by Ken Yates
In my last blog, I discussed how God has revealed things about Himself in creation. The first part of Psalm 19 talks about this revelation, which is often called “general revelation.”
It must be said that there is a limit to what a person can know about God from creation. You certainly cannot know if you can have a relationship with whoever created all things. You cannot know anything about the possibility of eternal life or a bodily resurrection. This list could be extended greatly.
David, the writer of Psalm 19, recognizes these things. After speaking about general revelation in the first part of Psalm 19, he devotes the last part to talk about another way in which God has revealed Himself to mankind. It is through His Word. The Scriptures are often called God’s “special revelation.” Special revelation tells us things about God that we cannot learn from His creative work.
What I find fascinating about David’s statements about the Word of God is how that even though he only had part of the Old Testament, his statements have direct parallels to New Testament teachings, which would come centuries later.
The first thing is that when David starts talking about the value of the Scriptures he changes the word for “God.” When he spoke about the powerful God of creation, he used the word “El.” When he talks about the God who has revealed Himself in His word, he uses the word “Yahweh.” This word for God emphasizes the One who has a personal relationship with His people. His Word tells us how this can be a reality.
In verses 7-9, David uses different phrases to describe the Word of God. He says there are no errors in it (perfect). It is able to give live (converting the soul). It is able to make a person wise, that is, telling us how to live. It is “right,” or direct, telling us which path to walk on.
It can bring joy (rejoicing the heart). It “enlightens the eyes,” which means it gives us spiritual understanding in the midst of the spiritually dark world in which we live. The word of God can produce in us an appropriate “fear of the Lord.” While serving God because of our love for Him may indeed be the best motivation, sometimes we should obey because of the potential discipline of the Lord in our lives.
We also know from the Word of God that the decisions, or “judgments,” of the Lord are always just—they are “true and righteous.” This is the case when He judges sin, when He gives eternal life by faith in Christ, when He disciplines His people, or whatever He decides.
David says, in essence, that the Word of God tells us how to experience life, have fellowship with God, how to live, how to have joy, how to walk in the light instead of darkness and see reality as it is, and that we can trust whatever God does.
In the last part of the Psalm David says that the Word of God also helps us with our sins. It warns us about the consequences of sin (v. 11). It also tells us that by obedience to God’s Word there is “great reward.” I cannot help but ask how much David knew about rewards in the coming Kingdom of God as well! In addition, the Word of God will help us from being enslaved to the power of sin (v. 13).
It is easy to see the direct parallels in the New Testament. Jesus said that following His teachings is walking on the right path. He says that such a life is a wise life. The New Testament is full of the negative consequences (for believers) of disobedience and the great reward for obedience, both in this life and the world to come. John tells us in 1 John (and other writers of the New Testament as well) that believers have fellowship with God when they obey Him. Obedience is wise and allows Christians to live in the light.
The power of God is on display in the things He has created. But how valuable is the revelation of Himself in His word. No wonder David says its value is more than “fine gold.” The taste of it should be considered by His people as “sweeter than honey.” (v. 10) We who have the New Testament should feel that way to an even greater degree. May we be people who read and study it!
(Image Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_klenova’>klenova / 123RF Stock Photo</a>)