S42P1 – Confessions of Psalm 119: obedience brings blessing

Psa. 119: 1-3

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.  Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—they do no wrong but follow his ways.

It was your classic sibling rivalry. They loved each other, but they could not help but be at odds just about all the time. As they grew, it seemed as if everyone but him began to realize the issue. He could not bring himself to be obedient. At home, the consequences were relatively minor although quite severe in the eyes of a child. Not being able to play outside with the other kids or have his favorite dessert after dinner made him think that the world had conspired against him. As an adult, those consequences became even greater when he lost years of freedom for lack of being able to simply follow the rules. Meanwhile, she seemed to have the world eating out of the palm of her hand. The difference in these two is stark and clear. Because of her obedience, she found favor and blessing even among man.  His disobedience, on the other hand, ruined him.

Our motivation for obeying God should be that He is worthy of obedience. We know that He is Holy and just, and we know that He is only good. There is nothing in him that is not borne of love and goodness. If we understand this, we also should understand that his instruction can be nothing but good for us. Yes, we obey God because we desire to please him, but this does not mean that we obey him because of what we receive in return. Notwithstanding the proper motivation for exercising obedience to the Lord, it is clear from scripture that those who are obedient receive blessing and favor. Here, the psalmist makes this confession as if he is encouraging himself to be obedient during a difficult time. This confession is something we may need to speak regularly to remind ourselves that our obedience comes with the favor of God. When it is difficult to remain obedient, let us look forward to the blessing that will follow.

If we obey God, we can expect that we will be blessed. This may not appear evident from how the world might treat us because of our obedience to God, but our blessing in this respect is not subjective. It is factual. We serve a God who honors those who honor him by keeping his statutes and pursuing his ways. This blessing, this favor, is one of the ways in which God consecrates us. After all, remaining obedient to God takes us through a process of becoming more and more like him. As we walk in his precepts we begin to walk in his character. There can be no greater blessing than to be transformed in such a way! Father, remind us to confess this truth when we need encouragement to remain obedient to you through trying times.