The Word of God in the Psalms 19
Intro: Begin by reading a familiar song – one found in the Bible, called a Psalm. Let’s read Psalm 19
I. Background: This is a psalm of David, although it is uncertain when in his life he wrote it. It is a Psalm of praise, climatically praising the mercy of God who has revealed Himself in His word. Charles Spurgeon called the 14 verses of Psalm 19 “the World Book & the Word Book”.
A. This Psalm can easily be divided into 2 parts. The two elements of God’s revelation
1. The first 6 verses describe the glory of God as revealed in the natural world – emanating to Him as the Creator. There is no place where this manifestation of God’s power is not seen (v. 2 -3: speaks day in and day out, no language barrier, all can see it, As the sun shines throughout the earth and gives light to all..)
2. The later part of the Psalm (v. 7 – 14) speaks of God’s special revelation through the law (His word). There are characteristics and purposes of God that cannot be discovered in the created world. We can only know the mind of God when He reveals His Spirit to us. 1 Cor 2:9-13 9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
B. There is also an interesting distinction in God’s self-revelation.
1. The term God (Elohim) is used first, nad only once, as true Creator of all things.
2. But when the subject turns to the nation of Israel and the law as their guide, God is referred to by His covenant name, Jehovah (Yahweh). (vs. 7 to the end)
3. The heart of this psalm is David’s description of God’s word – 6 sentences of profound truth. In each description there is a positive inherent quality & a corresponding benefit to those who come under its influence.
I. The Comprehensive Description of the Word: David uses several descriptive terms for the word of God – these descriptive words become provide a fuller picture of God’s revelation.
A. The Word of God is a testimony to His character, (v. 7)
B. It is a call to duty to obey His commandments, statutes, and law emphasizing His authority. (v. 7,8)
C. It is designed to bring about reverence or worship toward God, and as such is referred to as the “fear of the Lord” (vs. 9).
II. The Divine Character of the Word: Notice that one descriptive phrase is not enough to exhaust David’s great respect for what God has said. The descriptive words he uses reflect the character or nature of God’s word. He uses 6 descriptions that paint a comprehensive picture of the character of God’s word.
A. His law is perfect: the word here means complete, or lacking in nothing. Two companion ideas included here:
1. “Tamim” may mean incontestable or free from objection. No one can contend that God’s word is not able to secure its purposes. It is enough, there is nothing missing. 2 Tim 3:16-17 …is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2. It is free from error, and blameless in every way. There is no blemish. It seeks the perfection of those who come under its influence.
B. His testimony is sure: The thought here is trustworthiness. “(or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent… (Strong’s) God is the ultimate witness. He never lies or distorts reality. He sees everything & knows everything. His testimony does not change with changes in society. Psalm 119:89 “Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven.” (ex. – spanking my child)
C. His statutes are right: God’s word is just or equitable. The principles of God’s word are consistent throughout. Righteousness is rewarded; rebellion is punished. God’s word is the objective standard by which right & wrong are judged. Those who have mature faith are willing to allow God’s word to settle all issues and they accept His judgments.
- Lev. 10 – Aaron when God judged his wicked sons & Eli when God prophesied the demise of his sons. –v. 3 – And before all the people I must be glorified.'” So Aaron held his peace.
D. His commandments are pure: because God Himself is pure. God’s commandments will lead toward purity of thought & life.
E. The “fear of the Lord” is clean: this phrase is used to refer to the subjective, internal motivation toward obedience. To obey God & reverence His word is clean, & w/o defilement because it refines the person and purges away all defilement.
F. His judgments are true & righteous altogether: This refers to the administration of His law, or execution of His will. God is honest & fair, He judges w/o partiality. (consider the sins of the “heroes” of the Bible).
III. The Effect of the Word: These verses also tell what the Word does for God’s people. What does the Word of God do for us?
A. It converts (restores) the soul .. Pulpit commentary says…The word employed, meshibah, is used of restoring from disorder and decay (Ps 80:19), from sorrow and affliction (Ruth 4:15), from death (1 Kings 17:21,22). The Law, by instructing men, restores them from moral blindness to the light which is theirs by nature (Rom 1:19), and, as a further consequence, in many cases, restores them from sin to righteousness (from The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2001
B. It makes wise the simple .. Teaches us “how to..” “profitable for instruction in righteousness” The fool rejects the counsel of God’s word (wisdom) . Pulpit Commentary says this means enlightening their moral judgment. What should I do?
C. It rejoices the heart .. as one see purpose in life & finds the peace that God provides. Deals with affliction through comfort of scripture.
D. It enlightens the eyes .. gives a new perspective, and things begin to make sense.
E. Endures forever.. it does not become outdated or irrelevant. “of perpetual obligation” The precepts continue to apply and give meaning. It is alive & powerful- Hebrews 4:12 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a Discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
E. It is more valuable than gold; sweeter than honey… It is both invaluable and desirable.
1. It is by the word of God that the servant of God is warned of impending danger that he cannot foresee. He is able to prepare. This is valuable information. 2 Peter 3:10-12 – 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
2. If he is obedient, there is great reward. Do you agree with that statement? Are Christians who sacrifice to obey God better off?
3. We cannot know ourselves apart from God’s word.. “who can understand his errors? –
4. notice that David closes this psalm with a prayer – Psalms 19:12-14 – 12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. 13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
- God’s speech to us leads us to speak to God and place ourselves in His hands. The words of David’s prayer focus on an intense desire to be clean, pure, and innocent in God’s eyes. To be acceptable in word and heart. What else matters?