Psalm 119 is a beast–it is 176 verses long and divided into 22 sections (one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet). So I’m going to divide it up, and write about my observations from each section, and see how each can help me continue to walk the road less traveled. Today, we wrap up this series with the “Tav” section:
In my fifteen years of driving, I’ve gotten four tickets. All of them have been a pain in the butt, and all of them have been my fault. Some were for speeding. Some were for stuff like a lapsed inspection sticker. But none will compare with my first ticket. For that, I have my buddy Wayne Wagner to thank.
I rode with Wayne from our college to Newport News to teach his teen class on a Wednesday evening. It was two days before we got out for Christmas break. Wayne gave me a fuzz buster and we floored it up through the dismal swamp. I taught his class, he bought us some Taco Bell, and we zoomed back to college. About twenty minutes from school, the fuzz buster went off, and five seconds later I saw the blue lights on the other side of the road. A state trooper flew across the median and was in hot pursuit. Well, slightly warmed pursuit.
The officer went through all the typical procedures, handed me the ticket, and told me that I was required to go to court. I couldn’t just pay the ticket. As he left the car, he said, “Oh, nice radar detector.” I learned a valuable lesson that day: radar detectors are good for one thing… letting you know when you’ll be pulled over.
I went to court (I made Wayne go with me). I had been doing 73 in a 55 MPH zone, which was reckless driving. The judge asked the DA for her opinion as to whether or not I should be a break (which would have been great–it would have gotten me under the magical 15 MPH reckless driving barrier). Her words: “Your honor, the defendant had a radar detector. I think he knew how fast he was going.” No break, a hefty fine (it was a shade over $100, which was a ton for a college student like me), and I lost my license for 40 days.
Hot pursuit can be a… well, you know. But it can also be a great blessing.
The author of Psalm 119 wraps up this ginormous chapter with these words:
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.
God is in hot pursuit of us.
If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you know that God is certainly in hot pursuit of those who do not know Jesus. He wants all people to come to a knowledge of the truth of the gospel and to repent. But His pursuit of us doesn’t stop when we become followers of Jesus. He continues to pursue us.
There will be times when we sin, when we let our focus drift from Him, and when we allow ourselves to enter a prolonged season of spiritual dryness and even rebellion. He still pursues us. He still yearns for us to refocus on Him, to repent, and to live the life Christ modeled for us. He uses anything necessary to get our attention, even letting us go through times of stress and pain. The Bible calls it discipline. While painful at the time, it is totally worth it because (barring our own stupid stubbornness) it brings us back to God.
So while we’re called to pursue God, we must remember that He is always in pursuit of us. May we, like the Psalmist, not forget His commandments.