Well, tonight we return to the subject “The Sufficiency of Scripture.” It is Job who said, “I have esteemed the words of God’s mouth more than my necessary food.” That is to say what Jesus said in the New Testament, “We don’t live by brad alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” “Taking in the Word of God,” said Job, “is more important than eating food.”
The apostle Paul said that the church is built on the Scriptures that came through the apostles and the prophets, Ephesians 2:20. Life in the church is built on the Word of God. It is the life of the church; it is the food of every individual believer.
Thomas Watson, one of my favorite and most believed of the Puritans, was a very eloquent writer. He gave in his writings many tributes to the Bible. In one of them, he said this, “Scripture is a beam of the sun of righteousness. It is a crystal stream flowing from the fountain of life, so pure that it purifies everything else.” Thomas Watson also wrote this, “The Devil and his agents have been blowing at Scripture light, but could never blow it out, a clear sign that it is lighted by heaven.”
So, on the one hand, we have the affirmation that the Scripture is indeed the Word of God. It is our food. It is the truth upon which the work of God depends, and, at the same time, it is that which is under constant assault by the enemy of God, the enemy of God’s purposes - the Devil and all who are a part of his kingdom.
In any period of time, Scripture will be under attack. In any period of time, in any place, it will be blown at by those who want to extinguish its light. We find that going on throughout all the history of the church. We find it going on even today. We have to rise up to understand those who would assault the Scripture, and we have to rise to its defense.
We are living in a time, as I pointed out in our last study together, when the sufficiency of Scripture is under unique assault. The move to psychology as a necessary component in solving man’s problems indicates that the Bible, in itself, is not enough. The search for methods found in the world’s economics and the world’s businesses, and the world’s techniques, and the world’s strategies to apply in building the church, or an indication that the Scripture itself is not enough for the life and growth and expansion of the church. The demand for political power as the key to the church’s influence, as the key to revival in a society and in a culture is testimony to the fact that among some people the Bible itself is not sufficient. The cry for miracles, the cry for signs and wonders and new revelations and supernatural activities is another indication that the Bible, in and of itself, is not enough to demonstrate the great power of God. The invention of a synthetic gospel - a pop gospel of prosperity, and indulgence, and sensuality, and success, and self-fulfillment, and self-indulgence is another testimony to the fact that there is a lack of confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture to do its work of changing lives. All of these really are a demonstration of the tragic worldliness of the church.
When the church has to design its ministry around non-biblical things, it has abandoned its confidence in the Word of God and thus has brought reproach upon God who Himself affirms the absolute sufficiency of His Word. It forces us to ask this substantially foundational question, “Is the Scripture enough?” Is it enough to do the work of evangelism? Is it enough to do the work of sanctification? Is it enough to solve the problems of the human heart? Is it enough to build and extend and advance the church, or do we need to concede that the Scripture has its limitations that have to be overcome by psychology, by human wisdom and strategy, by political clout, by new revelations, and by wonders and signs? Do we have to somehow overcome the stigma of the gospel by inventing a more popular message that will be acceptable to people? Is the Bible so lacking in its own power and sufficiency that we have to apply human wisdom and human technique to help God overcome the natural resistance of a fallen world?
Well, the answer to that question about the sufficiency of Scripture is given by God Himself in Psalm 19. Let’s return to Psalm 19. In fact, there are many, many places in the Scripture where its own sufficiency is attested – more than one could exposit probably in a lifetime. But here is one that is a great and rich and comprehensive summation. Here is God’s own witness, God’s own revelation as to the sufficiency of Scripture. Psalm 19. And we’re looking at verses 7 through 14. Let me read them for you.
“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 pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They 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. 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. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”
As I mentioned to you last time, the opening six verses of Psalm 19 have to do with God’s revelation in creation, God’s revelation in nature. We call that general revelation.
From verse 7 on, it is special revelation, God’s revelation in Scripture – in the Bible. God’s revealed Word. God has revealed Himself in creation so that it may be known that He exists and that He is powerful and that He is wise, and many of the attributes of God, of course, are on display in creation. But nothing in creation tells us how God may be known. And nothing in creation tells us specifically what His will for man is, and therefore, we turn to special revelation. And God gives testimony to the sufficiency of this special revelation, this inscripturated revelation here in these verses.
