Keeping the laws of God is basic to trusting the Lord with all your heart, not leaning on your own understanding, and acknowledging Him in all your ways. The Hebrew word that is translated law in verse 1 is Towrah which we often see transliterated as Torah. For the Jews, this word has come to be synonymous with the Pentateuch. The verb from which it is derived means “to project, to point out or to teach.” It is easy to grasp the connection. The law of God is what He uses to point out His will to mankind. The word is used in various ways throughout the Old Testament. It at times refers to ritual, custom, or prescriptive right, but it is also used to speak of specific ordinances, to groups of regulations and instructions, and to the books that contain them. The Greek word that is used in the Septuagint for Law is Nomos. Both of these words speak of the Law of Moses as being one law while containing many commandments (entolai). “This law is also called the Law of the Lord because, though it was given by Moses (John 1:17) and by the disposition of angels (Acts 7:53), it really represented the will of the Lord God (Luke 2:23).” Girdlestone p. 231
Although law, judgment and justice are important concepts in Gods dealings with mankind they are always tempered with mercy. The Hebrew term in verse 3 that is used for mercy is Chacad which is used in various ways to speak of Gods dealings with mankind, and also to suggest how we should deal with each other. The Greek term used in the Septuagint is Eleos. An example of how the word is used is found in the New Testament in the account of the good Samaritan the “one who shewed the mercy”. To display mercy is to show love in practical ways even though the person may not deserve our love. The exercise of our mercy may cost us time, financial expenditure, and a loss of time or comfort. Girdlestone notes something of interest when he says, “It is a remarkable fact that the word Chaciyd (a variant of Chacad) when applied to man, has usually a possessive pronoun affixed to it, so as to indicate that the persons who are exercising this disposition belong in a special sense to God. They are “his merciful ones” (A.V. “His saints”). p. 131
We are forcefully reminded by these observations that Gods law is not something that is to be negotiated. It is not an option. It is to be obeyed and when disobeyed dire consequences will follow. On the other hand, God extends His mercy to those who have disobeyed the law but want to turn from their wicked ways. In all of this, His people are to emulate His perfection. We are to obey His law carefully but not legalistically. His mercy is to be extended through us to others who have faltered in the way.