“7) The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8) The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9) The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10) More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” (Ps. 19:7-10)
In Psalm 19, after a discussion of the gospel of creation that is uttered in every language (v.1-6), the psalmist David then turns his attention to the gospel we have given unto us in the written word of God (v.7-14). We see 6 concise statements from v.7-9, describing the word of God in different ways, the purity of God’s word, and the effects of God’s word. As we consider the amazing value of God’s word in our lives, we must ask ourselves, how much do we really value and love God’s word? Scripture repeatedly declares that we should value God’s word above gold, yea above much fine gold. Do we really value God’s word above material wealth in this world? I’m afraid for many of us (myself included most of the time) the answer is a definitive “No!” We will consider the amazing value of God’s word in our lives and hopefully will treasure God’s word as our most valuable possession in our lives. May we crave the sweetness of God’s word above honey or the honeycomb (or whatever your favorite food is to satisfy your sweet tooth). Let us pray that God will bless us all to fall in love with God’s word together.
In these verses, we are given 6 concise, parallel statements describing the character, purity, and benefits of God’s word.
- The word of God is called the:
- law of the Lord
- testimony of the Lord
- statutes of the Lord
- commandment of the Lord
- fear of the Lord
- judgments of the Lord
- The word of God is:
- The word of God:
- converts the soul
- makes wise the simple
- rejoices the heart
- enlightens the eyes
- endures forever
- is righteous altogether
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. First, God’s “law” is “perfect”. There are no “bad laws” on God’s books that need to be changed like there are bad laws with man. There is no need to supplement the word of God. It is perfect. It is tried and tested to be sure. When David wrote this Psalm, his primary exposure to God’s word was just the first 5 books of the law. Almost 3 1/2 of those first 5 books are really a detailed description of God’s law. We get bored with the tedious nature of the law in Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers. However, David loved that “boring law”. David did not even have the beautiful poetry of Song of Solomon, the four gospels, the theological masterpiece of Romans, or the full canon of 66 books that we have today. We have the full beauty of all of God’s inspired scripture, but David primarily had just Genesis and the law. He saw the holiness and glory of God in the books of the law, and we should see that same beauty in God’s perfect law.
The word of God can “convert our soul” by us conforming to God’s standard in our lives. If we read and apply the word of God, we will be converted and protected from many perils and destruction in our lives. Consider the simple wisdom in Proverbs. If you take heed to that wise counsel in the word of God, then you will be saved from the perils of the strange woman, from covetousness, from drunkenness, and from being a sluggard. When we are enticed to go the broad way, it will lead to destruction in our lives (Matt. 7:13-14). However, when we counsel a wayward sinner (or maybe even ourselves as the wayward sinner) from the word of God, we can “save a soul from death.” (James 5:20) We can save and convert our own soul from peril by reading, studying, but most importantly “applying” the wisdom of God’s word in our lives.
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The “testimony” (the witness) of God is “sure”. In this world, not everyone’s testimony (their witness account) is sure and reliable. Some witnesses blatantly lie and perjure themselves in their testimony. Others may not commit intentional perjury, but some people can get confused and mistakenly provide false testimony in a criminal trial. Thankfully, God’s testimony is always sure and reliable. His testimony will never change like our testimony might. By applying the word of God, the simple and even uneducated person can be made very wise. If you apply the word of God in your life, even if you only have a fifth-grade education, you can have more godly wisdom and be more skillful in the decisions of your life than men who are much older and with far greater education. By simply applying the wisdom of just the book of Proverbs, even the simplest among us can live very wise and skillfully.
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The “statutes” (the individual lines of God’s law) are “right”. Not just the overall “law” but the individual “statutes” are all right from the Lord. The law and statutes of God “rejoice the heart”. God’s word is not legalistic commands to cause bondage or burden for us. Rather, true liberty, true freedom, and true joy for the child of God are found in obedience to God’s statutes and living within the boundaries set for us in God’s word. It is when we go beyond the boundaries laid for us in God’s word, that peril and destruction may come in our lives. Obedience to God’s word gives us joy in our heart. God’s word was inspired for us that your “joy may be full” (John 15:11; 1 John 1:4). The word of God was written to give us great joy in our heart, not to just be legalistic commands. The joy unspeakable of the abundant life will be ours when we follow the right statutes of the Lord.
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The “commandment” of the Lord is “pure”. There is no defilement or impurity in God’s word. It is pure and perfect. The scriptures “enlighten our eyes”. God’s word gives us clarity to enlighten our eyes that we can properly understand the events of this world going on around us. When we read and study scripture, we need to pray along with the psalmist: Lord, “open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Ps. 119:18) When we pray for God to give us clarity on the scriptures, the Lord will answer our prayer. He may give us clarity on another verse that explains or connects to the verse we are studying. God may burden a preacher to bring a message to explain that text very soon after our study. God desires his children to understand his word. If we sincerely pray for God to open our eyes to his word, God will certainly enlighten and illuminate our understanding of the scriptures.
