Warren Buffet, who is one of the world’s greatest investors, has an annual charity auction lunch. People bid to have lunch with him so they can ask him questions and listen to him. The winning bid goes to charity. Last year’s winning bid? 4.6 million dollars! That’s a lot of money to pay to have someone talk to you.
Some good news: There’s someone who can talk to you who is much wiser than Warren Buffet. And you don’t have to pay 4.6 million dollars to have Him talk to you! The Creator is able to talk to you. God wants to speak to people. God does speak to people. God speaks in various ways. He can speak from a mountain, like He did on Sinai, to an entire nation. He can speak to individuals. On the mountain on which Yeshua was transfigured − when his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light, when Moses and Elijah appeared and talked to Yeshua − a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” He can speak through angels. He can speak through prophets. He can speak through ordinary people – through their examples of faith, courage, hard work, suffering with patience; through their accomplishments and through their mistakes; through their words, their music and art. He can speak in visions and dreams. He can speak through circumstances – as when the apostles cast lots to determine who the replacement apostle for Judas would be.
Psalm 19, written by David, teaches us that God speaks to us in two other ways: through the sky and the heavens, and through the Bible. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. The sky and the heavens – the sun, moon, planets, stars, the galaxies − are talking to us, all the time, day to day and night to night. They are speaking to us. They are telling us things: that they are God’s handiwork – the work of His hands. He made them all.
And the sun, moon, planets, stars and galaxies are saying other things. They are huge, vast, great. The One who made them must be greater. He must be very powerful. They reveal order, design, math, physics, chemistry. Therefore the one who made them must be a great designer, mathematician, physicist, chemist. The sun, moon, planets, stars and galaxies are beautiful and glorious. Therefore the one who made them must appreciate beauty. He must be a great artist. He must be exceedingly glorious.
The sky and heavens are speaking to us all the time, but they don’t use human language. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. They don’t use words that can be vocalized. They speak in the language of existence, order, design, wisdom, knowledge, beauty, power, grandeur, majesty.
Their message is not limited to a chosen few, or even to one nation. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. The sky, and the sun, moon, planets, stars and galaxies are speaking to everyone on Earth.
Of all the things in the sky and heavens, one stands out – the sun. From our perspective, it’s the biggest object in the sky by far, and has the biggest influence on us. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. This is poetry. David used two images to describe the sun and its movement. Image number one: A man and woman getting married and spending their first night together as husband and wife. Imagine the man coming out of the bridal chamber after being with his wife on his wedding night. He’s feeling great. Confident. Happy. On top of the world. That’s what the sun is like. Image number two: A man who is running a race. He’s a strong runner. He’s in great shape. He knows he’s going to run a great race. He’s feeling powerful, confident and happy. The sun is like a strong man who runs his course with joy. And what a course the sun runs each day! It appears to start at the eastern horizon and go across the entire sky and finish at the western horizon. It appears to run across the sky, from horizon to horizon. That’s a lot longer than any marathon. The sun is like a newly married man who comes out of the bridal chamber and a great runner: strong, confident, happy.
Sadly, because it’s the biggest thing we can see in the sky and heavens, and because we feel its powerful effects, since the tower of Babel, many people have considered the sun to be a god and worshiped it. That’s a perversion of the message being communicated by the sun. The sun is not a god to be worshiped. God is to be worshiped – not any part of the creation, even something as great as the sun. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. They are saying that the Creator exists. He is alive. Powerful. Intelligent. Glorious. These are very important things to know about God.
However, there’s so much more to know about God. There’s so much more to know about who He is, what He’s like, and what He wants from us. The sky and the heavens don’t have the words to speak to us about those things. So, second, God speaks through the Law, the Torah, the Teaching, which for us today is everything from Genesis to Revelation.
