“You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.” – Psalm 119:68, ESV
I've been trying to teach my sons some simple rules about using tools; choose the right tool for the job, use it for its intended purpose, and never use it when you're upset or distracted. The boys like to believe I do this to spoil their fun, e.g., using the pitchfork as some weird uni-stilt or using the pruning shears to try to whittle a stick they found.
I had recently given my sons pocket knives since we're now out on a little homestead, and they're often out doing chores where a pocket knife can come in handy. These weren't the first knives they had (Swiss Army knives got that honor), so I wasn't overly concerned about their larger sizes.
But then, it happened. We were at home church a few weeks ago, and my oldest came running in frantically saying, "Get some band-aids, get some band-aids, Sam is hurt." The boys were playing on a rope swing, and Sam had gotten wound up in the saddle. Upset, Sam decided to cut himself out of his predicament with his new pocket knife and, in his anger, had neglected the rules. A pocket knife is not the right tool to cut a large 1" rope, and he was angry. We were fortunate that it wasn't severe enough for stitches when he cut himself, but it bled a lot.
We calmed him and tended his wounds, and once the time was right, I gently chided him, "This is why we have those rules. You can get hurt using tools if you're not mindful of the rules." These boundaries are not to keep my boys from having fun but to protect them from harm.
The same can be said of God. Sometimes it feels as if His decrees are too strict. But that's not the case. He gave us boundaries to protect ourselves from harm in His wisdom and His love.
God, when I'm tempted by sin, help me remember that your boundaries are to protect me. Please help me not forget that there are consequences you are protecting me from. Please show me how to walk in the way of Your decrees.
In Jesus' name, Amen.