I’m afraid this painting isn’t going to give you the instant point that I am trying to make, but I love it so much that I really want to use it. It’s a Vermeer, and it’s called “Woman Holding a Balance”. Which is the point I’m going for, but you’ll really have to look hard to find the balance in it. Maybe that’s the point? It’s really hard to find a balance in life??? Anyway….
Listen to this. I stumbled on it this morning as I was spending time reading my Bible.
Psalm 119: 29 – 32
Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord;
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.
Is it possible, what I think I am reading here?
That there is grace and freedom for our hearts in keeping God’s law. Is that what you read, too? That is a lovely, lovely thought, isn’t it? I tend to think of the law as a wall that I bump up against, that keeps me from doing what I might want to do. But David says he finds grace and freedom within the law, and that is a beautiful thing, that in keeping God’s law, we find grace being poured out, and true freedom.
The statement: “I have set my heart on your laws.” gives me pause. It’s a fine line, in some ways, isn’t it? I love the Bible. I love God’s Word. But I have seen people use it as a weapon, and not to defeat false ideas, but to club others down. So while I, too, want to say that “I have set my heart on your laws,”, I don’t want to elevate God’s law above God Himself. When I think about what Jesus set His heart on, I think it was on first on His Father, and doing His Father’s will. And after that, it was on people, the people for whom He came to lay down His life.
He never tried to be holier than the Pharisees (even though He WAS!) by crossing more t’s and dotting more i’s when it came to keeping the law. But what He seemed to care about most, (and I make this judgment based on the stories that tell us how He lived), was spending time with His Father, and then spending time with people: teaching them, healing them, discipling them.
I never want to elevate my love for the Bible (or the law) above my love for my God, my Savior, and His treasures: His people, His bride.
So, in my life, let there be balance: let me have a love for God’s Word, for His law. Let me find the grace and the freedom that is in the law. But let me first love God, and then treasure people, for they are surely what He treasures.