Psalm 19:7-14 —
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
The ordinances of the Lord are sure
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of
my heart be pleasing to your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Books are a glorious and wonderful invention! Books and reading have been and continue to be a big part of my life. While many people do not share my passion for them, I continue to grow in my love and appreciation for the written word – from Shakespeare to short stories to…well, you get the picture.
But one Text trumps all other texts. God’s Word stands alone. Let’s look at how Psalm 19 breaks down the Word of God and see how it is integral in our being refreshed and restored in our relationship with God.
Psalm 19 is a beautiful passage, and verses seven through fourteen are, largely, where we will camp today. In these nine verses, David gives us six images of the Word and six corresponding effects it has on one’s life. The words “law” (v.7a), “statutes” (v.7b), “precepts” (v.8a), “commands” (v.8b), “fear” (v.9a), and “ordinances” (v.9b) all refer to the Word. Each of these references gives us an image. Let’s break them down together.
First, the “law of the Lord” is God’s instruction for His people, and how it revives one’s soul. The word for revive can literally be translated “to turn about” or to “return”. In His Word, God is teaching us what we need to have our very souls returned or set to where they need to be.
Second, the “statutes of the Lord” are witnesses to God’s truth. God’s word testifies to its own truth, and His testimony is trustworthy. Trusting in that truth makes our simple minds wise. This is good news because God’s Word contains everything that can be known about God, and we grow in our knowledge of Him when we read it.
Third, the “precepts of the Lord” are divine directions for us to follow. So often we see directions as suggestions because – at least in my mind – sometimes directions are incorrect. God’s directions are always right and correct. Following them can give one’s heart joy – not happiness, necessarily, but a deep-rooted joy that only comes from Him.
Fourth, the “commands of the Lord” are the orders and imperatives that God gives His people. If we are honest, this is the part of the discussion about God’s Word that loses most of us. People, in general, do not like to be commanded. At the very least, we would not call any commandments we have received as being radiant. But, the older I get, I come to see God’s commands as having an ambient light of their own. The more I read the Word, the more I find that it illuminates parts of my life.
God’s Word shines light and chases out the darkness of sin in our lives. It shows aspects of our lives that we would rather not see. In Psalm 119:105, David describes the Word thusly: “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” God gives us commands to show us how life works best, not to tear us down or make us feel guilty. He gives us commands because He loves us and knows what we need.
Fifth, we see the “fear of the Lord”; it is a little different than the previous four images. This, in and of itself, is an effect. The fear of the Lord is a result of knowing and worshiping Him. It is a produced reverence for God that is fostered by time spent with Him in His Word. And this is good news because this aspect – this reverential worship of God – will endure forever because we will get to spend eternity with Him!
Finally, we see God’s “ordinances”. This gives us the image of God’s decisions for us. It is a fatherly image. Just like an earthly father is required to make decisions for his family, especially his children, our Father makes decisions for us – He knows best. However, unlike earthly fathers, His decisions are “altogether righteous”. The more time we spend in His Word, better things are for us because His decisions are laid out clearly for us to see.
Those images aptly sum up what God’s Word is for His followers, but we must be careful not to dismiss His Word as merely a book. God’s Word is Himself. The first chapter of John testifies to this: the Word is God (John 1:1). And that’s not all: God Himself “became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (1:14). He came to earth, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, rose on the third day, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and is actively working on our behalf today! But through His written Word, those of us who did not live in Israel during His lifetime nearly 2,000 years ago are able to actively spend time with Him. It’s not about reading; it’s the relationship!
His Word is like a love letter telling us everything we need to know – everything we get to know – about Him and how to grow in our relationship and worship and witness of Him. It is also a big part of the relationship because it is also Him!
I have kept some of the love letters that Candice wrote to me. They remind me of our beginning. They contain integral information that made us who we are. I have written to her as well, but all of those early letters are now woefully outdated because so much has happened in our relationship since then. Our relationship is updated daily – as it should be!
The same should be true for our relationship with the Lord! If you are not spending time daily with Him in His Word, repent and spend time Him in His Word. Whether you read it yourself or listen to it like an audio book, He will refresh You through His presence! You will find that He will keep you from “willful sins”. In it, you will find unparalleled forgiveness. In it, you will find Life as you walk with and are founded upon your “Rock” and your “Redeemer”. My prayer for you today is that you are refreshed in your relationship with Christ. I pray that your time in His Word gets to be to you “more precious than gold” and “sweeter than honey”. I pray that the Word affects “the words of [your] mouth and the meditation of [your] heart”.