“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. 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 for ever: 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 is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great [margin: ‘much’] transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
“We are in Psalm 19, if you’ll turn there. I encourage you to be reading ahead. We’re just going to hit the one psalm this evening, because Psalm 20 and Psalm 21 kind of go together, the sense of them is, Psalm 20 is before the battle, and Psalm 21 is after the battle. Those are important to us, because if you’re a Christian, you’re either in a battle, headed out of a battle, or headed into a battle, that’s kind of where we live. And then of course, Psalm 22 is the Crucifixion, Psalm 23 is his present ministry to us as our Shepherd, Psalm 24 speaks of his coming, the One who was, the One who is, the One who is to come, wonderfully laid out. So, this evening we’re going to look at Psalm 19, a great Psalm, let’s pray as we look into these things. ‘Father, we thank you that we can gather so simply and sing your praises Lord, lift up our voices and our hearts, Lord. Lord, as we sing through different verses and choruses, the things we’re saying so often resonate with us, Lord, things that we’ve gone through, through the day, or a particular season in our life or something that we’re longing for, we’re so thankful we can come, forego some of the formality, liturgy, Lord, just to come and to sing, Lord, Psalms, spiritual songs, to lift our hearts before you. And then, the freedom, Lord, to open your Word, Lord, I’m sure in heaven we’ll be amazed at what a privilege this was, that what grace was being, Lord, being bestowed upon us every time we gathered and opened the pages of a Bible, Lord. You say in the ages to come you’ll still be revealing of your grace, your mercy to us Lord, no doubt, Lord, the grace represented in this room, Lord, is immeasurable, Lord. And as we look into these things this evening, preserved Lord, this ancient Song Book of Israel, Lord, Lord give us as individuals our portion this evening, we trust you to do that. We believe it’s your good pleasure, that we pray in Jesus name, Father, and for his glory, amen.’
Introduction To Psalm 19
Psalm 19, let’s read through it, it says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night after night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” (verses 1-6) He switches now to the Word of God, from nature, God revealed in Creation. Now he says, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” I need some of that. “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 for ever: 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 is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and shall be innocent from the great [or “much”] transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. “ (verses 7-14) This is “to the chief Musician, A Psalm of David,” we’ll find that, “to the chief Musician” 55 times in the Psalms, it means it was to be sung in public worship in the Tabernacle, and then at the Temple. David, no doubt, thinking back. You know, he had said ‘When I consider the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars, the work of thy fingers, what is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou visiteth him?’ David, as he lay out in the shepherd fields by Bethlehem and looked at the star-filled heavens, no doubt out there with his harp, that’s where a lot of his songs and his theology had begun, as he watched the night sky, he watched the sun, how many times as he had laid there and thought through these things, and wrote songs of worship to the LORD. And in all of that, David said he saw the hand of God, as he writes this down. But then he comes to the Word of God, and David was a great, great lover of God’s Word. And remember, I mean, David had the Torah, the first five books, probably had, probably, Joshua, Judges, maybe Ruth, ah, 1st and 2nd Samuel, I don’t know, because he was living it out, so there probably wasn’t much of that down at this point in time. Certainly not the Book of Psalms, it wasn’t complete, some were written, not the Book of Proverbs, Solomon wasn’t born. Ah, all of the great prophets of the Old Testament, and the minor prophets, none of that down on paper, and yet David is a lover of God’s Word, without the New Testament, without the majority of the Old Testament. The pieces of it that he had, he says, are powerful, and they work in our lives, and he finally ends saying ‘In our very experience, the testimony of God in nature, and the testimony of God in Scripture has one purpose, and it’s relative to human beings.’ We watch God in Creation, all of that is wrought with his genius relative to human beings. Again, you know, he creates light, let there be light, there was light, there were no light bulbs, they didn’t have flashlights, there were no Iphone flashlights, there were no neon bulbs, there was no fire, there was just light. Where did it come from? It doesn’t matter, he’s God. It’s not until the fourth day that he creates “light bearers” so that we don’t live our whole lives freaked out, so he puts light on the sun, light on the stars, he makes things to bear the light, but he makes light long before he makes things to bear the light. [Now in reality, we’ll see just how this was done, but for some hints, looking into some Einstinian/Hawking Relativity physics, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/Does/Genesis%201%201-31.html]. And he makes those things, he says, to mark out times, and seasons, so forth, I mean, everywhere around planet earth there’s a seven-day week, in every culture. There’s seven days in every week, six days to work, we know from the Scripture, and a Sabbath to rest, in every culture throughout history, around the planet [cf. Genesis 2:1-3, God created the 7-day week, as well as the seventh day Sabbath-rest, right after the creation of Adam. Has that Sabbath-command in Genesis 2 and found elsewhere in Exodus 20:8-11 been abrogated? Some genuine Christian groups believe not, and the subject has been hotly debated since 325AD. See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Has%20the%20Sabbath%20Been%20Abrogated.htm. I’ve had to wrestle with that question on a personal level, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/author.htm]. We watch God in creation, creating the fruit trees, again, after their kind, the plants, and then said at the end of the day ‘This is good, behold it was good.’ And again, all of that looking towards Adam, you and I, you know, God saying, what he’s saying is ‘Wait until they bite into one of these, this is going to blow their mind.’ This isn’t going to be called a Georgia Peach for over 4,000 years, but when they bite into one of these, they’re gonna say “This is good.” It wasn’t because he wanted a peach or a watermelon. And in all of that there’s testimony. David said all of that testimony, is not just going out into space, he said all of that testimony is for the human heart. And then he comes, in verses 7 to 11, then more specifically to the Word of God. Nature speaks to nature, God speaks specifically to man. And then he says, ‘The Word of God,’ now it’s specific. It’s interesting, in the first six verses you have God, ‘the heavens declare the glory of God,’ then you have no more mention now, once you get to the Word, then you have Jehovah, you have “LORD” seven times, relative to the Word and what comes. That’s where God is real. It’s almost like you know in nature, Paul tells us in Romans 1, we see parts of things. But the full and true revelation is in his Word, even that, it tells us, is given for humankind, for us, for our benefit.
