We don’t follow God primarily because we want to get something from Him, or at least we shouldn’t. We follow Him because we love Him, He is our savior, and nothing on earth can compare to having a relationship with Him. But we also shouldn’t ignore the fact that following God does mean we’ll receive good gifts from Him.
Following God gives us hope for eternal life. He promises that all who believe in Him shall never see death. Even if that were the only gift, it would be more than enough. However, the good things we receive from God don’t all wait until after you die. He also does wonderful things in our lives right now.
We can’t expect all (or even most) of God’s blessings will be physical ones, though. While He does promise to provide for our needs and even blesses some with physical prosperity, none of us escape trials and hardships in this life. In fact, Christians are promised they will suffer in following Christ’s footsteps. If we only expect God to do things for us in the physical realm then we’ll miss a lot of the blessings He pours out on us. So today, let’s take look at one Psalm that describes some of the incredible things that following the Lord can do for us.
Psalm 19 begins by saying, “the heavens declare the glory of God.” After waxing eloquent about how the universe reveals the Creator, David begins to speak of other ways the Lord, Yahweh, reveals Himself to us. Then David explains how those revelations affect those who believe.
Restoring The Soul
Yahweh’s law is perfect, restoring the soul. (Ps. 19:7, WEB)
The law — or torah in the Hebrew (H8451) — is one of the ways God reveals Himself to His people. This world can refer specifically to the Law given through Moses or more generally to all God’s laws, directions, and instructions. Furthermore, all the torah of the Lord is described as perfect, or tamiym (H8549). They are “completely whole, entire, sound” (Brown, Driver, Biggs Hebrew-English Lexicon). The Theological Wordbook: Old Testament says this sort of perfection “represents the divine standard for man’s attainment” (TWOT entry 2522d).
By showing us His perfect, divine standard, Yahweh inspires repentance. In the Old Testament, “man’s responsibility in repentance” is summarized by the verb shub (H7725). “It combines in itself the two requisites of repentance: to turn from evil and to turn to the good” (TWOT 2340). That’s the word translated “restoring” in Psalm 19:7.
There’s something powerful about the perfect law of God. It has a restorative effect on our souls, even today because God writes His law in our hearts as He transforms us to be like Him as part of the repentance and salvation process.
Making Wise The Simple
The testimony of Yahweh is firm, making wise the simple (Ps. 19:7, LEB)
The Hebrew word eduth (H5715) refers to the law of God as “his testimony because it is his own affirmation relative to his very person and purpose” (TWOT 1576f). It includes the ten commandments, the words of the covenant, and the warning signs given to Israel (Ex. 31:18; Neh. 9:34). These testimonies are firmly established and trustworthy. That’s what the word aman (H539) means. It’s also the root for a more familiar word, Amen, which gives us a hint at how God’s testimonies relate to us today.
But as God is faithful, our word toward you was not “Yes and no.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not “Yes and no,” but in him is “Yes.” For however many are the promises of God, in him is the “Yes.” Therefore also through him is the “Amen”, to the glory of God through us. (2 Cor. 1:18-20, WEB)
It is through Jesus Christ that the testimonies of God — which we’re defining as “his own affirmation relative to his very person and purpose” — are filled to the fullest. And it is through His work that the simple are made wise. We know God calls the weak, foolish, and simple of the world (1 Cor. 1:26-29), but He doesn’t intend for us to stay foolish. He is making us wise through “Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).
Rejoicing The Heart
Yahweh’s precepts are right, rejoicing the heart. (Ps. 19:8, WEB)
The word piqqudim (H6490) is only used in the Psalms and it acts as “a general term for the rights and responsibilities that God places on his people” (TWOT 1820). Here in Psalm 19, these statutes/precepts are described as something that rejoices our hearts.
Far too many people think that when God tells us He expects us to do something, He’s trying to spoil our fun. But when we have the right mindset of awe and reverence toward Him, His precepts make us glad to the innermost parts of our hearts, minds, and souls. We’re meant to rejoice in His way of life, not chafe under it.
Enlightening the Eyes
Yahweh’s commandment is pure, enlightening the eyes. (Ps. 19:8, WEB)
There is nothing impure abut the commandments of the Lord. In fact, “the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good” (Rom. 7:12, WEB). Jesus had to establish a new covenant because humans broke the old, but that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with God’s standards, character, or commandments (Heb. 8:8-12). Even today, He is still putting His law into our hearts and it acts as a light to illuminate the way we ought to live (Prov. 6:23).
Warned and Rewarded
Yahweh’s ordinances are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the extract of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned. In keeping them there is great reward. (Ps. 19:9-11, WEB)
The English word “ordinances” doesn’t quite do justice to the Hebrew word mishpat (H4991). This word includes all functions of a correct and just government. As justice finds its root in God Himself, His ordinances carry within them His right and proper demands for those He governs (TWOT 2443c). It’s the perfect word to encapsulate the law, testimony, precepts, and commandments already spoken of in Psalm 19.
If you ever doubt the precious value of the Lord’s instructions, just read Psalm 119. Every one of the 176 verses speaks of the Lord’s testimonies, commands, ordinances, law, precepts, statutes, or word. His teachings warn us away from things that are unsafe, and in keeping His every word faithfully in our hearts (where the law is now written) there is great reward.
So what can following the Lord do for you? Among the many gifts He offers, following His word faithfully restores our souls, makes us wise, rejoices our hearts, lights the life-path we should walk, warns us away from danger, and leads to great rewards. He is a loving, generous Father and it’s His desire to give us all these gifts and more in abundance if only we’ll walk with Him.
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