Nerd is the Word

What You’ve Missed…
* Hosea continues to tell the people of Israel that they’re evil, that they’re spiritual prostitutes, and basically that they’re a bunch of selfish jerks.
* Also, I’m guessing he continued to get kicked in the shins. By everyone. Even little kids. And babies.
* Isaiah decides to get in on the prophecy action, basically telling Israel that God is going to Hulk out on everyone by shaking the earth and messing up their lives big-time.
* Also, “Hulk out” is a loose translation.

Day 193
Daily Reading: Psalm 119

We’re more than halfway through the Bible and so I think that’s cause to rejoice. I’d like to celebrate by repeatedly declaring how much I love God’s Old Testament Law, and how tailoring my behavior to all those intricate details is the best part about life and how the only thing I want to do day after day is obey His commandments and follow His incredibly specific rules! Yeah! Woo hoo!

Okay, not really. I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who thinks like that. If I did, I assume they’d be the happiest Jewish rabbi of all time. Like Ben Stiller in Keeping the Faith. Though in the movie he makes out with a non-Jewish hottie and fraternizes with a Catholic priest while singing karaoke, so I’m not so sure he would have been obeying all of God’s commands to the nth degree.

However, in Psalms, we come across just this person. Whoever wrote Psalm 119 was friggin’ in love with God’s Law. I’ve met some nerdy rule lovers in my day (heck, even I come to a full stop at all stop signs, and rarely go more than 5 mph over the speed limit) but this guy takes rule following to a whole new level.

“I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations.” (Psalm 119:19)
“Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.” (Psalm 119:35)
“How I delight in your commands! How I love them!” (Psalm 119:47)
“This is how I spend my life: obeying your commandments.” (Psalm 119:56)
“Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold or silver.” (Psalm 119:72)

That is just a small taste of how much the author loves following God’s rules. Did you catch that last one? They’d rather have God’s rules than millions of dollars. I don’t know much…but I know that rules can’t buy an Xbox, or a cheeseburger, or a dinner nice enough to impress a lady.

Am I really supposed to believe the author loves God’s instruction more than anything? That seems a little extreme. But that’s just the beginning. The author continues…

“Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.” (Psalm 119:97)
“I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words. I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise.” (Psalm 119:147-148)

They think about God’s rules all day? Really? I’m amazed if I can think about anything for more than 15 minutes, and that’s if I’m thinking about something crazy awesome like cinnamon rolls or swimming in a pool of Jell-o. Not a bunch of rules. And this person wakes up early, and stays up late to think about God’s law even more? Geez nerd, calm down. But here’s what really blows my mind,

“I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.” (Psalm 119:45)

Huh? You’ll walk in freedom because of restrictions placed on you? Um, I don’t mean to point out the obvious here nerd, but you do realize that commandments are restrictions, and restrictions RESTRICT freedom right? Freedom comes through independence baby! I guess you guys didn’t have any American History to study back then huh? That stinks, because ‘merica knows more about freedom than any other country. If you want real freedom, then you need to be free of everyone and everything. You can’t have people, or God, telling you what to do all the time if you want to be independent and free.
Or can you?  Can life with boundaries actually bring more freedom than life without them?

What has the author discovered about following God’s law that has him more psyched than a sixth grade boy being invited to a pool party, with girls? Why are they so jazzed about not just centering their entire existence on obeying God’s law, but loving every minute of it?  Why are they so joyful about something many of us are often resentful towards, or see as a burden?

What is happening here?

This is turning my world upside-down even more than when I discovered that playing the “Quiet Game” as a kid was really a trick to get me to shutup for five minutes. And that no matter how often any of us “won”, no one won as much as Mom.

16 thoughts on “Nerd is the Word

  1. I just have 1 question….do you really think someone will type “If obeying rules is cool then call me Miles Davis” in the Search?
    Great post!

    • Hahaha. I guess a part of me does Kristina. (I can’t wait for the day that actually happened.) I mostly enter in random tags for my own amusement. I love that you caught that one!

      Thanks for the kind words!

      • I am always hoping someone will type “Stupid people” into my search because they would get a plethora of posts! Also “War is a bitch”.

  2. Well, you did it again! Great quick read! I feel like this life of obeying God’s commandments is way more fun than the lawless existence I came from. Holy crap, I’m a nerd…and I like it! Hope all is well in SL!

  3. [whew] I am glad I am not the only one who doesn’t drive over 5 miles above the speed limit! Okay, maybe 8 at most! I definitely get a wee bit nervous when driving 10 over…

    “Can life with boundaries actually bring more freedom than life without them?” I find I function better with some structure/routine (that is flexible, of course). I remember writing a paper for my ethics class about conformity wherein I likened it (we could easily substitute with “boundaries,” “rules,” “structure,” etc.) to a trellis. A rosebush left on its own would still grow beautiful flowers, its branches spreading every which way, however it pleases; but a trellis would allow said bush grow tall and take beautiful shape, like an arch.

    Looks like you’re making excellent progress!

  4. I’ve actually been thinking about this very thing lately. The whole “I do the things I don’t want to do” catch to this rule following deal. My personality is quietly rebellious. I’ll probably never tag a building or rip into a pack of cigarettes outside the surgeon general’s house (aka “open rebellion), but good night am I ever hardcore in my heart. It pains me to not want the to follow the laws that I see God’s gracious freedom and protection in, but still somewhere in the back of my mind doubt the goodness of.

    P.S. I’m now officially a mom…I totally played The Quiet Game the other day…it’s a keeper.

    • I mean…it seems possible doesn’t it? Sure you’d have to invest in a decent back-yard, above-ground, blow-up pool (i think there’s a potential for disaster to hyphen ration happening here) and a heckuva lot of Jell-o. But summer’s here man. If there was ever a time, this is it.

      This is it.

  5. Well, I am guessing David didn’t write this Psalm. Am I right? Ha…

    I guess I can see what the author is saying. When I worked with inner city schools you could always tell which classes/teachers kids loved and hated. To my surprise I found that kids actually hated the classes with no structure or set discipline. Actually, once you (as a teacher) implemented discipline and respect they were kinda over the moon for you. Obviously not the kind of discipline that is out of control, like a teacher I knew who threw a projector (I think his name might be something Banner…), which ain’t no joke. It was actually a sign of respect, care, and love for them and they in turn felt free to give those things back in return. Maybe this is actually more a deeper look at the nature of God?

    Also, there is a book out there called “Devil in the Details” about a Jewish girl who had OCD and would practice the Levitical law. She would mow the lawn (but not to the edges!) and give away the extra grass clippings (see Lev. 23:22). It’s hilarious.

    • You’re right this wasn’t one of David’s. And your Mr. Banner sounds like my Mr. Varner. He had a serious eye twitch, that you just knew was really an indication that he was a ticking time bomb. Which he was. I forget who he chucked a desk at…but it was intense. We all knew the kid had it coming, but still, we were all pretty much dumbfounded.

  6. I love the images you find to insert! I have a beef with those Ten Commandments, however – I doubt God used Roman numerals (the Romans were unknown to Moses, and the bad guys by the time of Jesus) and I’m sure God wouldn’t have listed them left to right!

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