If asked to describe the word of God, what adjectives would you use? Like how do you perceive it? When you look at the way God expects you to live, like giving not expecting back, offering the second cheek to be slapped too, loving and praying for your enemies, etc, what comes to mind?
People have sort to describe the laws of the Lord in various ways.
Some think they are a bit outdated. In these financial times, who would give not expecting back? Here in my town, people come out for harambees vigorously. Like they’ll turn up for your function and raise money for you. I thought it was out of loving your neighbour as thyself ,until when with time I noticed a pattern. Everyone here at some point has a function. And if they don’t, they create one. And in most cases, only the people you contributed to in their functions will contribute in yours and they’ll most probably contribute the same amount you gave in theirs. Not more nor less. Those who don’t pay back the favor get cut off the friend list. Doesn’t sound much like what the laws of the Lord say, right? But it seems much practical.
And preachers everywhere are trying their best to show that God’s word is still relevant. Dating preaching is trying its best to show that the purity message they swear by is found in the bible while the tithing brigade will do its best to avoid being asked why tithing isn’t talked about in the New Testament.
And on and on people describe the word of God depending on their interactions with it.
So it was a delightful surprise on Sunday when the preacher mentioned a certain verse during his sermon. You know those ones he mentions as he passes by and asks you to read later. And on that note, how many of us go back to read those 3 or 4 extra verses that the preachers mention for you to read later? I’ve realised I rarely do. Something I should seriously change. I mean, why note it down if its not useful?
Anyway, so this specific verses describe what the laws of the Lord are according to itself. Like it uses adjectives to show us what God’s word can be described as. And the choice of words caught my attention.
So here we go.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right,giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant,giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure,enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.
What does perfect mean? Without fault or mistake. The laws of the Lord have no fault in them and no mistake was made while making them. Yesterday we went to eat lunch somewhere, and one of us ordered a meal and even specified how he wanted it. When it was brought, he complained that he had asked for a different meal. And the customer being king, his food was exchanged. But as we had seen the whole exchange, we pointed it out to him, that he had made a mistake.
When you mistake what you want someone to bring to you or do, it means the results you get won’t be what you expected. They’ll be flawed. And here psalms 19;7 explains that God didn’t do any mistake when laying down any of his laws.
So when God says he loves obedience and not sacrifice, and our human logic prefers sacrifice not obedience, its not in our position to correct what God prefers. He didn’t make a mistake. His law is perfect. Which is why adding things to His word sees us as Christians chase away other people from church instead of bringing them in. It is perfect as it is. It works as it is.
Perfect also means fitting its definition precisely. The laws of the Lord are what they are. They are what is expected of us. Just as God says He is who He is, His laws fit into what they say they are precisely.
….reviving the soul. Why is perfectness tied to revival of the soul?
What does revival mean? To return to life. To cause to return strength or life.
Life plays us roughly at times. We hurt, we live in pain, we get abused, we neglect our souls and at times our souls get so broken that they die and leave us only existing physically. And all that because we live in an imperfect word.
Meaning, that our souls can’t be brought back to life, nor their strength returned by anything in this imperfect world that broke them in the first place.
Only perfect can heal. Only perfect can bring us back to life. That’s why psalms 19;7 says, The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
Trustworthy means deserving of trust. Reliable.
In other words, the law of the Lord is reliable, believable,credible,dependable, ethical, honest, convincing, righteous and unfailing among many other synonyms.
You can place your bet on the God’s word. It is sure. You can stand on it. It won’t be 99.9% sure, it is a 100% reliable.
You know the way at times we have to remind ourselves that God has our back, not to worry, He said He is with us. Sometimes we worry so much and kinda doubt whether our situation is still under God’s control. I mean, is what He said still going to pass yet my circumstances feel like the opposite? Is God good as He says as I experience injustice and evil? We indirectly or even directly question God’s word every once in a while especially by worrying or trying to do things our way.
Yet, here we are told that if there is something that is trustworthy, it is God’s word. You can take it to the bank. You can risk your life with it. You know that meme that asks, ” if you were told to call one person and your life will be spared if they don’t pick, who would you call?” Majority if not all of us, have that person whose word doesn’t hold water. Sometimes we even know many.
