When the guys from Samara contacted us and said that they wanted to join us today, they asked if I would preach on one of my favorite Psalms, because they thought this would be a special encouragement to the men there and the pastors there who were gathered, and it is Psalm 19. Through the years I have preached many times o this psalm many places in the world. And it is certainly one of my favorites.
My problem with this psalm, however, is that we have a little bit of an abbreviated time this morning, and I don’t have an abbreviated message on it, but we’ll make do with whatever time we have. And again I want to say what a joy it is to have this service with our dear friends in Samara, and I’m happy to draw your attention to this psalm.
You could sort of divide my life up into little segments in which I have battled for the Word of God. The first great battle was over the inerrancy of Scripture. The inerrancy of Scripture – that is that it is without error. I spent about ten years in that battle on the Inerrancy Council. And the end of that was a Chicago statement on biblical inerrancy which has become the definitive statement on inerrancy. After battling over the issue of the inerrancy of Scripture, we then fought for a number of years on the completeness of Scripture, battling all of those new revelations and new visions and new words from the Lord that characterize the charismatic movement, and wrote on that subject extensively, and interacted, and engaged myself in trying to defend the fact that the Scripture is the only revelation of God, not to be diminished and not to be added to. Anybody adding to the Scripture is added the plagues that are in it.
An then there was the issue of the relevance of Scripture and is it really relevant. Psychology swept into the church, and the Scripture seemed to need to bow its knee to the relevancy of psychology. So, we were engaged in that.
And then it was the sufficiency of Scripture – is it really enough? Does it contain enough to do all that’s needed in the life of an individual?
And now there’s another war raging on the clarity of Scripture. There are many who say it’s not clear; we can’t know what it means, so let’s not get carried away trying to explain it.
It seems like, as Thomas Watson said, “The Devil is always trying to blow out the light of Scripture one way or another.” And there is in Psalm 19 this massive testimony to the glory and the power and the relevance, and the comprehensiveness, and the sufficiency, and the clarity of Scripture. And if anyone is going to live the Scripture and particularly going to preach the Scripture, you need to do so with this confidence in mind. And this text is the greatest summation of the power of the Word of God anywhere in the Bible. It is really a small, condensed version of Psalm 119, which has 176 verses saying essentially what this text says.
Now, I want to look, because our time is limited, beginning at verse 7. Beginning at verse 7. In the opening six verses, you have the revelation of God in creation. Verse 1, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” God has revealed Himself in creation every day, “Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; yet their – where their voice is not heard.”
In other words, God declares Himself in His creation every day and every night relentlessly. The vastness of the universe, all the life that it contains, all the laws that cause it to operate inexorably are a testimony and a manifestation of the glory of God.
He even goes on to talk about the sun moving from one end of the universe to the other. The sun has its own orbit and with it drags the entire solar system, this massive testimony to the existence of God, to His eternal power and Godhead as Romans 1 puts it.
This is general revelation, theologians call it. But beyond that is the necessity of special revelation. Only in special revelation can we know the gospel. General revelation is in the creation; special revelation is in the Scripture. In the Scripture. And we see that outlined for us beginning in verse 7, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear” – pure or clear – “enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.”
Six statements: two in verse 7, two in verse 8, and two in verse 9. Six titles for Scripture: law, testimony, precepts, commandment, fear, and judgments. Six characteristics of Scripture: it is perfect, sure, right, clear, clean, and true. Six effects: it restores the soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, enlightens the eyes, endures forever, and produces comprehensive righteousness. Here again, God with an astounding and supernatural economy of words sums up everything that needs to be said about the power and sufficiency, the comprehensiveness and completeness of Scripture.
I just want to take you through these six statements and then the responses that begin in verse 10. Notice please, first of all, that all six have the phrase “of the Lord.” Six times “of the Lord,” “of the Lord,” “of the Lord,” “of the Lord,” “of the Lord,” “of the Lord,” just in case someone might question the source. This is the Law of the Lord; this is the testimony of the Lord, and so forth. This has divine origin. It is the inspired revelation of the Lord God Himself.