First of all, the sufficiency of Scripture, verses 7 to 9; then the value of Scripture, verses 10 to 13; and finally our subsequent commitment to Scripture in verse 14.
Now, we are looking at verses 7 through 9, the sufficiency of Scripture. I remind you only briefly that there are parallels in these three verses. Six statements are made, two in each verse, that are parallel to each other. They all have six titles for Scripture. They all have six characteristics of Scripture, and each one gives six benefits of Scripture. Scripture is called, in verse 7, “law and testimony”; in verse 8, “precepts and commandment”; in verse 9, “fear and judgments.” Those are titles for Scripture. Looking at it as a many-faceted diamond, it is all of those things. It is God’s Law, God’s testimony, God’s precepts, God’s commandment, God’s fear, and God’s judgments revealed.
And there are six characteristics. In verse 7, it is “perfect and sure.” In verse 8, it is “right and pure.” In verse 9, it is “clean and true.” And then there are six effects or benefits. It restores the soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, enlightens the eyes, endures forever – and the final one in verse 9, it produces comprehensive righteousness. This then provides a complete understanding of the magnitude of the sufficiency of Scripture.
And by the way, we are reminded as to who the Author is six times: it is of the Lord, of the Lord, of the Lord, of the Lord, of the Lord, of the Lord. There is no mistaking the Author of Scripture. It is divine. Six times the covenant name of Yahweh is used, and He is clearly the one who is the source of this inscripturated revelation.
Now, as we began last time, we looked at the opening three, and I would just review them briefly. “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.” That is to say that Scripture can be viewed as God’s Law for man’s conduct. It is the manual on behavior. It is the Torah, divine instruction for man’s life. And as such, it is perfect – meaning it is comprehensive, meaning it is full, meaning nothing is left out. It is perfect as opposed to incomplete, not perfect as opposed to imperfect. It’s not saying that it’s flawless, although it is that, but rather that it is completely, comprehensively sufficient. For what? For restoring the soul. The word “restoring” – transforming, converting, renewing the soul – nephesh – the inner person. The Scripture then is comprehensive, totally sufficient, to completely transform the whole inner person. That is to say it is all that is necessary to produce total, complete transformation. It saves. It is the power of God to save.
Remember the words of Peter, “We are begotten again by the Word.” By the Word. It is able to convert; it is able to transform. It is sharper than any other sword. It is a two-edged sword that cuts the heart completely open and produces conviction and conversion. It is the Word of God which alone saves. It does not need any assistance in doing that.
We made a comparison also with some comments in Psalm 119 that enrich this statement, and we’ll do the same as we compare Psalm 119 with the other points. The second point we made here is to - look at verse 7 again – the testimony of the Lord views Scripture as God’s own personal testimony, God’s own self-revelation. It is His Law; it is also His self-revelation. As such, it is sure. In a world of things that are not sure, not reliable, this is utterly and absolutely unwaveringly, unmistakably, accurate and true. And as such, as the true and accurate, reliable testimony of God, it is able to take the simple – meaning those who lack understanding, lack wisdom, those who are naive, undiscerning, undiscriminating, foolish – and make them wise. Wise, in Hebrew, means skilled in all areas of living, skilled in the practical aspects of holy living.
Scripture, then, is sufficient to save. It is sufficient to sanctify, to take one and make that one wise, skilled in all practical aspects of holy living. It is all that is necessary for salvation; it is all that is necessary for the sanctification that is produced by the intake and the application of divine wisdom.
Thirdly, in verse 8, Scripture is seen as the precepts of the Lord – precepts meaning doctrines, if you will - statues some translations have - that is principles for life and godliness, divine principles. It is filled with principles, he says, that are right. Literally, in the Hebrew, “that set the right path.” Principles for walking down the right path. And as one walks in those principles, the effect is rejoicing the heart. True joy fills the inner person.
