All Your Words Are True

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Psalm 119 is the longest chapter of the longest book in the Bible. It is 176 verses long, and each verse is made up of two poetic lines, except verse 176, which has three. That’s 353 lines of poetry, one for every day of the Hebrew year. It is broken into 22 stanzas of eight verses each—and every line within those stanzas starts with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. From start to finish Psalm 119 is a celebration of rules, not only in structure but in word. It opens with: “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, / who walk according to the law of the LORD” (Psalm 119:1). It closes with: “I have strayed like a lost sheep. / Seek your servant, / for I have not forgotten the commands of the Lord” (Psalm 119:176).

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For a religion about freedom, not rules, that’s a whole lot of regulations to be celebrating. The truth is that Christianity has a lot of laws that we fail to follow. Paul writes in Romans that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). It’s not quite as catchy as a “Know Jesus, Know Peace” bumper sticker, but the rest of that verse says that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus came not “to abolish the Law or the prophets…but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).

The laws have been fulfilled, and we are called to life because of Christ’s work. That doesn’t mean we should ignore the Law, though. If we aim to be Christlike, that’s not just His love, but His life: a life of perfection.

Pray: Heavenly Father, when You made the earth and all that is in it, you found it to be very good. Help me live in accordance with Your will, for all your plans for and commandments to me are very good. Amen.

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Michael Harrell is a former staff member and current volunteer at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Federal Way, Washington. A blogger by hobby and social media manager by trade, he continues to teach the faith to ninth graders when he's not busy watching movies or theatre. He loves the Seattle Mariners, and his wife wants you to know he's married. You can follow him on Twitter.