And as you break it down and look at each of these phrases, you begin to accumulate a sense of the power and the greatness of Scripture. Take the first one in verse 7, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.” The word “Law” looks at Scripture as God’s Law for man’s conduct - how we are on this earth to live our lives.
If you will, this is sort of the manual on maximum human behavior. In other words, if you want to enjoy life in the fullest sense that God has designed it, then you follow His Law. His Law is the binding standard by which we are to live. He says it is perfect.
Many years ago, I looked that Hebrew word up and traced it around a bunch of lexicons, trying to figure out what was really there. I think I spent about three or four hours on that one word, and at the end of it all, I decided what it really means is perfect. That the translation was exactly accurate. But perfect has to be defined a little bit. Perfect not in the sense of flawless, although that is absolutely true, but perfect in the sense of completeness. That is to say it is all-sided. One lexicon calls it all-sided so as to cover all aspects of something. That is comprehensive; it leaves nothing out.
Its purity comes later in these statements. It is clean, and it is clear. Those are indications of its purity. But here it’s its comprehensiveness. It is sweeping and complete and leaves nothing out. The effect of this is to restore the soul. The word “restore” basically means to transform. In fact, it can mean to totally transform. And the word “soul” – nephesh –is in contrast to another word which means body. This means the inner person.
You could take the Hebrew word nephesh and trace it through the Old Testament, and you will find that in the typical English Bible, this word is translated by anywhere, depending on the version you’re using, from, say, 18 to 22 different English words. Sometimes “mind,” sometimes “person,” sometimes “soul,” but it always means the inner person. It always means the inner person, the eternal person, the you that never dies.
And so, what is the statement saying? Scripture – here called the Law of the Lord, that is one way to view it, that is one of the facets of the diamond of Scripture – looking at it as God’s instruction for man’s life. This is fully, complete, and comprehensive so as to totally transform the whole inner person. That’s what it’s saying. It is a sweeping statement about the Bible’s power to convert, to transform, to regenerate by the work of the Spirit of God through its own testimony.
First Peter 1 says that we have been begotten again by the Word of Truth. Romans 10:17 says that we are saved when we hear the word concerning Christ. And so, when we preach, we preach the Word, because the Word alone has the power to totally transform the whole inner person. That’s why Paul said in Romans 1, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” And as noted earlier, Hebrews 4:12, “The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing in and splitting open the inner man, revealing sin, producing conviction and guilt as well as restoring and converting.” Nothing has the power of the Word of God - no story, no human insight, no philosophy; the Word is the only power that can totally transform the whole inner person.
Whenever I think about that, I think of a man named Tim Evalina. Tim Evalina. This is a number of years ago. I was preaching in Sebring, Florida, and it was a radio rally for Grace to You. We’re on a lot of stations in Florida, and I was having just a great time ministering the Word. And afterwards, this gentleman came up to me. He was relatively young – in his 30s – and shook my hand and said, “My name is Tim Evalina, and I’d like to tell you my story. Do you have a few minutes?”
I said, “Sure.”
We sat down on the front row of the church, and he unfolded this story. He said, “I’m a fifth generation Jehovah’s Witness. My father is in charge of the Jehovah’s Witness movement in the state of Florida, and my responsibility is to train all the Jehovah’s Witness ministers. That’s what I do. My whole family’s in it. I have a couple of brothers that are in it. They’re married, and their children are in it; my children are in it; my wife is in it. We’re all Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
He said, “And we’ve had a very traumatic thing happen to us.” He said, “It was just a couple of months ago that I was driving across Florida, and I turned on my radio, and you were preaching. I didn’t know who you were,” he said. “But you said Jesus is God, and we don’t believe that. So, I reached down and turned the radio off. But then I was curious, so I turned it back on.”
“This was on a Monday, and I was going from Jehovah’s Witness place to place to do the training I do with these leaders. And you said Jesus is God, and then you began to explain how the Bible makes that clear. And I listened to the whole program, and you said you were going to do that all during the week.” So, we’re – as I said, we’re on everywhere in Florida. “So, everywhere I went, I found that station, and I listened five days, and it was all about the deity of Jesus Christ from Scripture.
