Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
Psalm 19 is so appropriate for these opening days and weeks of 2021, when we need to be reminded of God, and the character of God – the kind of God we worship – almighty and holy and powerful and gracious and able. .
Psalm 19 opens by speaking of the universe declaring the glory of God.
Creation points to the Creator. All around us we see the Hand of God, and as part of God's Creation we have a duty and a responsibility to protect and appreciate what God has made. We are living in God's world. He made it - and He placed man to be ruler and caretaker.
The Psalm are poems about the spiritual life depicting the joys and sorrows of the writers – but also depicting these matters that may puzzle – or give rise to a question – but pointing us to the God whose desire is to bless.
Psalm 19 gives us a view of the world - and a view of ourselves.
Verses 1to 6 reflect on the wonder of the praise of God in Creation.
Verses 7 to 10 reflect on the power of Scripture in personal experience where we are given principles – and in verses 11to 14 we have the spiritual application, and how to respond.
God reveals His majesty in nature, and His will in Scripture.
The Psalmist does not have an argument for God – he simply points to the glories and splendours of God – because he has experienced God.
If you have experienced God – if your experience of Jesus Christ is real – argument may unnecessary.
Yes - our world has been marred by sin - man has done much to pollute and spoil and corrupt and poison the environment. Satan tries to get his hands on God's world. Today, many people realise just how serious the situation has become and there is this great surge of interest to protect and preserve the environment.
No matter whether it is day or night, Creation points to the Creator. Without a sound or a word - no human voice is heard – as Creation speaks of a mighty Creator.
But so few people are sensitive to the revelation of the Scriptures - and we have to remember that man's mind and eyes have been blinded by sin. We need Jesus to remove the sin - all kinds of sin.
If a man is blind, that does not mean that what he cannot see doesn't exist.
People do live as though there were no God. Some people do not see the Creator in Creation - nor do they see or hear God in the Bible - nor are they aware of what Jesus Christ is doing in the Church today. But whether people see it or not, the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ is working in wonderfully miraculous ways - and those who do have eyes to see, see - and those who have ears to hear, hear.
The sun, dwelling in the heavens, appears like a bridegroom going to his wedding - or like an athlete preparing to run a race.
There is in these verses a sense of healing and strength - of wholeness and joy - of mobility and fitness - it sounds like celebration - all this comes from God for His People. God does not want us to be sick - or sad – or weak - mentally - physically - spiritually - He provides for all our needs, to ensure that we are whole and healthy and fit and bright.
But sin has robbed us of these blessings to some degree - and Jesus came to recover and restore what God created - by removing the sin and filling us with His joy and love - offering us healing, through the Holy Spirit.
God saw that man could not come to Him through Creation. God saw that the Creation alone could not speak to the heart of sinful man - so He tried another way.
He created a Word - He gave us a book - and this Book tells us all about God.
It explains how He loved us so much that He sent His Only Son Jesus to be our Saviour - and this Book, unlike any other Book, has words that live and impart supernatural life.
Verse 7 - and so - referring to The Word of God the Psalmist says - "The law of the Lord is perfect (meaning flawless) - reviving the soul.
Man needs to be revived - converted - born again - and the words in this Book tell us how that can happen. There is no mixture - no error, corruption or pollution - no stain of sin – within that Book we call the Bible – there is nothing defiled.
“Lord” is used six times – the God who binds His people to Himself – the Lord who will come himself to save them. The Scriptures declare God’s Perfect Will.
It is this Book that tells us about the love of Jesus - that Jesus cares - that Jesus heals - that Jesus shed His Blood to rescue and save us - that Jesus Christ the Son of God is risen from the dead - and that he is concerned about our situations and he wants to help us.
This Book is so powerful - it can change men. Individuals can be transformed. It can change our hearts radically. It can convict and upset - comfort and encourage.
It can make us wise. It can take a shepherd boy and make him an anointed king.
The fear of the Lord is pure – perfect – reviving – trustworthy – wisdom – right – joy – radiant – “giving light to the eyes”. Look at the words used. Only the believer – only the disciple of Jesus - can embrace all these words which refer to the scriptures.
God does not reveal His will in the stars – but in the pages of scriptures.
David studied Nature and Scripture.
We never know what will happen when we come to this Book.
Verse 8 teaches us that what is in God's Book makes God's People rejoice. Some think that God's ways and God's will is hard. But it is the very opposite - God's Word - God's Will - God's Ways - should be pleasing to God's People.
And why - because God's Word is like God.
God's word is pure and enlightening. God's Word is clean and true and fair - and what God says in His Word lasts forever. His words are never out of date. They are appropriate in every situation and in every age.
Verse 10 - God's Word is to be desired more than gold - more than much fine gold.
Now - if you were to say that in certain places you would be considered daft. God's Word is invaluable. Think of what some people will do for gold - work all hours - have two/three jobs if they can get them - do extra work to earn extra money.
Honey was a luxury item at that time enjoyed only by the wealthy - and we are rich if we have been given that ability to appreciate The Word of God.
Do I pursue gold more than I pursue God? The blessings of Scripture come to us at a cost.
The wise person will be desiring more and more of the Word of God. Love your Bible - appreciate God's Word - read it - obey it - enjoy it.
When you open it be prepared to hear the voice of Jesus or the prompting of the Holy Spirit. God desires to speak to us each time we open His Word - to reassure - comfort - encourage - strengthen - warn us – verse 11 .
These words warn us and so protect us and prevent us from getting involved and mixed up with sin. Warning signs are there for a purpose. When the warning light goes on in the car do not ignore it – as you drive, if there is a warning sound, it is not wise just turning up the radio so that you do not hear it. Warnings signs all around us.
We read the book of nature – but the book of Scripture reads us.
There is a natural proneness in man to sin - we need the grace of God to keep us.
When we keep God's Word - there is great reward. We each need real blessings from our God - we each need great answers to our prayers.
Here is one way to receive and enjoy great rewards from God - keep His Word.
Verse 12 - The Psalmist realises the reality of sin – even though he has experienced the reality of God. The Psalmist realises that he has not been all that he might have been - "Lord I don't know all the errors lurking around inside me - cleanse me from secret faults.”
Sin can be deep. We need the Blood of Jesus to touch the deep things within and wash them away - things we may sometimes not be aware of - God can do that!
Verse 13 - He prays for protection - after forgiveness and deliverance we need protection - we need the love and power of Jesus to fill us.
Verse 14 - David prays - words AND thoughts - mouth AND heart - they MUST go together. Are our words and meditations and thoughts acceptable in the sight of God? Our motives - our plans - the words we speak and the way we say them - are they acceptable to Jesus and pleasing in His Sight?
King David never gets very far away from these words which describe His God – my Rock and my Redeemer!
“Our loving God – our Rock and our Redeemer – we worship You – in Jesus Christ’s Name. Our Creator God, help each one of us as we face these coming days and weeks. Enable us to appreciate Your Word more and more. As we read the Bible, speak to us. Feed us. Encourage us. Strengthen us – as we serve in the Church of Jesus Christ – in the Kingdom of God. Amen”
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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