Psalm 19, Part 1
The Proof Of God’s Existence---Yes There Is A God
So, we go through this Psalm and we see incredible things reflected relative to our existence in this world. Ah, The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (verse 1) Genesis 1:8, “firmament”, which tells us it’s the heavens. Some translations might try to say ‘heaven and earth’ but it seems that he’s speaking of the heavens through here. He says, “Day unto day [they] uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” (verse 2) It’s interesting, the word is “there is speech poured forth, night unto night they show knowledge.” The question here is because these are Jews, evening and morning was a day, not morning and evening [i.e for the Jews as well as for ancient Babylonia, days started and ended at sundown]. So, it says here, “day unto day” it’s literally “day to day” which is the night-time. I’m not trying to confuse you, I’m just saying, and night to the next night is the daytimes---so is “day to day” night-time and “night to night” daytime? Or is he just saying “night after night, day after day”? You can decide, it’s just the same star, same sun, same heavens, either way, it all works. You know, look, I don’t know if you’ve ever taken the time really to do that. One time years ago, 1977 I believe we were driving across the country with an evangelistic team, and we were staying in a van, and staying in camping sites, and we got, from San Diego we got to the Grand Titons in Jacksonville, Wyoming, and we pulled up and tried to get into this, it was September, we wanted to go up to Yellowstone. And they said “Yellowstone’s closed, man,” there was already snow everywhere, it was September in Wyoming. So we pulled down to go into this kind of park, and there’s like Elk hanging in all the trees, piles of guts and heads on the ground, and all these guys drinking beer, you know, all these hunters are there, and all the girls are going ‘Eeew!’ and the snow’s all red, the blood, and there’s heads sitting around. I rolled down the window and said “Hey buddy, can I buy an Elk steak?” He said, “Oh yea, you can buy an Elk-steak, I carried this Elk five miles through the woods, and get it here, and you want to buy and Elk-steak?” I said, “Alright look, is there anywhere we can camp?” the girls don’t, this is like Apocalypse Now. And he said, “Well look, way up on the Bluff over there, there’s a flat spot, there’s a camping spot, nobody’s up there,” but he said, “you need to be careful because we shot a Grizzly this afternoon going after a kill, biggest paws” the guy said, “I ever saw, and we wounded him, and he’s ornery, he’s around here somewhere.” [laughter] So we had like this big van with a box on top with a tent in it, a big tent, and then a car, a station wagon, and I don’t know, there was 10 or 12 of us driving across the country. And, ah, I really didn’t want to sleep inside the car, nobody wanted to sleep in the tent because of the grizzly, the tent stayed packed, so everybody’s in the car, so I got my sleeping bag, and I got up ontop of the box, ontop of the van, and I took the tent out, which we should have been camping in, and pulled it on top of my sleeping bag, because it was cold. And I just had my head, my face sticking out, everything else was packed. I had a long-handled ax with me, I figured if the grizzly comes, he’s gotta stand up to get me, so he’s gonna get a headache out of this, even if he gets me. But I’m telling you, I laid there, and I never saw stars like that in all of my life, I was almost freaked out. I mean, because it was nothing, it was pitch black, and there were zillions of stars. There must have been, I know it. I didn’t take the time to count, but there had to be zillions, and shooting stars, and stuff going across the sky. It was unbelievable. And we live in a world where we don’t quiet ourselves, we don’t put ourselves in front of that very much anymore. [If you live anywhere near a city, especially Philly where he lives, light pollution makes it impossible to see any but the biggest and brightest stars, you can’t see zillions, you’re lucky if you can count hundreds.] And it does speak. You know, I laid there and thought of Abraham, I thought of creation, I thought of David, I thought, ‘It does declare things,’ that is for sure. The heavens speak, Paul tells us this in Romans, he said, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20) You know, again, we live in a culture where they don’t want to hear anything about Creation, they don’t want to hear anything, and it’s a disingenuous argument, it’s a moral argument, it’s no longer a scientific argument, they just don’t want to hear about it. And yet all around them, it says ‘they’re without excuse,’ because there’s something that’s talking out loud to them. And the more research delves into this, the less excuses they have. [And this is so true. The existence of God can be proven for the intelligent scientific mind quite easily. The problem is, those same folks that could prove God’s existence so easily with all the scientific resources we have, don’t want God in their lives, so they willingly ignore the evidence, as Paul just said in Romans 1:20. Do you want proof and to see how easily it is to prove God’s existence? See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/Does/Does%20God%20Exist.html] Again, years ago, this is late 80s probably when A.E. Wilder-Smith was back with us for five days, and he had, I think a PhD in organic chemistry, and I think one in genetic engineering, and