Psalm 119:48

My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved;
and I will meditate in thy statutes.
~ Psalm 119:48

My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved;

The word love first appears in this Psalm in verse forty-seven. It is soon repeated in verse forty-eight. In both places, the Psalmist declares his love for God’s commandments, a word which is often used collectively to speak of God’s law. So he is professing strong affection for God’s law.

Using these words seems odd to our contemporary minds. First of all, the mention of law does not usually provoke good thoughts. Law sounds more like duty than delight. It sounds more like obligation and restraint than refreshment and enjoyment. Secondly, law makes us think of courts, lawyers, and legal code like the tax law or OSHA regulations. Those things are some of the driest and boring material in existence. Who delights or reaches out to the building codes or tax codes?

The expression of love is striking but is it proper? The language almost sounds worshipful. Should it be expressed about God’s law or only about God? Love is actually the key and I will try to illustrate it. Let’s say I’m apart from my wife on a long trip. The situation is such that I cannot see her or talk with her. After a while I receive a letter from her. I will read and savor that letter. In her absence it will bring me joy and I can honestly say I love that letter. So in that context, the question of whether I love her or her letter makes no sense. I love her and therefore I love the letter from her. It expresses her mind and heart to me.

I see the Psalmist’s expression here in similar fashion. God’s law is written by Him. It reveals Him in a way that the glorious stars in sky do not. Because he loves God, he loves His law.

and I will meditate in thy statutes.

Jesus taught that the thoughts of our heart will be of what we truly treasure (Matthew 6:21). We will readily meditate on what we delight in. For the Psalmist it is God’s law. The blessed man of God meditates in God’s law day and night (Psalm 1:2).

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