We’ve all experienced it: you hear a song and it’s like it was written for you. The lyrics are your lyrics. The sentiment, your sentiment. The message, you couldn’t have said it better yourself. And many of us experience it regularly when we read through the psalms. The inspired songwriters of the Psalter expressing our thoughts, our struggles, our aspirations, our praise.
True of many of the psalms for me, especially true of Psalm 119.
Love this time of year when my reading plan, eight verses at a time for 22 days, steps me through this love song to God’s word. It stirs the soul. Renews a godly ambition towards being a person of the Word. And it reflects something of the heart of those who have tasted and seen the Lord is good. Puts into words the heart’s delight as the living Word provides the catalyst for encountering the living God.
But what hits me this morning–and this, I’m pretty sure for the first time–is that this heart in me, this heart alive to the Word of God, used to be a lard hard.
The insolent smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep Your precepts;
their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in Your law.
(Psalm 119:69-70 ESV)
A heart “unfeeling like fat.” Callous and unfeeling (NIV). Dull and stupid (NLT). Insensate as fat (YLT). Bland as a bucket of lard (MSG).
What a description of the unregenerate heart.
And what a contrast to the heart of stone we so often think of when we think of the heart of the natural man (Ez. 11:19). The heart of stone being rock hard. Fixed, entrenched, stone deaf to God’s voice, without feeling. Whereas the lard heart, while still without feeling, only has form if it’s chilled and cold. But at room temperature, it forms to nothing, and yet, will form to everything. It’s just there. Existing without any real structure, unconcerned with aligning to any overall purpose. Squished here and there depending on what pressure is applied to where.
And how different is the lard heart from the “whole heart” that seeks to keep God’s precepts. The alive, enflamed with feeling heart that delights in His law. The heart capable of being stirred with pleasure-filled emotion as it hovers over the God-breathed text (2Tim. 3:16). That rejoices even in the pain experienced when the living and active word of God, like a sword, pierces to the dividing of soul and spirit and discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12). The heart capable of knowing encounters of the divine kind, rewired to interact with the active agency of God enabled, Son revealing, Spirit delivered illumination.
The law of Your mouth is better to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
(Psalm 119:72 ESV)
Where does that come from? If I was born with a heart unfeeling like fat, how do I end up here, taking as my own the words of the songwriter?
Lard heart redemption! That’s how.
A heart of stone made into a heart of flesh. A heart unfeeling like fat, infused with a Spirit activated sensitivity to the voice of God.
Oh, what redemption! What regeneration!
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Just another glorious reflection of the multi-faceted work of grace through the finished work of the Son of God.
To God be all the glory!