Psalm 19 - overcomer - How perfect the law of the Lord
The 11th Psalm to the overcomer
. An overcomer hungers and thirsts after God's righteousness (Matt 5:6
), which must surpass that of the Scribes and Pharisees (Matt 5:17-20
This is one of my favorite psalms. It is beautiful, strikes the heart, and fans the flame of hunger and thirst for righteousness before the Lord. The psalm builds from praise for creation to praise for the law to prayer for righteousness. My favorite verses are verses 8
- Lit. The expanse tells the work of His hands.
The creation tells us that there is a God, and it also tells us what kind of Person He is (Rom 1:19-20
). This Psalm is not talking about the extraordinary things of creation like Niagara Falls, but the every day things we take for granted: the sun, moon and stars, which are seen from everywhere.
- Lit. Night unto night shows knowledge.
- Their line is the boundary of their ministry (Ps 16:6)
"In them He pitched ..." - "them" refers to the heavens and the expanse in v1
- Lit. And he is as a bridegroom going forth from his closet; he rejoices as a strong man to run the race.
When the sun rises in the morning, it is like one coming out of his secret place. We need time alone with the Lord, and time with people.
A bridegroom is a bridegroom for one day. He is the most hopeful, happy person. The sun is like that every day.
- Lit. "His going forth is from the end of the heavens, And his circuit unto the ends of it."
We should love and do good to everyone just as the sun shines on all alike.
But I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,
45 So that you may become sons of your Father who is in the heavens, because He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet only your brothers, what better thing are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
6:1 But take care not to do your righteousness before men in order to be gazed at by them; otherwise, you have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens.
- David switches from the testimony of God in creation to His testimony in His law. When human beings, even the gentiles who do not have God's word, realize what kind of Person God is from His creation, they naturally do the righteousness of the law (Rom 2:14-15
The Lord's law is the whole Bible. It is perfect and complete. Taking the whole thing and not neglecting any part transforms our soul.
The Lord's testimonies always refer to His commandments. They reveal the Lord's character to us. They are sure. When we stand upon them and not upon tradition or teaching of men, we become wise. Whatever we are sure of, we are sure of it because it is God's word. It is not sufficient to be sure of something because a man of God taught it.
- The Hebrew word for "precepts" is only used in the Psalms. It is hard to tell how precepts differ from "commandments" because we keep them and do them (Ps 103:18; 119:4
). We also seek to understand the way of the Lord's precepts (Ps. 119:27
). Precepts may be words like "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35) or "The little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked" (Ps 37:16). Psalm 37 is almost entirely these kind of principles. When we keep them, it rejoices our heart because we are doing what we know is right. As Benjamin Franklin said, "A good conscience is a continual Christmas".
When the Pharisees kept the law, it did not rejoice their heart. They did not consider to keep the Lord's intention behind it. Rather they wasted their time studying traditions of men as if it was the word of God. They kept the laws to be seen by men as doing so. It is natural for all human beings to fall in to the same trap, to think we are approved before God because we do what He requires, when actually we are ignoring the more important, simple things He commanded.
The Lord's commandments are what He said to do or not do. They are pure (Ps 12:6
). Any human teaching based on the Word, must be understood in how it is based upon the word. If it is taken as a substitute for the word, or a short-cut to reading the word for yourself, it is easy to go astray, because the teaching can never be as pure as the Lord's word.
God's law is our pleasure when the God of the law is our God. - Charles H. Spurgeon
- Lit. "The judgments of the Lord are truth."
Abraham Lincoln quoted the second 1/2 of this verse in his 2nd inaugural address
right before his conclusion.
The Lord's law, the Lord's testimonies, the Lord's precepts, the Lord's commandments and the Lord's judgments pretty much all refer to the same thing: the Bible. The fear of the Lord is something different. It is something in us. It corresponds to believing in the Lord in the New Testament. The fear of the Lord is clean and is forever. Some Christians misunderstand 1 John 4:17-18
, thinking that fear of the Lord is done away with in the New Testament. This is very far from the truth. I covered this in Ps 34:9
. This Psalm says clearly that the fear of the Lord will endure forever.
- It is more valuable than gold because it transforms our soul, makes us wise, and enlightens the eyes. It is sweeter than honey because it rejoices our heart.
-12 - It is easy for us to go astray. If we are doing something that is against the Lord's word, then for sure we have gone wrong. When the word convicts us, it is a warning that we have gone wrong.
There are a lot of things hidden in us that fortunately we don't display to others. We need to pray for the Lord to cleanse us from those things too (Heb 4:12-13
; Acts 8:22
- During our whole Christian life, especially when we seem do be doing well, we have the tendency to fall into presumption. This is what happened to the church in Laodicea (Rev 3:17
- It is good to have this verse memorized so that it can speak to us when our mind wanders.
