November 2 – Aleph - Psalm 119:1-8

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2 – Aleph - Psalm 119:1-8

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! 
Thou hast commanded thy precepts to be kept diligently. 
O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping thy statutes! 
Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all thy commandments.
I will praise thee with an upright heart, when I learn thy righteous ordinances.
I will observe thy statutes; O forsake me not utterly!

The Revised Standard Version of the Bible (RSV) translates these words fairly uniformly, so when you read the word ‘law,’ you are reading the translation of the word Torah.  Torah comes from the verb ‘to teach.’

The Torah is the perfect expression of God’s will for us and a person whose way is blameless is a person who obeys the Law implicitly.  The Lord’s Teaching then is what we must learn as we walk through our lives.

The Torah was more than just the Ten Commandments. It is the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy).  It is the history of Creation, the story of destruction and hope (Noah and the rainbow), and the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). It is the history of Israel’s Exodus and the development of the tribal structure as well as the means by which God’s children could encounter Him personally.  It is lists and lists of people and it is also a very explicit set of rules which He expected His children to live by … not just because they were rules, but because if they lived obediently, they would be healthy, safe and holy.  In living by those rules, God was teaching His children how to live in a world that was alien to them while preparing themselves to return home and live with Him.

The Torah was a reminder of their past, a solid foundation which anchored them to the Lord. It was instruction, which, when obeyed, would give them all they might need. It was hope for a future beyond what they could know.

The Torah was and is all of that. It was corrupted by priests and men who believed in power more for themselves more than obedience to their Lord.  Rather than being in relationship with God and with each other, those in power enforced the Law to its fullest extent, because they believed it was better to be right than to be filled with grace and mercy.

But, in its purest form, the Law … the Torah … is simply God’s instruction on how to love Him with everything we have and how to love each other.

Blessed are those who live by love.