Summary: If we are to make the most of our Christianity, we must realize that we are starving, stand on God’s word and take steps to glorify God.
In verse 97, the author says, “How love I thy law…” The word love here from the original language can mean “a human love for another” or “a human appetite for objects.”
Sometimes, our affections and our base needs are very different, other times they are one and the same. Many people would claim that if it were not for this person or that person, they could not go on. Many a love story has had characters who portray such a love. In fact, in the Shakespearian play Romeo and Juliet, Romeo stabs himself when he believes Juliet to be dead, when in fact, she faked her death. Upon learning that Romeo was dead, Juliet took her own life.
Many times, our priorities get a little blurred. Consider the bumper sticker that says, “My wife said if I don’t quit fishing, she will leave. I’m really going to miss her.”
In this verse, it seems the psalmist doesn’t have blurred vision at all. He LOVES God’s Word. In fact, he loves it so much, that he meditates on it day and night. That means that it is his reflection and devotion.
Is it possible to have such a devotion to a person that you have never met? If you become such a devoted reader, I believe that one can come to a certain level of affection to an author. For almost 30 years, I have been a devoted reader of the works of Ray Bradbury, a noted science fiction and fantasy author. In fact, I feel like I could immediately strike up a friendly relationship with him if given the chance. I am sure that many of you have felt the same way about other authors. But would we have such a hunger as described by the psalmist here?
There is a deeper sense of the word “love” in this verse than what we have been talking about. It expresses a deep, personal relationship. It talks about such an intimate relationship that satisfies a void which has not been found from any other source.
Each and every one of us are born with a deep desire to know God. There is a spiritual longing within each of us that MUST be fulfilled. There is a void and a hole so large that nothing will fill it or satisfy its hunger outside of a relationship with God. People will search in all kinds of places to find it, but all roads lead to the cross.
Consider the story of “Pistol” Pete Maravich. The famed basketball star was born in a small Pennsylvania steel town and learned a strong work ethic from his father. Thanks to that work ethic, he was a three time All America selection and Sporting News’ 1970 player of the year and winner of the Naismith Award. In the NBA, he averaged 23.2 points per game his rookie year and was a five time All Star selection, scoring nearly 16,000 points and averaging over 24 points per game. A knee injury forced his retirement in 1980. Unable to cope, he turned to alcohol. He tried Hinduism, yoga, ufology, and vegetarianism, just to name a few.
In 1982, he accepted Christ as his savior and never looked back. He said that he wanted to be remembered as a Christian, not a basketball player. Here is a man who had it all—fame, fortune, and famine. He had everything that the world had to offer, but he still had a void that needed filled. He found that void when he finally had enough of the pretenders and met the master.
We have this need because we need to know God. Why God? Because God is truth. “Let God be true and every man a liar.” We need God because he is holy, and we are not. “Come now, let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow.” We need God because he already loved us before we were even born. “Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee.” He loved us so much, that before our mother and father were even out of the Garden of Eden, He had a plan of how to redeem us to Himself, through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.
The next thing that we must do to find truth is to stand firm on it once we have found it. “Stand fast, and hold the traditions that you have been taught.” Look at verses 98-100. The psalmist says that God’s Word has made him “wiser than mine enemies” and to have more “understanding than my teachers” and “the ancients.” There is much to be said about not deviating from God’s teachings. Colossians 2:8 says, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”