“You said on Friday that you’re going to do the rest of the series the next week, so I listened all five days the next week. Ten days I heard you preach on the deity of Christ. On Friday I was staying in a motel in my travel. I got on my face before God, on my bed, and I said, ‘O God, Jehovah that I thought I’d been serving, if you are truly Jesus Christ incarnate – God incarnate – please may I know that in my heart.’”
And he said, “The truth burst upon me, and I wept, and I committed my life to Jesus Christ, and I was saved that Friday in that motel.”
Now, if I asked you, “How do you reach somebody who is a false teacher, who is a trainer of false teachers; how do you approach them,” what would you say? I’ll tell you how to approach them. Just pound into their minds the biblical truth that Jesus is God and let the Word do its work. And by the power of the Spirit, it did its work.
He said, “My conversion became an instant problem. Now,” he said, “I have to go back and retrain everybody. This is not going to be well received.” He said, “I’ve already been excommunicated from my family. But,” he said, “I am going back to place to place to place and say, ‘I’ve come to faith in Christ as the incarnate God. We’re wrong, and the Bible makes it clear.’” He said, “Please pray for my wife and my children and my brothers and their children.”
Well, it was a few months I got a letter from him saying they’d all come to Christ. So, a huge dent was put in the JW movement in Florida. Massive proportions.
This is only one illustration, and my life is filled with so many of the power of the Word of God to totally transform someone, no matter how profoundly buried they are in satanic deception. I’ve lived out the reality of that. A long, long time I have been watching the Word do this, and it has vindicated itself throughout all my life of preaching. It has the power to totally transform the whole inner person. Every preacher has to believe that. And when I hear a preacher preach the Word of God, I know he believes that. And when I hear a preacher preach anything else, I know he doesn’t believe that no matter what he claims. It’s not what you say that is the proof of – not what you claim that is the proof of what you believe, it’s how you preach.
Second in verse 7, the Scripture is looked at not as the Law of the Lord but as the testimony of the Lord. And Scripture is the testimony of the Lord; it’s God’s self-revelation. We talk about a testimony meaning personal witness to one’s own experience. You go to court, and you give a testimony. You come to a fellowship group or a Bible study, you give your testimony. It’s your personal experience regarding God. Well, here’s God’s testimony. This is God’s own testimony to Himself. It is His own revelation, and how wonderful it is that you have God revealed here.
In fact, as I prepare to preach and study the Word of God, I’m always looking for the revelation of God in every text, in every verse, in every phrase, in every word, because that’s what the Bible is. It is God’s self-disclosure. How wonderful that God has revealed Himself in such a grand way, such a large way, 66 books - 39 in the old, 27 in the new - all revealing truth about God to us so that we may know our God and rest securely in His self-revelation as truth.
The testimony of the Lord is sure. It’s characteristic; it is sure. That is it is reliable; it is trustworthy. And there are a lot of books in the world you cannot trust. And in fact, in any book there is going to be an error, any book written by any man any time. And here is a word from the Lord that is absolutely reliable. And what is the impact of this? It makes wise the simple. This is just a profound and yet simple statement. It makes wise the simple.
Let me talk about “simple” for a minute. Simple is a word in the Hebrew that basically means ignorant. It means one without understanding, one who does not know. But it has a concrete idea to it that I think is fascinating. It basically comes from a root that means an open door. Hebrew is a pretty concrete language, unlike Greek, which is a little more esoteric and philosophical and theoretical. Hebrew is very concrete as opposed to being abstract. And the idea of being simple-minded is the idea of an open door. Do you ever hear people say, “Well, I’m open-minded”? That’s a public statement of ignorance.