one in molecular biology [just the same of Michael Behe, PhD, who wrote “Darwin’s Black Box”.] He was considered one of the 12 brightest guys on the planet. I don’t know how I got to hang around with him. But, you know, I barely made it out of high school. But he was back for five days, while he was here the University of Pennsylvania heard he was in town, they had him come lecture, Temple heard he was in town, they had him come lecture, and I had a great time, I listen to him now, I get tears in my eyes, he’s gone on to be with the Lord, and I think, I didn’t even realize who this guy was, you know. And he said, even then, he said, “You know what?” he was friends with Carl Sagen, he knew Stephen Hawking, he knew all these guys I don’t get to hang around with, and he said “I’ve talked to Sagen, I said, Come on Sagen, you’re getting all this money from the government for SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, do they really give you millions of dollars to do this, how are you going to know if you find aliens?’” and he said “Sagen said to me, ‘Look, if I get an ordered sequence, then we know we have outside intelligence, because there’s no such thing as an ordered sequence without intelligence.” So, Wilder-Smith said, “I said to him, ‘Then put away your radar telescope, come with me into the lab, and look through the electron microscope, and I’ll show you the helix in the DNA where there’s a digital code, it is an ordered sequence, which proves there is outside intelligence.’” And he said “He would not look through the microscope.” He said, “He knew exactly what I was seeing.”
What Nature Does And Doesn’t Tell Us
So, nature, nature doesn’t tell us the Gospel, nature doesn’t say Jesus hung on the cross to die for our sins. It doesn’t do that. But what nature does say is there is eternal power and an eternal God [Intelligent Design, God does exist], there’s an all-powerful, all-wise something, there is Intelligent Design. I encourage you, again, if you haven’t watched “Privileged Planet,” that you watch that, because he comes to the point towards the end, first he describes the complexity of the Universe, and the chance probability of a planet our size being the specific distance from a sun the size of our sun, with the specific filters that are set up [by the earth’s magnetosphere], with the specific gamma rays, ultraviolet rays and all of that [being filtered out (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth’s_magnetic_field )], he said, the chance probability of those things happening is so great that there aren’t enough stars in the rest of the Universe for it to happen again. And he said, “Not only that, where we are in the Milky Way Galaxy, we’re out towards the perifera, not so far out that it’s dangerous, not so far in that we’re buried or getting killed by gravitation or other things,” he said, “We’re out at the perfect place, and we sit up high on the edge of it” he said, “in fact, what science has discovered, we happen to be” isn’t this amazing, it’s just coincidence [the rabbis say that with God there is no such thing as coincidence], “we happen to be in the best place in the Universe to see the rest of the Universe.” [see, “The Privileged Planet” at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?=ClarWNaCEVM]. If you had to pick one place in the Universe to camp out, so that you could have the best view of the rest of the Universe, it just happens to be where we are, the only planet with human life on it, in the Universe. Isn’t that a coincidence? “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (verse 1) that’s why we’re camped where we are. And that’s why we’re without excuse (cf. Romans 1:20). And David says here, “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” (verse 2) it’s unending, it goes on continually. And what he’s going to tell us about this testimony in nature is, that it is constant, it’s incessant, it never stops, day, after day, after day, after day, night after night, night after night, after night, it is inaudible, it’s not out loud, it is universal, it is heard in every language, nobody has an excuse ‘Well what about the guy on the island?’ he’s telling you about it right here. And that testimony is glorious, he says. He says here, “There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (verse 3) i.e. the testimony of the stellar heavens, it’s not heard, it’s constant, but it’s inarticulate. And then he says, “Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.” (verses 4-5) So their line, almost like somebody whose drawing up blueprints, the line, the measurement, the speech, the voice of what the heavens have to say, he says, it goes out to the end of the earth, it extends out into the heavens, the voice, the speech, what’s being marked out or measured out in the testimony of the stellar heavens. [See also “Intelligent Design: Waking Up to Creation”, at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?=4ZhzfKZUy6c] ‘Their words go to the end of the world, and in them, the stellar heavens, hath he set a tabernacle, he’s pitched a tent for the sun.’ Of course, the sun is the star we’re most concerned with. “His going forth” the sun’s “is from the end of heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” (verse 6) Listen, this is over 2700 years ago. He’s saying here that the sun happens to be in a circuit that goes from one end of heaven to the other [how could David have known that the sun rotates around on an outer arm of our galaxy, which is on a 230,000,000 year rotational “circuit”? Well, how could Moses have known that eating shellfish, which have a deadly neurotoxin which causes kidney failure, how could he have known that when he penned Leviticus chapter 11? God is the original author who inspired everything that ended up being written in the Bible, whenever that writing happened to have been inspired and written, duh.] We’ve discovered, recently, we think of the planets revolving around the sun, but what we realize now is the sun itself is in an orbit, and it takes 230 million years to complete one orbit, which we’ll never see, it isn’t done yet [but within the past 4 billion years the earth has been around, it’s gone around quite a few times already]. They understand the trajectory, it takes 230 million years for our sun to make one circuit in the Milky Way Galaxy at 600,000 miles per hour, 24/7, that’s how it’s traveling. And our Milky Way Galaxy is making a circuit that they don’t even understand, haven’t measured yet. David, somehow, by the Spirit of God, had no problem writing it down here, long ago. [Comment: David was a prophet, inspired within the Psalms, to write very specific prophecies about the death of the Messiah on the cross, before crucifixion was even invented (cf. Psalm 22).] “His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” (verse 6) The thermal energy of the sun, no hiding from it. He says ‘Every day he’s like a bridegroom, rising up, just coming with excitement’ a new day dawning, how many times in the shepherd fields he watched that, like he’s coming out of a chamber, and rejoicing like a strong man, getting ready to run the race every day, that brilliant glare starting on the horizon in the east, watching it, and lighting up the whole sky, he says, ‘day after day after day, this testimony goes on.’ So, there is, for the unbeliever out there, in the world that they live in, in the creation they’re surrounded with, there are words, inarticulate, that it’s a language that’s heard no matter where you are, no matter what earthly language you speak, it’s undeniable inside. And it says in Romans ‘They refuse to acknowledge what they know in their heart.’ They refuse to acknowledge.
Psalm 19, Part 2
Verses 7-14, “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 for ever: 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 is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Now David, he goes now from natural revelation, which is non-specific, again, it’s not preaching the Gospel, it’s just testimony of order, of intelligence [of Intelligent Design], of God. Now David moves to the Word of God, which is very specific. And now we have the name Jehovah seven times, who is a covenant-keeping God. So David now moves into this, and he says, “The law” the Torah “of the LORD is perfect,” let me read through them, “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.” Not much pure today, is there? “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (verses 7-9) [Comment: As Pastor Joe said, the greatest portion of the Word of God David had during his lifetime was the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. What he has described here is the part of God’s law to be found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the Ten Commandments, and the Statutes and Judgments that came after it, to be found from Exodus 21 through to the end of Deuteronomy. The Holy Days in Leviticus 23 are statutes, as are the dietary laws in Leviticus 11, in the statutes and judgment sections of God’s Law or Torah. David praised and constantly expressed a deep love for God’s Law (cf. Psalm 119), which we learn in Romans 8:1-9, is an attitude given to believing Christians by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as Romans 8 shows us, gives us, as it did David, a love for God and the Law of God. When Paul wrote Romans the only Bible those early Roman believers had was the Old Testament Scriptures. So genuinely misguided parts of the Body of Christ, the more liberal parts of the Body of Christ, think Jesus came to do away with the Law of God. Nothing could be further from the truth. The very simple Bible definition of what the New Covenant is, is that God through the Holy Spirit (cf. Romans 8:1-9) would write his laws within our hearts and minds (not do away with them, cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:6-13).] He’s telling us here, about the Law, the testimony, the Statutes, the commandment, the fear, and the Judgments of the LORD. He tells us what they are, what their attributes are, and what they accomplish, remarkably. So, he says “The law of the LORD is perfect,” God’s Word, perfect, “converting the soul:” It can have [or be translated as] “causing the soul to return”, the Hebrew says, “restoring the soul.” The idea of it in the Hebrew is ‘Causing a soul to come back to God, converting the soul,’ is the right idea. The sun won’t do that, the stars don’t do that, the brook doesn’t do that. We got all kinds of people around the planet today that worship nature. You know, I’m a nature channel junky, I like Discovery Channel, I like all that stuff, my wife is saying sometimes ‘Turn that off,’ the animals are eating different things, I like all that stuff [i.e. lions devouring Wildebeests, pythons swallowing a small goat]. But people worship all that stuff, you know, they sing songs to the trees, and they’re worried about the Spotted Owls and all this stuff. And in David’s day, whether it was the Egyptians or other ancient cultures, they worshipped the sun, that made gods out of all that stuff. David said, ‘No, no, all of that is the handywork of a single God, it is a creation, it isn’t a god in itself, and it bears witness to the fact that there is a real God, but that this is how we know him [i.e. through his Law, Torah, the Word of God, the Bible].’ Look, the question people ask, here is what haunts at least the genuine soul, “Is their a God?” It’s the question people ask, “Is there a God out there?” [that question is answered at: http://www.unityinchrist.com/Does/Does%20God%20Exist.html] “And if there is, how can I know him, if he’s really there?” and “Does he care about me? What’s this have to do with my life?” And these are the two divisions of this Psalm, 1) Yes there’s a God, there is a natural demonstration of that. 2) How can I know him? Through his Word, that’s what he’s decided. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul.” We’re told in 2nd Timothy 3 the Word of God, Paul says, “Is able to make thee wise unto salvation.” He also says there, ‘That every word of God is God-breathed,’ and he said ‘it’s to equip the man of God, that he might be perfect.’ So David’s telling us the Word of God is perfect, and Paul is telling us that perfect Word, when it’s imbibed and ingested and digested in a human being, makes that person, it creates a perfect thing in him [or her]. Here he says the Word of God is perfect. This is what we can never take for granted. Ok? If we understand inerrancy, what we need to understand is this here in our hands, it’s not just a Bible study, it is that, we should do that, it’s not just a book, it’s not just a subject, it’s not just a book of psalms. The Bible says of itself, that it wasn’t just the writer that was inspired, the Old German says, it’s the wrote, it went through the writer to the page. Certainly the writer was inspired by the Holy Spirit. But what we have is the Word of God that came through the writer, and went to the page. And we sit here with it this evening, and every Sunday, and you grow up in it, I know some of your kids running around here go to Calvary Christian, and they were dedicated here, and they were in Calvary Christian Academy nursery school, kindergarten through 12th grade, they’re thinking ‘I’m in this place seven days a week, I can’t wait to get away from here! I was born here, I was raised here, I went to school here, I can’t wait to graduate, I want to go college on the moon to get away from here.’ Listen, don’t ever take for granted, don’t ever take for granted the freedom we have to gather around the Word of God. [Because that freedom does not exist in over half the inhabited world, you can be killed for having a Bible or be seen studying it in many parts of the world.] It’s been here for thousands of years, it will abide forever. Heaven and earth will be gone [and another heaven and earth will be created in their places (cf. Revelation 21:1)].
The Word of God Converts The Soul
This is a lamp unto our feet, and it’s a light unto our path. It says here, “converting the soul.” If you’re born-again here this evening, born again not of corruptible seed, but an incorruptible, which is the Word of God. The Word of God, if we’re sitting here this evening, really listening with open hearts, never returns void, like the rain and snow that comes down from heaven, it accomplishes what God sends it forth to do. If you feel, ‘Lord, I know I have a calling, I want to understand what that means, I want my life to be set aside for you,’ John 17:17, he says, Jesus praying to his Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy Word is truth.” Not ‘Thy Word is true,’ “Thy Word is truth.” And it says, ‘that this Word that we have is alive, it is powerful, it is sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing the bone and the marrow.’ (Hebrews 4:12) What it says is it divides down between that which is soulish and that which is spiritual, it divides that deep into the human being, to the immaterial parts of our being. And here we have the freedom to come, and to look into it’s pages, and study the Word of the Lord, the Law of the Lord, it is perfect, unlike fallen creation, which is giving a partial testimony. The Word of God is not fallen, it’s perfect, he says, “converting the soul:” “the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” (verse 7b) ‘it is reliable.’ I think the stories you read of the Red Sea or of Creation or of David and Goliath, ‘the testimony of the LORD, it is sure, it’s reliable,’ “making wise the simple.” I appreciate that, personally, I appreciate that. It instructs. “The statutes [or ordinances] of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart:” (verse 8a) you’re struggling, having a hard time, you’re going through some stuff, get into the Scripture. And again, my pastor, I had asked him, and he said “Joe, when I’m having a hard time, I go to the Psalms.” He said, “I just get my face in the Psalms and I read, and sooner or later I come to something, it’s speaking to me, ‘How long O LORD, all your waves and billows…my soul is cast down,’” He said, “I finally find myself, and I find God speaking to me.” It says here that the Word of God has that power to cause the heart to rejoice. “The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (verse 8b) How wonderful in a world where not much is pure. “enlightening the eyes” you want a perspective? You want to understand what’s right and what’s wrong? You want to know what’s pure and peaceable, and easily entreated? The Word of God will give that to us.
