The Power of the Word

Peninsula Community Church

The Power of the Word of God

January 10, 2017

Psalm 19:7-11 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, enduring forever; 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.

As we have done for the last several years, we have provided you with a read through the Bible guide for you to use as you read through the Bible this year. Today, I would like to share some thoughts on maximizing the effectiveness of your reading time. I have chosen a passage from the Old testament that I believe focuses our attention on the value of the Word of God in our life. The reason I focus on this is that I have learned that we will engage in the things that we value. So today we will focus on the value of the Word of God with a goal of helping us to engage more effectively with our reading.

Before we get into the meat of this passage, I want to make a statement that may seem odd but it is nevertheless true. We must never lose sight of the fact that the Bible is so much more than the printed pages we have before us. We must have an awareness that the words represented on these pages represent God himself. The word is God breathed and represents the very essence of God. Through the pages of Scripture, God is revealed to us. Through the pages of Scripture, the mysteries of life are revealed. Through the pages of Scripture, the great questions of life are answered and we have at our disposal a road map to live life to its fullest.

With that said, let’s look at Psalm 19 for a few moments. In this passage, the Word of God is described by several adjectives. It is the law, the testimony, the precepts, the commandments, the fear, and the rules of God. Each of these adjectives define a significant purpose of the Word for our lives. Notice that this is not just any Word, it is the word of the Lord. It is not just law it is God’s law. It is not just any testimony, it is the testimony of God. So you see it is not just written words, but they are God’s words given to us personally.

The Word is also described as being perfect. It is sure! It is right! It is pure! It is clean! It is true! And it is righteous! Notice also that through this passage, Scripture is not seen as passive but rather it is very active in our lives. How does it do this? Well, the Psalmist tells us that it revives the soul. It changes us from being simple minded to being filled with wisdom. It causes our heart to rejoice. It enlightens the eyes of our hearts so that we can understand truth and righteousness. The word of God also endures forever. Finally, the Word of God is righteous, it can be trusted.

So, let’s look at these phrases. First, the Psalmists says that the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.  We understand the law defines Scripture as God’s law for man’s conduct. His law is the binding standard by which we are to live. Therefore, we gain an understanding as to how we are to live life on earth and in relationship with others. The word defined as perfect is not the same as flawless but it carries more of the idea of completeness. In other words it is all-sided. The Word of God is comprehensive and it is complete. It leaves nothing out. It is perfect! And because it is perfect, it is the perfect resource to restore the soul. That is why the writer of Hebrews penned these words. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  We can bank on the fact that the Word restores the soul which is the inner person. The law of the Lord is a perfect resource to transform and restore the soul.

The second idea presented here is that the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. In other words the Word is God’s self-revelation to us. By reading the Word of God we come to a greater understanding of who God is. You see a testimony is a personal witness to one’s own experiences. Through Scripture, we find God’s testimony of who He is. Thus, through the Word of God we find the heart, life, and personality of God revealed.

The testimony of God is also sure. That is, it is reliable and trustworthy. And what is the impact of this? It makes the simple wise. As we have discussed in Sunday School, we know that to be simple is to be ignorant. It also carries the idea of being opened minded. We hear this so much in our society today but this is not a good thing. To be open minded means that one does not control what comes in or goes out of their mind. To be open minded about everything creates an inability to discern, to distinguish, or to separate truth from what is false. That is not something to be proud of. Conversely the Word of God allows us to distinguish what is truth. It assists us to  know what we should allow in and at the same time what goes out of our minds. The word of God teaches discernment and discrimination. That produces wisdom in us.

The third aspect of the word is that the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. Precepts are principles, doctrines, and truths that guide our hearts. The Word of God gives us truths that are to be believed and trusted. The word here says that the precepts of the Lord are right. To understand this, we must understand that the word “right” does not mean right vs wrong as much as it has to do with the direction one is taking. Therefore, the passage teaches us that the precepts of the Lord give us direction for our lives. For that reason we can rejoice. When you walk on the right path you experience a heart of joy. David had this to say in this regard. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). The Word can and must direct our steps.

The fourth item here is that the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. We must understand that the commandments of God are commands and not suggestions. This is not a book of good thoughts or nice ideas, they are the commands of God. The word “pure” carries the idea of clear. The word is clear to those who seek it. The effect of the Word is that it enlightens the eyes. Because the commandments of the Lord are pure, our eyes are enlightened to the ways and direction that God desires for us to take. The bottom line is that the commandments of the Lord give us clarity to life’s issues and situations.

The fifth item noted here is that the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The word fear carries with it the idea of reverence, awe, or worship. In other words, the Bible shines a light on how we are to worship God in Spirit and in truth. The Bible is in fact a manual on worship. Notice that it says that this worship is clean. It is pure worship. It is undefiled worship. It is true worship. And what does this kind of worship do for us? It endures forever. The music style may change. The buildings may change. The people of worship may change but the truth of worship does not change. The person and object of our worship does not change. The Bible teaches us how to worship God and we can trust it because it endures forever and our worship should endure as well.

Finally, the judgments or the rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. The Bible gives us God’s verdict on everything in life. It is decisive. In a world of lies and in a world of  deception, the word of God is unequivocally true. The word of God produces comprehensive righteousness. This is the one document that sanctifies and purifies our soul. The fact is Scripture will not lead us to wrong or inappropriate decisions or to wrong actions because it is righteous. It will teach us how to live in community with one another.

So how do we apply this to our lives. As you do your reading this year, I encourage you to consider a couple of things. I suggest that you to ask some questions. First of all what is the passage communicating. Is the passage a law and therefore points out a way of living life that protects and guards us? Is it a testimony of God’s grace, His love, and Him just being God? Is there a precept that needs to be understood in order to regulate our behavior or our life’s goals? Is it a commandment that must be obeyed? Is there a rule to be followed? Does it represent the awesomeness of God’s character and His power? As we search for these nuggets, we will see the value of God’s word for us and it will come alive in us.

This is where journaling or taking notes is important. As you read Scripture, note what is being said and understand what it is saying to you, specifically. If you are new to the Word, I suggest that you find someone who is more mature so that you can ask them the critical questions about the passages you read. I would suggest that it is important to be in a small group or attend the Sunday School class on Sunday. It is there that our questions can be asked and discussed.  It is there, in community, that we can grow and become all that God desires for us.

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Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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