People say, “I am an agnostic.” Right? One who does not know – agnostos — gnōsis, one who does not know. “I am an agnostic.” Well, you might want to remind them the Latin equivalent is ignoramus. You rarely hear someone say, “I am an ignoramus.” It’s the same word. What does it mean? The door is open on their brain; everything goes in and everything goes out. It is the inability to discern. It is the inability to distinguish. It is the inability to separate. You shouldn’t be proud of that. To say you’re open-minded – a Hebrew would say to you, “Well, close the door. You need to know what to keep in and what to keep out.” You have a door on your house for that reason. You keep it closed to keep some things in – like children, and heat, and air conditioning, and whatever. You open it only when you want to let something or someone in. The door is a point of discrimination; it’s a point of discretion; it’s a point at which you distinguish. And to be careful about your door, you probably have a whole in it that you can look through to help you in your discerning about who’s going to get in and who’s not.
It’s like your mind. You shouldn’t be proud that you let everything in and everything out. Close the door. The Word of God does that for you; it teaches you discernment; it teaches you discrimination. It teaches you to distinguish. This is critical in producing wisdom. It takes the simple and makes the simple wise – chakam in Hebrew. What does that mean? It doesn’t mean wise in ideas; it is skilled in all manner of living. That’s what it means: skilled in all manner of living. It makes you skilled at life.
It’s not just theoretical. It is truth in the mind, but it’s truth in the mind that shows up the life. We’re not talking about spinning off theories here; we’re talking about knowing what is right, knowing what is true, and therefore living what is right and living what is true. There’s only one document that’s ever been placed into this human world that can totally transform your entire inner person for eternity, and only one document that will truly give you the skill to live life to the maximum point of blessing, and that is the Word of God.
I teach the Bible to people because there is no sanctification apart from it. There is no salvation apart from it, and there is no sanctification apart from it. Not only do you need to be transformed in your soul, but you need to be skilled in knowing the truth and living the truth so that you can bring glory to God and enjoy the fullness of His blessing.
Verse 8 gives us two more. The precepts of the Lord. This views the Bible as precepts, principles, doctrines, truths. It is God’s law for man’s conduct. It is God’s self-revelation. It is also principles, propositions. We like that word “propositions.”
Everybody says they believe the Bible. “Oh, I believe the Bible.” Jehovah’s Witnesses read the Bible, say they believe the Bible. Mormons read the Bible, say they believe the Bible. Liberals read the Bible. Everybody affirms the Bible to one degree or another. It’s not that you affirm the Bible, it’s what do you affirm the Bible teaches? And therefore, the truths of the Bible need to be stated propositionally. There’s a real resistance to that today, because that’s dogma; that’s doctrine. And for many people, that’s divisive.
But these are precepts, out of Scripture, out of its narratives, out of its doctrinal sections, out of its praise, out of its epistles comes doctrine, dogma, to be affirmed, propositional truth. And this is the Word of God. It sets down truths to be believed.
And it says, “The precepts of the Lord are right.” Now, the word “right” doesn’t mean right as opposed to wrong, although that’s obviously true. It’s really a word that means that they put you in a right direction; they send you in a right path. And there’s motion in all of this. Transforming the soul is movement; it’s not static. Sanctification, making a person who lacks discretion and lacks discrimination become skilled in all manner of living.
And the Word of God now sets you on a right path. “You Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path” – Psalm 119. It’s not only a lamp and a light, it is the path. “This is the way,” says the writer, “walk in it.” “There is a way which seems right unto a man; the ends thereof are the ways of death.” But this is the way you are to walk. Scripture’s testimony is that we are to walk in the precepts of the Word of God. This is about motion. This is about direction. And when you walk this way, verse 8, the result is rejoicing the heart. It is the path of joy. It is the path of joy.
This is all through Scripture. I don’t even have time to develop all of these things. But just listen to this. Colossians 3:16, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing, making melody in your heart to the Lord.” There is an exuberant Lord, there is an exuberant joy that throws you into celebration, and praise, and song, and thanksgiving when the Word is at work and you’re walking in its path. It is the right path. It is where you want to walk, and it produces joy.
“These things,” John says, “I write unto you that your joy may be full.”
Jeremiah says to God, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them” – Jeremiah 15:16 – “and Thy word was in me, the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” Nobody else listened to Jeremiah. Finally, they threw him in a pit to shut him up. Nobody listened, but just the word coming from God to him, in that horrible situation, was in his own heart joy. Joy.
