Laws That Bring Joy

By Nate Hartman

September 12, 2011

JoyThis is the fifth in a season-long series of posts on the topic of joy, as it relates to the life and athletic pursuits of your teams.  These weekly posts will correspond with each weekly study from The Wellspring of Life Initiative, a unique "Discipline for Godliness" program for athletes developed by the NCSAA (and available to all member schools, as part of their membership).  This post corresponds with Week 4: "Laws That Bring Joy."

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
   refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
   making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
   giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
   giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
   enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
   and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
   than much pure gold;
   they are sweeter than honey,
   than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
   in keeping them there is great reward.

-- Psalm 19:7-11

  • According to verses 7-9, what things provide instruction from God?  Do these naturally strike you as things that bring joy?  What thoughts or emotions do these words evoke in you — law, statutes, precepts, commands, fear, decrees?
  • What adjectives or phrases are used (v. 7-11) to describe the words you picked out above?  Do these descriptions express the same thoughts or emotions that naturally came to your mind?  Why do most people not think of laws as refreshing, or commands as radiant, or decrees as “sweeter than honey”?
  • Though people don’t usually think of laws and commands as things that bring joy, the psalmist David describes them in a way that sounds quite desirable.  Who issues the decrees and statutes for our country, and (based on what we know about the people who issue them) are those laws always perfect, trustworthy, right, and pure?  Who issues the laws and commands that David describes?  Why can you have confidence that those statutes are different (always trustworthy, always right, etc) than those of the world?  What is the benefit of hearing and following God’s commands (v 11)?
  • Does our culture celebrate the following of rules?  What are some common responses and attitudes of people who are told to “follow the rules”?  What rules are sometimes distasteful or annoying to athletes?  Why do people tend to dislike rules, and is that a right attitude?  What would sports with no rules be like?
  • Most teams commit to certain standards and rules, and though those don’t all possess the same authority as God’s laws, how will following those rules bring joy?  What would be the result disregarding them (v. 11)?  Think of a specific rule that applies to your team, and discuss the ways in which following (or not following) it may affect the team.  Does your team find joy in following rules?
  • What rules (inside or outside of your sport) do you take lightly?  Is your soul refreshed, or are you made more wise, by your disregard of those rules?  In what ways does your team struggle with obedience of important rules?  Does your team experience joy and great reward, by doing so?  Make some common commitments, as a team, to show a right regard for the rules of your sport, of your team, and of your God.
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