When I was in college one of the assignments of my fellow students was to ask people “What is freedom?”  Invariable the answers were the same–“no laws.”  Perhaps this is typical for your average college student but it is also true for so many others, and yet it does not even have a hint of truth to it.  We have a word for it, when we as a people are left to ourselves following our own desires with no contraints.  We call it anarchy.  Otherwise known as hell on earth.  As much as we try, it just doesn’t work.

Psalm 119 validates that true freedom is found within keeping the foundations of God’s law.  “I walk about in freedom for I have sought out your precepts” (v. 44) says the psalmist.  Life also validates this.  How many hours/days/weeks does a pianist have to make themselves “slaves” to the playing of scales before they are free to play beautiful music?  Or what about gravity?  If we truly want to be free to fly there are many laws that must be accepted and obeyed, like gravity.  Or how about animals?  My mom’s dog loves to take walks but there is one problem–she takes off like a missile when she sees a deer or a rabbit.  No amount of calling will do any good.  Therefore if we are in a place of greater danger (city park), she must be put on the leash.  She hasn’t yet learned to obey.  If she were to obey and respond, then I could let her off the leash and she could be free.

This theme of freedom comes out directly and indirectly in Ps 119.  God’s ways aren’t bondage, they are truly the way of liberation.  This understanding, this thirst, this perspective, this attitude, this longing to the psalmist is a downpour of rain on a desert land.

“I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free.”  (v. 32)

This is my praise.  And this is my prayer.