If something is important to them, people might have more than one name for it. For example, money is important to people. Not surprisingly, we have many names for it: cash, bucks, dough, bread, moolah, cheddar, lettuce, cabbage. The Bible of David’s day was very important to David and the righteous members of the Chosen People. David had various names for it. Those names teach us things about the Bible. With each name, David taught us something important about it; and with each name, he listed a positive effect it has on us. Each name for the Bible is connected to Adonai. This teaches us that the Bible comes from the Lord. It’s inspired by Him. It’s about Him and what He wants from us. This is His book. All of this is designed to motivate us to value the Bible, appreciate it, love it, read it, study it, know it, understand it, and practice it.
The law (torah, teaching) of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The Bible is torah. It is teaching. It teaches us. It teaches us many things. It teaches us essential things. It has critical information we need to have successful lives in this world followed by eternal life in the world to come. We are to be students of the Lord’s teaching and learn everything it has to teach us. The teaching of the Lord is perfect. It is whole, complete, full. It lacks nothing. It has everything we need for salvation and successful living. Nothing we need is missing. The effect it has on us: It revives the soul. If we are feeling like the life has drained out of us, it infuses us with new life. If we are feeling old, tired, weary, it helps us feel new again, fresh, alive.
The testimony of the Lord is sure (faithful, trustworthy), making wise the simple. The Bible is called the testimony because, like a faithful witness, everything it communicates is true, accurate, faithful, reliable. The Bible is true. You can trust it. You can rely on it. It tells us the truth about God – who He is and what He wants from us. Its effect: It makes wise the simple. There are people who are smart and sophisticated and there are people who are naive. They may not be well-educated. They may not be knowledgeable about the ways of the world. It doesn’t matter. The Bible can make that person wise. It can enable him to understand people and situations. It can help him make wise decisions.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. Precepts are instructions from someone who is in charge. Those instructions are to be obeyed. The precepts of the Lord are right. They are straight, direct, honest. What you see is what you get. They are not warped or twisted or devious or harmful in any way. They only help, never harm. The effect of the Bible, if obeyed: It produces happiness in the heart. Not a shallow happiness, but a deeper kind of joy. So many people are not happy. This is the way to experience true happiness, wholesome happiness, lasting happiness, eternal joy.
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The Bible as commandment: It has orders we must follow. It has commands we are to obey. Love the Lord your God. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. The Bible as commandment, not suggestions or recommendations that can be ignored. The commandment of the Lord is pure. The books of all other religions, philosophies, ideologies are impure because they are a combination of truth mixed with error. The Bible is pure truth, no errors whatsoever. The effect of the Bible: It gives light to the eyes. Light represents truth, revelation, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, the presence of God. Without light we can’t fully function the way we were designed to function. We stumble. We fall. We hurt ourselves. The Bible enables us to see clearly and live safely. It enables us to see God.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The Bible as the fear of the Lord: The Bible teaches us to fear the Lord, to know that He is great and holy, and to relate to Him with reverence and respect. Many other religions, philosophies and ideologies are unclean. They defile, debase, make dirty. Think of the impure religion of the Canaanites, with their gods of sex, with their temple prostitutes. Think of them sacrificing their children to their gods by burning them alive. There is nothing in the Bible that is unclean, dirty, impure. Nothing to corrupt. Nothing to defile. It is clean. Clear. Pure. Holy. The Bible’s effect on us: It produces the fear of the Lord in us. And those who fear the Lord last forever.
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. The Bible as judgments: In ancient Israel, judges made judgments, decisions, determinations. They issued rulings. The Lord is the Supreme Judge and has the right to make judgments. He is the Ruler of all things and He has the right to make rulings. And we have the duty to obey. The judgments of the Lord are true. The Bible is true. It conforms to reality. It lines up with what really is. So, the more we
conform our thoughts and actions with the Bible, the more in touch with reality, the truer, and the more real we will be.
The judgments of the Lord are righteous altogether. The Bible is righteous. Every part of the Bible is righteous. It’s always right. Never wrong. Never bad. The Bible helps us be right with God and live right. It helps us be righteous.
