Delighting in the law.

“But what can I do instead?”

I’d been talking to Tim about his grandmother’s words to him. She’s started every year with the same bit of counsel.

Time smiled. “I’d ask her the same thing. ‘But what should I do instead?’ And she’d say, ‘learn God’s law.’ She’d see the look on my face.”

IMG_0166Tim looked at me. “It’s the same look you have you your face. That polite frown.”

I didn’t think it was that obvious.

Tim refilled my coffee. A medium bold doesn’t last very long.

“And then she’d say, ‘I know. You think about the people who learn it at the expense of others. To build themselves up, to tear others down. I know those people.’ And she’d always stop for a minute.”

Tim looked at me. “I think that my grandmother had gotten a lot of trouble from the people who know the law and abuse it. With a daughter who had married outside the faith, and then losing her own husband and being at the mercy of the system, she knew how legalistic the system could be.”

Lystra Tea Company was quiet for a bit. Tim thinking about his grandmother, me thinking about Tim and his story, and legalism and my story.

Tim shook his head, clearing something. “But then she’d recover herself. ‘Delight,’ she said. ‘Not just learn the law, delight in it. Think about it all the time. Assume that God loves you at least as much as I do. And as much as you like these conversation we have, Timothy, the ones we have while we’re helping the other widows, like God tells us. You and I delight in the time together, exploring how to help. We’re learning to delight in God’s words when we are living out the love that’s in them.’”

 

4 thoughts on “Delighting in the law.

  1. Andy Ford

    I think it can be helpful to remember that very often when we read the word ‘law’ in the Old Testament it really refers to all that God has spoken to His people; not just commandments.

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  2. Hugh McDevitt

    Jon, I’m looking forward to seeing where your conversation with Tim leads. I re-read 1 and 2 Timothy this morning to reacquaint myself with these letters. Your perspective will be interesting because we don’t hear Timothy’s voice directly in the New Testament. We only hear “Paul” speaking to him or “Luke” speaking about him. As part of my journey through the Psalms this year (I have a reading plan from Guideposts magazine that takes me through the Psalms twice each year), I’m using Walter Brueggemann and William Bellinger’s commentary on the Psalms. Your thoughts on “delighting in the law” were right in line with their commentary Psalm 1 (and also, one of my favorites, Psalm 119). Happy New Year!

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    1. Jon Swanson

      Happy New Year, Hugh.
      Talking with Paul or Luke would be so hard for me. They are huge. But the chance to talk with someone who knew them, who was in the same houses they stayed in, who knew the same stories and people, that’s to good of a possibility to pass up.
      And I think that you understand from the inside the opportunity to meditate day and night.

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