The Heart of the Matter

“The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip” Psalm 37:31

When I was young I recall the most ominous threat my mother could make when I had misbehaved. I don’t suppose it is still used in homes today. What she would say to me was, “Wait until your father gets home. He will really lay down the law.”

The word “law” still today has negative overtones. Some people in society have a negative view of the “law” or police officers. A person I knew was in law enforcement at one time and happened to spend some years on radar duty. When he stopped certain people for speeding they would criticize him for catching them speeding when there were bank robbers and wife beaters and other criminals he could be catching instead. When a person spoke like that they lost all hope of having the fine reduced to keep from losing points on their driver’s license.

It amazes me that people can be critical of police for enforcing the law. In order to keep society orderly we need these brave people. When police have gone on strike, as they did in Montreal once, chaos resulted and people conducted drag races on the streets, looting of stores happened, etc.

When we consider what the Psalmist meant by “law” in our verse we discover he did not mean anything like the negative meaning many people of our day attach to the word. By the word “law” he meant “fatherly counsel, advice, direction”. It was a warm and gentle idea that came with the word. There was nothing harsh or repressive about it. This was why another biblical writer wrote about how he loved the law of God. He said it was like honey in his mouth.

Years ago I was counselling with a bank manager whose wife was dying. As he shared his sorrow with me he said that he wished he had his father to talk to and get some help in the situation. He said, “I guess there is always something of the child in us.” He meant that it would be so comforting to have a loving figure, stronger and much wiser than he was to go to for help in his time of need.

It is still true that for most of us, even the brightest and wisest of us, we at times need someone to whom we can come and get help for the rough spots in our journey through life. We need someone who will love us unconditionally and wipe away the tears while telling us how to cope.

The Psalmist in our verse today is saying to us that because God’s wise counsel (law) is in his heart his feet do not slip (he is able to cope with life). But where do we find this fatherly advice? Well, the Hebrew people called their Bible the Torah (law). They saw the Scriptures as the direction for them in all of life.

Have you investigated this treasure of wisdom and instruction called the Bible? Within its pages are comments and direction for all of us who wish to navigate our way through the journey of life. In the first book of the Bible called Genesis we learn why God made us, and what went wrong in the world to have it become a place of evil and pain. The book of Proverbs in the Old Testament has so much practical advice to assist us. The entire Old Testament spoke of One who would come to deliver God’s people from this damaged world and install them forever in a world like Eden was before Adam and Eve sinned.

When you read the Gospels you will discover that Jesus fulfilled all those Old Testament prophecies about the One who was to come and redeem God’s people. So in the Bible we learn not only what went wrong in the world but also what our creator did to remedy the situation. All who receive Jesus will have sure footing in this life as they work through their suffering and are promised a life which is glorious beyond imagination.

Are you like the Psalmist today? Is your footing sure and steady? If not come to the God who has made you and ask Him to do what another verse in the Bible talks about. God says in Isaiah 31:33 “I will put My law in their minds and write in on their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be My people.” Submit to God, read the Bible and He shall give you from its pages the wisdom you need to work through whatever you face in life.

Do not hesitate to come for any reason. You may feel unworthy, you may feel you need to make changes in your life first. That is not necessary. If you wait until you make changes in your life you may never come. Come as you are and come now.

“All the fitness He requires, is to feel your need of Him.” – Joseph Hart.

Remember, if you live without God you will die without Him as well.

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