Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:97-104
Oh, how I love your law!
It is my meditation all day long.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your decrees are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts. –Psalm 119:97-100
On first reading, I thought the writer of this Psalm was pretty full of himself, rather audacious in self-righteousness. He at least gives credit to God as the source of the writer’s perfection. Jesus encounters a similar attitude when confronted by the one dubbed the Rich Young Ruler. (Mark 10:17-27) I think Jesus saw great potential in the young man. Jesus did not roll his eyes at the man and walk away. Jesus seemed to hone in on what salvation, redemption could make of the one who stood before him no matter what. Such redemption is a source of great hope.
I recognize that all the ways of being and living described in our scripture today are good. We need to study the scriptures, we must learn to deal with enemies, most teachers hope that their students will succeed and exceed their mentors, and elders hope their descendants have enough sense to learn from some of the elder’s mistakes and not repeat them. But does the writer understand the ultimate purpose of his accomplishments?
For some, I suppose, being good is an end in itself. Jesus called us to so much more. Our gifts and talents serve as a witness to God’s love. It takes every ounce of our beings to live into the vision of a world ruled by love. God created us for this purpose.
Prayer: Lord, when you were made flesh and dwelt among us, you forever changed the trajectory of our lives. Please mold our behavior to help us more productively attain your goal of a world ruled by love. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.