Their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in your law.
Psalm 119:70 ESV
This verse is a continuation of the previous verse, making the subject of the first half the insolent who smeared the psalmist with lies. Now the psalmist explains that they hurl their lies at him because of their unfeeling hearts. We understand that correlation on an instinctual level. Knowingly and intentionally smearing someone with lies requires a great degree of callousness on the part of the liar. Indeed, bearing false witness resembles murder in the sense that a heart must be unfeeling to take both a life and a reputation.
Of course, this is always the reality of sin. In order to rebel against the Most High God and against the conscience that He has placed within us, we must harden our hearts to some degree. We inject ourselves with a spiritual anesthetic every time we sin. The conscience is dulled, and many of our emotions are as well. We become less able to sympathize with our neighbor whenever we are in active rebellion against the God whom our neighbor images and are often far more prone to sudden and volatile anger.
But the godly are not so. Rather than being unfeeling, they delight in God’s law. They discover great joy and gladness within the commands of the LORD. Their heart is not dead but alive and active in the glories that they find in Scripture.
Notice how this verse contradicts the prevailing winds of our present day. Especially since the sexual revolution, most people have come to believe the deception that obedience to God’s law is misery and that lawlessness is liberation and happiness. Depression and anxiety statistics are in, and they beg to differ. Licentiousness does not produce happiness, only death, which is about as unfeeling as you can get. And striving to obey God’s commands is not slavery and misery; it is the path of joy and delight.
There is a proverb that is important enough to be given twice, in 14:12 and 16:25: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” The attempt to liberate ourselves from God’s law is that path. It leaves the person unfeeling in the present kills in the end. Yes, submission to God’s Word is a kind of death, but it is the death our pride and autonomy. Once those idols are demolished, delight and life in the One who is infinitely delightful begins.