Scripture Text – Psalm 19
Many church lectionaries assigns this psalm to be read on Christmas Day, when the “Sun of Righteousness” came into the world (Malachi 4:2) and the “Living Word” was laid in the manger (John 1:14). The emphasis in the psalm is on God’s revelations of Himself in creation, Scripture, and the human heart.
The Word Before Us – God the Instructor (Psalm 19:7–11) – Continued
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.
Commandment of the Lord (Psalm 19:8). The word means “that which is appointed.” Because the Lord loves us, He commands us what to do and warns us what not to do, and how we respond is a matter of life or death (Deuteronomy 30:15–20). God’s commands are pure and lead to a pure life, if we obey from the heart. The Bible is the Holy Scriptures (Romans 1:2; 7:12; 2 Timothy 3:15), and therefore His Word is “very pure” (Psalm 119:140; Proverbs 30:5). We are enlightened and learn God’s truth when we obey what He says (John 7:17) and not just when we read it or study it (James 1:22–25). We are strangers on this earth, and the Word of God is the road map to guide us to the home He is preparing for us (Psalm 119:19). Like a traveler on the highway, if we deliberately make a wrong turn, we go on a detour and fail to reach our destination.
Fear of the Lord (Psalm 19:9). This is an unusual name for the Scriptures, but it reminds us that we cannot learn the Word of God unless we show reverence, awe, and respect for the God of the Word and in turn the Word of our God. To teach the Bible is to teach the fear of the Lord (Psalm 34:11; Deuteronomy 4:9–10), and the mark of a true Bible student is a burning heart, not a big head (Luke 24:32; 1 Corinthians 8:1). While some of the fears people have might be distressing and even defiling, the fear of God is clean, nurturing, and maturing. We do not decay or deteriorate as we walk in the fear of the Lord (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).
Judgments of the Lord (Psalm 19:9). This can be translated as “ordinances” or even “verdicts.” It refers to the decisions of a judge. Throughout the Bible we see the Lord passing judgment on what people and nations do, and His rewards, rebukes, and punishments help us understand what pleases Him. In the nation of Israel, the ordinances instructed the officers and judges in settling problems between individuals and in meting out punishments to guilty offenders. Believers today are not under the Old Testament law, but how those laws were applied helps us understand the righteousness of God and our need for His grace.
The way we treat the Bible is the way we treat the Lord, so it isn’t difficult to determine if we are rightly related to God. Do we desire His Word because it’s precious to us, even more than wealth (Psalm 119:14, 72, 127, 162) or tasty food (Psalm 119:103; 1 Peter 2:2)? Do we find satisfaction in “feeding on” God’s Word? (See Matthew 4:4; Job 23:12; Jeremiah 15:16). Would we skip a meal to spend time meditating on the Scriptures? Do we attend church dinners but not church Bible studies? Furthermore, do we accept the warnings of the Word and act upon them? To know the warning and not heed it is sin (James 4:17). Do we enjoy the blessing of the Lord because we’ve obeyed His will? To have an appetite for God’s Word is a mark of a healthy and mature Christian whose priorities are straight. The Lord has sent the Holy Spirit to teach us His Word, and if we walk in the Spirit, we will learn and live the truth (John 14:26; 16:12–15; 1 Corinthians 2:9–10; 1 John 2:20–29).
To Be Continued