Most of this world is in ignorance and darkness about why certain things happen in this world. However, our “eyes are enlightened” by the word to understand the world around us. Some children of God are blinded by Satan and the world, lest the light of the glorious gospel should shine unto them. However, when the light of God’s word through the gospel is shined in our lives, we now have light, clarity, and vision to have our eyes enlightened by God’s word (2 Cor. 4:4-6). God’s word is also a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Ps. 119:105). The scriptures give us clarity and vision to follow God’s will in our path of discipleship. The word of God always enlightens the spiritual eyes of God’s children.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever. The word of God teaches us to “fear the Lord”. The scriptures are not given to the world, but they are given to the man of God (2 Tim. 3:17). It is only the man of God who “fears the Lord”. The scriptures will give us a greater reverence of God to fear the Lord properly. This fear and reverence of God should engender “clean living”. The word of God will purify us, being more sanctified in service to God. The word of God (and certainly the fear of the Lord as well) endures forever. There is no scenario that God’s word will ever be destroyed. God promised to preserve his word until the world ends. The fear of the Lord will stand forever as well. There will always be born again children of God in this world who fear God. The fear of the Lord will endure forever.
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. The judgments of God are always true and righteous “altogether”. This word “altogether” indicates the full totality of God’s word is perfect. Not just the individual statutes of God’s law but the overall judgments of God are “altogether” true and righteous. Sometimes, in our ignorance, we might question some of the decisions God makes and why he suffers certain things to occur. However, we need to be reminded that God’s “judgment” is always true and righteous altogether. On an individual basis, we must each affirm that God’s word is perfect and the supreme standard for truth in our lives. “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” (Ps. 119:128) God’s judgment and word are always true and righteous “altogether”.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (v.10) As we continue on through Psalm 19, we see the value of God’s word and the great love we should have towards it. The word of God is more to be desired than gold, even above the most fine gold in this world. Gold depicts the most valuable commodity of wealth during that time. Do we value God’s word more than our most valuable commodity in this world? Psalm 119 continues this theme of extolling God’s word. We should value God’s word above fine gold (v.127); God’s law is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver (v.72); we rejoice in God’s word more than in all riches and as one that finds great spoil (v.14,162). Do we really value God’s word more than the greatest riches in this world? Our Holy Bible is a picture into God’s own heart and his amazing love for his people, but yet we let it collect dust on our nightstand. We should value the word of God as our greatest possession. For many centuries, children of God had no direct access to the word of God at all. Now, we have more access than any people ever before and yet we neglect it worse than all our predecessors. God’s word is not bitter and grievous. No, God’s word is sweet to the taste, sweeter than even honey and the honeycomb to us (or sweeter than your favorite treat to satisfy your sweet tooth). Just as we “crave” that sweet fix, we should “crave” the sweetness of God’s word. We should have “withdrawal symptoms” when we don’t partake of the sweetness of God’s word for an extended period. Let us properly value and crave the word of God as our greatest possession in this world.
Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (v.11-13) It is by the word of God (“by them”) that God’s servant is warned from peril. In the keeping of God’s word is great reward. How is it that we know what actions to avoid that will destroy our lives? We are “warned” to not engage in those sins by the word of God. In keeping “them” (in keeping the scriptures) there is “great reward”. There is great reward of spiritual riches worth more than material silver and gold in knowing and keeping the word of God. How can we understand our errors to do better? We understand our errors, and we are “cleansed from secret faults” by taking heed to the word of God. We are kept back from “presumptuous” (arrogant) sins when we know and apply the word of God. Then, we will know and be protected from “arrogantly” or “pridefully” sinning against the Lord just because we choose to disobey his word. We pray for God’s providential protection to keep us back from presumptuous sins. Arrogant and prideful sins can easily “have dominion over me”. We can quench the dominion of sin in our lives by taking heed to the word of God. If we apply the word of God in our life, by his grace, we can be upright and innocent from these egregious transgressions.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. (v.14) In the context of this chapter, how is it that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart would be acceptable in God’s sight? Our words and heart will be in tune with God when our hearts and minds are filled with God’s word. From Psalm 1, we find that when we ought to delight in the word of God and meditate in his law day and night (v.2). When we are continually meditating on God’s word, it will impact our external actions. We no longer have any desire to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful (v.1). When we are in tune with God’s word, the mediation of our heart will be acceptable in God’s sight because we are meditating on his law day and night. How do we “think” (meditate) on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8)? Those are all attributes of God’s word. The mediation of our heart is right in God’s sight when we fill our hearts with God’s word.
Then, when our heart is filled with God’s word, then our speech will follow our heart. Out of the abundance of the heart, our mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). The words of our mouth will be acceptable in God’s sight when we fill our hearts with God’s word. Then, like we saw from Psalm 1, our actions of forsaking ungodliness will follow the purity of our hearts as well. Then, in conclusion, we always remember that we are unable to love God’s word or live righteously without the enabling strength and power of our God. “O lord my strength and my redeemer.” God is the strength of our lives. God is our Redeemer. We desire to have purity of heart in our lives because God has redeemed us and saved us from our sins. Also, when we meditate perpetually on God’s word and apply it through diligent discipleship, we will be as a strong, growing, stable tree planted by the rivers of water and whatsoever we do shall prosper (Psalm. 1:3). I know we all desire to be saved from the peril of the ungodly way and for whatever we do to prosper. How does that occur? By valuing God’s word, by meditating on it day and night, and letting the word have its perfect work in us through our walk of discipleship. Let us see the immeasurable value of God’s word and fill our hearts up with God’s word. Inevitably, a purity of speech and a purity of discipleship that is acceptable in God’s sight will follow a heart that is filled with God’s word.