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
- Pure and enlightened
- Consistent and righteous
- Rewarding and fulfilled
Why is it this type of life so elusive for so many? Obviously you can’t give a simple blanket answer but in general, it’s because alot of us have become “shoppers” of God’s Word instead of true consumers of God’s Word.
The Bible has become our mall where we look for the best deals,
the lowest prices and the most convenience.
What I mean is that we study the Bible the same way we shop for food or clothes. We are looking for what pleases us. We look for the “best deals” where we can pay the lowest price. We look for the convenient and the easy. We treat the Scripture like junk food, snatching verses that satisfy our latest appetite for fast food spirituality.
It doesn’t help that alot of churches today are all too ready to
offer a convenient drive through Gospel and a
“99 cent holy value menu” in order to attract
as many customers as possible.
What’s the typical answer to a retail sales employee who asks “can I help you find something”? “No thanks, I’m just looking around”. Did you know that every time you open up your Bible, the Holy Spirit is wanting to help you find the riches of God’s Word? But all too often we are just “looking around” and neglect His help and direction. This “casual shopper” approach to Bible Study robs us of the true benefits and rewards of God’s Word.
The Bible, while most certainly pleasurable to read, is not designed for the habitual pleasure shopper. It is meant for serious study, methodical consumption, consistent meditation and voracious devouring. It is nourishing food for the starving spirit and pure, thirst-quenching water for the parched soul… not a candy bar and a soda snack for a quick spiritual sugar high.
Let’s begin a look at six different descriptions of Gods Word that leads us to a life of fulfillment and “great reward”.
Psalm 19:7a – The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; (NKJV)
The first of our “great rewards” is a life that is refreshed. Some Bible versions translate this to the English word “converting” which is accurate in the truest sense, but is confusing to modern Christians because we think of “converting” as the process of being saved (which of course is one aspect of this verse, but not the application for the already saved).
The original word for converting gives the idea of refreshing or restoring. The law of the Lord is perfect and refreshes the righteous and restores the obedient. Refreshing… think of how you feel during a long hot shower after being all sweaty and filthy. Imagine the dirt and smell being washed off of you and the clean smell of soap and fresh water.
I remember in the Army when we would be out in the “field” (any place with no shower or air conditioner!). We would tromp around the woods or desert for days on end never getting anything but a “washcloth bath” once in a while. After a several days, or a few weeks, of that there was hardly anything more refreshing and cleansing than a hot shower and a bar of soap.
The other day I made the mistake of entering my son’s football locker room at school. There is nothing quite so foul smelling as a hundred high school football players in a small room on hot day after a hard practice! I can recall how “refreshing” it was to get out of that locker room and inhale a deep breath of unpolluted air! Now THAT was refreshing….
The word “converting” in this verse also carries the sense of restoration. Think back of the times when you have been in trouble, or have wronged someone. Do you remember the sense of relief and relaxation when you came to a point where you realized everything was “okay” again? Maybe you were in trouble with your boss, or your parents. Perhaps your girlfriend or spouse was really upset with you. Or how about the times when you bad mouthed someone behind their back and they found out about it?
Think of how good is feels to finally have those situations corrected and to have the relationship restored. That is the idea here in the phrase “converting the soul”. What is it that converts (restores) the soul? Money? Vacation? Recognition? Pleasure? No, none of those things that our natural flesh would think of.
The law of the Lord refreshes the soul.
In Psalms 19:7-10 there are six different descriptions of God’s Word that on the surface all seem to be saying the same thing: law, testimony, statutes, commandments, fear and judgments. Each of them carry a different aspect of God’s Word and it’s fruitful to understand the difference.
Today we’re looking at the first half of verse 7… the law of the Lord is perfect and refreshes your soul. What is “the law”?
The Law is a “rule of action”.
It is a statement of instruction or direction that is true and
binding regardless of the opinion or awareness
of the object of that law.
The Law is a rule of action and in this context it is God’s rule of action. Laws dictate our behavior and our conduct; what we can and can’t do. When we violate the law, there are consequences. It doesn’t matter whether we know the law, agree with the law, or like the law… the law is the law and you are under the law at all times regardless of your own personal opinion of it.
Of course God’s law is perfect, just and meant to lead us into the very best life possible. Why is it refreshing? Because keeping God’s law leads to a fruitful, guiltless and fulfilled life. Why is it restoring? Because it brings us back into a right relationship with God after we have gotten in trouble by sinning.
You have to know God’s law in order to keep God’s law.
The first point of our life of “great reward” is a refreshing and restored life. How does that come? By keeping God’s law. How do you keep God’s law? By knowing it, meditating on it and practicing it. How do you know God’s law? Through diligent, consistent, serious study of His Written Word and by asking God in prayer to illumine the Truth in your heart.
Psalm 119:18 – Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law. (NKJV)
God’s law is perfect; it restores and refreshes the soul which results in a fulfilling life of great reward. Tomorrow we will look at how God uses His testimony to bless us with a life full of wisdom.
Lord, thank You for Your perfect Law and the refreshment it brings to us when we keep it. Empower us through the Spirit to know Your Word and bless us with the discipline and desire to study and prayer every day. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Are you in need of restoring your relationship with God? Do you long for some refreshment of your spirit and life? Do you know how to get either? In the past, has it been through vacations, recreation, seminars, retreats or other methods? Has your opinion changed any about how “refreshing” and “restoration” of the soul is achieved?
Application: The world would have us to believe that a luxury spa, a shopping spree and a couple of weeks vacation are the keys to refreshing the spirit. Not so. While rest is certainly beneficial, rest without an infusion of God’s Word gives some temporary benefit at best. At worst, it leaves us even more frustrated because despite the down time, we still don’t feel revitalized. You can refresh and restore yourself anywhere and anytime by simply opening God’s Word and feasting on His perfect law.
- 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?