August 27, 2022

Meant to be Broken?

Written by Tripp Prince

In Jesus, humanity was not only given a vision of the ultimate good and way of life, but was transformed and empowered to walk in that way.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 27, 2022

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.  Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Psalm 119:33-35, ESV

As of late, my children have shown a particular fondness for an oft-quoted childhood phrase: “Rules are meant to be broken!” Where they heard this is anyone’s guess, and while its attempt at virtuous subversion is laudable, it of course falls short in countless ways. For this reason, my consistent response to my children is simply, “No, rules are for your good!”

Interestingly, I’ve never heard anyone, child or adult, complain about rules that they’ve created. Convinced of the rightness of our ways, when given the chance we are quick to order the world as we see fit, whether that be on a schoolyard at recess or in the highest courts of our country. In the core of our being we all know rules are necessary, and few advocate for a truly lawless society. As such, it isn’t rules per se that we long to break, simply the ones we didn’t create and find disagreeable. 

Of course, rules created by broken humans have the ability to perpetuate that brokenness, codifying evil and institutionalizing injustice. This is undeniably true and can be seen in all of human history, regardless of time, place, or political ideology. Broken people create broken rules that further break our broken world. What is needed, then, is a vision of justice that transcends the muck and mire of our frail humanity, a longing for the perfect good upon which we can set our sights and establish our hopes. 

Time and time again, the psalmist writes of the goodness of laws and living within the constraint of commandments. Yet fundamental to this delight is their clarity on the author of these rules. Fully aware of the pain and evil in their world, the psalmist has seen, time and time again, flawed human rules tested and found wanting. What was needed was a law from on high, an ideal of perfect justice and peace, not simply in some abstract and unachievable ideal form, but a law that could be kept and pursued, becoming a source of joy and delight for all who chose to walk in its ways. 

Contrary to what you may hear taught from time to time, Jesus Christ neither rejected nor dismissed the commands of God. He knew the law and delighted in it, precisely because he knew that in him every promise of the law was to be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18). In him, humanity was not only given a vision of the ultimate good and way of life, but was transformed and empowered to walk in that way. And so, let us today delight in the goodness of God’s laws, and set our eyes on Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).


Father, teach us to delight in your commands and follow after Christ each and every day. Amen.


Take time this week to read the whole of Psalm 119, joining your heart with the psalmist as you delight in the commands of the Lord.

Related Reading

Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:15; 1 John 2:3

Worship Resource

Sandra McCracken: All Your Works Are Good (Psalm 104)


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