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Living by the Word

Briefing: Although it has been over 25 years since I graduated from the police academy, I still follow the training and teaching I received from the instructors. What are some of the foundational lessons you learned in academy that you still follow today?

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 40.

On the Street: This Psalm follows the pattern of God’s requirements for man laid out in Micah 6:8. The three requirements are: to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. This Psalm is a great example of living by the things we have been taught.

As a young man, David sought after the knowledge of God. David was intentional about having a relationship with God. When a person positions themselves with God in these ways God will reveal Himself to them. David may have never known the actual verse out of Micah but we can see in this Psalm that God revealed these requirements to him. These are requirements every law enforcement officer should work hard to live out.

David starts the Psalm in the same way we see Jesus teaching His disciples to start their prayers. The Lord’s Prayer starts out by giving glory and honor to God. In the first three verses of this Psalm, David praises God for loving him.

In verse six we can almost see David receiving revelation of these previously mentioned requirements from God. God shows David what is important to Him much like the opening requirement of Micah 6:8. The first requirement God gives is to “seek justice”. In Psalm 40:8, “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” David recognizes the law is not man’s but God’s. I believe God puts the law in all men’s heart. Man does not always recognize it, obey it or follow it but to do so and enforce it is the calling law enforcement officers talk about. If we do all of this and give glory and credit to God, we are then set apart (Romans 1:1). I believe by doing these we are able to please God.

In verse 9 David immediately equates the law with righteousness. Do we recognize the correlation between the law and righteousness? Do we try to separate the two? Can you separate the two? Cultures try to separate the law and righteousness but are never successful. We are starting to see this in our society. Some Supreme Court decisions over the last several years have taken our law and veered off of the path of righteousness. When the laws of our country do not follow the law of God we find ourselves outside of His truth.

David speaks in verse 10 about not hiding the truth and speaking it. These should all be natural progressions, God’s law, or obedience resulting in righteousness and proclaiming the truth. If you follow the law and recognize it as righteousness then you must proclaim it. This means we have an obligation to speak up when the law does not follow God’s truth.

The next part of Micah 6:8 is “love mercy”. Here in verse 11 David asks for God’s mercy as he loves God’s truth. It is not spoken of in our society but justice and mercy are two sides of the same coin. If everyone who broke the law was punished we would all be in jail. Society must leave room for mercy and compassion. Most humans have to “learn from our mistakes”. Mistakes imply justice but to learn from it means you were given a second chance to correct your mistake. That is mercy. I don’t know about you but I owe everything to God’s mercy.

We see in verse 12 David is in trouble again except this time it is not because of his enemies that normally surround him. This time it is David’s own sin that has him lost in the forest like a little child. Internalize that! David is being transparent, honest and sincere with God. The third part of Micah 6:8, “walk humbly with your God”. David reveals his humility in verse 13. As he does this he completes God’s requirement for man as seen in Micah 6:8. This is a good way to stay in a right relation with God. It helps us to see, like David, we are still a people in need of a savior.

Investigational Resources: Micah 6:8, Matthew 6:9-13, Romans 1:1.

Officer Safety Principle: Seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.

from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 1
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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