Wednesday, May 22, 2013

God’s Perfect Law (Psalm 19:7-14)


God’s Perfect Law (Psalm 19:7-14)

Rainbow in the Clouds



Psalm 19

The Witness of Creation and Scripture
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.


1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is suremaking wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pureenlightening 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 honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.


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Psalm 19 switches from natural revelation to the beauty of the Laws of God in verses 7 to 14. Psalm 19:7-14  God in these verses reveals Himself through the powerful spoken words of His law. This is called special revelation. The name used for God in these verses also changes from Elohim used in Psalm 19: 1-4  to Yahweh - the I AM  used in the remaining verses of this psalm.     אֵל el God  Almighty.  Elohim was the name God used in the creation story in Genesis.  This characteristic of God is displayed in His marvelous creation.  I AM, יְהוָֹה yhwh, Yahweh is the self-Existent, eternal God that gave His law to Moses.  This name is very appropriate in this special revelation of His law.

In verses 7, 8 and 9 there are six different words (synonyms) used for God's law. Psalm 19:7-9
These words differ in various translations but they are: law, testimony, precepts, commandment, fear, and judgments.  (These words are highlighted in yellow above)  This is quite an emphasis on the Law.  Of course this is poetry so one expects this beauty in the words.  But is also an emphatic way of expressing the importance of God's law.

  1. Law - The Hebrew word used here for law (or instruction in some translations) is תֹרָה torah.  This word means precept or statute.  It specifically the Decalogue (10 commandments), or Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament).  In general it refers to body of legal directives.  
  2. Testimony - עֵדות edut - means testimony or to bear witness.  The law of the Lord The Bible is a witness of the greatness of the person of God. 
  3. Precepts - פִקוד piqqud - Appointed mandates. God's law is not something one can decide is right or wrong.  These are God's laws, all people are under His dominion and are subject to His laws.
  4. Commandment - מִצְוָה miswa - a command.   this is a command order from God.
  5. Fear - יִרְאָה iyra - fear, morally, reverence.  Fear is not a word for the law.  It is used here to state that the law of God is vital. One should revere God and his law.
  6. Rules - this is also translated as judgements - מִשְׁפָט mispat - verdict, pronounced judicially, formal decree. God decides what its right and what is wrong.  It is God's decision. Not to follow His word will bring God's justice

After each one of the six words for the law there is an evaluation of the law.  These words are: perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, and true.   (Highlighted in blue above).  Also after each word and evaluation for law there is a result.  These results are: converting the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes, enduring forever, and righteous altogether. (Highlighted in green above).

The law of God was to be more desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.  Gold and honey were very highly esteemed gifts.  They were costly and valuable commodities. When God gave the law to the nation of Israel it was a delight.  The have been told by the eternal I AM, exactly what was expected of us.  The other people at that time worshiped pagan gods. These pagan gods were quite fickle.  One could never please them.  The behavior of these false gods was very unpredictable.  Those who worshiped these false gods were always trying to appease them.  They lived in fear, worrying that they might unknowingly make their gods angry.  An angry god would bring down his wrath upon them. They were helpless and hopeless in knowing why, when, how or if this wrath would be displayed.

Because of sin, the world is in chaos. God's law is a beautiful gift for mankind. God's law told the nation of Israel what they were to do and what they were not to do.  God's law was beautiful because it rescued them from the chaos. They knew the path they should follow.  If they stayed the path God would bless them.  God's law promised both warning and reward.  God gave them His guidelines for life.

It seems today that instead of esteeming the law we dread the law.  We look to see how close we can come to breaking the law without going going over the line.  It seems we are quite comfortable in the gray areas. We tend to forget, or ignore the power of sin.  Sin brings death.  We should want to stay as far away from sin as we can.   Humans are sinners, we cannot avoid sin, but we can be forgiven.  Christ provided a way for us.

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I am out of practice and have forgotten my html code so I could not make a chart for the word, evaluation and result for the law.  The highlighting - while not so nice as a chart - was easily applied by the blog editing program.  I hope it was sufficient.

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