And so, we find that Scripture is sufficient to produce salvation; sanctification; and true, lasting, heart contentment and joy. We don’t need voices from angels. We don’t need conversations with the supernatural. We don’t need visions and miracles. We don’t need mystical kinds of imaginations and intuitions to be lead by God. We need only His Word. He leads us in a right path. That path becomes our joy. All our true pleasure, all our true delight comes from following the path laid out by the Word of God. People who walk in that path experience joy.
Now, that leads us to the remaining three. Number four is in verse 8. “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” The commandment indicates that Scripture is a mandate. These are not negotiable; they demand obedience. Scripture is a authoritative; it is binding; it is non-optional. It is not a source of suggestions. The divine revelation of God is a series of commands. Disobedience brings about divine judgment. Obedience brings about divine reward. So, Scripture is the Law of the Lord, the testimony of the Lord, principles given by the Lord, and commandment as well. It is all of those things at one and the same time.
Now, as such, it is – “pure” is the word. Literally that word means clear. Sometimes when you use the word “pure,” you think more on the spiritual side. This is really a simple word that means lucid, transparent, easy to see, giving clear direction. That is to say the Scripture is not mysterious. The Scripture is not intended to be unclear; it is intended to be crystal clear.
You say, “Well, why then do people not understand it?”
Because the natural man understands not the things of God. They’re foolishness to him because he is spiritually dead. And additionally, he is blind. The God of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not, less the glorious light of the gospel should shine unto them.
So, you have the spiritual deadness and the spiritual blindness that limits someone’s understanding of Scripture. But to the person who has been regenerated, whose eyes have been opened, who has been given life, the Bible is clear. In fact, our Lord even says you have to become as a little child to enter the kingdom; it is that clear. The Old Testament says, “A wayfaring man, though he be a fool, need not err.”
And so, God has given us clear understanding, and as such, it enlightens the eyes. In contrast to the muddied, muddled, musings of men who are themselves blind and themselves dead, who invent concoctions of religion that are inscrutable, the Bible is crystal clear. You are able to see the truth in a dark world, to understand, to be comforted in times when no one else can understand what is going on.
As a Christian – and you and I share this in common – I see things clearly. I see the world clearly. In fact, I often wonder why I’m not on more programs, giving the right answer to everything. It’s all very clear to me. Everything is clear to me. I understand where the world came from, where it’s going; I understand all of that. I understand why thing happen the way they happen. I understand life and death and life after death, and heaven and hell, and morality and immorality – I understand it all. I understand why the world is the way it is, why people act the way they act. Am I particularly intelligent? No. Am I particularly wise? No. I just have the mind of Christ here in this book.
I remember one time, years ago, being invited to Cal State Northridge to speak to the philosophy class. And – advanced philosophy class – and the professor was a former rabbi who liked to chew on an occasional fundamentalist. And so, I was going to be the bone for that experience. I went to the class, and I was supposed to talk on the subject of Christianity and culture. Well, I didn’t want to talk about Christianity and culture. I wanted to talk about the gospel.
So, I think I opened by saying, if I remember right, something like, “Well, the great expert on Christianity and culture is Francis Schaeffer, and if you want to know about that, you can read Francis Schaeffer.” But I said, “I’m here to tell you this. I know this is a philosophy class, and I know that you’re searching for the truth, and I’m here to bring your search to an end.” That was enough to lose them all. They looked like somebody had shot off a gun in the room. The brashness of that, the egotism of that was stunning. I said, “I’m here to end your search.” Now, that’s a problem for a philosophy class, because you’re supposed to get a degree for searching. If you find the truth, the search is over; you can’t finish your degree. So, if you’re taking philosophy, don’t get the truth until you get the degree, then you can get the truth.
So, I said, “I’m here to tell you the truth – tell you the truth about the origin of the universe, tell you the truth about why the universe holds together, things that Einstein couldn’t figure out. I’m here to tell you where the universe is going in the future, how it will end. I’m here to tell you about life and death and the afterlife, morality – everything you want to know I’m here to tell you all of it.”
And then I said this – and the rabbi professor was as stunned as everybody else – I said, “But I – no matter what I say, you’re not going to understand it, and you’re not going to believe it.
And one student, at that moment, spoke for all of them and said, “How do you know? How do you know we won’t understand it, we won’t believe it?”
