Psalm 119:71 [ESV] It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. [NLT] The suffering you sent was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your principles.
Most translations use the word “statutes” in Psalm 119:71. According to “Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology”, statutes can be defined as apodictic law, “thou shalt not”, casuistic law, “if this, then this”, or ritual regulations. The noncompliance to statues, decrees, laws, or principles; is sin and was attributed to the suffering or affliction experienced. See Job.
Christ came to die for our noncompliance, sin, so that we are no longer “contracted” to “ritual regulations” and may freely invest ourselves in a relationship with Him instead. We obey His commands because we love Him, not obey His commands so we would love Him.
A theological paradox of mine is trying to be good enough for God’s blessings while at the same time being aware that He paid for my sin and the life He gave me was His gift. It is like trying to pay my Father for a meal He gave me in His restaurant. He just asks that I love the others in His restaurant, share generously what He served me, not complain about my serving size or where I am seated at the table, don’t take from another’s plate, stay away from tables who have noisy exclusive flashy parties, and to say please and thank you. I trust Him at His Word when He instructs me not to eat from the tree at the center of the restaurant.
Whether the word principles, decrees, statutes, or law is used, it comes down to one fundamental concept; read and keep His word in my heart. When my prayers and bible study time with Him becomes infrequent, my life becomes dull and turns to crap. “Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology” does not define the word “crap”. However, if it did it would be defined as what happens when you don’t spend time with your loving Father in prayer and studying His word. So, when all else fails, read His book, for He is the master chef too.
Loving Father. Thank you for picking up the check. Forgive me for not spending more time with you. Help me to understand your word and apply it to my heart and life. Lead me to those I need and to those who need you in me. In your name I pray, Amen.