The Pharisees seemed to have forgotten about this verse and others like it (Matt 23:25-28
). We had better not forget about it lest we become like them.
"my Rock and my Redeemer" - this says so much of what the Lord is to us in just 2 words. My Rock - the one I trust, the only sure one to stand upon. My Redeemer - the one who paid his life for me.
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The heavens God's glory record.
The expanse tells His work abroad. (1.1)
Day unto day gushes forth words,
Night unto night knowledge. (2.1)
3 There is no speech, there are no words,
in which their voice cannot be heard.
Their line's gone forth through all the earth,
their speech to the world's end.
In them He pitched tent for the sun,
who goeth forth like a bridegroom, (5.1)
rejoicing as a mighty one,
who has a race to run.
His going forth is to the end
of heaven and then back again. (6.1)
And from his heat, nothing's hidden,
he shines on every one. (6.2)
perfect the law of the LORD.
The soul by it's being restored.
The Lord's testimonies are sure,
making the simple wise.
right the precepts of the LORD,
the heart rejoicing more and more.
The Lord's commandments, they are pure,
enlightening the eyes.
clean is the fear of the LORD.
Forevermore it shall endure.
true the judgments of the LORD, (9.1)
They're more to be desired than gold,
yea, more precious than much fine gold.
Than honey and the honeycomb,
they are sweeter by far.
Also by them Your servant's warned.
In keeping them there's great reward.
12 Who can discern where he's gone wrong?
Cleanse me from what's hidden.
Your servant keep from presumption,
o'er me to not have dominion.
Then I'll be perfect, innocent
when the many transgress.
My meditation and my words
out of my heart and mouth, O Lord,
in Your presence be a pleasure,
my Rock and Redeemer.
Matt 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness , for they shall be satisfied.
17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish, but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, Until heaven and earth pass away, one iota or one serif shall by no means pass away from the law until all come to pass. 19 Therefore whoever annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of the heavens; but whoever practices and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens. 20 For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens.
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold down the truth in unrighteousness, 19 Because that which is known of God is manifest within them, for God manifested it to them. 20 For the invisible things of Him, both His eternal power and divine characteristics, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being perceived by the things made, so that they would be without excuse; 21 Because though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or thank Him, but rather became vain in their reasonings, and their heart, lacking understanding, was darkened. 22
Professing to be wise, they became fools
2:13 (For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who have no law, do by nature the things of the law, these, though they have no law, are a law to themselves, 15 Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing
witness with it and their reasonings, one with the other, accusing or even excusing them)
12:2 And do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.
2 Tim 3:14 But you, continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from which ones you have learned them 15 And that from a babe you have known the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 That the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.
Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right . 2 "Honor your father and mother,'' which is the first commandment with a promise, 3 "That it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.''
2 Cor 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward
Proverbs 29:6 In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.
Matt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Psalms 103:18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his precepts to do them.
Psalms 119:4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
Psalms 119:15 I will meditate in thy precepts and consider thy ways.
Psalms 119:27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts; so I shall meditate of thy wondrous works.
Ps 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words,
tried as silver is tried,
tested in a furnace of earth,
seven times purified.
1 Jn 4:17 In this has love been perfected with us, that we have boldness in the day of the judgment because even as He is, so also are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love , but perfect love casts out fear because fear has punishment, and he who fears has not been perfected in love .
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and operative and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And there is no creature that is not manifest before Him, but all things are naked and laid bare to the eyes of
Him to whom we are to give our account.
Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray the Lord, if perhaps the thought of thy heart shall be forgiven thee.
Rev 3:17 Because you say, I am wealthy and have become rich and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire that you may be rich, and white garments that you may be clothed and that the shame of your nakedness may not be manifested, and eyesalve to anoint your eyes that you may see. 19 As many as I love I rebuke and discipline; be zealous therefore and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes, to him I will give to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Matt 23:25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, but inwardly they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and the dish so that their outside also may become clean. 27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you resemble white-washed graves, which outwardly appear beautiful but inwardly are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Ps 16:6 The lines have fall'n to me in pleasant places, even, a goodly heritage.
Matt 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to tribulation, and shall kill you; and ye will be hated of all the nations for my name's sake.
10 And then will many be offended, and will deliver one another up, and hate one another;
11 and many false prophets shall arise and shall mislead many;
12 and because lawlessness shall prevail, the love of the many shall grow cold;
13 but he that has endured to the end, he shall be saved.
2 Thes 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
2 Tim 3:1 But this know, that in the last days difficult times shall be there;
2 for men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, evil speakers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, profane,
3 without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, of unsubdued passions, savage, having no love for what is good,
4 traitors, headlong, of vain pretensions, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;
5 having a form of piety but denying the power of it: and from these turn away.
6 For of these are they who are getting into houses, and leading captive silly women, laden with sins, led by various lusts,
7 always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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