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Devoted to the Word


      What would you do if you received a letter from the President (a president you liked)? Or perhaps the Queen of England? Would you keep it where you could refer to it? Would you frame it and put it on your wall so others could see it? Now imagine you received a letter from the most powerful person in existence. What would you do with that? We have received just that. Examine Psalm 19:1-6. David speaks about how glorious God is. He is the Creator of the heavens. He is the Creator of day and night. The sun, as powerful as it is, is the handiwork of God. This is the one who has given us the Scripture. What an amazing “letter” it is? Examine Psalm 19 with me to see what the Scripture is and what it does for us. In fact, when we have the faith that David had about God’s Word, it will be “more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (vs. 10).


I.         Vs. 7a: “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.”

A.      While we should not make a big deal about the different synonyms used to describe God’s word, each one does shed a different shade of meaning regarding God’s word.

B.     The law of the Lord…: As David begins he uses the comprehensive term that describes the entirety of God’s revealed will. II Timothy 3:16 is reminiscent of the meaning of this phrase. “All scripture is inspired by God…” While David was speaking of the Old Covenant, from our perspective, this would refer to the entirety of Scripture.

C.     …is perfect…: God’s law, in its entirety is blameless, the perfect revealed will of God. It is without blemish. As it is complete, blameless and perfect, it can make us so. See Psalm 18:30, 32. The same word is translated blameless here. Also, compare again with II Timothy 3:16-17 in which we learn the Scriptures can make us perfectly furnished for every good work.

D.     …restoring the soul…: When we read this language in Psalm 23:3, we are moved and thankful for our Shepherd. We may miss the fact that God’s tool to restore, refresh and renew our souls is His Word. Those times when Satan has beaten us down, when we are tired and distressed. Jesus is the Shepherd who will lead and guide us and He does so through His word. His word is truly more to be desired than fine gold or sweet honey.

II.       Vs. 7b: “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”

A.      The testimony of the Lord…: The Word is God’s testimony. Repeatedly in Job, Job asked God to defend and explain Himself. In the end of Job, God basically told Job he lacked understanding and needed to simply submit. Job repented (Job 42:1-6). However, God has testified to us. He has explained Himself. He has done so in His word. We might ask preachers or theologians to explain God. However, if we really want to know God, spend time in His personal testimony.

B. sure…: Psalm 93:5 demonstrates the meaning of this. Here, the term is translated “confirmed.” Just as we put any witness’s testimony to the test to see if it is sure, true, established and confirmed. So has God’s word been put to the test and found sure. Psalm 111:7 demonstrates this as well. God’s precepts are sure, they are upheld forever. His Word may be ancient but it endures faithfully forever. It is just as much the foundation for our lives as it was for our early counterparts. Consider I Peter 1:22-2:3.

C.     ...making wise the simple.: II Timothy 3:15 says the Scripture will give us wisdom leading to salvation. However, to receive this wisdom, we have to have poverty of spirit (Matthew 5:3) recognizing how simple we are and how wise God is. Consider what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1:18-25. Further, God’s wisdom is what allows us, simple and weak though we are, to be strengthened with God’s power to walk in a proper manner, pleasing God and bearing fruit, attaining steadfastness and patience in Christ (Colossians 1:9-12). God’s word is truly more to be desired than fine gold and sweet honey.

III.      Vs. 8a: “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.”

A.      The precepts of the Lord…: From Psalm 119 we receive the picture that God’s precepts are God’s directions. Notice a few of the verses that mention God’s precepts in that Psalm. “Make me understand the way of your precepts” (vs. 27). “I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word” (vss. 100-101). “Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way” (vs. 128). God’s word is the road map for our lives. It lights the way as Psalm 119:105 says.

B.     ...are right…: Repeatedly this word is translated “upright” (cf. Psalm 119:137). One interesting translation is in Psalm 107:7, where it is translated “straight.” God’s directions correct. If you have ever asked for directions from more than one person at once, you have probably seen an argument break out. “That’s not how you get there. Well, I mean I guess you could go that way but it is way out of the way. This is how you want to go.” “No, they closed that road, remember.” And on it goes. But God’s precepts, God’s directions are right. They are the straight path between where we are and where we want to be.

C.     ...rejoicing the heart.: Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). The word of God provides the comfort and gladness we look for when we mourn over our sins. God’s word is what contains the promises of hope and the precepts that direct our steps to receive God’s comfort and joy. With each story, each promise, each passage we are comforted by the love and grace of God and we are taught how to experience that. God’s word is indeed more to be desired than fine gold and sweet honey.

