Psalm 19: Declaring what the Bible IS and DOES


Sam Storms on Psalm 19 (from Enjoying God Ministries):

The power of the Word of God is perhaps nowhere better seen than in Psalm 19. There we find six declarations that tell us what the Bible IS and DOES: 6 nouns, 6 adjectives, 6 verbs. The focus is on the identity, the quality, and the function of Scripture.

First, “the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul” (v. 7a).

identity – “law” = lit., instruction, in whatever form God sends it;

quality – “perfect” = whole, complete, lacking defect of any kind;

function – “restoring the soul” = it renews, refreshes, and brings the soul back to where it belongs.

Second, “the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (v. 7b).

identity – “testimony” = Scripture is God’s own witness to who he is and what he requires of us;

quality – “sure” = true in principle and verifiable in life’s situations;

function – “making wise the simple” = the Bible takes the undiscerning and naive and gullible person and makes him/her wise. “Every fork in the road does not have a biblical arrow” (Piper, 123). We need wisdom for decision-making. It comes from Scripture. He who is immersed in the Word is equipped to choose wisely where no explicit direction is found.

Third, “the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (v. 8a).

identity – “precepts” = rules, regulations, guidelines for living; cf. Ps. 119:16,97,111; Jer. 15:16;

quality – “right” = never wrong; always can be counted on to provide truth and accuracy;

function – “rejoicing the heart” = if your heart needs joy, dive into God’s word.

Fourth, “the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (v. 8b).

identity – “commandment” = do’s and don’ts;

quality – “pure” or “radiant” (NIV) = devoid of sin or malice or corrupting influence;

function – “enlightening the eyes” = it brings understanding so that we can see how to live, what to do, etc.

Fifth, “the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever” (v. 9a).

identity – “fear of the Lord” = a reference to the fear of God that the Bible produces in us;

quality – “clean” = both in terms of its essence and its impact on our hearts;

function – “enduring forever” = its power and purpose never end; we can always count on God’s Word to do its work; God’s Word does not change with the seasons or with fashions; it is always “in”!

Sixth, “the judgments of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether” (v. 9b).

identity – “judgments” = divine decisions about human conduct;

quality – “true” = never false; never off the mark; the only barometer for reality;

function – “righteous altogether” = the Word of God provides us with the standard of righteousness; no guesswork.

Note also from Psalm 19 that the Word of God is that which brings to us satisfaction and joy and delight, so that we will not be enticed and tempted by the passing pleasures of sin:

They (i.e., the laws, precepts, commandments of God’s Word) are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (vv. 10-11).

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