I delight in the way of your decrees
as much as in all riches (Psa. 119:14 NRSV).
What do you delight in? While I don’t think it’s going to happen, I’ll delight if the Broncos beat the Steelers in a few hours in their first-round playoff match-up.
The psalmist delights in the way of God’s decrees. Delight is such a great word. It appears 10 times in English versions of Psalm 119 (verses 14, 16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 77, 92, 143, 176). Always the focus of the psalmist’s delight is God’s law. Here the Hebrew word translated as “delight” is sus (like the Dr.) which can also mean “rejoice” or “exult.” Psalm 1 also speaks of delight, delighting in the law of YHWH day and night (1:2, but there the Hebrew word is hephets).
But here the psalmist isn’t delighting in God’s laws directly but in their ways. The word translated “way” here is derek which could also be translated as “road.” “In the road of your testimonies, I rejoice…” (The initial “In” is the Hebrew prepositional prefix, bet, thus beginning this sixth verse of the bet stanza of the psalm.)
The psalmist delights in God’s law like someone delighting in riches. (I know it’s hard to imagine someone delighting in money. They must have been really materialist back then, not like people today.) The psalmist wants us to learn from a greedy person, not about greed, but about delight and passion.
The psalmist feels about God’s law the way Americans feel about money. “Give me more.” Americans say, “Money, money, money!” The psalmist says, “Law, law, law!”
We had a small Sunday school class at church this morning (Calvary Church of Souderton). Normally there are 15-20 people, but this week there were only seven. I was initially discouraged, since I was teaching. We were going to discuss the 7th chapter of God Behaving Badly, “Is God rigid or flexible?” We wrestled with the character of God, looking at texts where God doesn’t change (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29) and texts where he does change (Exo. 32:14; 1 Sam. 15:11, 35; 2 Kings 20:1-6). (If this is something you’re interested in, read chapter 7.) Despite our small size, our discussion was a delight. It was delightful to talk about God and his word together.
When was the last time you delighted in something? What was it?