Stereoscopic vision (Psalm 119:6,15)

Looking at two things at the same time can be difficult, but it’s what the psalmist recommends. It’s what a good sports team player does. He keeps an eye on the ball, and also on the opposition players, so he can be in place for a pass, or take advantage of gaps in the opposition’s defence.

So in this psalm we are commended to keep our eyes on God’s commandments (6) and his ways (15). It’s probably more a matter of emphasis than distinction. God’s commands are his instructions to us, about what we should or shouldn’t do, about how we should live our lives. God’s ways are how God lives his life. So God himself both tells us what to do, and shows us how to do it.

Through the Old Testament we hear God’s commands, given in the Law, and reiterated, preached and explained by prophets and in writings. The history of the OT shows God at work in ways great and small as we read narratives with its divinely inspired comments to point out God’s ways lest we miss them.

Through the OT and the NT we see the twin track of instruction and example. We hear God speak and we see him act. But we also see God’s laws in action in the lives of his people—in failure and success. Instruction by example is also an important part of God’s teaching strategy.

But in the NT we see God’s ways in action even more clearly, for we see Jesus living according to all God’s commandments. Meditating on God’s precepts has an added dimension for New Covenant believers, for we have the living example of the Lord Jesus on which to draw. Even the strange ceremonial law comes to life when we see in it a faint glimmer of the life of Jesus.

No wonder the psalmist delighted in God’s instruction—taught from the Book, and shown by the Author.

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