Earlier I was spending some time meditating over Psalm 19:7-11.
7 The instruction of the Lord is perfect,
renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced wise.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
making the heart glad;
the command of the Lord is radiant,
making the eyes light up.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
the ordinances of the Lord are reliable
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more desirable than gold—
than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey,
which comes from the honeycomb.
11 In addition, Your servant is warned by them;
there is great reward in keeping them. (HCSB)
I have spent some time meditating over this passage, and based on the picture I chose for this post you may be able to guess which part really stuck out to me. In verse 10 David says that the ordinances of the Lord are “sweeter than honey.” That is a really interesting statement. What about God’s commands makes them sweeter than honey? I can think of a lot of commandments found in the Bible, but the first thing that comes to my mind is not that they are sweet as honey. Just what is it that David saw in these commands and how can I see them the same way?
After spending some time reflecting on this passage I think I’ve come to just what it is that makes these commands so sweet. I think when we hear God’s commandments to us we hear, “Don’t do that.” But there is more to the statement that we leave out. I think it is in the second half that we see why David finds them to be so sweet.
God says, don’t do that…because I love you. He never simply says, do not do this because I feel like it. He doesn’t say, don’t do that because I want to ruin your good time. No, He says these things to us because of His love for us. He says these things out of His desire to see us live life to the fullness of how He made it to work. In verse 8 David says that the Lord’s precepts are right and make the heart glad.
Oh that we would fight to see that truth! God’s precepts aren’t there to ruin our good time. Far from it! They are there to give life. To make the heart glad.
I’d like to take a look at one more passage. Mark 2:23-28
23 On the Sabbath He [Jesus] was going through the grainfields, and His disciples began to make their way picking some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
25 He said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry— 26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the sacred bread—which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests—and also gave some to his companions?” 27 Then He told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (HCSB)
Here we have an encounter between Jesus and the religious leaders of the day. Jesus and His disciples had just picked some grain and the Pharisees accused them of breaking the Sabbath by doing so. Jesus responds with an example from David’s life. David and his friends ate from the bread that was not meant for them. He then adds this statement, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” Wow. It is definitely not a do this because I said so. This was a do it because it is best for you. These commands were made for man. To care for him.
To quote Matthew Henry’s commentary on this passage, “Ritual observances must give way to moral obligations; and that may be done in a case of necessity, which otherwise may not be done.” God gave these commands for our benefit. We see that our ultimate health and well being is what is in mind when God gives us these commands. I believe that to be exactly what David sees when he looks over them.
Now believing this to be true is a struggle in itself. I know at times God’s commands seem like an all out assault on my hopes and dreams or goes against all that I want in that moment. I pray that God gives me the faith to trust that I will find a glad heart in following God’s commands. They aren’t an arbitrary set of rules, but rather a way that allows us to experience life to the full, so go eat some honey.