And so, the Bible - the Word of God - sets forth those propositional truths that lay out the right path in which you’re walking produces joy. And I’m not talking about superficial happiness related to circumstances, happenstance; I’m talking about a deep-seated, profound, unassailable, untouchable joy because no matter what’s going on around you, you know your relationship to God is what it should be.
Verse 8 then says, “The commandment of the Lord.” This views the Word of God as commands. This is not a book of suggestions. This is not a book of good thoughts, nice ideas. This is commandment, and God is the sovereign king of the universe who has total authority over every life. We are even commanded to believe the gospel. We are commanded to repent. And every other instruction that comes to us is a command.
Scripture then is commandment. And the commandment of the Lord is clear. The word in Hebrew is “clear.” That is it is transparent; it is translucent; it is not opaque; it is not hard. And that’s why the effect of that is it enlightens the eyes. I’m going to talk about that tonight.
Those who say that the Word of God is not clear have a problem with this and a lot of other things. The Word of God is crystal clear. “A wayfaring man, though he be a fool, need not err.” “This is hidden from the worldly wise and prudent and,” Jesus said, “revealed unto babies.” And He said, “Unless you become as a little child, you can’t even enter the kingdom.” This is not some esoteric, gnostic, super-complex knowledge. Jesus said those kinds of things against the backdrop of a very complex, confusing, allegorical, mystical interpretation of the Old Testament being conducted by many of the rabbis of His time. The commandments are clear, otherwise they’re pointless commandments. How can God hold us responsible to obey what we can’t understand? To say the Bible isn’t clear is to then indict God as having set up an impossible situation where He is commanding us to do what isn’t clear. It is clear, enlightening the eyes. So clear. It makes everything too clear. Too clear. I’ll talk about that tonight, too. It’s too clear. It’s not that the Bible’s not clear; it’s that it’s so clear. These people who deny its clarity don’t like what it says. And in order to escape what is clear, they say it’s not clear.
How clear can it be? Well, let me just give you one illustration. I think of this again as I come here. It was a number of years ago. There was a family named the Romanowski family, and they were serving the Lord in Brigham City, Utah. Brigham City Bible Church. How’d you like to have a Bible church with Brigham Young’s name on it? That’s a little strange, but that was the name of the town. Hey were trying to reach Mormons for Christ. They had a son and two daughters – beautiful daughters and their son Kevin.
And they, in the summer, after school was out, decided to come to Southern California to enroll their oldest daughter at The Master’s College and to visit Grace Church. And this was a highlight, of course, for them, because they were so beleaguered in that little town, trying to reach Mormons. Such a tough ministry.
So, they packed their two daughters and their younger son Kevin, who was, I think, 10 or 12 – I can’t remember exactly – at that time. And because they were inveterate evangelists, they also brought two Italian foreign exchange students with them - who were on a foreign exchange program from Italy in the school there – who were not Christians. And they thought they’d be able to present Christ to them on the summer trip.
They all jumped in their wagon or van and headed down here. And they went out to The Master’s College on Saturday to register the oldest daughter, and the other one would be coming, I think, a year later to the college. And it was a happy day; it was a Saturday, and it was just before their Sunday to be here. And as they were pulling out onto Sierra Highway, for whatever reason, they went against a red light. And a truck, coming down the hill there at Placerita and Highway, hit the car, without applying his brakes, and catapulted the two girls out the back of it. And they were both killed instantly, lying in the middle of the street. The car was ignited on fire. The boys were smashed all over the place, were immediately taken to Henry Mayo Hospital because their injuries were very severe.
And the hit had been right behind the driver’s seat, the front seat, where John and Nora were sitting, and so they were spared the power and force of that full collision, although they were banged around and injured in superficial ways. I mean just an unbelievably stunning event in the middle of such a high point of life. And maybe, for some people, a strange reward for faithful service to the Lord in a very, very hard place. With all those noble, wonderful, and good intentions, your family is splattered all over the street, and two of them are gone.
