Today we come to the end of Psalm 19. For years I’ve read this passage, sung parts of it as a chorus, and memorized it. But always I believed it to be comprised of three separate, disconnected parts. I could not see how the parts fit together to form a cohesive whole until I began this study. So rather than diving right into verse 14, let’s review the entire psalm and see how the parts fit together.
Verses 1-6 tell us about the glory of God as revealed in the physical world. Nature reveals to us the existence of a glorious God, but it cannot take us any further toward heaven than to show us that there is a way. Although heaven and earth reveal God’s glory, they leave us hungering for more.
Verses 7-11 give us the more, as they present us with six titles, attributes, and purposes for the written Word of God. This, the written Word of God, is the way to know Him and see Him. In fact, it is everything we could possibly need for this life and the next.
Verses 12-13 teach us the value of the Word of God for possession, pleasure, protection, profit, and purification. What good is having a thing if you do not fully appreciate its value? Men and women who do not know the value of Scripture will hold it in light esteem.
14 Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer.
The final verse, verse 14, is the application of all we have learned in the preceding verses. We have been equipped with knowledge, and our heart has been cleansed. We are like the field that has been cleared of weeds and sown with seed, and now it is time to see the growth. As we stated last week, knowledge alone does not edify. The only way the Word of God will change me is if I (1) learn what God wants to say to me, and (2) apply what I have learned to my heart and life.
To read God’s Word without applying it to your life is to expect to feel full from reading a recipe, or to believe you can come away clean after reading the label on a bottle of body wash.
Love is the application of knowledge. When I learn what God has taught me through His Word, and allow that Word to penetrate my heart and motivate my thoughts and actions, it will produce genuine, unselfish love toward others. The apostle Paul addressed this very issue in his first letter to the church at Corinth. They were so focused on wanting to receive some spiritual gift that they had neglected the most important thing: love.
Knowledge makes one proud, but love edifies.1 Corinthians 8:1
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.1 Corinthians 13:2
Love never fails: but …prophecies… shall fail; …tongues… shall cease; …knowledge… shall vanish away.1 Corinthians 13:8
“Let the words of my mouth… be acceptable in Your sight”
Having seen God’s glory, and His Word, for what it is, I can now see myself for who I am—a nobody who cannot make it through a single day with sinning. Having asked God to cleanse me of my sins, both known and unknown, I am now ready to ask Him to guide each word that proceeds from my mouth. They are all important. Just look at what Jesus said:
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.Matthew 12:36
“Let the… meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight”
This goes even deeper. It is one thing to say the right thing; it is another thing altogether to have pure thoughts. When you are driving down the road, alone in the car, where does your mind go? When you are sitting among friends and family, quietly listening—or at least pretending to listen—to their chatter, what are your thoughts? If they could read your mind, would you be ashamed of what they saw?
There is Someone who can read your mind—your Father in heaven. He knows not only what we do and say, but He also knows what motivates those actions and words. He knows what we’re thinking, whether or not we ever say it out loud.
The Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.1 Samuel 16:7
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.Genesis 6:5
And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts.1 Chronicles 28:9a
“O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer”
Lord = Jehovah = the self-existent, eternal God
He is so much bigger than I am, so much greater than all my problems. The Lord—who has always been, and always will be—created me. I am His creation! Don’t you think that makes me special in His eyes? Don’t you think He cares enough to want me to succeed in life? He does not want a puppet who will blindly follow His leading; God wants a child who will choose to please Him out of love and gratitude.
Trust in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.Isaiah 26:4
Strength = rock, refuge
The Lord is well able to keep me steady when the storms of life rage around me, and when temptation comes over my head like a wave. He is my Rock, a rock that cannot be shaken. He is my refuge in the time of storm. In myself, I do not have the power to always say and think the right things, but if my desire is to let Christ be seen in me, He will strengthen me to do right.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.Philippians 4:13
Redeemer = to be the next of kin; to buy back
You know the story of Ruth, right? Her husband had died, so she looked to Boaz, as her next of kin, to do the part of the kinsman-redeemer. She was out of the family, but he bought her back. That is exactly what Jesus Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer, did for us. And that, incidentally, is why Jesus had to be born into this world. If He were not one of us, He could not have been our Kinsman. And if He were not God, He could not have been our Redeemer.
This psalm is directed to Christ. David was long dead before Jesus was born, but he knew Him. In fact, every time you read the name LORD in all caps in the Old Testament, it refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. David understood his sin, and his propensity to sin. But he also understood that Jehovah had already promised to pay the ransom for his sin. It was as good as done. David’s sins were under the blood, and David celebrated this with every blood sacrifice that he brought to the priest.
You and I no longer need to bring the sacrifice, for Jesus has come and fulfilled the promise. He lived a perfect life, died a perfect death, and then rose again in triumph over sin, death, and hell. He fulfilled the Law! Now you and I can live victoriously over sin, by the power of Christ as revealed in the Word of God. By His grace and strength, the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts can be be acceptable in His sight. For if you know the Lord as your Savior, as I do, then He is also your Rock and your Redeemer.
This study, like a mirror, has shown me the wretched condition of my heart. I have the privilege of getting to spend hours nearly every morning in the Word of God. But has it changed me? Have I applied the truths of God’s Word to my life? Can my family see Jesus in me? Or am I merely saturating myself with knowledge that puffs up? Do I truly believe that God’s Word can meet my needs? If so, it will make a difference that my family and others can see.
People today are leaving the Word of God even while affirming its truthfulness, and chasing after all other kinds of things because they have the feeling that the Word can’t meet their need. That is a lie of the devil which has arisen because they’ve never really lived a biblical life. And they have never really been noble, like the Bereans, who daily searched the Scriptures. And they’ve never allowed the Word of Christ to dwell in them richly. They’ve treated it in a cursory way, and never enjoyed the power of its depths.
We need to call the Church of Christ back to a passion that consumes them with the power of the living Word of God and let our message not be the message of “the Bible plus the world,” but let it be a message of the sufficiency of the Word alone.
You’ll never know what the Word of God can do if you don’t study it and apply it to your life.
Lord, make me a woman of the Word, acceptable in Your sight.
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