Psalm 119:14 “I will rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.”
In the year 1622, the Spanish ship Nuestra Senora de Atocha sank off the coast of Cuba. When it sank, along with all the men, women and children it carried it also held 40 tons of silver and gold and 70 pounds of emeralds. In all, the treasure the Atocha carried was worth about $400 million dollars. And for 350 years the ship sat at the bottom of the ocean, untouched by anything other than sea life and water.
Then, in the 1970’s, a man named Mel Fisher set out to find the Atocha and all its sunken treasure. He dedicated 16 years of his life to the search, spending huge amounts of his own money in his attempts to wfind the ship. Every day he told his team, “Today is the day,” even though they had been unsuccessfully searching for so many years. But in the end, it paid off. On July 20, 1985 the Atocha was discovered by Mel and his team off the coast of the Florida Keys – and it still held the majority of the treasures with which it had sunk. For Mel and his team, the long years of searching paid off, and the joy they experienced was incredible.
Today’s verse from Psalms is a challenging one. It’s easy for us to imagine rejoicing in “great riches” like the ones that Mel and his team discovered lying inside the wrecked Atocha. Excitement seems like a normal reaction to being handed a giant gold bar or a handful of emeralds. But this verse tells us that we should have the same excitement, the same joy, over being able to live a life following God’s law.
So…think about it. Consider God’s law, and what you feel about the fact that you’ve been asked to follow it. Are you jumping up and down with joy yet? Maybe not. But think about this – just like great riches give stability to our financial situation, the laws that God has given us provide us with great security for our entire lives. God has designed His law to protect us, to ensure that we are taken care of, to allow us to have ground to stand on that never changes. And that is even more priceless than the wealth of the Atocha.
Gold and silver and emeralds might ensure that the person who owns them has financial security for the rest of life on earth; the laws God has given us ensure that we have security in every area of our lives, forever – and on into eternity.
Now that is worth rejoicing about!