I found out about it soon. I think it was my son, Mark, who saw the accident and gave us a call. And I talked to John as fast as I could get to him. And I’ll never forget this conversation. This is exactly how it went, to my recollection. I said, “John, I don’t know what to say; I have no words. Our hearts are all broken with yours.”
And he said – “Well,” he said, “I have several thoughts about this. First,” he said, “I keep thinking maybe it’s a dream, but I know that’s not true.” And then he said, “My sweeping thought was this, isn’t God good, that he took my two daughters that knew Christ and loved Christ and spared these two Italian boys that are unsaved? Isn’t God good?” And then he said this – he said, “You know, I wanted my girls to have a big church experience, and I wanted them to hear a big choir. I just didn’t think it would be heaven and the heavenly choir.”
That’s seeing things pretty clearly, isn’t it? Where do you get that kind of clarity in that kind of holocaust? They came to this church, stood right here and gave this congregation a testimony within a week or so after that accident. Went back home with just their son who recovered, over a number of weeks, from his injuries.
And John wrote me a little later and said, “We have had the greatest ministry ever here because of the testimony of our faith in Christ in the loss of those two girls.”
I’ll tell you something, folks, life can be pitch black for most people at that moment, but not for those who understand the Word. The psalmist said it again and again, “I have hope in Your Word; I have hope in Your Word. I see it; I get it. I know what it is to live; I know what it is to die in Christ. I know what it is to go to the glories of heaven. The Word of God is – no question about it – commandment. But it is commandment designed to give us clarity on all the dark things of life so that we live enlightened about these things. What a gift.
Verse 9 adds two more. “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever” is the first one and the fifth in our little list. The fear of the Lord. What is that? “Fear” is another word for reverence, awe, worship. The Bible is a manual on worship; it will tell you how to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. It will tell you how to worship the God who is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the God who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It defines the one to be worshiped and how He is to be worshiped. And He is not to be worshiped by graven images, and He is not to be worshiped as if He is an idol or some manmade thing. He is to be worshiped as the God who is spirit, who is eternal, who is the Creator, sustainer, and consummator of the universe. He is to be worshiped as the One who is all holy, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and immutable. It is the manual on worship, and we are called to worship. He has saved us “to make us true worshipers,” Jesus said, “who worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” Worship is so, so important.
The Bible is our manual on worship, and it is clean. That is it is without spot. It is without spot; it is without blemish. This is the testimony to Scripture’s inerrancy. It is clean. How do we know? It endures forever. It is a manual on worship that never changes. We are to worship God the way Abraham did, and the way Isaac did, and the way David did, and the way Moses did, and the way Elijah did, and the way Daniel did, and the way Ezra did, and the way the apostles did, and the way the apostle Paul did, and the way the early church did, and the way the great saints of history did.
It’s the same God and the same manual on worship. It always bothers me when I see some deal – new worship. What in the world is that? Give me old worship. I don’t mind changing the tunes. I don’t mind making some changes as we go along culturally. And I’ve been all over this world, and there are different ways to do it. But the content of our worship and the object of our worship is unchanging, and He doesn’t deserve superficiality. He deserves depth of worship that comes from a deep understanding of His revelation so we know who it is we worship and worship Him from the heart.
I’ve said this to young preachers for years, “Your worship will never be high unless you take your people deep.” The objective of the preacher is to go deep down into the truth, and that’s what produces transcendent worship. You can’t go high unless you go deep. And most people in evangelical churches live in the marginal, middle, and never think deeply about anything, and so their worship is manipulated and manufactured rather than from the heart, out of the depth of understanding. So, the Bible is the manual for worship. It is flawless, and that is why it lasts.
What kills? Why is there death in the world? Because of what? Sin. Anything touched by sin will die. The Word of God endures – how long? – forever. Not one jot, one tittle shall ever pass from this Law till all will pass, till all is fulfilled. And Jesus said, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but My Word will never pass away.” And that is a testimony to its purity. It is untouched by sin. And so, the Word of God endures forever as the manual for our worship.
