Love Poem

Michael Dean-Smith

“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— they do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.” (Ps 119:1-8, NIV)

Love poems are such wonderful things to read through because they give you an invaluable insight into the heart and mind of someone who is absolutely taken by another. There are famous love poems such as Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Valentine” and Banjo Paterson’s “As long as your eyes are blue”, not to mention words of love put to music like “Into my arms” by Nick Cave and “Something” by The Beatles. Now imagine this, imagine writing a love song or poem not about a person, but about the bible - and more specifically - a love poem about a section of the bible being the law! Well, imagine no further because towards the end of the book known as “The Psalms” in our bibles, there is actually a love poem about the law of God. Now this week, I have drawn on the first eight verses of our poet’s love letter to the law (there are over 170!!!) because I think we get a great insight into the heart and mind of someone who sees just how beautiful and pure the law of God is.

He begins by saying that those who have a blameless way are blessed and they are blameless because they walk according to the law (vs 1). Now that’s interesting because in this context, not all the world had the law written on stone like the Israelites. So in a sense there is a great thankfulness in living an existence where the mind of God had been clearly laid out, but notice this, it is not only those that hear the law but it’s those who seek it and do it that are blessed (vs 2). And that’s the whole thing about love right? It causes you to act on your feelings. Many a person knows that when you met that special someone, well it caused you to do something about it - to seek further relationship, to find out more about them, to altar your actions so that the object of your affection would see that they meant something to you…the list goes on, and our poet feels the same way about the law of God; they want to know more about the object of their affection by doing what He says (vs 3-4).

However, what comes in the next few verses it’s so interesting to take note of because our poet gives us a real sense of what any lovesick person goes through, and it’s the possibility of not getting the object of their affection. In verses 5-7 our poet again reflects on how wonderful the commands of God are and how they want to walk in a way that is so loyal to them (vs 5) knowing that it is not just what they want to do, but the only way to live (vs 6-7). But what comes next in verse 8 is so surprising, almost a fear you might say because as our poet dedicates himself to the pursuit of loyalty and love to the law, something triggers him to know that he won’t be able to actually walk on the straight and narrow with everything that he has just reflected on, hence he ends by saying “do not utterly forsake me” (vs 8)…at the end of the day, though he might try he knows he will fail.

Paul has a similar argument in Romans 7, though the law is good and beautiful, it is actually the way that God reveals to us that we are sinful. It shows us what sin is and then reveals our desire to sin in that specific way. And thus Paul argues that it can’t be the law that saves, but another, and that other is the one who not just loved the law but kept every “jot and tittle” of it (Rom 3). And this is the thing, before we ever knew about God, He had already planned in His love for us to send His Son into this world to rescue His people, telling us about this love, saying For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Tags: #law , #love

Published: October 27, 2023

Updated: October 27, 2023