The Scriptures - A Great Means of Grace
The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean,
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward. (ESV)
There are many things today which vie for our time, some good, some less so. There are kids, work, hobbies, social media, sports, the new show on Netflix that we are going to binge on this weekend. So many things that compete for our attention and attack our limited time. With all of this, it can be easy to neglect the greatest means of grace the Lord has given us — reading the Scriptures. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Here is another pastor on his high-horse about reading the Bible.” If that is you, please bear with me through the end of this short blog.
Many reasons to read the Bible are detailed in Psalm 19, none of which stem from a legalistic mindset of, “You’re a Christian, you should read the Bible.” David takes the stance of a fellow traveler. There are many things which vie for our time. I am sure David suffered the same time constraints. You can almost hear him talking to himself, “I don’t really want to read the Torah this morning, I have business to attend to. I’m the King after all.” Then you can hear him remind himself, “The Law of the LORD is perfect, it revives the soul. I do need some reviving…”
He then goes through a laundry list of the benefits of reading, memorizing, and meditating on Scripture:
- Scripture is sure, and that surety makes one wise - The Word, having been “breathed out by God,” makes one wise as it is the wisdom of God.
- The precepts are right, making glad the heart - Our hearts react positively to the rightness of God’s Word.
- His Commandments are pure, it enlightens the eyes - In Hebrew poetry the eyes having light meant that were alert and active, basically saying that God’s Word gives life!
- The fear of the Lord is clean and endures forever - The reverence we have for the Lord in this life is only the beginning, we will reverence His Name for all eternity.
- The rules, or decrees, of the Lord are true and righteous altogether - God has spoken, he has ordained certain things, that is what a decree is — the ordination of the Lord — and they are altogether righteous. This harks back to Abraham’s words to the Lord in Genesis 18:25, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” - God’s speaking is his doing, and by His Word, he is shown to be righteous.
David then crescendos to the worth of the Word- more desired are they than gold and sweeter than honey. Think of your favorite sweet treat today. For me, it is dark chocolate. There was no dark chocolate back then. There was no Coca-Cola classic. There was no sugar. There was honey. The sweetest thing in the world back when David wrote this Psalm was honey, and he is saying that God’s Word is sweeter even than honey. Not only is it sweet, but it gives a warning. They warn us of our sinfulness, and the wrath that sin awakens. Not only the negative warning, but there is also a positive warning, “In keeping them there is great reward.” The great reward is knowing and being known by God, in Christ. There is great reward in knowing Jesus, the one who saves us from sin and brings us into the family of God.
Now, you may be thinking, it is so hard to start. After looking at David’s words, it could be said it is hard not to start. There are many different tools that can help, one that we have been using as a church is the Read Scripture App. It is available from the App Store of your choice, and follows a year-long reading plan. You can start today, and get into the Word. There are also amazingly helpful videos that show how the different parts of the Bible fit together, and highlight the major themes of the Word. Whether you choose to use the hard copy print Bible, or the app, or some other means, get into the Word. It is a great means of grace as Psalm 19 points out for us.