Finally, “The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.” The judgments, states Scripture, as adjudication, is rendered by the great Judge of all the earth from the divine bench. It gives us God’s verdict on everything. It is decisive. God demonstrates His verdict. He says clearly where the righteous will go, and clearly where the unrighteous will go. And this Word of God contains all the divine verdicts on the human race, as well as on angels who fell. It is God’s adjudication from His bench on His creatures.
As such, it is true. It is true. I cannot emphasize that enough. I can preach a series on the fact of this one word. In a world of lies, in a world of deception, it is true; it is absolutely, unequivocally true. As a result, the phrase “they are righteous altogether” can be translated “it produces comprehensive righteousness.” It’s true, and its product is full-orbed righteousness. It’ll make the righteous all the righteous need to be. John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Thy truth; Thy Word is truth.” It is the one document that sanctifies and brings us to glory.
So much more to say. The Scripture is God’s Law, God’s testimony, God’s precepts, God’s commands, God’s fear, manual on worship, His judgments. It is perfect, comprehensive, sure, right, clear, clean, true – totally transforms a whole inner person, makes the undiscerning skilled in all aspects of living, produces an unassailable joy, makes the dark things light, endures forever. Every culture, every place, every age, every person finds it relevant. And it produces comprehensive righteousness.
Ask yourself what the heart desires. You know, if you just talk to people out there, just in general, people would like to be different. The unregenerate are not happy. Dissatisfied with their inability to overcome their own weakness, infirmity, sin, guilt. Destroyed relationships all around them as they live their life.
We can offer them, through the Word of God, a total transformation of the whole inner person. I think people would like to be wise. I think they would like to be able to figure life out. Only the Word of God will make the person discerning, discriminating with discretion and wisdom, able to make the choices in life that produce blessed results.
I think people want to be happy. The Word of God promises an unassailable joy. I think people want to see light in the midst of darkness. I think they want clarity. The Word of God promises that. How wonderful to have a document that is always relevant and always applicable and enduring forever. Unsullied source of truth – the Bible is that. How wonderful to be totally righteous, delivered form condemnation, fear, guilt. Only the Bible can do that.
As a result of all of this – look at verse 10 – “The words of God are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” This is more precious than any other thing. More to be desired than the best gold. Anything the world has to offer is the idea here. It is more precious than the best commodity the world has to offer. It is sweeter than the sweetest thing that life can bring. It is the best.
“Moreover” - it’s not just our greatest possession and our greatest pleasure - “by them Thy servant is warned.” It is our greatest protection, the Word is. And not just that, it is our greatest provider, because in keeping the words of Scripture, verse 11 says, “There is a great reward.”
“Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I shall be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.” It is also the greatest purifier. It washes away sin. It is your greatest possession; it is your greatest pleasure; it is your greatest protection. Your greatest Provider produces the great eternal reward.
It is the greatest purifier, and that is why the psalm ends this way, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”
You say, “How is that connected?”
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” What he’s simply saying is, “The words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart have to be about” – what? – “Scripture.”
He’s referring back – and we’ll close with this – to Joshua. Joshua 1:8 - listen to this - “This book of the Law” – the Scripture – “shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night.” So, this book of the Law doesn’t depart from your mouth, and you meditate on it day and night. And that’s exactly what he just said, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight.” And what is an acceptable word and an acceptable meditation? That which is directed to this book of the Law “so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; then you will make your way prosperous; then you will have success.” Talk the Word and meditate on the Word all the time, and then you will be acceptable in the sight of God who is your rock and your Redeemer. Let’s pray.
We remember the words of Psalm 138:2, O God, which says that You have exalted Your Word even as high as Your name, for Your word is truly a revelation of Your very holy person.
We thank You for the power of the Word. We thank You for faithful preachers of the Word and faithful believers who live the Word and proclaim the Word. We thank You for the preachers who are being trained in Samara, and we pray now, O God, that they will go out as a mighty force for the glory of the Word of God, which is the glory of God Himself.
Thank You for the preparation to preach this great, glorious Word. May we all be faithful to its proclamation and obedience to it we pray in Christ’s name, amen.
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