Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Psalm 119:35 ESV
Who delights in following commandments? Sadly, most of us do not. As our original father and mother did in the garden so we also follow their example by constantly pressing back against the regulations that God imposes upon us, for we hate the very notion of any good or pleasurable thing being forbidden. Yet our rebellion against God’s commandments simultaneously reveals our ignorance of both God and ourselves.
A proper knowledge of God reveals that He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly before Him (Psalm 84:11). Of course, He may at times keep us away from something that is otherwise good in order to establish an even greater good. Furthermore, we now have the testimony of Jesus as our evidence that God has not withheld giving us the Treasure beyond all comparison.
Conversely, a proper knowledge of ourselves readily shows that we frequently do not know what is in our best interest, especially through the lens of eternity. Left to our own devices, our wants and desires will easily lead us into a spiral of depression and destruction (consider the unhappiness of the secular world around us).
The reality is that God’s commandments are for our good, even when they do not immediately appear to be so. Consider an example. We have recently been teaching my daughter the importance of keeping her room organized, which is, of course, far less fun than playing with literally anything. Yet we continuously appeal to her that her playtime is actually enhanced by having the proper space in which to play.
The path of God’s commandments is similar. Because we do not often see the immediate benefit of obedience, we reject it altogether. We choose instant gratification over the blessedness of following God’s path. However, once we understand the goodness of God’s instruction, we can delight in God’s law just as the psalmist did. Furthermore, we will also pray for God to shepherd us into obedience, leading us “in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).