The Most Threatening Thing To The United States of America Is There Is No Fear Of God
And “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever:” (verse 9a) man, we hear all kinds of people, these days, talking about ‘I’m a Christian, I believe this, I believe that, hey the Man upstairs,’ hey, you’re not going to call him ‘The Man upstairs’ when you stand in front of him. We hear all this nonsense. You know, to know him is to stand in awe of him, the fear of the LORD is clean. It says in 1st John that true love casts out fear. But you study the tenses, what it says is, to understand God’s love puts you in the process of casting out fear that has torment. So there is a place where God doesn’t want his children terrified of him, groveling before him, because it does despite to the blood of Jesus Christ. But certainly he does want us to walk in awe, he is God. That ain’t gonna change, he is God. When we see him, we’re all falling down, you know, flat-noses now, you will then, we’re all falling down and casting our crowns before him. “The fear of the LORD” he says, “is clean,” it’s a good thing. Jeremiah says, ‘You know, my people, they’ve turned away,’ he said, ‘they’ve sinned, their own sin and their backsliding is going to reprove them, because they no longer have the fear of the LORD.’ The most threatening thing to the United States of America is not ICBMs coming across the North Pole, it’s not the little guy in North Korea firing missiles at us, the most threatening thing to the United States of America is there is no more fear of God. And our morals are determined by that, our attitude toward the one true Living God is determined by that, there is no fear of God. And the might of a nation depends upon its righteousness, not its technology. “The fear of the LORD is clean,” when you have hold of that, “enduring forever.” “The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (verse 9b)
The Value And Effect Of God’s Law, Word
And now in verses 10 and 11 he tells us about both value and effect, we have here, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” (verse 10) “More to be desired than gold”, ah, you know, look, being rich is a matter more than finances, you know. We know lots of people in this country that are millionaires and they’re in Betty Ford Clinic, alcoholism, drugs, they’re impoverished, they have everything and they have nothing. Wealth is relative to perception, sweetness. Look, we sit here and say, ‘Wow, the Word of the Lord,’ if somebody offered me all of the money in Fort Knox to surrender my Bible and never read it again, would we do that? What would our answer be? Wait a minute, would you answer that fast, or let me think, ‘OK, how much do I have memorized?’ [I’d fail that one, I have a notoriously bad memory, so I have to stay in the Word daily.] ‘Ah, how much do I have written in other places?’ [well, I could try to survive on this website, but then I couldn’t keep working on it, so that wouldn’t work.] ‘How much can I sing?’ Will you just go immediately? ‘No way!’ Is that what we’d do? ‘I’ll give you all the money, all the gold in Fort Knox, never to read your Bible again. Anybody with me?’ Come-on, you’re not going to raise your hand here because you’re embarrassed. Ah, he wants the gold, right over there! [he’s laughing] Sweeter than the honeycomb, now that was the sweetest thing they had back in those days, they understood, there were no Twinkies, there were no Twix, no Snickers bars or any of that, no Hagen Das, it was the honeycomb. He says ‘The Statutes, the Word of the LORD, his precepts and things that he gives to us,’ he said, ‘are more to be desired than gold and silver,’ there’s a greater treasure there relative to what the human being really is, because you’re eternal [i.e. you’ve got potential eternity dwelling in you through the indwelling Holy Spirit]. Jesus would say, ‘What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and looses his own soul? If he gains the whole cosmos, what profit is it to a man if he gains the entire universe and looses his own soul?’ What Jesus is saying is, the value of one human soul outweighs the entire universe. The universe is only a stage for the drama of redemption to be worked out. It’s just a stage. But one human soul is eternal and of greater value, Jesus says, than the entire known universe. He says here of God’s Word, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” I love honey, by the way, thistle honey, my mind is going the wrong place. But the Word of God is sweeter to me even than thistle honey, I just wanted you to know that. So, that’s value. Here’s effect, verse 11, “Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” So, ‘Moreover by them, the statutes, the Word of the LORD, is,’ notice, ‘thy servant warned.’ Somebody who doesn’t want to serve Christ, or somebody whose a carnal Christian, first of all we live in a culture that doesn’t want to be warned. We live in a culture that doesn’t want any rules, doesn’t want anybody pointing the finger at anybody else, doesn’t want anything black and white, doesn’t want anything right and wrong, calling evil good, good evil, we live in a culture that doesn’t want to be warned. And then sometimes even in the Church we grew up in, we take it for granted, we don’t want somebody telling us ‘No, don’t live like that, no you need to get out of that sin, no you shouldn’t be doing that, that’s going to ruin you,’ even sometimes in the Church people don’t want to be warned. But he says, ‘But in keeping them thy servant, if you want to serve him, he’ll always warn you.’ His Holy Spirit is always willing to direct us, his Word is always real to us. “Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” (verse 11) It’s interesting, it says, “in keeping them” not “by keeping them” but it’s in the very keeping of them “there is great reward.” Not if you keep them you get a reward, but the reward is inherent in the very keeping of the Word of God itself. The Hebrew says “it’s in keeping of them there is great reward.”
