WAW - Loving Your Commands
(41) May your steadfast love come to me, Yahweh, your salvation according to your word. (42) So I will have an answer for the one who reproaches me, for I trust in your word. (43) Do not utterly snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I hope in your judgments. (44) So I will continually keep your law (Torah) forever and ever. (45) I will conduct my life in freedom, for I follow your precepts. (46) I will bear witness to your testimonies before kings and will not be put to shame. (47) I take delight in your commands which I love. (48) I lift up my hands to your commands which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.
As in the previous stanza, the psalmist constructs these eight verses using a series of verb forms, all built on the Hebrew letter, waw, the letter which begins each verse. All convey an imperatival sense (six cohortatives, one jussive, and one imperative). He does this with the same purpose in mind as in the previous segment, to intensify the thrust of each verse.
The theme of the section, “love,” is specifically mentioned three times. In the opening verse, the psalmist earnestly prays for a greater experience of God’s covenant love (vs. 41). At the end of the segment, he declares his devotion to God’s Word with the repeated phrase, “commands which I love” (vss. 47 & 48). In essence, the more we delight in God’s truth, the more we experience his love.
In the middle verses, the psalmist makes two commitments regarding God’s Word. First, he promises that he will bear witness regarding the truth of God’s Word whenever given the opportunity, whether to defend his actions before those who would reproach him (vs. 42) or to testify to those in authority (vs. 46). Then he pledges that he will seek to live consistently and effectively on the basis of God’s truth (vss. 43-45).
OUTLINE (a subject completed)
What a vital experience of God’s steadfast love gives us: (41)
- a powerful testimony to those who would reproach us. (42)
- a deep yearning to obey completely. (43 & 44)
- the kind of walk and talk that can influence kings. (45 & 46)
- a growing delight and love for God’s Word. (47 & 48)
God’s steadfast love motivates us to love and submit to his Word in such a way that even our enemies will be drawn to him by what we say and do.
This stanza fleshes out the cliché, “If you’re going to talk the talk, then you’d better walk the walk.” In order to have a meaningful response to our critics and to those in authority over us, our way of life should be consistent with our profession of faith. That kind of life emerges out of our imperfect but growing love as we respond to God’s steadfast love. As we learn to know and love him more, our lives will increasingly display his glory.
We should take time to evaluate how our lives are impacting those around us, our employers or employees, our co-workers, the students in the classes we attend or teach, our neighbors, our family members, anyone with whom we regularly come into contact. Do we attract others to Yahweh or do we fail to impact them or, even worse, drive them away? We should make it our constant prayer that, like the psalmist, our love for God and our love for his Word might draw others to Yahweh whom we worship.