Trail racing can be an exciting adventure. A few years ago I trained and ran in four trail races, a couple 5K runs, as well as an 8K and a 10K. In addition to the distance, we had to pay attention to curves in the trail and obstacles such as roots and loose stones. At times the path was tricky, and if we did not pay close attention to the signs and markers that showed us which way to go, we could have very easily lost the trail.
Praise the Lord that the path on which He leads us is straight and right. It is clearly marked and free from obstacles that would cause us to stumble and fall. And following God’s path through His Word produces a joy you cannot get anywhere else, a joy will never fade, for it is not dependent upon outward circumstances, but upon the everlasting Word of God.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart…
Review: Bible Answers for Your Every Need
Psalm 19, verses 7-9 give us six statements about the Bible that sum up the sufficiency of Scripture and answer everything that the human heart longs for.
Do you long for transformation, to be different than you are?
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.
Do you long for wisdom and discernment, to be able to sort out the issues of life?
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
Do you long for joy, lasting happiness, and deep peace?
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.
Do you long to understand the dark and hidden matters of life?
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Do you long for something that is enduring, permanent, and trustworthy?
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.
Do you long for something that is consummately right and righteous?
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
Review: Perfect Parallelism
The parallelism in these verses is matchless, and reveals to us God’s heart concerning His Word. It is like the many facets of a diamond, resplendent from every angle.
Let us now take a brief look at the different parts of these three verses, for these will be the building blocks of our study for the next six weeks, and then we’ll jump in to the first part.
Six Titles of the Word of God
- the law
- the testimony
- the statutes
- the commandment
- the fear
- the judgments
Six Characteristics of the Word of God
Six Benefits of the Word of God
- converts the soul
- makes wise the simple
- rejoices the heart
- enlightens the eyes
- endures forever
- is altogether righteous (provides full spiritual resources)
Six Times God Affirms That He is the Author of the Word.
- of the LORD
- of the LORD
- of the LORD
- of the LORD
- of the LORD
- of the LORD
Now, let’s look at the third title, characteristic, and benefit of the Word of the Lord.
Title #3: The Statutes
Statutes = divine principles, precepts, guidelines
The Scripture is full of God’s guidelines for living, commands with regard to moral conduct.
What are some of those guidelines? Well, the Ten Commandments is a good place to start.
- Worship God alone.
- Do not create idols.
- Do not take God’s name in vain.
- Remember to rest one day each week.
- Honor your father and mother.
- Do not commit adultery.
- Do not steal.
- Do not murder.
- Tell the truth.
- Be content with what you have.
All that we ought to be and do can be summed up in two statements:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
Can you imagine the peace that would reign in the world if everyone lived by these two principles? if everyone loved God supremely and loved his neighbor as himself? This is the foundation for a joyful life.
Characteristic #3: Right
This does not mean right, as opposed to wrong, but right, as in “straight, or true.”
Right = “straight”
The statutes of the Lord show the true path; they give you right guidance.
Observe and hear all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you forever, when you do that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.Deuteronomy 12:28
He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are justice: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.Deuteronomy 32:4
For the word of the LORD is right; and all His works are done in truth.Psalm 33:4
And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!Psalm 107:7-8
Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are Your judgments.Psalm 119:137
By contrast, look at this verse, which talks about the way man chooses for himself.
There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is grief.Proverbs 14:12-13
Do you remember what it was like to have to chart your own course? to wander around in a fog of human opinion? As believers, we are not left without a chart and a compass. We have a true Word to follow. And the result of that is, we walk a right path, a straight path, one that rejoices the heart.
Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.Psalm 119:105
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, in which they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn. Hear the word of the LORD, O you nations, and declare it in the coastlands afar off, and say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock. For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for grain, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.”Jeremiah 31:9-12
Benefit #3: Rejoices the Heart
Rejoice = to brighten up; to cheer; to make merry
Yes, God has guidelines for us, precepts which we must follow if we would walk with Him. But isn’t God good to so design these precepts that the fulfilling of them gives us joy! Our duty to God provides us with joy. It is one thing to like your job, to enjoy doing what you do—but what mercy and kindness God shows to us by providing joy unspeakable when we obey Him! His commands are not tedious chores; they were not created to torment or punish us. They are our joy!
Praise the LORD. Blessed [Happy] is the man who fears the LORD, who delights greatly in His commandments.Psalm 112:1
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.1 John 5:3
As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you: continue in my love. If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.John 15:9-11
Where does a believer go to find joy? relief? happiness? deliverance from sorrow, overwhelm, and depression? It is the Word that rejoices the heart. If you are depressed, down-hearted, discouraged, or doubtful, the answer is to get back into the Word of God.
The psalmist understood this and encouraged himself in the Lord.
Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted in me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.Psalm 42:5
From the end of the earth will I cry unto You, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.Psalm 61:2
The prophet Jeremiah faced tremendous stress. His nation had turned its back on God. His message was rejected. He was left in a filthy pit so that people would no longer have to listen to him. At times he grew discouraged, but in the midst of all this chaos and conflict, Jeremiah found joy. Where? In the Word of God.
O LORD, You know. Remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in Your longsuffering. Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke. Your words were found, and I did eat them; and Your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.Jeremiah 15:15-16
In the New Testament, John speaks of the purpose for which he wrote words that would be included in the canon of Scripture:
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.1 John 1:4
The Word of God is the source of all joy.
I fear that people who run from the Bible and into the arms of secular counselors, psychiatrists, books, medication, and the like do not find true joy and peace. Why? Because the Word of God is the source of joy. If you find God’s Word in a book, it will help you. If your counselor points you to the Scriptures, you will come away rejoicing. But if these things draw you away from God, they cannot lead you to joy.
Know you not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?Job 20:4-5
If only people today were as excited about the things of the Word of God as they are about materialism. I wish we could say that we truly present a gospel of the Word instead of a gospel of promised prosperity. The fact is, material possessions decay and are soon parted from us. But God remains the same always and forever. His Word shall stand forever.
The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand forever.Isaiah 40:8
God never changes; and therefore the joy we receive from Him through His Word will never cease.
But let all those who put their trust in You rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them: let them also that love Your name be joyful in You.Psalm 5:11
Let’s take a look again at Psalm 119, which expounds upon the pithy truths of Psalm 19.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches.
54 Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
76 Let Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Your word unto Your servant.
111 Your testimonies have I taken as a heritage forever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Your word.
162 I rejoice at Your word, as one who finds great spoil.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song will I praise Him.Psalm 28:7
Obedience to God’s Word is the key to joy in the heart. And joy in the heart will produce a song on the lips. Are you singing today?
For the word of God is quick [alive], and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
Photo taken along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah, Virginia, 2014