Do you look to the word of God as something that keeps you from living the life you desire, or do you look to the word of God for the blueprint to greatness?
I’m asking this question because I’ve known those who have said, “The bible has too many rules,” “I’m under grace, and that’s all I need to know!”, or “I don’t have time in this season to study my bible.” Honestly, those are all heartbreaking statements to me because these people have no idea the treasures they are robbing themselves of by not reading the word of God. For the things of this world. I understand that there are times where life is frantic and over-scheduled, but the ability to change those variables lies within our reach and responsibility. And thanks to technology, you can listen to the word of God being read anytime. I’m thinking YouTube, Abide, YouVersion Bible App, cds if you’re into that, and more. And while I personally believe that holding the word of God in your hands to read has the greatest impact in changing your life, listening to the word of God has its purposes as well. God’s word says in Psalm 19,
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is a great reward.”
I want to dive into breaking apart this scripture passage for deeper understanding of what God is trying to show us here:
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul
Two word-groups in the Hebrew Old Testament are translated “perfect” or “perfection”: tamam [m’T] and calal [l;l’K]. The former connotes wholeness, soundness, integrity, and often takes on ethical significance; the latter connotes completeness, perfection, and can carry the aesthetic sense of comeliness or beauty.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple
Statutes are a law or decree by sovereign God. I love this truth-ism that states, “Show me an area of your life where you are experiencing success, and I will show you where you are following a biblical principle. Conversely, show me an area of your life where you are failing, and I will show you where you are violating a biblical principle. Therefore, those choosing to follow what they call their own personal wisdom are seemingly less than wise, bordering on stupidity.
Trustworthy means confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principles of another person. In other words, you can put your confidence in what God is instructing you THROUGH HIS WORD.
I need to stop right here for a minute and say something. Feelings aren’t facts. I have a lot of friends who tell me they “feel God” and while the presence of the holy spirit is a very powerful experience, it is one that we as disciples of Christ should continually walk in. Also, you can feel something, but that doesn’t make it match up in alignment with God’s word. If you’re “feeling” that you need to make a move, feeling that you should align with someone in business, feeling that you should leave your spouse, I recommend you pray and ask God to confirm or refute anything you’re “feeling.” Why? Again, feelings aren’t facts. Eve was tempted by Satan through her emotions and senses. Through her feelings. I’ll prove it, in Genesis 3, “Eve saw that the fruit was good for food (hunger/taste), pleasing to the eye (vision and vision of what she might become in her eyes), desirable for gaining wisdom (thoughts), so she took some (touch) and ate it. Then she persuaded (seduced) Adam to eat it too.” The bible says we are to take every thought captive and make it obedient to the Word of God. So, if you’re not doing that, you’re headed for trouble. Ok, moving on.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart
God’s precepts are His instructions and commandments. As we study his word, we learn what is good and acceptable to him and the peace of carrying his yoke brings joy to our hearts. I heard a pastor once say, “Don’t just read your bible, let it read you!” Why? Because as the holy spirit reveals new things about him and you, and you’ll experience layers upon layers of freedom. God says in Proverbs 8 (verse 10-11: Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”
The instructions and wisdom of God continually make us free, and there is pure joy in that freedom.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes
God’s word itself is radiant so that it opens our eyes and hearts to understanding what was formerly the mysterious nature of God. His instructions also illuminate our life and our path and teach us the way to live. The only way you can know the plans God has for you is by going to him in prayer and reading his word. A pastor, a prophet, and an apostle can relay knowledge, teach, and prophesy, but IT’S UP TO YOU TO to pursue a discipleship with God, to understand his word.
And for the audience that says they can’t understand what the bible is trying to say: thankfully there are hundreds of translations of the bible in existence today. I use the NIV, the Amplified, The NKJV (the thee, thou version), The Tree of Life Bible, and the Passion Translation. There’s also the Message and others. I will say that there are some versions that eliminate what I consider powerful vocabulary, but I’m a words person. God will speak to you through His holy spirit, if you will go in faith to the word of God.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever
Bibleref.com points out that, ” The meaning of “fear,” here, is the archaic sense of profound respect, humility, and acceptance. This is not a sense of panic, but of deference. This statement points out that reverential fear of the Lord is clean and endures forever. Unlike false religions that are defiled, God’s Word is undefiled and everlasting. A judge may render an inaccurate decision, but God’s judgments are true, David writes, and they are thoroughly righteous.”
This can be hard for those of us who were taught to fear our fathers. I always thought God was mad at me, and that I somehow snuck into the house of God unnoticed, but if it was found out, I’d be told to leave. I didn’t belong there. For many years I was afraid of God, and those fears gave birth to lies that I couldn’t go to him when I messed up. The fear and lies pushed me deeper down into the pit of sin and shame, honestly, because that’s where I thought God wanted me and where I belonged. It wasn’t until several divine appointments over a 10 year time frame, and the deep work that God did inside of my mind and heart, that I was able to break free from those strongholds that caused me to constantly question my salvation, the love of a father, feeling worthy, etc.
Don’t let whatever you believe stand in the way of going to God out of holy respect for who he is, no matter who you think you are. I can assure you, you will be surprised and refreshed at how God really sees you.
The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is a great reward.
The laws and commandments of God are holy. They are priceless. The wisdom you get from the word of God preserves life, warns, teaches abundance, and promises fulfilled. If you were to dive into the historical figures of the bible, I am certain you would resonate with at least 1. The main bible I use is an NIV given to me by my mom when I was 18. Over the past 25 years, God has marked the passages of what I consider to be life messages for me. If I am just flipping open my bible, He will often take me to one of several accounts of historical figures who he has had me study through the years.
But I need to say it didn’t start that way. It started awkward. It started in doubt. It started and then briefly stopped in frustration because I was reading words on tissue paper. Nothing really clicked, and it read flat. It wasn’t until I started praying before, in faith, asking God to please show me what he wanted to say to me that he answered my prayers. You see, I started reading because it was “what I was supposed to do” not out of joy. I had to train myself to develop the habit when I didn’t want to. Like you, I always have a thousand things to get accomplished each day. BUT- when I went to God, knowing that there was more for me in his word, and asking for his favor to understand it, HE WAS and IS FAITHFUL. And He will be faithful to you too. He will make learning about him enjoyable. Just trust me on that.
A prayer for you today
Jesus, I pray that you would woo this reader into your word. I pray that you would speak softly and tenderly to them, using your word to convey exactly what their heart needs to hear so that they know and believe that you are drawing them to deeper intimacy with you. I pray for them to have the faith to believe, in a world that attempts to drown out your whispers with distractions, that they would create a space where nothing would get in the way of meeting with you in your word.
I pray that they would taste and see that your word is good, that it gives life to the bones and to the spirit. I pray for revived hearts, revived lives, and for revival to break out in your body, Lord. We believe for it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.