Psalms 19:7-11 (ANIV)
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring for ever.
The ordinances of the Lord are sure
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
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Light from above is reflected off the floor behind king David in this interior scene.
Psalm 19 is an example of a Hymn, which lift the congregations praise to God, describing God’s greatness & majesty.
This simple scene shows king David reading the law in Hebrew text, on a scroll.
Note: the Hebrew text is that found in verses 7-11 above.
It is interesting to try to determine why so many legal terms are mentioned in the verses above: law, statutes, precepts, commands, fear, & ordinances. Clearly David thought the Lord’s versions of these was a desirable & precious thing. It may be useful to consider these terms as defined in the dictionary, & then read two Bible Commentators comments on these verse.
Law = A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority.
Statutes = A decree or edict, as of a ruler. An act of a corporation or of its founder intended as a permanent rule.
Precepts = A rule or principle prescribing a particular course of action or conduct. A direction or order issued by an authority; a writ, command, or process.
Commands = To give (someone) an order : to tell (someone) to do something in a forceful and often official way. To deserve or be able to get or receive (something)
Fear = A feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful.
Ordinances = An authoritative decree or direction. Something ordained or decreed by a deity.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary has this to say about these verses:
“The law is described by six names, epithets, and effects. It is a rule, God’s testimony for the truth, His special and general prescription of duty, fear (as its cause) and judicial decision. It is distinct and certain, reliable, right, pure, holy, and true. Hence it revives those depressed by doubts, makes wise the unskilled (2Ti 3:15), rejoices the lover of truth, strengthens the desponding (Ps 13:4 Ps 34:6), provides permanent principles of conduct, and by God’s grace brings a rich reward.”
J. Vernon McGee’s Thru The Bible also has some interesting points:
“Again let me give you Dr. Gaebelein’s translation: “The Law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring for ever; the judgments of Jehovah are truth, they are altogether righteous. More to be desired than gold, than much fine gold, and sweeter than honey, and honey-comb. By them thy servant is warned, in keeping them the reward is great’‘ (The Book of Psalms, p. 91).
Now notice what he says about the commandments:
1. They are perfect. The Law cannot save us because it is perfect and we are not. We cannot measure up to it, but there is nothing wrong with the Law. Paul, who set forth the grace of God, says this about the Law, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin’‘ (Rom. 7:12-14). There is nothing wrong with the Law, but it is an administration of death to us because there is something radically wrong with us. The Law was given to show us that we are sinners before God. The Law is perfect.
2. “The testimony of the LORD is sure.’‘ Don’t bank on God changing to the “new’‘ morality. God is not reading some of the new views of psychology, and He is not listening to the decisions that some judges are handing down. God is going to punish sin — He says that is what He is going to do. The testimony of the Lord is sure. Judgment is coming. The commandments reveal that.
3. “The statutes of the LORD are right.’‘ Someone says, “There are certain commandments I don’t like.’‘ Well, maybe you don’t like them, but God does. They are right. What makes them right? In a college sociology class years ago, I had a professor who was always saying, “Who is going to determine what is right? How do you know what is right?’‘ I didn’t know the answer then, but now I know that God determines what is right. This is His universe; He made it, and He made the rules. Maybe you do not like the law of gravitation, but I advise you not to fool with it. That is, if you go to the top of a ten-story building, don’t step off, because God will not suspend the law of gravitation for you. It operates for everyone, doesn’t it?
4. “The commandment of the LORD is pure.’‘ I tell you, it is pure. It will do something for you — ennoble you and lift you up.
5. “The fear of the LORD is clean.’‘ We are told that this word fear means “reverential trust.’‘ I believe it means more than that. It means fear. We do well to fear God, my friend. I loved my Dad, but I sure was afraid of him. He kept me in line, and I think, in the final analysis, that is what kept me out of jail. I knew that when I did wrong there would be trouble. The fear of the Lord is clean; the fear of the Lord will clean you up. Fear of my Dad made me a better boy, but I still loved him.
6. “The judgments of the LORD are true.’‘ Do you want to know what truth is? Pilate wanted to know. He asked our Lord, “. . . What is truth? . . .’‘ (John 18:38), and Truth was standing right in front of him in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
7. “The judgments of the LORD are . . . righteous.’‘ They are right. Whatever God does is right. This is a tremendous section. We ought to learn to love all of the Word of God — all of it. Several people have written to me because they think I am opposed to the Ten Commandments. Why, the Ten Commandments are wonderful; I am not opposed to them. I am opposed to Vernon McGee — he can’t keep them. If you can keep them, then you can ask God to move over; and you can sit beside Him because you have made it on your own. But God says you cannot keep them, and I agree with Him. He told me I would not make it on my own, and I agree with Him. I have to come as a sinner to God.”