Unless Thy Law

“Unless thy law [had been] my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction” (Psalm 119:92; KJV).

“Unless Thy law [were] my delights, Then had I perished in mine affliction” (Psalm 119:92; YLT).

Psalm 119:92 brings to mind Christ’s parable of the sower, treasure hid in a field, and pearl of great price.

“And that sown on the rocky places, this is he who is hearing the word, and immediately with joy is receiving it, and he hath not root in himself, but is temporary, and persecution or tribulation having happened because of the word, immediately he is stumbled” (Matthew 13:20-21; YLT).

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:44-46; KJV).

Why the connection or relationship between not delighting in God’s law and the resultant perishing in one’s affliction? Is there something more important, more precious, or more valuable than delighting in God’s law? If we lose this something — whatever it might be — is this something more valuable and precious than, say, the afflictive reproach and persecution for the sake of Jesus Christ (cf. Hebrews 11:24-26)?

[My biological dad and brother (whom I love and miss) chose familial affection and a false christ over the Pearl of Great Price. I know of once-professed inheritors of the promise who later sold it for a pottage of porneia and a perverted view of love and what it means to be truly “valued.”]

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:21-24).

For the true Christian the commands of his God and Savior Jesus Christ are not grievous or burdensome duties, for the duty of obedience is a joyous delight.

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4).

“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).

“Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law [is] my delight” (Psalm 119:77).

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3; KJV).

“for this is the love of God, that His commands we may keep, and His commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3; YLT).

Those for whom the duty is not a delight but a cumbersome burden, they will not for joy sell all for precious Christ. They will not take up their cross and follow Him outside the camp of self-righteous religion or beyond the comfortable confines of false and wicked views of loving familial relationships (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7).

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:37-39).

“Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:28-30).

In one sense it is quite painful for believers who have left all for Christ and the gospel’s sake. For Paul speaks of great grief and unceasing pain (cf. Romans 9:2). But from other Scriptures — and in a different sense — Paul also speaks of the believer’s joy and rejoicing.

May true believers be sober, diligent, vigilant, and importunate in praying for gracious help in their time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16). Let true believers look to Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest and ultimate exemplar.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).