When “No” Protects a Great “Yes”
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes (Psalm 19:7-8).
Ever since Eve encountered the serpent in Eden, mankind has considered the law of the Lord to be restrictive, constraining, and, in the end, at cross-purposes with our desire to have life, and to have it abundantly. Yet David, as he writes Psalm 19, considers the law of the Lord to be life giving, wise, and the stuff of joy. Why is this?
God created the heavens and the earth. And he created it very good—proclaimed every day by the sun as it runs through the sky as a bridegroom, blessing the whole world with its heat. Consider the implications. The Lord knows why he made the heavens and the earth, for those who create—whether a painter, an architect, an author, or a myriad of others who create—always have a reason for creating. And he knows why he made you and me. In other words, God made us for a purpose, and we live most abundantly, most contentedly when we live in accord with that purpose. Furthermore, that the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and you and me, indicates that He knows how we work—what is good for us, what is bad for us, what will delight us, what will disappoint, what brings life, and what brings destruction. David knows this, and gladly proclaims that the commandments of the Lord revive the heart, rejoice the heart, and enlighten the eyes.
The commandments of the Lord, to be sure, are often “thou shalt nots.” Perhaps there is something in us that needs to have the boundaries fenced off and protected so that we don’t wander off to our own harm. But in the end, the boundary, the “no,” exists to protect a great “yes.” There is no more poignant example of this than the Lord’s word concerning sex. The world, and too often the church, considers the constraints surrounding sex to be confining and restrictive. And they are. But the “no” again is given to protect a great “yes,” in this case marriage, which can be entered into naked and unashamed, where life is to be found, and that abundantly.
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This article originally appeared on this site February 8, 2016