“I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.”— Psalm 119:32
As Americans celebrate Independence Day, we naturally think about the freedoms enjoyed in the United States — freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to cast ballots on Election Day — freedoms that were secured for by the Founding Fathers.
But it’s also a good time to remember that our freedom — true freedom — ultimately comes from God. According to the Bible, that freedom comes from obeying God’s commands: “I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts” (Psalm 119:44–45).
The Psalmist indicates that this freedom found in God’s commands is so great that he does not merely walk but run as an expression of freedom: “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free” (Psalm 119:32). God sets our hearts free, not so we can run wild, but so we can run within the safety of His prescribed way of living. Within the parameters God has set for us through His laws and commands, we have complete freedom.
Contrary to what we might expect from words like “laws,” “precepts,” and “obedience,” following God’s laws does not inhibit us or restrain us. Rather, God’s laws and commands free us to be what God has called us to be. In other words, by living God’s way, we have the freedom to fulfill His plan for our lives.
The psalm writer expresses this beautifully in Psalm 16:5–6: “LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
We ought to view God’s commands not as restrictive or burdensome, but as a joy! As the Psalmist describes them, God’s word is “pleasant” and “delightful” — not the typical adjectives we might use in describing the laws.
So as we celebrate our freedoms today, let’s be sure to take a moment to consider the delightful and pleasant way of life God has set for us in His word. Let us give thanks to the Lord for the true freedom we all enjoy that comes from following and obeying His commands.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President