How is your personal Bible reading going? For some of you, all the chaos in 2020 drove you to deeper reading of the Word. For others, you dropped off completely. If that is the case, let me invite you to again pick up daily devotional reading of the Word of God. For the Christian, this is not only a duty, but a privilege and delight. It is entirely beneficial. If you need some encouragement in this, let me refer you to Psalm 19. Written by David, this Psalm demonstrates that God is revealed generally in Creation, but even more clearly and wonderfully in the Scriptures. In verses 7-9, he describes the glory of the Word and the benefits we receive from it.
The Beauty of God’s Word
‘The law of the Lord is perfect, Not many things are perfect. Even when we ascribe perfection to things like a photograph, a well-cooked steak, or human beauty, we know we are speaking in hyperbole. Even creation is tainted by sin, under a curse. It is good, but not perfect. The law of God is perfect. It is without error. The word of God is infallible, inerrant, perfectly designed to accomplish its purpose.
The testimony of the Lord is sure. Not many things are sure in this world. It is a common plot device in stories that a person gets into trouble who bets on a supposed ‘sure thing’. Not many things are completely trustworthy. You’ve been let down by everyone in your life at some point. But God’s word is sure, truthful, and trustworthy. What he has said is accurate, what he has predicted will come to pass, what he has promised he will fulfill. You can count on it. You can bet on it.
The precepts of the Lord are right. The moral standards of the Law are right. They are more than wise, helpful, and practical; they are right. When we come into conflict with God’s command, we are in the wrong. We are the ones who need adjusting and updating, not his word. And boy do we need our thinking corrected. The Word teaches us to think of God, the world, each other, and ourselves rightly.
The commandment of the Lord is pure. Even when we read books written by Christian authors, we must still read with caution because they are still sinful men and women who can make errors and lead us into error. Listening to preachers expound the Word, men whom you trust, you must be careful, because such men are broken vessels and make mistakes. But you should have no fear of that with the Word of God. It is pure. You can read it knowing that you are getting the unmixed, untainted truth.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. Here I think the Psalmist departs a bit from the description of the Word itself and focuses on what it produces in us: a fear of the Lord. And this fear is clean. It sets our life’s path on the right track. Fear of the Lord purifies the heart and endures forever. While the ceremonies of the Old Testament law (sacrifices, rituals, smoke and incense, bread and grain offerings, etc.) have passed away, the fear of the Lord they taught will endure forever.
The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. Those who hate God see his rules as burdensome, unjust, and distasteful. Or they seem to like some and hate others. David takes the Law of God as a whole and says it is true and altogether righteous. God will never be ashamed of a single word he has written. Neither should we – God’s Word is is perfect, pure, good, right, true, and altogether righteous. It is inscribed in the heavens forever.
The Benefit of God’s Word
He goes on to describe four benefits those who listen to God’s word and believe it will receive. The Word of God:
- Revives the soul. The Word gives life. Those who believe the promises have life. The way to salvation, forgiveness, and reconciliation to God are contained within.
- Makes wise the simple. The Word gives wisdom. Those who take care to listen and obey become wise, and not just wise in their own eyes. They become skilled at living.
- Rejoices the heart. The Word gives encouragement. How often have you gone to the Scriptures during a difficult season simply to be encouraged and consoled?
- Enlightens the eyes. The Word gives knowledge. It shows us who God is, who we are, why things are the way they are, and how things will be. God tells us the truth in his Word.
May this reminder from Psalm 19 give you inspiration and encouragement to take up reading, believing, and obeying God’s very good Word!