Friday, July 1, 2011

Delighting in God's Law (Psalm 19:7-11)

Ps 19:7-11
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,  reviving the soul;  the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8  the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;  sweeter also than honeyand drippings of the honeycomb.11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

While Creation speaks of God's glory, majesty and power, it is Scripture that explains His love for us. Both are necessary to get a full picture of God--as Creator  (Elohim-GOD) and as the Covenant-God (Yahweh-LORD). Through Creation, we can know much about  God; but it is only through Scripture that we can know God as Father and Friend. It is through Scripture that God reveals His desires and plans for us which call for us to respond to Him as a Person rather than a Power.

While we cannot be saved and are not saved by the works of the Law, it does not mean the Law is irrelevant or unholy. In fact, Paul declares the Law as holy, but because we are weak, we are unable to keep it to save ourselves. Here David lists the many positive blessings of the Law that we who have been saved by grace will received as a result of keeping it:

1. "The LAW of the Lord is PERFECT,  REVIVING the soul":  Here Scripture is described as the "Law" (torah: direction, instruction & teaching). The Law is not oppressive for those who love God but it is described as PERFECT (flawless & complete). Jesus says His words are "spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). Therefore, it will revive (restore & renew) us when we meditate on it. When we (our soul) are depressed emotionally or exhausted mentally or drained spiritually, reading and soaking in the Scripture will restore us.

2. "the TESTIMONY of the Lord is SURE, making WISE the simple": Here Scripture is described as "testimony". The word "testimony" refers to the Ten Commandments (Ex 20). It is described as SURE (certain & reliable). In these days of moral relativism, we need to have a moral guide to set the boundary for morality. The Ten Commandments remain for Christians a sure, certain and reliable guide. It will make the simple-minded (who follows the world blindly) wise.

3. "the PRECEPTS of the Lord are RIGHT, REJOICING the heart": Precepts refer to specific instructions about the practical matters of life: what to eat, how to relate to others, how to love people, your spouse and children. The book of Proverbs is a collection of practical precepts for those who need a "how-to" guide-book for successful relationships. Because God's precepts are always RIGHT, it brings joy when we apply them into our lives.

4. "the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord is PURE, ENLIGHTENING the eyes": Here Scriptures is described as "commandments of the Lord." God commands blessings. When parents issue commands, it is always to protect and promote the well-being of their children, not to curb their freedom and make their lives miserable. So it is with our Father-God. The commandments of God is pure and obeying it makes us pure before God. To ignore God's pure commandments will lead to spiritual blindness and cause us to walk into blind alleys and corrupt places. Obedience to God's commands will open our spiritual eyes to discern good and evil.

5."the FEAR of the Lord is CLEAN, ENDURING forever": Scripture is here described as "fear of the Lord." Fear (deep respect) is generally regarded as a negative emotions, but negative does not necessarily mean bad. In fact, here "fear" is described as "clean" and it will endure forever in the heart of those who love God. We need to have a healthy fear of God who can destroy us body & soul. Jesus says: "Fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell." Yet, when the Apostle John says that "perfect love will cast out fear" he probably does not mean that love will replace fear, but that love will triumph over fear (1 John 4:18). Just as light triumphs over darkness, but darkness will still be around wherever light is blocked. Fear and love always co-exist in the heart of those who love God, very much like our love for our parents -- we ought to have both fear (deep respect) and love. Love without respect can distort a child's personality. When we fear God, we will be kept away from sinful attitudes and acts: "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word" (Ps 119:9).

6. "the RULES of the Lord are TRUE and RIGHTEOUS altogether": Here Scripture is described as "rules". Most of us dislikes rules and regulations and consider such as legalism. But we all need rules to know our boundary. Can we imagine driving on the roads without rules? We don't have freedom but chaos and destruction. So rules are true and will make us righteous as we stay within the boundaries. Like the rules of soccer, it enhances the enjoyment of the game when rules are strictly applied by the referee.

Father, give us a sense of privilege and priority so that we can become like the blessed man whose delight is in the Law of the Lord. Amen.

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