97 Oh how I love your law*!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
* Through these reflections, those phrases that identify God’s word, revelation, or law will be highlighted in the text in the hopes of accentuating the many and varied ways we can visualize what God has given to us for our good.
There is one thing in life that we should all be diligent in cultivating. That “thing” is wisdom. Wisdom is the greatest weapon against living a life of confusion and wandering. When we are wise, even when we cannot avoid hard situations, we can have a perspective that leads us through the hardships.
As a follower of Christ, we have been given access to the greatest treasure trove of wisdom imaginable. It is called the Bible. The richness of this treasure is in the fact that it is not the wisdom of other human beings. It is the wisdom of God.
God has revealed himself in and through the normal, everyday events of the human experience. This means that the Bible contains two important attributes. First, the word of God has a plethora of points of contact that makes sense to us because they are, often times, typical human events. We can learn to see ourselves in the moments that are captured within the texts.
Second, and this one is very exciting to me, the wisdom of God is knowable because God wanted us to learn how to live. When we see God working through the foibles and weaknesses of other human beings, we can be confident that the lessons can be transferred to those who would listen. But, we have to be listening. We have to take notice of how we can get caught up in the same kinds of circumstances. This ability to connect the dots is vital to our growing in wisdom.
Verse 97: Given the fact that the longest Psalm in the Bible is about the Word of God, it should be no surprise that the Psalmist speaks glowingly of God’s law. “Oh how I love your law!” This ought to the attitude of those who have spent time with what God has said. This is the way those who have been impacted and changed by what God has declared should feel. However, we cannot love what we do not understand. We will not meditate on it “all the day” when we have an indifferent or even a negative view of God’s word.
Verse 98: The search for wisdom is a perpetual one. What we must recognize is that the finding of wisdom requires humility. There is a need for acceptance of what we have and what we are missing. There is not sense in which we can claim “we have arrived.” What is interesting here is that when we embrace God’s commandments we become wiser than our enemies. What this means is that we do not have to worry about what they are doing. Their efforts will come to nothing. Our continual trust in God’s commandments gives us comfort and strength when confronted by those who seek to do us harm.
Verse 99: In this verse, the Psalmist continues this theme of wisdom. Here it is called “understanding.” There is a trap we all are susceptible to if we are not careful. It is called “appealing to authority.” This is the view point that we should defer to those in positions of authority. They may be in those positions because they know something we don’t. And while experience and training are definitely considerations when evaluating someone’s credibility, there is one significant problem. No one, no matter who they are or what they claim to know, can claim to be the ultimate authority on a topic. No one, except God. And to know God is to know the one who knows all. That is why knowing what God knows is better than knowing what human experts claim to know. Even if what they know is true.
Verse 100: In this verse we see the movement from having more wisdom than enemies, then to more than teachers, and now more than “the aged.” Living a long life has a way of teaching us many lessons. But even a lifetime of experience cannot be compared to the wisdom that comes from obedience to God’s precepts. There is a mystery in the Psalmist’s structure here. In order to understand it, we have to accept the key being offered to us. The key to the kind of wisdom being described is a sincere trust and commitment to God’s word. It is as easy and as hard as that.