By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
We ignore warnings at our personal peril. For example, anglers do not cast their lines where there are overhead power cables. To swim on a patrolled beach other than between the warning flags is to court trouble. To ignore the red flags around a military firing range is to risk death or serious injury. And so we could go on.
If we are sensible we take care to heed such warnings although there is a tendency in all of us to attempt to push the boundaries to a greater or lesser extent depending on personality. To act as if we are invincible – a dangerous way of thinking!
But there is also a set of warnings that not only keep us from danger but grant great rewards, namely God’s commandments, precepts, statutes and ordinances, which we have been focussing on over the past few days.
David puts it very succinctly and he was a man, just like us, full of flaws but also greatly used by God and thus experiencing at first hand the truth of what he writes here.
The Bible is rich in examples of the truth that David expresses here but we focus on just one of them this morning which has eternal significance.
Consider these words spoken by John the Baptist in John 3.36
Whoever believes in the Son (Jesus Christ) has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.
The warning is stark. To reject Jesus Christ whom God has sent is to be deprived of life and to be the subject of God’s wrath.
The reward is great. Simply, eternal life through the Son and in him, God’s blessing.
The story of humankind is that in most cases we heed warnings such as those in our opening paragraph but we sit very lightly or ignore completely the much more serious warnings relating to our relationship with our creator. We thus preserve our physical lives for the average life span of 70 years or so but have little concern for our eternal wellbeing.
Let us be warned by God’s Word today and rejoice in the underserved reward we are offered by his grace through his Son.