“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts 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 rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7–11, ESV)
In the first verses of this psalm we read of how the sun so magnificently points to God and shines a light on all of His creation. This light has illumined the hearts of men and pointed them to God from the beginning. Yet even in that we know that there are many who deny the source of the light, and whose hearts have become darkened by their own speculation. In this next section of the psalm we move to a more direct declaration—the Word of God. And the description of God’s Word, given us by the psalmist (David), declares how it shines as a true and perfect light on every aspect of our lives.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” God’s Word is absolutely true, given to us by God Himself as His Spirit moved in the hearts of men to record it just as He intends. Peter affirmed this for us even in speaking about how he and the apostles and prophets received the Word from God.
“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:19–21, NASB95)
Knowing that what we have is the true and accurate Word of God is a huge encouragement. It means that there is no guessing about who God is, how we approach Him, or even how to be saved. He has made Himself known to us, and in doing this He has repeatedly expressed and shown His great love for us. He has shown us who He is so that we might bow before Him in worship. In a world where so much happens around us over which we have little or no control, it is truly refreshing to know that our God knows all things.
David continues to declare the value of God’s Word by using various synonyms which point to multiplied benefits of learning and living according to God’s Word. We read that from God’s Word we grow in wisdom from Him and not according to the convoluted thinking of man. God’s Word is right. It is just right, and in that we can find great peace and rejoice in the assurance which fills it from beginning to end. There is no evil in God’s Word. We are never commanded to do anything wrong or improper. No matter what pressures there might be in the world or even in our own hearts, God’s Word gives us light by which we are to live. And while things might be constantly changing around us, God never changes. He is unable to change by His nature. He is, always has been, and always will be eternally prefect and complete in all ways, and what He tells us is truthful and dependable today just as it was when it was written.
I remember talking to one of my boys who had struggled at a church youth camp because some of the kids weren’t playing according to the rules during some of the games. We had the opportunity to talk about the importance of rules, because they set a framework for our activities. But we also had an opportunity to talk about how man is inclined to break those rules (sin), and that God has been incredibly gracious and merciful toward us in forgiving our sins through His Son and enabling us to live right in response. God’s rules are true and right, and He has given them to us for life. But in giving them, His intent was not that we would become legalistic in observing them for the sake of showing how good we are, but as a worshipful response to who He is. When we trust Christ for our salvation His righteousness is put to our account and we are made righteous in Him. In response we are called to walk in His light, hiding His Word in our hearts, and obeying all that He commands us.
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” (Psalm 119:9–16, ESV)
For a people that get so easily off track, who live in darkness without a clear course, and who really are foolish on their own, God has reached into our lives and made Himself known to us. In this we can greatly rejoice, knowing just how much God who created everything we see desires to have a relationship with us. He has made Himself accessible through His Spirit illumining our eyes so that we might know His salvation and grow in His ways. As beloved children of God there is a great treasure we have been given in our Father speaking to us.
“More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”