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, 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)
- God’s precepts (instructions, directions) are right (by default) and are heart is rejoiced when we keep them (v. 8a)
Today we will look at the latter part of verse 8 discovering the way to enlightenment (understanding):
Psalm 19:8 – The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; (NKJV)
First, what exactly is a commandment? We immediately think of the Law of Moses and the other direct commands in Scripture. And you would be right on both accounts. A commandment is typically obvious and to the point. Don’t kill; love your brother; pray without ceasing… imperative statements usually devoid of optional compliance clauses.
Our understanding or agreement is ultimately
irrelevant to obeying God’s commands.
Pertaining to the Word of God, these commandments are “divine directives”. These are marching orders that we have no choice or option to follow. God says do it, and we do it. While there is certainly nothing wrong with studying to understand WHY God commands something, in the end, our understanding of God’s motives, or our agreement with them is effectively irrelevant to the issue of obedience.
When I was a Drill Sergeant in the Army, one of the things we had to instill in new combat soldiers was the discipline of response and obedience without question. In the heat and chaos of battle there is no time or place to have a discussion about whether or not the commanding officers orders should be followed. There was no requirement to understand WHY, nor did it matter if we agreed. When the orders are issued, they are to be followed trusting that they are in line with the overall good of the entire battle plan despite personal opinion or cost (this assuming the orders don’t violate God’s law, but that’s another devotional).
Of course humans can be flawed, and orders from commanders can be ultimately flawed. But not so with God.
God’s commands are pure: perfect, complete and holy.
The word pure is one of those all-inclusive words that typically only God can get away with using. Something is either pure, or it’s not. There is not part-pure. Here is the definition from Websters (emphasis mine):
- unmixed with any other matter
- free from dust, dirt, or taint
- spotless, stainless
- free from harshness or roughness
- being in tune — used of a musical tone
- being thus and none other
- sheer, unmitigated
- free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes
- containing nothing that does not properly belong
My favorite is the phrase “being thus and no other”. Purity is being ALL of something, and NONE of anything else. God’s commandments, His orders and divine directives, are pure. They are free from pollution, spot or stain and contain NOTHING that does not properly belong. They are “thus, and none other”.
And they “enlighten” the eyes. What does this mean? Enlighten means to shine on, to illumine, to bring light to, to expose and to make clear. It is the process of seeing reality as God sees it.
Our vision of life is only as clear as the degree
of illumination God has bestowed on us .
When you enter a dark, unfamiliar room you are likely to stumble, run into things and get lost. And who doesn’t love busting their little toe on the corner of something! To the degree that light becomes present, we begin to have a realistic picture of what is in the room and how to exist in it safely. The greater the light, the clearer we can see the details of the room and the greater our confidence and understanding concerning it.
In the same sense, God’s commandments are like light in our dark sin-cursed world. God’s commandments allow us to properly understand how to navigate and operate in a dark world. The more of God’s commands we know, the more the light of understanding brightens our path in life.
You have to know God’s commandments
before they can light your path in life.
How do you know the commandments of God? They are found in His Word (the Bible) and you have to read it, meditate on it and practice it in order to know them. His commandments are learned through diligent, consistent, serious study of His Written Word and by asking God in prayer to illumine Truth in your heart.
Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. (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. God’s commandments are pure and will bring you light and understanding about life. Tomorrow we will look at the fear of the Lord and His righteous judgments.
Holy Lord, Help us to understand that Your commandments are not restrictive or punitive; they exist to bring light into our life and in keeping them we will be blessed with great spiritual reward. We pray that Your commandments will enlighten our understanding each day. In Jesus name, Amen.
Contemplation: Are you stumbling around unsure how God expects you to live? Do you have a confidence that understand how a Christian is to live and what pleases God? When someone asks you about “life” (the purpose, the meaning, the way to live) do you feel confident and sure in answering?
Application: If you want to understand “life”, know God’s commandments. God has given us clear direction about life and His commandments are PERFECT instruction on how to live it. Our purpose and direction is clearly illuminated through the increased knowledge of God’s Word.
- 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?