To further motivate us to value the Bible, appreciate it, love it, read it, study it, know it, understand it and practice it, David compared it to two things: gold and honey. The Bible is better than both. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold. Much fine gold can buy you almost anything you want: a house, car, status, security. But it can’t buy happiness. It can’t buy a meaningful life or a successful life. It certainly can’t buy eternal life. On the other hand, the Bible teaches us how to be reconciled to God; it gives us the knowledge of salvation and the way for all of our sins to be forgiven. It teaches us about true happiness. It guides us to eternal life. The Bible is sweeter than honey − one of the sweetest things we can eat. The Bible is so wonderful, so delightful, so appealing.
To further motivate us to value the Bible, appreciate it, love it, read it, study it, know it, understand it and practice it, David told us about two more great benefits it brings. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Positive and negative motivations, the carrot and the stick. First the stick: The Bible warns us. It’s good to be warned. What does the Bible warn us about? Ourselves − that we are fallen; dead in our trespasses and sins; that God is holy, hates sin, won’t tolerate sin; that sin results in condemnation on the Day of Judgment. That without being reconciled to God through faith in Yeshua, all will be destroyed in Hell. Now for the carrot: Keeping the teaching of the Bible results in a great reward – salvation, becoming a son or daughter of God and heir with an amazing inheritance, eternal life. So let’s see: The Bible warns me that if I ignore it, ignore God, I am doomed. And it teaches me that if I value it, appreciate it, love it, read it, study it, know it, understand it and practice it, I will be greatly rewarded. So, which one should I choose?
The Bible is perfect. It teaches us to be perfect. It also teaches us that we are not perfect. David knew he wasn’t perfect and didn’t always do what the Bible instructed him to do. And he was aware that we can deceive ourselves into thinking we’re doing what’s right when we’re doing something wrong. And even if we are committed to follow its instructions, we can still commit presumptuous sins. David ended this psalm with prayers that the Lord would protect him from errors, hidden faults and presumptuous sins. Who can discern his errors? The answer: very few; hardly anyone; maybe no one. It can be very hard to discern our errors. We can be unaware we’re making errors. We can be sure we’re doing the right thing when we’re doing something foolish. I’ve done that quite a few times − which Martha is quick to remind me of when she thinks I’m in the process of doing it again. Declare me innocent from hidden faults. David asked the Lord to forgive him for undiscovered sins, for sins he was unaware of. And he prayed that God would prevent him from committing presumptuous sins: Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Can those who love the Bible commit big, bold, arrogant, willful sins? Yes. For sure. David did. He committed adultery and murder.
If we value the Bible, appreciate it, love it, read it, study it, know it, understand it and practice it − and if the Lord forgives our errors and hidden faults and keeps us back from committing presumptuous sins − we’re in great shape. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. That’s what we want to be, like the teaching of the Lord itself − blameless, whole, complete, full, lacking nothing, having everything we need for successful living; and innocent.
David had written a tremendous song of praise to the One who speaks to humanity though the sky and the heavens, and even more clearly, through the Bible. He had given God his best. His final prayer was that his Lord, who was his rock, who gave him strength and stability, and his redeemer, who rescued him from all his troubles, which were many, would find this poem acceptable. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. And the Lord did find David’s words and meditation acceptable. How do we know? This poem became part of the Bible − the same Bible that David was lauding. David’s great poem of praise of the God who speaks to us through the heavens and the sky and the Bible became part of the Bible. And only that which is acceptable to God was allowed by God to become part of the Bible. David did a great job!
Lord, the sky and the heavens reveal that You are great and glorious. Help us listen to what you are saying through them, and through all the things You created. And help us pay attention to what You are saying through the Bible. Help us value it, appreciate it, love it, read it, study it, know it, understand it and practice it. And Lord, declare us innocent from hidden faults, from undiscovered sins, for sins we are not unaware of, and from presumptuous, willful sins. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart in this message be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.