God’s Law, Word, Brings Us Into Spiritual Light, Which Reveals Where Our Sins Are
Verses 12-14, “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great [Hebrew much] transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” God’s revelation in nature, God’s revelation in his Word, brings us to verses 12 to 14, all of that relative to human experience. “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.” (verse 12) Anybody? You know, the heart is deceitful, it’s incurable, who can understand (cf. Jeremiah 17:9)? When we think we’re really humble, and we tell somebody how humble we are? Then you’re not humble anymore. “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.” You know, the Word of God does this, it brings us, you know, the sun doesn’t bring us into this kind of light, the stars and the moon don’t bring us into this kind of light, the Word of God brings us into this kind of light. Is there a God? Yes. How can I know him? Through his Word. How does that relate to me? It brings me into the light. How can I understand my errors? “cleanse thou me from secret faults.” Look, he makes some requests, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins;” you ever commit one of those? No, just me? Everybody looks confused, you’ve never committed a presumptuous sin? I get around some people, ‘Well the Lord told me to do this, well the Lord told me to do this.’ Every time I want to talk to them they want to play the trump card, ‘The Lord told me this,’ I’m thinking, ‘You know, I’ve been saved for about 40 years, and it’s been like two or three times I really know he spoke to me.’ This person don’t need a Bible, they got a direct line, God’s talking to every, ‘The Lord told me to do this, the Lord told me to do that,’ you know, I’m thinking ‘The Lord didn’t tell you to do that, because it says in here, it must be the dark lord that told you to do that, because it isn’t this one.’ ‘Keep me back from presumptuous sins,’ sometimes we think we hear him because we want to hear him say that we can have something that we know we shouldn’t be having. ‘Hey, the Lord understands, he knows we’re in love [then get married]. OK, look, I smoke marijuana, it’s natural.’ What isn’t natural? You’re on earth, you’re in three dimensions, what’s not natural? Lead is natural too, should we shoot each other? Uranium’s natural, should we blow each other up? That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard, ‘It’s natural.’ [Comment: That’s why God in Leviticus 11 gave his people, whom David was one, dietary health laws, because there are some natural animals that are more harmful than others if consumed. They’re natural, but bring on degenerative diseases if steadily consumed. See, http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/02/07/safe-levels-neurotoxin-found-in-seafood-may-cause-kidney-damage/. “In keeping of them there is great reward.” Leviticus 11 is in the Statutes and Judgments section of God’s Law, the Torah David is talking about.] Yes, he knows our heart, he knows that, that it’s desperately wicked, and he proves he knows it, because we see him hanging on the cross to pay for it, so we can be set free from it ruling over us. And in the process of regeneration, we have something great going on inside, it says. “Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins;” he’s talking to the LORD whose revealed himself, “let them not have dominion over me:” (verse 13b) and LORD if you do that, he says, “then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great [or “from much”] transgression.” (verse 13c) ‘LORD, you keep me, a man can’t even know his faults, LORD, you do this, you keep me, then I’ll be who I’m supposed to be.’ He says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (verse 14) And the Greek says “May the words of my mouth” he’s actually asking permission, he’s saying ‘LORD, allow this,’ because it’s not natural to us. Listen, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Let the words of my mouth, imagine that. You ever been in trouble by the verse that says ‘Every idle word is going to be brought into judgment’? I’m thinking ‘Man, I gotta list of those.’ I’m glad it’s under the blood of Jesus. Anybody speak a word this week they shouldn’t have spoke? Just me and you, ok, the four of us. Alright, that’s good. You know, people do it, you argue with your wife on the way to church, the kids are being crazy, you’re yelling as you pull up, you’re mad, you’re slamming your fist on the dashboard, you come walking in and somebody says ‘How you doing?’ ‘Oh, praise the Lord,’ [loud laughter] ‘wonderful. How are you?’ you know. ‘I can’t control my temper, God made me that way.’ He didn’t make you that way, you’re a fallen creation, he’s saving and changing you and trying to conform you to the image of Jesus Christ. ‘Well that’s the way I am.’ Who cares how you are? That’s not what this program is about. This program is getting us to be somebody else, he’s conforming us into the image of his Son. ‘I can’t, that’s the way I am, I get mad, that’s what I do, and I can’t control it, I can’t control it.’ Really? You’re in the living room fighting with your wife, yelling and screaming, and the phone rings, you pick it up and go ‘Hello’ [spoken in a nice soft voice] [loud laughter]. You can’t control it, right? That’s just the way we are, isn’t it? [applause] “Let the words of my mouth,” he says. That’s a good prayer, isn’t it? Because with our kids and with our friends, we can say something that cuts way deeper than a knife, way deeper than the surgeon’s scalpel, we can say things that cut very deep. And we all have feelings. “Let the words of my mouth,” and here’s the really tough one, “and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (verse 14) “my strength,” which is literally “my rock, and my redeemer.” “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart,” who would want the meditation of their heart up on a screen, continually? Raise your hand. Right? That’s why he’s asking for help. You know, sometimes you think ‘Well this doesn’t really hurt anybody, nobody, this is gone, this is private…’ it goes on, there’s a traitor that lives within, isn’t there?
