I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
The imagery here is striking. We would expect the Psalmist to say, “I walk in the path of your commands,” for that’s the usual Hebrew expression for going in God’s way. But to run along a path is to have that way so straight and so removed of obstacles, ambiguities, and sudden turns that it’s safe to move at a rapid pace.
So it is in the world of the Psalmist. He regards the commands of God as something positive and good, something to be sincerely desired, unlike those who see commands as things to be dreaded and resented. What we want is not someone telling us what to do, but to be left alone do our own thing without restriction or coercion.
Not so the Psalmist. He loves and deeply desires the commands of God. They are the very things that set him free to run. Read the entire Psalm 119 to see the different words he uses to express the commands of God and how highly he regards them. All 176 verses, in this longest of all the Psalms, include praise and thanksgiving of God’s commands.
The will of God expressed through his words to us. It “is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:35). They remove the terror of walking in darkness. No longer are we unsure of the way. God doesn’t leave us to find our own way through the thick forest. So we are enabled not only to move with confidence into the future by means of his commands and decrees, but we can run with the knowledge that if we’re on God’s way we can’t possibly fail to arrive at our hoped-for destination.
This is the background of living the life that God blesses—a life full of happily answered prayers. In the New Testament, we’re told that when we pray in the name of Jesus we’ll receive whatever we ask for. And it’s made clear that praying in the name of Jesus isn’t just tacking on the phrase “in Jesus name we pray” on the end of our prayers, but actually praying for and in the will of God (1 John 5:14,15). To pray in the will of God, to want intensely what he wants, is to ask God for the very thing he desires to grant us. All this comes when we learn to run in the path of his commands.
With the Psalmist, we add our praises: Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble (Psalm 119:165).
Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash
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