I remember when I was young, I really wanted to go visit my grandma almost during all holidays. And my mum would promise that I would go visit her in the next holiday. And for some reason, that promise kept being broken . Till it reached a point, I stopped trusting her word. I simply waited for the day I’ll go. I stopped believing what she said was true even when it came to pass in one of those holidays. Why? It had failed over 6 times.
And that’s how most of us act with God. We take a part of His word and claim it. Let’s say the part that says, “Ask and it shall be given to you”. We mix it with the verse saying, ” even faith as little as a mustard seed shall be able to say to a mountain move and it moves”. We have faith the size of the whole mustard tree and ask for something really way less than moving a mountain, knowing that we shall get it. Then we don’t get what we asked for, yet we had all requirements. Our requests were quite qualified to be answered.
So what do we do after various unanswered prayers? We lose trust in the Word of God. We doubt its credibility. We stop relying on it. Due to our past interactions with it turning out to be half true and half not true.
This is why I found it to be such a relief that God’s word is trustworthy. That means, that if I take it to the Lord expecting what the word says I should get and get different results, the problem isn’t the word, its either on me or in my prayer. And those unanswered prayers or ‘wrongly’ answered prayers should see me seek God for us to discuss what is wrong and how to correct it. You can read more about the fallacy that God answers are Yes, No and Wait here.
…..making wise the simple.
The trustworthiness of God’s laws is tied to making wise the simple.
Who are wise people? For me, I think you are wise if you make decisions that over and over save you from disaster, or give you an upper hand than others or your view of things is way better than that of an average person. Wise people can solve complex issues by using very simple solutions. Remember Solomon and the two women claiming the same baby? That was wisdom right there.
And here we are told that The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
What I see here, is that we have this word that we can rely on it a 100%. Whereas humans make decisions based on what they think is right, we should make decisions based on God’s word. The outcome will be moving from simple people( people who get it right once in a while and fall into traps other times) to wise people ( whose decisions reek of wisdom over and over again). That is the result of depending on a reliable Word.
Right means correctness or reason. Something correct. You got it right. The precepts of the Lord are right. Like they won’t lead you astray. They will lead you to a correct path in life.
Right also means appropriate. Perfectly suit for the purpose. Like God’s laws are perfectly suited to rule our lives. We should walk by them. They are suitable for the purpose they were made for. That is to guide our lives.
….giving joy to the heart. It only makes sense, that if our lives are guided by something appropriate, something suited for us, then even in the middle of a storm, our hearts will be peaceful. Its like having a compass, even in a desert, you know you are on the right path. So regardless of circumstances in our lives, we are glad to know that the precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
Radiant can mean emitting or proceeding as if from a center. Or beaming with vivacity or happiness.
The commands of the Lord are Radiant, giving light to the eyes.
You remember the part about the revival of the soul? Looking at someone’s eyes you can know if they are dead or sad inside. Here we see that God’s commands, if followed will make us alive inside, they’ll be our source of ‘life’, our life will be from the center, which is God and therefore, we shall not merely exist but shall have life and life in abundance. Even by looking at us, the world shall sense a certain vivacity or happiness that doesn’t stem from how we are doing in life but from something way deeper than our lives. The commands of the Lord are Radiant and therefore shall give light to our eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
Pure means with no imperfections. Pure things last longer than impure stuff. For example, iron can last as iron for thousands of years, but mix it with oxygen and hydrogen. It rusts. It changes to something else. It can stay for a while longer, but the quality is compromised.
Same with God’s word. It has not a single blemish with it. It doesn’t lie. It is enough and adequate. You just can’t fault it. Which is why, famous people’s word can last for 200 years others for a 1000 years, but only God’s word will forever. Why, it will never stop being sure or true. Whether on this earth or another one. No wonder it endures forever. Imagine resting your faith on words that are pure and will endure forever?
Sure means certain to act or be in a certain way.
The ordinances of the Lord are sure. They are certain. Failsafe. What the word of God says is true. It stands the test of time. Its not outdated or for future use. Even as at this moment, the word of God stands. It is true.
…and altogether righteous. And after 6 adjectives describing the Laws of the Lord, the psalmist sums it up by saying that they are Righteous. God is righteous. So are His laws. They are morally justifiable. They are virtuous.
I don’t know what you thought of God’s word before, but internalizing this three verses ( psalm 19;7-9) gives one a deeper assurance of God. Like on top of being who He says He is, His word can also be trusted. It is perfect, it is trustworthy, it is right, it is radiant, it is pure and sure.