I said, “Because there’s a prerequisite. For you to understand this, you have to have been transformed by faith in Jesus Christ so that your understanding is opened.”
To which he replied, “Well, how does that happen.”
And I said, “Good, now we’ll talk about how – we’ll talk about how you become transformed by Jesus Christ.” And so, I went into the gospel, which was no small irritation to the professor.
I remember an extended time of sharing the gospel with some of the students out in the hall after the class was over. And if I remember correctly, a number of them came to church, and a couple of them actually joined our ministry here and professed Christ. The Word brings light to absolutely everything.
One more story comes to mind whenever I come to this point. We had, a number of years ago, some missionaries in our church named John and Nora Romanowski. John and Nora served the Lord in Brigham City, Utah. Missionaries to the Mormons. John and Norma were a precious, precious couple. They had two beautiful daughters and a son. And they decided, in the summer, to come to Grace church and bring their two daughters and sun down with them for a vacation and enjoy the church and enroll their oldest daughter at The Master’s College. They also decided to bring two foreign exchange students that had come to that town from Italy - weren’t Christians – to bring them alone for evangelistic purposes.
So, they all were in this car. They were coming down a – had been to the college to go through some registration, and they were leaving the college, pulled onto Sierra Highway, and for some reason John pulled out against a red light. They were hit by a truck coming down Sierra Highway full speed. They were hit so hard that it catapulted the two daughters out the back of the car and killed them both instantly. They were lying in the street.
The boys were fraught with devastating injuries. The blow was behind the front seat where John and Nora were sitting, and so their injuries were minor. But in one split second, they had lost their two precious girls, and their sun hung in the balance at Henry Mayo Hospital.
My son, Mark, happened to be coming along, and word got to me what had happened, and I got to John. What do you say? I said, “John.” I said, “I don’t know what to say. I really don’t know what to say.”
People would ask the question, “This is a missionary; why would God let this happen to a faithful missionary, giving his life to reach Mormons with the gospel?”
I said, “John, I don’t know what to say.”
He said, “Well, John” – I’ll never forget this; he said – “first I thought maybe this was a dream and it didn’t happen; maybe this is just – I’m going to wake up and it’ll all be okay. But I know that’s not true.” And then he said this – he said, “I brought my family down here because I wanted my daughters to have a big church experience. Our church is very small. I wanted them to hear a big choir.” And he said, “I just didn’t think that the big church would be the glorified saints and the choir would be the heavenly choir.” He said this, “I know my girls knew Christ, and they’re in His presence. I’m so thankful He took them and spared those two unconverted boys.”
Now, when you can look at the holocaust of your family and see it that way, you see it clearly. Right? And what enlightened his eyes? An understanding of the hope of life after death for those who are in Christ. He saw it exactly the way it was; they were ushered into the presence of Jesus Christ. He came into this pulpit, kind of pieced together with his wife. They were here for weeks, waiting for the boys to recover, which they did. He came into this pulpit and gave his testimony to this congregation about the grace of God in their life. They went back to that ministry without those two girls. It wasn’t long until John kept in contact with me and told me they never had a more effective ministry, because they could see the triumph of their faith. The people around them could see the triumph of their faith in the way they handled the loss of those two girls.
I don’t want to live my life in the dark, do you? Proverbs 6:23, “The commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light.” I want to see it the way it really is. Romans 15:4 talks about the comfort of the Scripture - or the encouragement of the Scripture as the NAS puts it. Are we dependent on worldly wisdom to understand dark things?
What does a psychologist say to somebody in that situation who has no understanding of reality? What do these counselors who go to a school after somebody shot up the school and killed students – what do they say? What kind of games do they play with people’s minds that don’t ever really lead them out of the dark? Do we need to go to them for the true knowledge of death and life after death? Are we dependent on some kind of psychoanalysis for answers to our questions from sources that reject Scripture and are invented by those who are blind? Are the blind leading the blind? Is the Bible so incomplete that we have to turn to science to explain origins? Life? Sociology? Sin?
No. No, the light is turned on in ever dimension, on every subject from Scripture. It floods its glorious truth on every dimension of life.
