The Love in the Law

By Samuel Parrish

“For I find my delight in your commandments,
    which I love.
I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
    and I will meditate on your statutes.”
Psalm 119:47-48

Have you ever tried one of those “Read the Bible in a X” plans? By now, I think there is an app for every possible way through it. Some have you reading in ten different books that seamlessly work together to tell the work of God and eventually make up the whole thing. The ones I started with early in my walk with Christ were always straight through, Genesis to Revelation. I would get through the first half of Leviticus just in time to want to scream “I get it! You want them to do what you say!” and then give up.

These yearly treks through the first 100 or so chapters of the Bible would leave me baffled when I would read other places in the text. Psalm 119, for example, is a love song about the laws of God. A song about rules. The imprints of my spiral notebook on my forehead were a pretty good indicator of how far I was away from singing about rules.

I had seen the Northern Lights on a cold night in the Scottish isles. I had watched my sisters grow up and marry wonderful men. There were impossible healings, miraculous births, rescues from certain death, and overwhelming moments in God’s creation. Those were the things that made me want to sing. Not Leviticus.

Sometimes though you just need to keep reading. Verse 21 says that those who forget the law are judged. 37 says that the law filters what is treasured and what is worthless. In 61, the law is comfort during times of suffering and despair. How does a bunch of rules cause so much joy in the heart of the Psalmist? If you’ve ever worked with babies, you already know the answer.

The number one way to get a newborn to sleep is a really tight swaddle. From the outside, having your arms and legs all bundled up looks unbearable, but for that child, it is the ultimate comfort. The world is new, loud and scary, and that blanket represents safety and care. And now I think I’m just about ready to sing about Leviticus.

The newborn isn’t wrong: the world really is loud and scary. Sin in our hearts and in the world calls louder and more creatively as we journey through this life. Many of us who have chased those voices have seen first hand how empty the promises of sin are and desperately want something else. Something more.

And we have a Father who has exceedingly and abundantly more for us if we follow him.

In that moment, Leviticus ceases to be a list of annoying no’s and explodes into the infinitely beautiful YES of a Father who wants our best and sacrificed his son so that we would have the promise of something more.

So, do you see love in the Law?

Is the call of obedience still a burden for you or is it the source of joy and comfort the Psalmist shows us it can be?

The same God who gave us his word wants to give us a love for it; we just need to ask.