I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O LORD, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
(The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ps 101:1–2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)
This morning as I reflected upon Psalm 101, I heard David singing. He is singing back the Word of God’s covenant faithfulness. He is singing about the “way that is blameless.” What is the “way” that he is pondering? Before we can begin to understand what David means, we must understand how the revelation of TORAH provides a foundation for everything in Scripture that follows it. By TORAH, I am referring to the first five books of Scripture. In TORAH, the LORD speaks His people “into being” through His servant Moses.
Thus Moses in rightly understood as the first and greatest of the Prophets (prior to the end of the ages when John the Baptist and Jesus Christ appear). The TORAH is God’s revelation, God’s Word, God’s breath, quickening the children of Israel into the people of God. The Ten Commandments in some ways captures the heart of TORAH. In Deuteronomy 5, after Moses speaks the Word of the LORD in the Ten Commandments he says,
33 You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess. (The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Dt 5:33). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)
The “way” includes obedience to the Word of the Lord. Per Deuteronomy 6,the “way” includes love of God, fear of God, meditation upon the commandments, obedience to the commandments, teaching of the commandments, living the commandments in the family and in the community. In one sense, “way” refers to the Word of God enfleshed in God’s people. It is obedience the commandments. This obedience is rooted in the life that comes from God’s Word alone.
God’s Word is not just a set a written texts, it is His Living Breathing Word, blowing through His servant Moses and calling forth the people of God. Just as the LORD breathes into clay and forms Adam, the LORD breathes into and through His people to bring life and righteousness and power and glory. This WORD is not simply ideas, but enters and enlivens human form. Adam comes to life. Israel becomes a people. Ezekiel speaks (blows) over the dry bones and they come to life.
As the ancient Israelites meditate upon TORAH, they soak and read and speak and sing and act the WORD of the LORD. They dwell in the Life-giving Breath of God. This prophetic faith was never meant to simply be carved into stone. The stone is but a memorial of the real carving, shaping, forming that the WORD of the LORD does as He breathes into the hearts of His people. It is prophetic is the truest sense of the word. “Prophecy” is the wind, breath, word of God that creates, brings light, brings life, and fulfills God’s Will. Ours is a prophetic faith because it is rooted in the creative breath (Word) of God.
6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Dt 6:5–9). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)
From the very beginning, His WORD was given to shape us into His image in our hearts. Circumcision pointed ultimately to the heart being shaped for love and life,
6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. (The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Dt 30:5–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)
Just as the Spirit hovers over the waters of the deep at Creation, He hovers over the heart of man, blowing, speaking, convicting, shaping us into being as the Image of God. But the heart of man turns away of this Living Word.
17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. (The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Dt 30:17–18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)
Simply having the Commandments carved in stone gave Israel no magic power. The stone was not a talisman that protected them from enemies. The stone was simply a reminder of the Living, Breathing Word of God sent forth to transform their hearts. But in turning toward idols, they turn away from Life and toward lifeless images made of wood and stone and other lifeless, breathless objects. Thus they have hearts of stone.
David sings about the way that is blameless. He is singing about trusting in this Life-Giving, Spirit-Breathing Word of God blowing forth from TORAH and obeying it (echoing it in our thoughts, words and deeds). The Old Testament tells a story of humanity resisting, rejecting and turning away from the Word of God. It also tells the story of God’s mercy and faithfulness and promise to fulfill His Word in His People. When God enters into history in Jesus, the Word is made Flesh. Jesus fulfills the Word in Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength. He reveals and fulfills perfect love.
Like David, we continue to sing His words. The Psalms quicken us to rehearse, echo, breath the Life Giving Word. His Word will not return void. But calls us out of darkness and into light that the life of Jesus might shine out even in our own lives. We turn to Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We call upon Him. We trust Him. We abide in Him. And by His Spirit of Grace, He Who is the Way will present us blameless before the Father.
Note: I made a few minor updates on the post I originally put up earlier today.