God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 5

We wrap up our look into Psalm 19:7-11 this week, “God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 5.” Friday’s theme for our blog is “the church family.” Let’s consider this passage in light of that theme today.

On Monday, we saw that the word of God has many aspects to it (law, decisions, witness, etc.), and all are valuable and profitable to us. Tuesday we looked at how David loved and cherished God’s words. Wednesday’s focus was on what the word of God is (perfect, sure, right, etc.). On Thursday we considered what the word of God does (restores the soul, rejoices the heart, enlightens the eyes, etc.).

Today we should simply consider the question: What is my response to God’s word?

GOD’S WORD: ITS VALUE AND POWER, PART 5

Fifth observation – Our response to His word.

Verse 11 says, “In keeping them there is great reward.” All of these wonderful benefits come when I commit to living out what God asked me to do. The value and reward is realized not in merely reading and reciting God’s word, but in keeping it.

Take a look at the rest of Psalm 19:

Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer (Psalms 19:11-14).

David’s heart is exposed here as he fully opens his heart to the Lord and His word. He is vulnerable, transparent and accountable to God, asking God to expose his sins. David wants the Lord and His word, not his sins to rule over him. He wants to be blameless and innocent before God. His prayer is that his words and even his deepest thoughts will be acceptable in God’s sight. That is the heart of David. This is why he was called a man after God’s own heart.

Finally, to be the men today God called us to be, we must have that very same mindset toward the Word. Keep it in our homes. Follow it at work. Seek to influence and encourage our church family that they also do the same.

“In keeping them there is great reward.”

God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 4

We continue our look into Psalm 19:7-11 this week, “God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 4.” Thursday’s theme for our blog is living as lights in a dark world. Let’s consider this passage in light of that theme today.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes 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 and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward (Psalms 19:7-11).

God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 4

Fourth observation – What the word of God does…

  • Converting (restoring) the soul – God’s law turns the wayward soul back to Him. The Lord is our shepherd, and “He restores” our soul (Psalm 23:3). Because the Law of the Lord is perfect, only it has that power to transform the sinner to a saint.
  • Making wise the simple (naive, gullible) – Being naive and gullible is not a good place to stay (Proverbs 1:22; 7:7; 9:4-6). God wants His people to grow up and learn to discern good from evil (Ephesians 4:14-15). He wants us to be able to sort out the true from the false. That happens when we “exercise our senses” in using God’s word (Hebrews 5:11-14).
  • Rejoicing the heart – God’s statutes (precepts) lead to true joy. There is a “passing pleasure” in sin (Hebrews 11:25), but it fades quickly into darkness, pain, slavery and consequences. Doing “right” produces real happiness, freedom and fulfillment.
  • Enlightening the eyes – The word of God turns the light on for us. Our hearts were darkened, and so was our understanding. God’s commands shine the light both in our hearts and on our pathway in life. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
  • By them Your servant is warned – If I am about to drive off a cliff, I really want someone to let me know BEFORE it happens! The same goes for the Scriptures; it helps put guardrails on the road. God loves us enough to put lots of big yellow caution signs and “Wrong Way” signs in His word. Being warned of danger is a blessing.
  • In keeping them there is great reward – Both in this life and in eternity (Luke 18:29-30), God pours out His blessings on His people when they follow His word (Proverbs 3:16-18). There are rewards in the things we avoid because we follow God’s will. We also have rewards in what comes exclusively to His people because we walk in His word (Galatians 6:7-9).

“The unfolding (entrance) of Your words brings light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130).

God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 3

We continue our look into Psalm 19:7-11 this week, “God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 3.” Wednesday’s theme for our blog is training the children in our lives. Let’s consider this passage in light of that theme today.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes 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 and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward (Psalms 19:7-11).