Psalm 119 reiterates this, verse 52, “I have remembered Thine ordinances from of old, O Lord, and comfort myself.” In the midst of the darkest times, the truth becomes our comfort. Verse 59, “I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies. I hastened and did not delay to keep Your commandments.” I saw the way I was going, and I knew I needed to turn to your Word to enlighten me to change my course.
Verse 81, “My soul languishes for Thy salvation; I wait for Thy Word. My eyes fail with longing for Thy word, ‘When will You comfort me?’” All comfort comes – all true comfort comes from a true understanding, and a true understanding of things is revealed in Scripture. He goes on a number of times in this Psalm to say the same thing in another way. Verse 92, “If Thy Law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” I couldn’t have interpreted my suffering; I couldn’t have interpreted my troubles if I didn’t know Your Word tells me that in affliction You comfort, in affliction You perfect, in affliction You mold me and make me into the man You want me to be – the woman You want me to be. I wouldn’t know that if I didn’t have Your Word.
The Word is sufficient for salvation; it’s sufficient for skill in living, sanctification. It is sufficient to produce lasting, deep-down joy and rejoicing. It is sufficient to give us a clear understanding of things otherwise not understood.
Number five, in verse 9, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.” “Fear” is a term in Scripture that is synonymous with awe, reverence, wonder, respect, worship. This book is not only the Law of the Lord, testimony of the Lord, precepts of the Lord, commandment of the Lord, but it is the fear of the Lord. It is the manual on worship. It instructs us how to worship. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Scripture calls for and instructs us in the true worship of God.
And you remember Jesus said, “The Father seeks true worshipers who worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” The habit of the human soul is to worship. Do you see that? The habit of the human soul is to worship. People worship - they worship themselves; they worship things; they worship heroes; they worship adventures, experiences, whatever Humans are made to worship. Only in Scripture are we instructed as to who we are to worship and how we are to worship. It is the manual on who to worship and how to worship. We are to worship the true and living God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, revealed in Scripture, incarnated in His Son. And we are to worship Him in spirit and in truth. We are not to make idols and worship them. We are instructed how to worship in Scripture.
As a source of worship, he says it’s clean – without evil, without corruption, without error. This is in contrast to the evil imaginations of men who worship other things. The root of this word “clean” – tāhōr – in Hebrew has the idea of the absence of impurity, the absence of defilement, the absence of filthiness, the absence of imperfection. It’s unsullied.
Psalm 12, verse 6, “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tested in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Its words are holy, separated, hallowed. That’s why David says, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin.” The Word has a cleansing effect.
Jesus, in John 15, says, “We are pruned, purged, cleansed by the Word.” Because of its purity, by the way, here’s the effect: it endures forever. It endures forever. Because of its purity, it endures forever. What do you mean by that? Sin kills. The Bible lasts forever. Jesus said, “My Word will never pass away. Never. It has no principle of sin in it. No error in it, no death to it. It endures forever. It needs, by the way, no updating. It needs no editing, no refining, no aid, no assistance. It is eternally pure, eternally relevant, eternally powerful.
Are we supposed to believe that all of a sudden today it’s no longer true, it’s no longer relevant, it’s no longer able to be understood? All of a sudden the light’s gone out, and it’s a dark book? It has inadequacies, errors, shortcomings? It’s inexplicable? It needs correction? It needs addition? We can’t trust it? Do we need some people, as the Jesus Seminar people do, to vote on whether something in the Bible is true by rolling out colored balls?
No, it is without error. It is without stain. It is without pollution. It is without corruption. And because of that, it is unchanging. It is unaffected by the fall, if you will. It endures.
And again, Psalm 119 – and I don’t want to go through all of the verses there, but just to remind you that many of them address this. Many of them throughout this Psalm. Verse 9, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy Word.” If you want a pure way, then apply a pure instrument to your heart. And then verse 11, “I have treasured Thy Word in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Verse 38, “Establish Thy Word to Thy servant as that which produces reverence for Thee.” The Word cleanses me, makes me holy, makes me reverent in my thoughts toward You.
