By Benjamin H. Liles
I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart. ~ Psalm 40:8, NKJV
If we take what the psalmist says here and line it up with just a few more verses, showing how closely related loving God and doing His will is, we'd see this: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40, Berean Literal).
What then is God's will? First, Jesus says, "Love the Lord your God." When we think of how much He's loved us, so much so that He sent Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice on our behalf, we see He has no judgment toward us. He is that patient and longsuffering with us so that we do not perish in our sinfulness. He does this so we can see how truly sinful we are.
Years ago I was caught by a law enforcement officer speeding. He was going to let me off with a warning, but when he ran my license in the database they have warrants came up for my arrest, for what? Bad check writing. I had to go to jail. I knew what crime I committed and the full weight of the law demanded justice be served. Not only did I have to pay, in terms of jail time, but I had to make restitution for writing those checks.
In this same way, we are also in debt to God due to our sinfulness. Who should pay for our crimes against the Father? By all accounts we should be the ones who take it. That's what justice demands. But God, out of a deep love for us, did this on our behalf. Paul says, "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus" (Romans 3:23-26, New Living Translation).
The thing of it is that God loves us as His creation so much, He has the right to do and uphold the law He so clearly set. When He tells Moses and the children of Israel, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments" (Exodus 20:2-6, New King James), He will uphold His own word even though it hurts Him to do so.
Think on it this way. We all have fathers we love and desire to do our best to listen and obey. Regardless of whether or not they follow God, they show they have God's laws on their hearts. My own dad taught me, time and time again, "Benny, stop lying to me. It hurts me to have to punish you, and giving you what that deserves." When I lied, and I always agreed I had, I ended up with a spanking. That was agreed on. Here's what I never saw my dad do, and it would have been hard for me to see him doing: I know he cried. How do I know? He told me on more than one occasion He hated having to discipline, but if it meant me learning to quit lying I'd deal with being punished. Well, God is the same way.
Listen: "There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children" (Hosea 4:2, 3, 6, New King James).
God once again told Israel what He would do, and it came to pass. But only for a time. So, how do we do God's will? How can we show He's on our minds, our hearts, and not just love Him but also our neighbor? When someone does wrong to us we do as Jesus said: " Instead, whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also; to the one willing to sue you and to take your tunic, yield to him the cloak as well; if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two" (Matthew 5:39-41, Berean Literal).
Back at the beginning David wrote this psalm, saying, "I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart." Even David sinned against God, and yet he was still called a man after God's heart. Why? He acknowledged his error. He may have had to lose a child in the process, and eventually the kingdom of Israel was torn from him, but God restored David because his heart always sought out the Lord. So, the best we can do in our walks is to keep ourselves in God's will. Love Him and love others. If it means sacrificing our own interests, then it needs to be done for the sake of another.