In Psalm 19, we read that the Lord’s law revives the soul and his precepts make glad the heart (Psalm 19:7-8). These phrases might sound a bit strange to our twenty-first-century ears. How can laws and principles bring gladness to our hearts? How can instructions and precepts revive our souls?
Before writing about the joy of the Lord’s precepts, the psalmist first marvels at the greatness of God’s creation. The breathtaking beauty and unmistakable design of the cosmos point to a powerful and wise Maker. Seeing the fingerprint of God creates a desire to know the mind of God. Nature, however, is silent about God’s personal traits. How can we see beyond the handiwork of God and hear his thoughts, know his mind?
After noting the glory of God in the sky, the psalmist turns to the perfection of God’s laws and precepts. When the psalmist writes about the Lord’s laws and precepts, he is referring to God’s written Word: the Bible. In the Bible we read the thoughts and plans of the Maker who called into existence the starry host and who calls them each by name. From the Scriptures we learn how we can know this mighty Lord of heaven and earth, and how we can experience his blessing.
Most of us have owned a Bible since we were very young. In fact, most of us have several copies of the Bible, and we can buy as many as we want. We have grown up being taught what God has revealed about his thoughts and plans. As a result, we might take for granted what an honor it is to have in our possession the very words of God, who manages spiral galaxies and forms subatomic particles.
What if we started out life without the Bible? What if we lived for decades in awe of God’s greatness, seeing his handiwork daily, wondering if we could know his thoughts, wanting to find out if this magnificent God can be known? What if we were in our thirties or forties before we heard Scripture or held a Bible in our hands? Perhaps then we would experience the reviving of spirit and gladness of heart that the psalmist describes.
The psalmist looked at the sky and marveled at the handiwork of God. As a result, he expressed a great appreciation for God’s Word. Greater appreciation for the majesty of the physical world in which we live leads to a greater appreciation for the honor of knowing the thoughts and the plans of the one who made and manages the universe. Let us never forget how blessed we are to have the very words of God.
May God’s Holy Spirit fill us with unending gratitude for his perfect Word,