Psalm 19:11b – … And in keeping them there is great reward. (NKJV)
This series of lessons looks at the life most Christians want, many Christians talk about and some Christians experience brief glimpses of… but few attain on a daily, consistent, long-term basis. It is a life that is:
- Refreshed and re-energized, full of wisdom, joyful, pure and enlightened, consistent and righteous, rewarding and fulfilled
So far we have learned that:
God’s law (His rule of action) converts (restores, refreshes) the soul because knowing and keeping His law leads to a fruitful, guiltless life of fellowship with God. (v. 7a)
God’s testimony (His declaration and evidence of facts), especially of Jesus Christ imparts wisdom to the simple (foolish; anyone devoid of God’s truth and wisdom) (v. 7b)
Today we will look at the first part of verse 8 discovering the key to a joyful heart:.
Psalm 19:8a – The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; (NKJV)
First of all notice the assumption that is made: the statutes of the Lord are right. This conclusion is stated matter-of-factly and is not presented for discussion or debate. God’s statutes are right. Period. It is important to think about this for a moment. Every person has what is called a “worldview” whether they realize it or not. A worldview is a set of presuppositions (something you innately believe is true by default) that each person has developed throughout their life.
For example, a scientist may have a materialistic worldview that assumes everything can be explained without God. So when he looks at life on the earth, he immediately assumes it came to pass through natural processes and his scientific research is based on that PRE-assumption. A worldview that does not include God will embody presuppositions such as:
- All things have a natural explanation
- The physical world is the only reality
- Truth is relative to the situation at hand
- There is no absolute truth
- The purpose of life cannot be known definitively
- Man (particularly “majority rule”) is a law unto himself
A worldview without God eliminates the possibility of making a definitive statement about law, morality or truth such as we find in verse 8. Nothing can be absolutely “right” because no man, government or worldly system can ever claim absolute authority. Man can only be “right” until another man rises in authority and power to declare the new version of “right”.
As Christians, it is important to understand that part of our worldview is the automatic assumption that “God is right” no matter what. It doesn’t matter what age you live in, what society you’re a part of or what the prevailing moral climate is. God is right and all of our thoughts, decisions, opinions and knowledge must be founded, grounded and “sounded” through the Word of God.
So what are these “statutes” that are right? Statute is defined as laws or regulations, but the original word “piqqud” is translated as statutes only once and 21 times as “precepts” which I believe more accurately describes the thought of the verse.
- A direction or regulation
- A command given as a general rule of principle
- An order issued by an authorized official
- Instruction taken beforehand
The definition that catches my attention however is: a principle instructing to do a certain action, which is to be obeyed by all in same society of the covenant.
(Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (HGK7218). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc).
As Christians we enter into a blood covenant (Heb 7.22) with God at the moment we accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as an atonement for our sins. God’s statutes (precepts, regulations, principles, direction) are instructions TO BE OBEYED by everyone who has entered into covenant with Him. If you are saved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, YOU are part of that covenant.
So God’s instruction are right without question, and they are to be obeyed by us because we are part of the New Covenant (Heb 8.13). The result? The heart is rejoiced. This statement (“the heart is rejoiced”) once again, is stated matter-of-factly. There is no question, no condition and no ambiguity. The instructions of God are right and when obeyed, our heart will rejoice. Why?
Being in right standing with God
is the most joyful existence available to man.
Our heart rejoices because we are in right standing with God; our heart is in tune with Him. By obeying His instructions we live in peace with the Ultimate Authority; guiltless before THE holy standard of the universe. God has created within man a part of our being that can only be happy, fulfilled and peaceful when we know that all things are right with God.
How do you get to that point? By knowing His statutes. That starts of course with salvation and continues throughout our life in a process called “sanctification” (the process of becoming more holy in our behavior and thoughts by conforming to God’s Word).
You have to know God’s statutes before your heart can rejoice.
How do you know the precepts of God? They are found in His Word (the Bible) and you have read it, meditate on it and practice it in order to know them. His instructions are learned through diligent, consistent, serious study of His Written Word and by asking God in prayer to illumine Truth in your heart.
Psalm 119:25-27 – My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. (NKJV)
God’s law is perfect; it restores and refreshes the soul. God’s testimony is sure and will make you wise. The Lord’s precepts are right and will give you a heart full of joy. Tomorrow we will look at the commandments of God and how they give us understanding.
Holy God, Help us to learn your precepts and obey them. Grant us a joyful heart as we choose to live according to Your instruction. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Is joy missing from you life? Does it parallel your lack of knowledge or obedience of God’s statutes? Do you think it is reasonable for God to bless someone with joy when they are ignoring or neglecting His principles ?
Application: Knowing God’s statutes and keeping naturally results in joy because it puts us in the original condition we were created for: right standing and fellowship with God..
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?