Deeds of Justice

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More desired are they than gold, even fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.

Psalm 19: 9-10, NRSV

Ps 19:7-10 – This is often viewed as the start of a separate psalm, due to the focus on law.But Torah connotes God’s “instruction” or will, which involves justice and righteousness on a cosmic scale; so “law” and creation belong together. The concept of justice is explicitly present in v. 9, where ordinances is more literally, “justices” or “deeds of justice.”

[the Discipleship Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version including Apocrypha; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008, p.752, footnote]

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the Lord’s deeds of justice are true and righteous altogether; 

More desired are they that gold, even fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.

Change that one small word and the whole thing has a different feel for it. This isn’t about ordinances, things that insure my property lines are honored and I get everything that I’m owed. This isn’t about dancing on the right side of the legal/illegal line, making sure I take whatever I can out of any situation. This is about justice, doing what is right by my neighbor and fostering whatever is holy and life-giving. This is how I walk through this world and my life doing good rather than harm.

Such a life is worth more than gold, isn’t it? Such a life is la dolce vita, isn’t it?

Such a life is worth lifting my voice to God in song/psalm. And dancing a happy dance, too.

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