Incredible, look, creation reveals the fact that there’s order, there’s something, there’s something, there’s someone out there! Non-specific, continual, inaudible, but it displays glory. The Word of God is different, in that it is specific. It does speak to us, it does make clear, it does guide, it does cleanse, it does instruct, it does convert, it does all of these things. And the truth is, that makes the value of it more than the finest gold, sweeter than the honeycomb. And in keeping, Lord, your Word, there’s great reward, for by them your servant is warned, there’s warning here, there’s instruction. And he says, who can know their sins, really? You can know them, Lord, I’m looking to you, keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins, don’t let them have dominion over me, then shall I be upright, then I’ll be innocent from much transgression, Lord, may this be, allow this Lord, and this is a great prayer, every morning, every night before you go to bed, “Let the words of my mouth,” because once you let them out, you can’t real ‘em back in. I think most of us have more regrets for what we did say than what we didn’t say. There may be a time when you say ‘If I’d have only said something while I had the chance,’ that’s the rarity, that’s the exception, it’s not the rule. Because most of the time it’s ‘I can’t believe I said that.’ “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart,” you know, it’s from the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks, so if we get that right, usually there’s a nice coordination that’s taking place. “and the meditation of my heart,” what does your heart meditate on, what is it set on? What does your heart want more than anything else? It says to guard the heart with all diligence, because from it flow the issues of life. Not from the intellect, not from your brain, there’s something in you that’s more powerful than intellect, that’s longing, desire. And the heart always makes a convert of the brain. That’s why it tells us smart people can do stupid things. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight,” imagine that, he says, “my rock, and my redeemer.” Not ‘my God and my judge,’ ‘LORD, you’re my rock, without you, I’m slipping and sliding around here, I’m in mud, LORD, you’re my rock, and it’s because of you my life can be rock solid, and LORD on the days that it isn’t, you’re my redeemer, LORD.’ Isn’t that amazing, David at the end of this, speaks to God, Jehovah, as his redeemer? It’s remarkable. I’ll have the musicians come, because we have enough time this evening for maybe two songs, or three. But a great night for us. Look, as we worship, just to be saying ‘Lord, alright, I needed to be warned tonight, you’ve been warning me about something, and I haven’t been listening,’ between you and him. Maybe it’s just a great night to say ‘Lord, my soul needs to be restored.’ Or maybe you’re here and you don’t know Christ, and you think ‘Lord, your Word has been chipping away at me, I’m ready to be saved,’ you come and talk to us after the service [or see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/Does/Does%20God%20Exist.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm]. Or maybe you’re thinking ‘Lord, maybe I’ve got my priorities wrong, and your Word is not more precious to me than gold, that is for sure, I want gold! I’ll get to study the Bible after I’ve made my first million, Lord I want gold.’ The Bible doesn’t say be a pauper, it doesn’t say be foolish, what is says is, ‘What are your perceptions, what are your priorities?’ There are millionaires that are miserable, there are millionaires that are Christians, that are delighted to serve the Lord, and look for places to use their resources, and the things that God has given to us. It doesn’t say ‘Be impoverished.’ It doesn’t say that at all. But maybe tonight you can begin to say, ‘My priorities have been wrong.’ Or, ‘Lord, your Word isn’t sweet to me, and it stings, we’re living in some things we shouldn’t be living in, and the Word of God is dividing between what’s soulish and what’s spiritual.’ I think we all need to say, ‘Lord, all of us, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, my rock, and” wonderfully, “my redeemer.” (verse 14) That’s a good thing for all of us to say [and pray]. So let’s bow our hearts, let’s pray, ‘Father, I know you’ve overheard, as we have the freedom to study your Word and look into these things, Lord, I pray as we lift our voices in song now, Lord, that you would hear our heart-cry Lord, and Lord this is wonderful, Lord, the way that your Word dissects and flays us and opens us and heals us and directs us. We’re thankful Father for an entire Bible, Lord, we’re so thankful for the things David saw in shadow we see so clearly in your Son, Father. That we see that you so loved the world that you gave your only begotten, Father, that we see you in Christ on the cross, reconciling the world to yourself. Things that no doubt David longed to see, you’ve allowed us to look into. So Lord let your Word be effective in our lives, we enjoy Lord, creation, we enjoy the things around us, but we know who flung the stars into their places, Lord. And we love your Word, Father, we’re so thankful. And we’re so thankful you’re patient as you’ve begun a good work in us to conform us into the image of your Son. And Father we all have places in our lives this evening, no doubt, where there is some spiritual surgery taking place, Lord, or where there’s healing, or Lord where you have asked us, Lord, to trust you, to step out of the boat as it were onto the water, Lord. We ask this, as we lift our voices, that our hearts may be lifted along with them to heaven. Lord you talked about those who draw near to you with their lips, but their heart is far away. We don’t want to do that, Lord. We pray that as our voices rise off of Philmont Avenue, Lord, that you would be blessed, Lord. You say in Malachi when your people gather together, in remembrance, you stoop down, and you listen, and a book of remembrance is written before you. Write it this evening, Lord. And as we lift our hearts afresh, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, Lord, fill us Lord, baptize us afresh Lord, separate us, Lord, unto yourself, we pray, and believe it’s according to your will, in Jesus name, amen.’ ”
For the proof of God’s existence, see
What is the balance between Law & Grace for the New Testament believer in Jesus Christ? see,
As Pastor Joe say, the seven-day weekly cycle with the Sabbath has been in existence since Creation (cf. Genesis 2:1-3). Is the Sabbath still in existence for New Testament believers? Some think so, others think not. This question has been a personal one for me, and I have striven for an honest answer to this dichotomy created by the opposing beliefs found on either side of this question. See,