GOD’S WORD: ITS VALUE AND POWER, PART 3

Third observation – What the word of God is…

  • Perfect. This word also means blameless, complete, entire, and without defect. God’s law is just like that. There’s not a blemish on it…its perfect.
  • Sure. God’s testimony is established and firm. There are no uncertainties in God’s witness and promises revealed in Scripture. You can count on it. If God tells an old man with no kids that his descendants will be like the stars and sand, trust it. It happened to Abraham just like God promised.
  • Right. God is not fickle; He does not just abritarily come up with things. His statutes (precepts) are not made up on a whim. They are right.
  • Pure. There is no corruption in God’s commands. When humans make up laws, we often have politics and money behind our agendas, but not God. His commandments are pure.
  • Clean, enduring forever. Not defiled. This word clean is used repeatedly throughout the Old Testament in reference to being ceremonially clean versus being unclean. The “fear of the Lord,” which in this context is tied to the word of God, is clean. God’s words are “pure words” (Psalm 12:6). Through God’s word we can discern the difference between what is clean and what is unclean. By God’s word we are cleansed (John 17:17; 1 Peter 1:22). David says this “fear of the Lord,” endures forever. God’s word is not going anywhere (1 Peter 1:23-25).
  • True and righteous altogether. God’s judgments (verdicts, sentences, decisions) are true and righteous altogether. This is so important in our faith. Begin with the understanding when studying the word that God is right. His decisions are right. “Let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). It is freedom, not slavery, to let God sit on His divine throne. When I stop trying to run the universe in my mind and settle myself into trusting God first, then I will begin to understand His word.
  • Sweeter than honey. Honey is incredibly sweet, but God’s word is sweeter. Question: When do we value it as sweet? Only when we agree with it? Only when it makes sense? John and Ezekiel both ate the scroll God gave them. It tasted sweet, but went down bitter. Sometimes God’s word has difficult and hard things, but His word is still the sweetest thing known to man. Is God’s word sweet to us?
  • More precious than gold. The value of God’s word exceeds the value of anything we consider precious on this earth. Its value is not given by men. Gold’s value goes up and down based on the market, but God’s word never changes in value. The Bible was made by God so it is inherently valuable. No church, scholar, ruler or any human being can give or take away its value.

Fathers, as we use this understanding to teach our kids, let us first model it in our lives. God’s word is right, and sure and true. It is awesome! May our children see that the Bible is sweet and valuable to us. When we reason with them, we begin with the understanding that God is right, and we trust His decisions.

Finally, I believe it would be helpful to look at the above list on what God’s word is and connect it to Philippians 4:8. Paul tells us to meditate on things that are true, right and pure, and that is exactly what David said God’s word is. Meditate (dwell, think) on these things!

God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 2

We continue our look into Psalm 19:7-11 this week, “God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 2.”

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes 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 and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward (Psalms 19:7-11).

God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 2

Second observation – David is writing a love song to the word of God. He does that more than once, the most prominent example is Psalm 119, a very long love song to God’s word! David was in love with the word of God; he cherished it and saw its value. He saw God’s word as sweeter than the sweetest things (honey) and more precious than the most valuable things (gold). In God’s word, he saw the blessings of God’s warnings. He didn’t view God’s warnings as oppressive and authoritarian, but as God loving him enough to keep him safe and on the right pathway.

What I find amazing is David had far less of God’s Word than we do today. We have 66 books, we have the complete set. David had at least the first 5 books, the books of Moses. He had some of the Psalms, but they weren’t all written yet. I believe he had Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and Job, also. But even then, that’s not 10 complete books.

Just think about it. David is writing a love song to God’s law and his statutes and commands. Many of those are contained in books like Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. Can you imagine writing a love song to Leviticus or Numbers? Most folks fall asleep reading them. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard someone say Leviticus was their favorite book. When someone commits to reading through the Bible, they often stall somewhere in Leviticus or Numbers.  What many find difficult, boring and maybe even unnecessary, David found beautiful and full of praise because it came from God.

Today is Tuesday, and our theme for Tuesdays on the MDB is honoring the women in our lives. Take a moment to consider how being deeply in love with the word of God, all of the word of God, will help you as a husband. How will that benefit our wives when our first love as husbands is God and His word?

O, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day (Psalm 119:97).

God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 1

This week, we are going to meditate upon Psalm 19:7-11 and make 5 observations from it, one for each day. Today is “God’s Word: Its Value and Power, Part 1.” Read the following passage slowly and carefully.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes 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 and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward (Psalms 19:7-11).

God’s Word: Its Value and Power, part 1

First observation – God’s word is called by several names here: law, testimony, statutes or precepts, commandment, judgments, etc. It is very helpful to think about how each of these words gives you a different aspect of God’s word.

  • God’s testimony – The word of God contains God’s witness to man, and it is sure.
  • His commandments – The word of God contains what God expects of us, and it is pure.
  • God’s judgments – The word of God contains His decisions (verdicts, sentences), and they are true and righteous altogether.

Scripture contains various types of writing styles and forms of literature (law, history, poetry, prophecy, apocalyptic writing). All of it is breathed by God, and all of it has a purpose in God revealing His mind to man (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Every bit of it is valuable to us and beneficial to growing our relationship with Him.

There are four separate accounts of the life of Jesus, coming from different backgrounds, styles and perspectives. Each account focuses on various themes and aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry. God must have seen the value in four instead of one.

Even the book of Revelation is to be read, understood and obeyed (Revelation 1:3).

It all matters…every word of God. Every book of the Bible has value and purpose. All the writing styles in Scripture are God-given and have a reason and a benefit for us. Cherish today the wisdom of God in how He wrote the Bible for us. There is no other book like it!

“The sum of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160).

“Every word of God proves true” (Proverbs 30:5).

He inquired of them

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: ‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.'” Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him” (Matthew 2:1-8).

