The main reason I wanted to start studying through the Psalms to to discover more of who God is. The psalms are praises, songs, hymn, poems…whatever you want to call them, about the awesomeness of God. David beautifully encapsulates this in Psalm 19. In the first 6 verses he explains the grandness of God. From our perspective, the sky and heavens and stars are big and really “out there”. David explains how God makes a dwelling for the sun, that He controls the heavens. God is in control of everything. Yet, as we continue into verse 7, we must remember that He is not only in control, but He is good.
When we think of laws, precepts, commandments, and judgments, we generally think of them in a negative manner. On earth we view the laws as restricting. We see commandments as overbearing and unfair. We fear judgments and we judge our fears. Yet these things in relation to God are good. If you don’t believe me, let’s take a quick stroll through the beginning of Matthew 5, where Jesus starts His Sermon on the Mount which tells us about loving our enemies, not having lustful thoughts, and praying and giving in secret:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
That word “blessed” is translated from the Greek word makarios which means “happy, blessed, fortunate.” God created the universe; this includes the rules by which it operates and is governed. Laws, judgments, a respectful fear, commands, precepts, and testimony are all things that are put there for our own good. God knows how things are supposed to work, so when He tells us how we are supposed to operate, it isn’t to control us, but to keep us safe and free. He knows that when we look at pornography it will enslave and burden and hurt us. He knows when we pray out loud on the street corner for everyone to see and hear that it doesn’t benefit our relationship with Him at all. He knows that when we harbor envy and greed in our hearts that we begin to serve a false god that will never truly satisfy us or give us what we need.
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.
When we obey God’s law, we are set free and restored.
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
When we trust what God tells us, we gain wisdom.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.
When we follow God’s design for our lives, we experience joy.
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
If we would only do what God tells us, we would see He is right and we would gain new revelation.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.
When we fear and respect God for who He is, it sanctifies us for eternity.
The judgments of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether.
God judges against sinfulness and rules with grace because sin destroys us. We should be happy that we have such a loving God that disciplines His beloved.
Reflecting on these characteristics of God, David invites us to let it soak in. Take a moment and go back over the list and thank God for each one. Now talk with God about how you need His help to be better at these things. In James 4, he explains to us how we can grow closer to God:
6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
When we submit to God, when we recognize and accept these things we read in Psalm 19, it puts us in a place to receive God’s presence. God is all around us, but we will not experience Him in our lives until we begin acting in a way that allows us to know He is with us. It’s not necessarily that if we obey Him then He will reward us, but more so that our obedience opens up the pathway for us to continue our relationship with Him. A disobedient child doesn’t have a good relationship with his parents. It has nothing to do with the parents’ love for the child, rather the child’s ability to receive love from the parents.