Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Law and liberty

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 119:33-48

TO CHEW ON: "And I will walk at liberty (Lit. "in a wide place")
For I seek Your precepts." Psalm 119:45

Does it not seem strange that in the middle of a psalm that is all about keeping laws, commandments, precepts, and statues, the writer talks about liberty? Don't laws keep us hedged in by boundaries thus taking our liberty away?

A brief pass through the Bible to look at other places it speaks of liberty may shed some light on this seeming contradiction.

- Psalm 107:14 talks about liberty from darkness and the shadow of death. It's a reminder that we're prisoners of our decaying disintegrating bodies.

- Isaiah 61:1 quoted by Jesus as a reference to Himself in Luke 4:18 tells us liberty comes through Jesus:
"The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
       Because He has anointed Me
      To preach the gospel to the poor;
      He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
      To proclaim liberty to the captives
      And recovery of sight to the blind,
      To set at liberty those who are oppressed;"

With a little imagination we can relate to our lives the liberties Jesus declared. Who doesn't need liberty from disappointment, destructive habits and addictions, ignorance, and the oppression of others?

- In John 8:32 Jesus reminds us of the power of truth to set us free. And don't we remember the claims of Christ in this regard: "I am the way the truth and the life..." Freedom points back to Jesus.

- 2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us this liberty is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit and His presence in us. But we can lose it if we let our focus drift from trusting in Jesus to anything else for our liberty. As Paul warns the Galatians.

It's all a reminder that our apparent freedom when left to ourselves is not freedom at all but bondage to other things that tend toward our destruction. And we are back to our psalm writer who knew by faith that loving, studying, and adhering to all God's laws, commandments, precepts, and statues really did lead to liberty—a liberty that, hundreds of years after this psalm was written, was bought by Jesus' death and resurrection so that we, through His life in us, can live free now.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to place my will under Your dominion, for I will be captive to something or someone in any case. I want that Someone to be You. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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