Today’s readings are a celebration of God’s law. The Psalmist says that the Words of the Lord are spirit and life – these are the words that sustain us, make our society possible, and in the process bring joy to the heart. There are three characteristics of God’s law that really shine in these readings.
First, God’s law is the epitome of fairness. The first reading decries stealing from a neighbor, bearing false witness, making life more difficult for the disabled, bearing hatred, or rendering justice that is either unfairly biased toward the weak or against the strong. What’s right is right, and the chosen ones of the Lord are called upon to be an example of fairness which glorifies the Lord.
Second, God’s law brings peace. The frustrations we have, the disagreements that erupt, the wars that break out, all of these have their roots in going it on our own, inventing our own justice, and turning away from the Law of God. The precepts of the Lord are just, the Psalmist tells us, but not only that, they also gladden the heart. God’s laws are reasonable and following them can be the joy of our hearts.
And finally, we’re not supposed to get caught up in the minutiae of the Law without actually living it. It’s one thing to sing the praises of God’s law, but quite another to live them in our daily lives. We will be judged on how we have treated others, not on how many facts we know about God’s law.
“Your words, Lord, are spirit and life,” says the Psalmist. Living according to God’s teachings can bring us peace and eternal life.