“Before” – verse 67 says – “I was afflicted; I went astray, but now I keep Thy Word.” The bottom line is when you obey the Word, it leads you in the path of obedience and righteousness. Verse 101, “I have restrained my feet from every evil way” – why? – “because I keep Your Word.” It’s sufficient to cleanse your life. It’s sufficient to purify your life - any person in any culture, in any age, in any location. It doesn’t need to be updated. It doesn’t need to be edited. It’s not become irrelevant. It is as alive and powerful now as ever.
And finally, the judgments of the Lord are true. They are righteous altogether. “Judgments.” How interesting is that word? The judgments of the Lord are true. How does that view Scripture? That views Scripture as divine adjudications from the bench of the Judge of all the Earth.
Verdicts. When the Bible renders a verdict, it is true. Its verdicts are true, judicial determinations by the Judge of all the Earth, from the heavenly bench. The One who is the ultimate and only final judge renders true verdicts. In contrast to the injustices that prevail in human life, in contrast to the lies of this world, God’s justice, God’s judgments are always perfectly true. Absolutely true, absolutely dependable. And that last phrase – what’s the effect – “It produces.” What it means is it produces comprehensive righteousness. That’s a summation. It produces the total product: a righteous soul. Righteous in the sense saved, sanctified, joyful, understanding clearly the truth about everything because the mind has been enlightened by Scripture, worshiping, embracing the truth, a comprehensive complete soul before God. It is sufficient for salvation. It is sufficient for all the skills of spiritual living. It is sufficient to produce lasting, deep-seated, unassailable joy that overcomes the sorrows of life. It is sufficient for understanding of all the things that are hard to see. It casts its light on all the darkness. It is sufficient to purify all sin, and it is always true, true, true, true.
One television evangelist, who’s very popular, said this, “Anything coming through man is contaminated to some extent. Therefore, since the Bible came through man, there must be some errors in it. So, we must never equate the Bible with the perfect Jesus.”
Is the Bible less than perfect? When God, in His own Word says, “It is perfect,” can God give us a perfect text and not preserve and protect it? Such statements depreciate the Word of God. Any depreciation of the Word of God is a dishonor to God Himself.
When it says, “The words of Scripture are righteous altogether,” it means comprehensively right and comprehensively producing what is right. I think it’s sufficient based on this text. I don’t know how you would argue anything else. This is reminiscent of 2 Timothy 3. “The Scripture is able to make you wise unto salvation. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable so that the man of God may be thoroughly or completely perfect. Same thing exactly. It meets all spiritual needs, and that is the sufficiency of Scripture.
And that leads to a second thought in the text: the value of Scripture. Since this is true – since this is true, listen to the value. Verse 10, “They” – meaning the judgments of the Lord that are completely altogether righteous and true – “They” – the words of Scripture – “are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” That is to say they are more precious, more valuable than anything else. For that ancient world, gold was it. This is better than that. Better than fine gold. The sweet drippings of the honeycomb, delicious to the tongue – this is sweeter than that.
We could say it this way, “It is our most valuable possession. More valuable than gold. It is our most valued pleasure, sweeter, more desirable than any other thing. It is supreme in its value; it is supreme in its sweetness. I wish I had time to take you through Psalm 119 on this. Do it yourself. There must be 20 verses in Psalm 119 that say that one way or another. It is our greatest possession. It is our greatest pleasure.
Thirdly, it is our greatest protector. “Moreover” – verse 11 – “by them Thy servant is warned.” Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned. Scripture is the source of warning in the face of temptation, sin, and ignorance; we need the Scripture to warn us. Our greatest possession, our greatest pleasure, our greatest protector. It is our greatest provider.
Verse 11, at the end, “In keeping them, there is great reward.” Obedience to Scripture produces reward in this life and the life to come. Obedience to Scripture brings the believer his greatest provision or, if you will, his greatest profit. The Word is the source of reward. The true reward comes not through self-seeking; it comes not through imagining, visualizing, trying to speak it into existence as the positive confession people tell us. The true reward comes to the one who keeps the Scripture. The reward is literally, in Hebrew, the end. The end. The eternal reward is in view. Always the proper goal. You obey the Scripture and it impacts your eternal reward.