Happy Holidays, men! Have a great time with your friends and family!

Here is one thought that I wanted to share with you today from the above passage. King Herod the Great was a wicked and paranoid man, and the news of a “King of the Jews” deeply troubled him.

What I find amazing is that even a man like Herod the Great knew where to find answers. He sent for the Jewish teachers and leaders and asked them where the Messiah was to be born. They quoted the prophet Micah who foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

Herod, trusting that 700 year old prophecy, sent the wise men to Bethlehem. To me, that’s saying something. Even Herod had enough understanding to trust the validity of Scripture!

He inquired of them

This is just a simple reminder for us that the answers are in God’s word. God’s word has given us “everything that pertains to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). We just have to search for it. You see, we can even learn a lesson in Bible study from a guy like Herod the Great.

I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday! Meet you in 2017! Happy New Year! The next post will come out, Lord willing, on January 2.

Some were persuaded and some disbelieved

Last night, I went with a few other Christians to hear a preacher present a great lesson on “Can We All Understand the Bible Alike?” One of the passages he referenced in his sermon was Acts 28, which is an account of Paul arriving in Rome. Please take time to read the passage below and notice why some did not receive Paul’s message. You can see that it had nothing to do with God’s word or it being impossible to understand.

“But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.” When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: “‘Go to this people, and say, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen” (Acts 28:22-28).

Some were persuaded and some disbelieved

What did Paul do? He expounded, he testified and tried to convince them about what the Scriptures said. The message of Jesus was clearly and reasonably presented to the crowd that day.

Take note that some were convinced, but others disbelieved. They did not agree “among themselves.” There was religious division among them. So, what was the problem? Was Paul’s teaching too hard to understand? No, Paul quoted Isaiah in saying they had “closed” their eyes and that their hearts had grown dull. It had nothing to do with the message. The problem was their eyes, ears and hearts.

Lord, please open our hearts, our ears and our eyes to see Your word just as it is. Please remove any pre-conceived notions, traditions and men’s opinions from our hearts. May we simply listen to Your truth with an honest mind. Amen.

Reminder

Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me (2 Peter 1:12-14).

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles (2 Peter 3:1-2).

We need a reminder!

Hearing something once is not good enough. Listening to someone preach a sermon about a topic one time will not cut it. Studying something a decade ago will not really help you today, unless you remind yourself of those things you studied. We as humans need to hear things over and over again.

We need to be, as Peter said, stirred up by way of reminder. We can get complacent. It is like when you try to add sugar to cold unsweetened iced tea. You stir it up, but eventually you see the granules slowly descend to the bottom. If you want the sugar in the tea, you have to really stir it up! You and I are just like that.

Peter committed, as long as he was alive, to stir them up constantly by reminding them of Scripture. We must commit ourselves to that same principle. Being reminded of some basic Bible truths should not be something that irritates us or bores us. Even professional baseball players still practice taking ground balls.

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you (Philippians 3:1).

How Cornelius viewed God and His words

For today, please meditate upon how Cornelius viewed God and His words.

Cornelius, a Roman centurion, was an honorable man who along with his household feared God. He was praying and looking for answers. God sent him an angel who told him to send for Peter, and that Peter would tell him “what he must do” and “words by which he and all his household would be saved” (compare Acts 10:6; 11:13-14).

How Cornelius responded to these instructions is indicative of a heart that had: (1) a deep reverence for God, (2) a hunger for God’s words, and (3) a strong desire for others to hear those same words of salvation.

“We are all present before God, to hear all things commanded you by God” (Acts 10:29). 

  1. Cornelius showed a deep reverence for God. He knew in whose presence he stood…a holy and almighty God. God wasn’t distant and aloof, he was present in the room with Cornelius. Even though he was misguided, note that when Peter came in the room, Cornelius fell down and worshiped him. Yes, he needed to be corrected, but do not fail to see the deep reverence for God that Cornelius displayed.
  2. Cornelius showed a deep hunger for God’s words. He clearly recognized that this God he feared had commands, and as a soldier he wanted to obey and follow every one of those commands of His Master. This was the most important thing on his mind…fearing God and doing whatever God says.
  3. Cornelius showed a strong desire for others to hear those same words of salvation. “We are all present.” Do not overlook that. Why were they all present? Notice verse 24 says that while Cornelius was waiting for Peter to arrive, he “called together his relatives and close friends.” These saving words of God were not to be kept exclusively to himself. He did not view this as a private matter that should not be discussed. These words of God which had yet to be preached were so important to him that he wanted to make sure those closest to him heard them too!

So, how about you? What can you learn from Cornelius today? How do you view worship services and Bible studies? What attitude do you display to those in your circle about God and His words? Are you keeping His saving words to yourself or do you value them so much that you want everyone around you to hear them?

May God give us the spirit of Cornelius in our hearts today.