Yesterday we looked at General Revelation, but the amazing thing is that the rest of the Psalm deals with Special Revelation. Before we get to that, I’d like to make a point about names. The first part of the Psalm, which is a beautiful poem about the Creator’s work, has a generic name for him: “God.” With just what we get from nature, we'd be groping around in the dark, and would never know that he really and truly loves us. In fact, we wouldn’t even be sure about what his standards are.
But with the second half, the scene changes dramatically. Here, he’s called “Lord," which is the NIV's translation of his special revealed name. This is because through his revealed word, he’s more than just “God,” the Creator who set everything in motion. No, he's Yahweh, “I AM.” This is the covenant name, which he revealed to Moses. This name, as we studied last year, holds within it both his sovereignty and his intimacy. He's both transcendent and imminent. As the prophet Isaiah said, he “[lives] in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit.”
So here are the seven benefits from his “Law,” or “teaching”:
• It revives the soul.
• It makes wise the simple
• It gives joy to the heart
• It gives light to the eyes
• It gives pleasure (“sweeter than honey”)
• It gives warning to his servants
• It offers great rewards
As we discussed last year, I'd submit that the word “Law” is really inadequate as a translation, since that presents an image of a rule or legal requirement (such as a speed limit). It could also be translated as “teaching,” and I really prefer that word, since it's much broader than "law." When we read his word, we’re sitting at his feet for revival, wisdom, joy, light, pleasure, warning, and reward.
Finally, there's a very deep point made in the last three verses here. David starts out by acknowledging that we’re very capable of self-deception. In order to understand how far we’ve fallen and how much we need his grace, we need the Holy Spirit (using his word) to search out our hearts. In the natural order of things, listening to God’s word leads to confession and repentance.
But there's a distinction here he makes between “errors” and “willful sins [ruling] over” him. We all sin, and we all fall short of God’s standards. None of us deserve to go to heaven, and we all deserve hell for eternity. But one of the marks of a redeemed man is that his sin disturbs him. The overall direction of his life is towards God, no matter how many times he stumbles along the way. We won’t be sinless, but we can be “innocent of great transgression.”
And how do we do this? My friends, it’s not rocket science or brain surgery. You go to your Savior on a daily basis (the more often the better) and ask him to seek out the hidden sins in your heart and life. You let his word examine you. And you ask him to help you do better. There’s a part of me that wishes it was harder to understand, right?
Father, your word is so valuable, and I don’t treat it as such. How precious is it to me?