You shouldn’t even be looking for what you can get now – here and now, like the Christian cultic preoccupation of health, wealth, and prosperity, and success, and happiness now. We look to that eternal reward, and obedience to Scripture produces that eternal reward. It is our greatest possession, greatest pleasure, greatest protector, greatest provider, and then our greatest purifier.
Verse 12, “Who can discern his errors?” We’re not really very good at examining our own hearts unless we have some kind of plumb line and some kind of standard. Right? Oh, what do most people do? Well, they compare themselves with other people. Right? “I’m not as bad as most people. I’m basically a good person.” Like Paul described the false teachers, in 2 Corinthians, who compared themselves with themselves. You can always find somebody worse than you, some mass murderer. We’re all better than those people.
So, who really can assess his own errors? On your own, your pride, your self-will, your self-preservation instincts, your blindness to reality, and your tendency to comparison is going to cause you not to be able to honestly discern your own errors. You heard it in the testimony in the baptism tonight. People don’t really see the sin in their own lives.
“Who’s going to discern his own errors?” Only one exposed to the Word of God. “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.”
What he is saying is, “I don’t even understand my own wretchedness; I don’t understand my own sinfulness. I don’t even know my own secret faults. As well as presumption sins of deliberate action planned and premeditated. And I don’t know the rebellion and the apostasy of my own heart unless I know Your Word. It is Your Word that purifies me, convicts me.”
And finally, what is our response to a sufficient and a precious Word? It should be commitment to it, verse 14. This is just the high point here – der höhepunkt the Germans would say – “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 is he saying there? Probably most of us can quote that. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” That caused me to ask one question, what kind of words and what kind of meditation is acceptable in God’s sight? Fair enough? If you’re saying, “Let my words and my meditations be acceptable, then the question is, “What kind of words and what kinds of meditations are acceptable?”
David knew. Everybody knew. David didn’t need to explain any more than that. It would be like you quoting part of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world...” You wouldn’t need to quote the rest; you could all quote the rest. David gives a little bit of a cryptic comment here. There’s a little ellipsis here; there’s some things left out, but everybody knows them. Everybody knows them, because he’s reaching back to a text of Scripture that everyone knew.
Turn to Joshua chapter 1. Everybody knew this. Everybody in Israel knew this. Joshua 1:8 – listen; this is after the death of Moses, God speaks to Joshua, going to lead the people into the new land; this is what He says, “This book of the Law” – the Word of God – “shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night” – whoa, that answers the question. Psalm 19, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight.” And here we’re told the book of the Law is to give the words to our mouth and provide the meditation of our heart day and night.
So, what kind of words and what kind of meditation is acceptable to God? That which is centered upon what? The book of the Law. The book of the Law. “This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” And you want your life to be a success? You want your life to be spiritually prosperous? Then understand the sufficiency of Scripture for all these areas, its comprehensive power, and let your words be words of Scripture, and let your meditations be meditations of the Scripture, for this is acceptable in the sight of the Lord who has, by grace, made Himself your rock and your Redeemer. This is the right response, “O Lord,” says David, “keep me in your Word so that when I open my mouth it comes out and it dominates my thoughts.” May the Word dominate my thoughts and my speech. May it saturate my life, for it is this Word which causes me to live a life that pleases You and will be eternally blessed. Yes, we have a sufficient Scripture.
Our Father, again the testimony of Scripture is so compelling, so rich. Thank You for this magnificent tribute to Your Word among many on the pages of the Bible. We thank You for, again, the privilege of hearing it. We now stand responsible. Lord, help us to know that all that we need is here. All that we need. And when we ask the question, “What does the human heart long for; what are the deep, agonizing longings of the human heart,” we might suggest that transformation of the soul; real wisdom in all aspects of life; true, lasting joy; the ability to understand the dark things of life; a permanent, enduring source of life and truth to go to that is forever true and never wrong. What satisfaction we find in all those things. And all those things are found in the knowledge of Your Word.
We thank You for this precious gift. May we live our lives in it as we have been instructed. We live by every word that proceeds out of Your mouth. Thank You for writing it down for us by the inspiration of the Spirit, that we may see it, and know it, and meditate on it, and speak it, and live it. We trust to the honor of You, O Lord, our rock and our gracious Redeemer. We thank You, in Your Son’s name, amen.
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