedom; but to protect us (and others) from harm. Even when we think breaking a little rule will do no harm; we really don’t know the future. I have read verse105 above hundreds of times over the years; but I never really spent time on verse 106. Perhaps that is the problem. Just like picking and choosing the precepts we will follow, we pick and choice the scriptures we study. What good is it to acknowledge that God’s Word is a light to our path, if we are unwilling to follow it?
Today, I am going to make an oath and confirm it with someone close to me; that I will follow God’s righteous laws to my best ability. I know I will stumble and fall. I know only by God’s power and grace can I be faithful. If we are willing; God will not only illuminate our path so we can walk in righteousness – He will give us great joy in the walk.
Thank you for the power and truth in your Word. Thank you for loving us so much that you would want to show us the way to walk. Yet, it is so hard sometimes. Please forgive me for choosing my way too often. I pray that you show me in your Word how to live in the areas of my life that I struggle most. I know your word is living and active and I ask that you allow it to cut the lies and rebellion out of me and replace it with passion for seeking you alone. Thank you for your mercy and forgiveness. Thank you for loving me despite my failure. In Jesus name, Amen.
What corners have you cut recently when it comes to following God’s righteous laws and precepts? Ask him to reveal places in your life where you’ve chosen to do things your way rather than his.