IV.    Vs. 8b: “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

A.      The commandment of the Lord…: This term demonstrates the authority of God and His word. He is our creator (remember vss. 1-6). As such, He has the authority to command us how to act and live. His word is not just friendly advice. It is a directive we must follow. While it does demonstrate God’s love for us, we must not view it just as a “love letter” saying He doesn’t care how we live, He just loves us. We must recognize His word is His command for our lives.

B.     …is pure…: Sadly, not everyone who commands us has our best interests at heart. They are manipulative and self-centered. God’s commands, however, are pure and clean. If we follow them, we will be pure of heart and hand.

C.     …enlightening the eyes.: In Psalm 13:3, David used this very phrase to refer to strength and life being give from God. David had felt abandoned by God and experienced the sorrow. He prayed and asked God to enlighten his eyes, lest he die. It is the commandment of God that produces life. Sadly, too many view commandments as restriction and death. We often have a natural tendency to rebel against a command just because it is a command. But God’s commands bring life. Further, note Ephesians 1:18 in which Paul prays that the eyes of our heart be enlightened. That helps us know the hope of our calling, the riches of the glory of our inheritance in Christ and the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. No wonder the word gives life. God’s word is indeed more to be desired that fine gold and sweet honey.

V.      Vs. 9a: “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.”

A.      The fear of the Lord…: This is perhaps the oddest synonym in this list. How does “fear of the Lord” apply to the word? David is using metonymy. Instead of speaking directly of the word, he refers to the reaction those who read it should have. Note Psalm 119:38: “Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence (fear) for You.” Proverbs 1:29 connects knowledge and wisdom with choosing the fear of the Lord. In fact, Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” In our society, we don’t like to talk about the fear of the Lord. We might dismiss this statement if it came from one of the prophets who constantly berated the Israelites for their sins and encouraged them to fear God lest they be judged. We might dismiss it then saying that it is about the Old Testament. But this is David, the “sweet singer of Israel,” the man after God’s own heart, the lover of God. Psalm 18:1; 26:8; 31:23—David knew the love of God. David, because of his time in the word and his experience with God, loved the Lord. But he recognized that the word of God should cause us to fear God, bowing down in absolute reverence and awe at His power and judgment.

B.     …is clean…: The purity of the last verse had to do with sincerity. This term is used most often in scripture to refer to that which is ceremonially or morally clean. Interestingly, however, in Psalm 12:6 David said, “The words of the Lord are pure (clean) words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.” All impurities have been burned out of the gold of God’s word.

C.     …enduring forever.: Because of its lack of corruption, the word remains. Despite the attacks upon it from without (and sometimes within), the message of God endures. It brought salvation when it was written and it brings salvation now. Again, we take note of I Peter 1:22-25. Further, the word that led us to salvation will not change. God does not change His opinion and leave us out in the cold. The word of God is indeed more to be desired than fine gold or sweet honey.

VI.    Vs. 9b: “The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.”

A.      The judgments of the Lord…: The word of God represents the decisions of God. As we bring our issues before a worldly judge to tell us how to act or react in certain situations, so God has pronounced His judgments. He has stated His judicial decisions about the situations in which we find ourselves. Further, He is the Judge and has the authority to pronounce these decisions.

B.     …are true…: Sadly, with worldly judges, we have to deal with politics. They will sometimes judge in a way they don’t even believe in order to maintain popularity and be advanced in their political careers. But not so with our heavenly Judge. His judgments are true. They are faithful. They are right. God is impartial and is unconcerned with popularity. We can trust that His decisions about our lives are right. As Abraham stated, the Judge of all the earth will do right (Genesis 18:25).

C.     …they are righteous altogether.: David completes his statement of devotion to God’s word by recognizing that each of God’s judgments is righteous. There are not some that are unrighteous. They are all right. There may be some we do not care for. There may be some that do not please us as much as the others, but David understood that all of God’s judgments and decisions for our lives, revealed through God’s word are right and exactly what we need to follow. God’s word is indeed to be desired more than fine gold and sweet honey.


      As David concluded his look at God’s word, he said, “Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (vs. 11). He then goes on to demonstrate that God’s word will help us overcome “hidden faults” and “presumptuous sins.” Through God’s word sin will no longer rule over us, but rather we will be blameless and even acquitted of great transgression. Finally, how can the “words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable” in God’s sight? No doubt when the meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth are from and based on God’s word. Then will the Lord be our rock and our redeemer. Considering what the word of God is, how can we be anything but devoted to it, allowing God to deliver us? God’s word is not a checklist item for us to make sure to get in a good reading every day. God’s word is absolutely necessary to knowing how we ought to live each day, knowing how to fight the good fight and overcoming the attacks of Satan through the grace of God. Let us keep God’s ordinances before us and never put them away from us (Psalm 18:22).


Glory to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Franklin Church of Christ