“This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts.”--Psalm 119:56
When is the last time you thought of obedience as a blessing? If we are honest, often we’re tempted to view obedience as a burden or a restriction or maybe a threat to our individualism and happiness. But the psalmist knew better.
Notice the two-fold blessing of obedience that this saint speaks of. First, he phrases his obedience in terms of grace, “This blessing has fallen to me…” This sweet singer recognizes that his obedience to God is a result of God’s sheer grace. He acknowledges that it has “fallen” to him. God has granted to him a renewed heart that longs and chooses to keep the precepts of the Lord. His personal faithfulness is evidence of God’s merciful action in his life. The apostle Paul essentially said the same thing in Philippians 1:29, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake…” The believing and the suffering (consequence of faithful obedience) were “granted” to the Philippian believers. They, too, could both believe and obey because of God’s grace. I know that our obedience isn’t perfect, but if we evidence some measure of godly obedience in our lives, we should rejoice! For God is graciously at work. Humbly we give Him the glory.
Secondly, he phrases his obedience as happiness, “This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts.” He has discovered that the keeping of God’s instruction is “blessing.” The path of obedience is the path of true happiness. On it we experience life the way we were intended to. Contrary to the suspicions of our fallen nature, the new man in Christ discovers that the precepts of the Lord are good (Ps 119:93), and in them we can enjoy freedom (Ps 119:32, 96) and healing (Prov 3:7-8) and experience what it means to be truly human. (Eph 4:20-24; Col 3:10)
The gospel teaches us that through Christ’s perfect obedience culminating at the cross, God redeems us from our disobedience and claims us as His own possession that we may be a people with the psalmist who know the blessing of obedience.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome.”--1 John 5:3
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.