When I think of your rules from of old,
I take comfort, O LORD (Psalm 119:52).
Comfort food, comfort films, comfort friends and comfort rules?
Is there a food you eat to calm your soul? For me lately it’s been Klondike bars. (What would I do? I’d open the freezer door.) But the comfort doesn’t last very long.
Is there a film or TV show you watch to make you relax? Lately, we’ve been watching Arrested Development. Funny, but more troubling than comforting.
Is there a friend you talk with to encourage you? Friends are wonderful, but they’re not always available.
The psalmist finds comfort in rules. Nice huh? A few verses earlier the psalmist needed comfort in affliction and found it in God’s promise, which gave life (for more on Psalm 119:50, click here).
Wait, how do rules bring comfort? Rules bring structure, which is good. Rules set boundaries which we all need. But God’s rules are designed to bring us closer to God. The psalmist might not always have a friend to talk to, but God’s always available. And that’s highly comforting.
How do God’s rules bring us closer to God? Good question. Some rules like love God with all your heart, soul and strength (Deut. 6:5) obviously move us toward God. Other rules like resting on the Sabbath (Deut. 5:12), force us to slow down, rest and make room for God in our lives. Other rules make us dependent upon God, so hopefully we pray for divine assistance to obey.
The psalmist isn’t comforted with just any rules, but old ones. Isn’t that always the case, the old rules are the best ones when you need to be comforted?
The oldest rule, is the first rule that God gave to the freshly made humans, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). In order to be fruitful and multiply, what do humans need to do? I’m pretty sure that will involve sex. How much sex? Enough to fill the earth. (I discuss this in God Behaving Badly pages 116-118.)
God’s first rule is basically, “Have a lot of sex.” Yes, that’s what it says (in the context of a life-long committed relationship between a man and a woman).
What a great rule! Comforting and exciting.