Loving the Law
John Telgren


The Psalmist often declares his love for God's law. One might wonder how one could love any kind of law to the point of writing poetry and music about it. With the exception of School House Rock, I have never heart any songs on the radio or television extolling the beauty, desirability, and delightfulness for law. Most do not include poring through volumes of dust law books as part of their top ten favorite things to do. Many hire lawyers and other professionals to do this for them.

What about God's law? Some have similar feelings toward God's law simply because of the word, "law." Those feelings are not as strong because it was God's law. Most do not express this outlook on God's law by word, but often it shows in action in spite of the clear New Testament assessment that the law is good (Rom 7:12, 16; 1 Tim 1:8).

When we hear the word, "law," our prior experience and culture colors how we understand that word. We think of courts, lawyers, policemen, and public statutes that permit or prohibit. We think of dos and don'ts. While the law of God does have this aspect, it fails to capture the true essence of God's law. The Hebrew word for law is "Torah." It usually does not mean "law" in the same way our English word means law. It often has the more general meaning, "instruction." In fact, the verb form of torah means, "to instruct." Torah is not just a list of dos and don'ts, it is instruction about God and life. This becomes even more apparent when you consider what the Torah consists of. Genesis through Deuteronomy is what is classified as Torah, or books of law. With that designation, you might expect something that looks a little like our constitution or local statutes. However, it reads more like a history book that lends itself to life lessons and instructions. God instructs through history, through teaching about himself and ourselves, and through statutes. It is truly God's instruction. Through Torah, God's people could grow in wisdom (Ps 119:98). His law could guide his people successfully through the challenges of life (Ps 119:105, 165). His commandment helped his people gain greater insight (Ps 19:8). The Torah of God restores the soul (Ps 19:7; 119:149). God's instruction was given to learn, meditate on, and form the heart and character of his people. In fact, the New Testament says that the law has become our "tutor" or "schoolmaster" to lead us to Christ (Gal 3:24).

The ultimate law of God is Jesus who is literally the personification of the word of God. The Bible says that the Word became flesh and lived among us (Jn 1:14). He "explained" or "exegeted" God (Jn 1:18). Jesus expounded on God's instruction throughout his ministry as he did in the Sermon on the Mount. He also demonstrated God's Torah in the way his lived his life. Therefore, as Christians, our meditation on God's instruction centers on Jesus Christ, the personification of Torah. No instruction is clearer than the person of Jesus Christ himself. He is our wisdom, our guide, our Lord, our life. He is our meditation and our delight. He is sweeter than the honey of the honeycomb. He restores our soul when we are weary. He is the bread of life. He is the living water.