If you're looking for true joy & refreshment, you'll find it in God's Word!
Psalm 19 (NIV)
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing 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,
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God
We know him by two means:
First, by the creation, preservation, and government
of the universe,
since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book
in which all creatures,
great and small,
are as letters to make us ponder
the invisible things of God:
his eternal power
and his divinity,
as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20.
All these things are enough to convict men
and to leave them without excuse.
Second, he makes himself known to us more openly [clearly and fully]
by his holy and divine Word,
as much as we need in this life,
for his glory
and for the salvation of his own.
When we looked at the first half of Psalm 19 earlier this week, we saw how the beauty, order and majesty of creation has one primary purpose: to declare, pour forth speech and reveal knowledge of the Creator's glory.
Although you can learn so much about God by studying His handiwork, you'll never learn of important concepts like His covenant love or unchanging faithfulness by just looking at what He's made. You might realize the effects sin has had on God's good creation, but creation will never reveal how you can be saved from sin.
That's why David switches gears here in v7. As expressive as what the 'heavens' and 'skies' mentioned in v1 are, David speaks in much more detail describing God's written Word; that is, God's law / statutes / precepts / commands and decrees. It's in these written words that we come to know the intricate details of who and what our Almighty Father is.
So many people think the Bible is simply a big book of do's and don'ts meant to suppress any iota of fun in life. But David will have none of that attitude. God's Word refreshes the soul, gives joy to the heart, light to the eyes, and points people to great reward.
Certainly the Bible aides us in discerning our own errors (v12), but we need to be warned of sin! As David asks, who else could help us do that? We were reminded yesterday that repenting (literally: changing our thinking, especially in regard to sin) is the first step in the salvation God's Word exclusively proclaims to us, so that "willful sins may not rule over us (v13)."
Yesterday we learned that the noetic effect of sin has compromised our ability to think, since our sinful instinct suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. We can no longer properly interpret the message creation is proclaiming on our own, and instead come to all sorts of incorrect conclusions about God.
So does this noetic effect compromise our interpretation of scripture as well? The short answer is yes! That's why, as Reformed Christians, we submit ourselves to confessions which have been agreed on over hundreds of years to fully agree with the Word of God. They provide a set of guard rails, so to speak, keeping our interpretation orthodox.
Thankfully special revelation (God's Word) requires far less interpretation than does general revelation (creation). As the Belgic Confession puts it, God "makes himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word" (other translations use the phrase more clearly and fully). Since the Bible requires less interpretation, we're much less likely to misunderstand it.
But remember, these two books are fully complementary! The more you understand the Bible, the more you'll understand creation!
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, whose Word is more precious than gold and sweeter than honey;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that the words of your mouth and the mediation of your heart will be pleasing in the sight of the LORD, your Rock and your Redeemer;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Mark 14