Is the God of the Old Testament…?
I run the way of your commandments,
for you enlarge my understanding (Psalm 119:32 NRSV).
Yesterday, I took our dog Tiglath-pileser IV (named after the Neo-Assyrian ruler, TP III: see 2 Kings 15:29) along with me for a run. We were going to leave Tig behind for the day to go white-water rafting down the Lehigh River gorge. (It was thrilling to almost be ejected from the raft numerous times into the churning waters of level III rapids in the midst of lightning, thunder and torrential rain).
I was feeling guilty because we were going to ditch Tig, so the run together was sort of a consolation prize. Tig loves to run.
I love to run too, just not with Tig. While I like these activities as much as most other bipeds, I’m not quite as interested in sniffing and chasing as Tig is. Yesterday, we saw robins, bluejays, squirrels (of course) and for a bonus, a bunny, each of which warranted the required leash tug. “Tig, No! Come! Stay with me.” Tig loves to run, but it’s hard for him to run the way of my commandments.
I wonder if that’s how God feels with us as we pull on the leash.
While many of us are often distracted by “chasing” and “sniffing”–things that take us away from the path God has for us–the psalmist runs the way of YHWH’s commandments. The psalmist does not just tolerate God’s laws, he runs after them like Tig runs after a bunny (no that’s not Tig in the picture, for an image of Tig click here). Running suggests a joy and reckless abandonment in pursuit of divine direction.
Why? God enlarges his “understanding” (NRSV above) or “heart” (ESV below). Either translation works well. Both communicate there’s a large blessing associated with the reckless pursuit of God and God’s word.
God help us run after your directions as enthusiastically as a dog chases a bunny.
Psalm 119:32 is the eighth and final verse in the Dalet section of Psalm 119. After a week break, I’ll start the He (pronounced “Hey”) section of Psalm 119 (verses 33-40). Here are links to the first post on each of the previous 3 sections: