Your Law is Within My Heart

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,

but you have given me an open ear.

Burnt offering and sin offering

you have not required.

Then I said, “Behold, I have come;

in the scroll of the book it is written of me:

I delight to do your will, O my God;

your law is within my heart.”

I have told the glad news of deliverance

in the great congregation;

behold, I have not restrained my lips,

as you know, O LORD.

I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;

I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;

I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness

from the great congregation.

(Psalm 40:6-10, ESV)

I tend to be a “doer.” While I can enjoy a quiet morning, I have a hard time sitting still for very long, and my mind quickly gravitates to thinking about the next task I’ll be doing, or event I’ll be participating in. I like to plan ahead, study what I’ll be teaching in my next Bible study session, sketch out plans for future ministry opportunities. To some degree, I believe this can be a gift and a reflection of how God made me, but I also recognize it is not all that is important in my walk with God. He desires relationship with me, not just my service.

I love how this passage begins: “In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear.” God is not only interested in what I can do for Him, what I can offer Him, but He invites me to come and talk with Him. God is the “Great Listener.” He offers me an open ear, an opportunity to sit with Him and talk with Him about what is happening in my life and in the world around me. This is a marvelous gift, and I must slow down enough to receive and enjoy it.

This passage also highlights how God wants to use His Word to impact me and my ministry with others. God’s law, His Scriptures, are not merely external guidelines and standards that I must learn and adhere to. They are a force the Holy Spirit can use to shape my heart and will, to renovate my heart so that the things God loves and desires increasingly become my own delight. I am to take God’s law in and meditate on it, so the Holy Spirit can write it on my heart, shaping my heart’s desires and motivations. My obedience then becomes a matter of love, not fear – done willingly, not begrudgingly. This is real transformation, something God desires for all who would lead and teach others.

Finally, this passage reminds me that when it comes to teaching and leading others in Bible study, God is the hero of the story we share. We are to celebrate His character and His actions. The psalmist, so overwhelmed with the wonder of what God has done for His people, does not hesitate to share with others about God’s deliverance and salvation, God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. The psalmist may have been reflecting on God’s deliverance of Israel during the Exodus, or perhaps on more recent examples of God’s protection and salvation. While we can share in this same excitement, this side of the cross we are overwhelmed by the mercy and grace of God has shown to us in Christ’s death for us to save us. As Paul wrote to the church in Rome,

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8, ESV).

It is this mercy and grace, this steadfast love, this faithfulness of God that we recognize and affirm in His Word. As we reflect on this, we cannot remain silent. Like the psalmist, we are compelled to share God’s greatness with others, telling the glad news of His deliverance, His faithfulness to His people, both in the past and today. We affirm His steadfast love, even when we don’t necessarily feel it or feel unworthy of it.

How do the psalmist’s words resonate with your own heart? Are you finding time to recognize God’s “open ear” and talk with Him regularly? Is God’s Word shaping your loves and desires, forming your heart to be more like His own? Are you excited to share about God’s deliverance, His faithfulness, and His steadfast love? If you feel weak in this area right now, seek God through prayer and His Word, and let Him renew your heart until you cannot keep silent about His marvelous mercy and grace in Christ!

Father, I am so grateful that You offer me an open ear. Please help me to take advantage of this gift every day. Thank You that You desire relationship with me and the opportunity to shape my heart more than whatever tasks I can do for You. Your love is overwhelming! Please help me not to remain silent, but to share Your salvation with those who need to hear it. May Your faithfulness and steadfast love be so real to me that it becomes the center focus of my teaching. In this way, may You be glorified and celebrated! Amen.

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