Swimming In The Psalms 3: The Word of God (19:7-14)
Let’s keep Swimming In The Psalms this summer:
The Word of the LORD (Psalm 19:7-14)!
“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
Example: Matthew 6:1-6,16-18: Give, pray, fast—do it all in secret,
and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Reading the first Harry Potter book last week, & at end of the book four characters are rewarded for ways that they sacrificed themselves. They didn’t know their sacrifice was noticed by a wise old wizard, but it was and he honored them in front of everyone else. One of the characters broke down crying when she was honored…she was simply letting out bottled up emotions because her sacrifice was dangerous & risky.
When I read that I broke down myself. I felt like a 2 liter bottle of soda that had been shaken and then the cap removed…suds overflowed.
As we follow Christ there is pressure that accumulates—dying to self, turning the other cheek, carrying a cross, persevering in trusting in Christ & resisting sin, giving til it hurts, repenting of selfishness/turning from temptation/sin, forgiving others & asking forgiveness, etc. Pressure can build—Bible describes the Christian life as a race & a battle for a reason. You don’t really notice it at the time, but then you read/see something that loosens the cap & the emotions flow out.
Well, the Holy Spirit did that thru the paragraph at the end of the book, and He brought to my mind those verses from Matthew 6. I didn’t hear God’s audible voice but I was overwhelmed with the Truth that our heavenly Father sees…oh how He sees…& He will reward His children.
My heavenly Father simply gave me a realization of the Truth of the Bible & I was refreshed. Thru my tears&God’s Word, my soul was refreshed. This is what David is talking about here in Psalm 19. That is why it is important to make daily deposits of the Bible in our minds & hearts—on our Father’s timing, there will be future harvests of refreshment! 🙂
Back to Psalm 19: The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
Example: Hebrews 13:5-6: Keep your lives free from the love of money
and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” [Deuteronomy 31:6]
6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?” [Psalm118:6-7]
Wow these verses reveal what we could never figure out on our own! We look to stuff/other things to find contentment/satisfaction when we aren’t looking to the LORD and trusting in His character, presence & promises.
If we aren’t getting our satisfaction from knowing Him, we will instinctively look to get satisfaction from having stuff. The Bible reveals this to us, reveals the root of sin in our hearts below the surface—our real motives—when we only see the weeds of the symptoms above the surface. This is what David is saying in Psalm 19—
the statues of the Lord make wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
Example: 2 Corinthians 4:6-18: please click HERE.
Try to NOT get joy out of that passage! 🙂
Back to Psalm 19: The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
Example: Isaiah 51:12-13: “I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass,
13 that you forget the Lord your Maker, who stretches out the heavens
and who lays the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
Wow. In this passage the LORD is giving light to our dark eyes—when we fear anything we are forgetting the LORD. Children are afraid of the dark because they think they’re alone; once the parent embraces them, their fear goes away because they know—they have NOT forgotten—that the parent is with them.
So it is with us adults when we are afraid—
we don’t necessarily need a different situation,
we simply need to focus on & not forget our Father, our Savior, our Comforter.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
Example: 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Now THAT is the firm & sturdy Rock of Truth
that you can plant your life on in the all the fierce storms we face!
Back to Psalm 19: 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
But what if the Word of the LORD isn’t sweet to us,
what if we don’t want to read often
and/or don’t get much out of it when we do?
Great questions…here are some thoughts:
If you would categorize yourself as a Christian,
while there may be times/seasons where we wander from
regular Bible reading & enjoyment of God’s Word,
we need to see those seasons as problems to address
not preferences to accept or ignore.
Your doctor would be rightly concerned if you said you went months
without having any desire to eat food…prolonged loss of appetite
is a symptom of any number of deeper issues.
It would need to be addressed medically.
Same spiritually with not desiring God’s Word for months/years at a time.
“Man does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Two lessons from 1 Samuel 14:24-29: please click HERE.
Lesson #1: Are you in the battle?
Physically, there is a hunger that isn’t really hunger; it’s boredom. When we are bored, we can reach out for food because, to our taste buds and brains, food is exciting. But when we eat when we are bored, even delicious food doesn’t taste as delicious—it’s just something to do, not truly enjoy. Sitting around watching t.v. all summer eating bag after bag of chips, it gets monotonous and dull.
But there is a hunger that comes after strenuous physical work/exercise. Oh wow food tastes fantastic when we have a hunger that has been worked up naturally by honest/hard work.
Think about how delicious a cold glass of water tastes—yes tastes!—after you have mowed the lawn in 90 degree heat or run a few miles or done something athletic. When I used to get done running cross country in high school, I didn’t want soda—I wanted ice cold water! But after a day of sitting around playing video games, I didn’t want water—I wanted soda…interesting…
Jonathan needed honey/strength because he had been in battle all day, being part of the LORD’s mission for His people. This created a hunger for honey, a food God had specifically designed to nourish/refresh. It isn’t an accident that honey is considered a complete food and that God compares the Bible to honey. 🙂
When we are not learning to follow the Lord Jesus each day
and die to our selves and take up our cross,
when Christ is simply a hobby to fix a part of our lives,
we will desire the Bible less and enjoy the Bible less when we do read it.
Does anyone order a protein shake if they don’t work our regularly?
But if you do work out regularly,
you don’t just order a regular milkshake from mcdonalds…
that won’t help your workout goals (it will HINDER you from reaching your goals).
No, you want a specifically designed shake
that will build on what you’ve done in gym.
Same with Scripture…the LORD has designed it
to equip us in the battle & soothe us from the battle
of following the Lord Jesus each day.
Want to desire & enjoy the Bible more? Get in the battle…
Lesson #2: What else are you feeding on?
Jonathan hadn’t eaten anything else, and thus both the deliciousness of the honey and its positive effects in his health/strength weren’t diluted by anything else. If his belly had been full of other things, he probably would not have gone looking for/notice/wanted the honey. I wonder if the same is true with Scripture.
Physical appetites for healthy food get ruined by junk food; physical taste buds/pallets desire healthy food less the more we bombard our taste buds with sugary & fried foods.
What if the same is true spiritually?
Give a kid candy and ice cream and chips all week and then give them a plate full of veggies once a week (or once in a while)—we all know what the result will be.
Why do we think it is different spiritually when we feed on so many other things—social media, YouTube, Netflix, movies/t.v., video games, etc.—and then try reading the Bible once in a while?
Back to Psalm 19: 11 By them [the decrees of the LORD] your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Example: Not thinking about the LORD’s miracles
& not remembering His kindness leads us to rebel against Him.
How do I know? God warns us of this in Psalm 106:
Psalm106:6-7: We have sinned, even as our ancestors did;
we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
7When our ancestors were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.
Straying minds lead to straying feet.
God warns us because He is merciful/loving!
Back to Psalm 19: 12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
The Word of God, thru the power of the Holy Spirit,
guides us away from sin
& transforms both our thoughts & words
to be a pleasing aroma to the LORD…
Oh the Word of God!