Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.
-- Psalm 119:77 NIV
There's an old saying about being in the right place at the right time. That's accidental. And there's making sure you're pointing in the right direction. That's intentional.
God's favour and love is not accidental or lucky. It's quite the opposite — it is constant and eternal. And we encounter it by being intentional.
We need to be in alignment. We set our sails to the wind, tune in to the right frequency, walk in the right direction and get on the right page. A good conversationalist empathises and links with what is being said. Dancers competing on BBC1 'Strictly' gain points for how well they match the movements of their partner. All these mixed metaphors describe that orientating process that is a familiar skill.
There is a sense of being intentional in following rules and guidelines. We would want to know that the airline pilot up front has gone through the check lists and is following air traffic procedures diligently. In our work, we go on courses about following 'best practice' guidelines. In the current pandemic, the government urges us to "stick to the rules" to reduce risks to others.
The particular alignment in this verse is with God's word, expressed as "law", NIV, "instructions", NLT and "life-giving truth" in the new Passion Translation. It's all of these things, but also God's revelation of Himself, from historic record to future intentions, cause and effect and also promises, a personal manifesto. It is best understood as God's rule rather than the common mistake of reducing it to God's rules.
God's rule is something we can genuinely find delight in. Our alignment with His rule is how we receive His love, compassion and tender mercies. It's the place where our intentionality matches God's eternal intentions — and that comes together in a way that is truly life-giving.