Is the God of the Old Testament…?
Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good (Psalm 119:39 ESV).
What do you dread? Getting fired? Speaking in public? The psalmist fears reproach.
I’m in Kentucky right now to pick up some furniture from my dad and see my mom one last time. Her Alzheimer’s is advanced and she probably won’t survive much longer. My son Noah joined me. Dad, Noah and I went for a workout at my dad’s tennis club yesterday. After returning to my dad’s house, I couldn’t find my iPod which had been in my pocket. I thought, “It must have fallen out of my pocket.” Noah suggested I double-check my pockets. No iPod. We looked in the car. No iPod. We called the tennis club and they looked around. No iPod. We needed to head out to dinner asap, so I needed to take a quick shower. As I lifted up my sweaty, stinky t-shirt what did I find clipped to the top of my shorts? My iPod. Whoops.
I dread Alzheimer’s.
So far, no one has reproached me for “losing” my iPod, but I’m sure my family will tease me about it. Just as there are things I can do that might delay the inevitable onslaught of Alzheimer’s (getting exercise, taking fish oil, eating blueberries–I draw the line at doing crosswords), the psalmist focuses on the goodness of God’s laws to avoid reproach.
It’s not clear from this verse how the goodness of God’s rules will prevent the reproach that the psalmist dreads, but he clearly perceives that a connection between the two. Remembering that God’s rules are good will somehow protect reproach.
I describe the goodness of God’s laws in more depth in chapter six of God Behaving Badly, but I’ll review briefly here.
What’s God’s first rule? Be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28). In other words, “Have a lot of sex.”
What’s God’s second rule? Eat freely of every tree in the garden (Gen. 2:16). In other words, “Eat a lot of food.”
The Bible begins by describing the amazing goodness of God’s rules. God wants to bless people with good things and his laws make that clear.
How do you think the goodness of God’s rules protect us from reproach?