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A Conscious Choice

"I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me" (Psalm 119:30).

Psalm 119 is all about one man's love for God's law. The psalmist spends 176 verses praising God's Word, rejoicing in it and declaring it greater than anything else he knows. To him, the law is not just a set of dry rules to be followed out of duty. It is how he communes with God, how he grows closer to the magnificent Creator who has deigned to let Himself be known by His fragile creatures.

The psalm is a compilation of positive attitudes towards God's Word. The psalmist swings between praising it for its perfection (and by extension praising the God who created it) and detailing how he will react because he loves the law. His word choice is interesting, as he makes extensive use of active verbs. It takes deliberate effort to obey God, and he is choosing to put in that effort.

A great example of this is in verses 30-32. In this stanza, the psalmist details how God's Word comforts him and strengthens him, restoring him when he feels lifeless. Because of this evidence of the greatness of God's commands, he will respond in a specific way. "I have chosen the way of faithfulness," he writes in verse 30; "I set your rules before me." In the next two verses, he adds, "I will cling to your testimonies" (v. 31) and "I will run in the way of your commandments" (v. 32).

The psalmist is making a deliberate choice to follow God. This is not something that happens spontaneously; he must make that decision and hold fast to it. The progression of verb tense is intriguing as well--in the past, he chose to obey, he puts God's rules before him today, and he will continue to cling to them in the future.

We have that same choice before us. We can claim to follow God all we want, but if we don't make a conscious decision to do so, it will just be more empty words. God's commands are perfect! But will we choose to obey them?

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