The Foundation of Truth – Psalm 19

Download MP3

(If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click Here)

(If you would like to download the PowerPoint presentation for this sermon, Click Here – 02 Bible’s Purpose)

Grace Bible Church

May 6, 2007

Pastor Scott L. Harris

The Foundation of Truth

Psalm 19


As a result of the very good response to the ministry of Tim & Faith Brennan several weeks ago I have started a sermon series that will give an overview of the Bible over the course of the next year. I have taught through the entire Bible several times, but that has been on Sunday evenings or weeknight studies when only a relative few are in attendance. Believing that it is important that everyone know the story God has revealed to us in the Bible and be able to piece together the general themes that run through the Scriptures, I will be doing that this time on Sunday Mornings.

We began last week with the reasons that we believe the Bible is the source of revelation for the knowledge of reality. It is not just that the Biblical writers claim to have received their information directly from God, but that their claims are verified by comparing them to the natural realm. The statements of the Scriptures about the physical world are backed up by what we actually find in nature. The Bible said it before any scientist finally figured it out. The Bible has continually been proven to be historically accurate. The Biblical writers were men of integrity who had to tell the truth because God demanded that of them regardless of what men might do to them. Because they told the truth many of them died at the hands of evil men because those evil men did not like the truth. The Bible is also demonstrated to be the word of God because of the many prophecies it contains and all of them had to be 100% accurate. God knows the end from the beginning and in revealing that to prophets they demonstrated that God was indeed speaking through them.

We believe the Bible because its own internal character and preservation positively demonstrates that it is from God. Though it is often attacked as just the work of men, “It is not a book as man would write if he could, or could write if he would – Lewis Sperry Chafer. Its contents are unsurpassed in subjects treated, quality and variety of literature with it, and its realistic treatment of man’s condition. Though written by about 40 authors over a period of 1500 years it is unified in purpose and theme and in factual harmony. It shows itself to be the product of one author and many penmen. The Scriptures answer all the major philosophical questions. The Bible is the most read of all books despite prohibitions against it. It has been translated into more languages than anything else. The Bible is the most influential book of all time despite the denials of its authority.

The Bible is also the best preserved of all works transmitted from antiquity despite the attempts to destroy it or pervert it. We have an overwhelming confidence that we can accurately determine what God originally revealed to the prophets and apostles. God does not lie (Num. 23;19) and Jesus said in John 17:17 “Thy word is truth” and in Matthew 5:18 that it would not pass away. In addition, though finite man cannot comprehend an infinite God, the Scriptures give us a vast and adequate revelation which contains all that God wants man to know presently.

Those are, though briefly presented, the reasons I believe the Bible and have it as my foundation for truth. My faith is not a leap off a cliff but is a reasonable response to the facts presented by every method of knowing anything whether that be the physical world, logic and rationality, divine revelation and even conscience. The reasons for believing the Bible to be true and from God are firmly grounded and therefore the Scriptures are to be believed.

This morning I want to expand on that theme of the Bible as the foundation for truth and therefore the source of knowledge to which we must bend and submit. I know from experience and observation that humans can easily twist the facts by their emotions and their own selfish desires so that it no longer even resembles the truth. It does not take much for our emotions to twist things to the point that we will rebel against the very Word of God and defend sinful actions in the name of “compassion” and “love.” It does not take long for our selfish desires to set aside Biblical principles and precepts in the pursuit of something, it could even be some supposed ministry, and then defend those actions by saying it was done for God. Such was the mind-set of those in Matthew 7 who said, “Lord, Lord, did we not do all these marvelous works in your name?” and Jesus said to them, “depart from me, I never knew you, you workers of lawlessness.” Lawlessness refers to all those things done apart from the way God has said to do them. The end does not justify the means, and the only way to avoid such self-deceived lawlessness is to be so familiar with the truth that any deviation from it is quickly realized.

Today, I want to lay that foundation of truth again by looking at what the Word of God is, what it does, and how it is it supposed to affect our lives. Turn to Psalm 19:7-14 where we will begin by looking at what the Word of God is and David’s response to it.

Psalm 19

In the first six verses of this Psalm David tells us of the revelation of God’s glory and handiwork as seen in the Creation. We will talk about that in some detail in the future when we study Genesis 1. Then, beginning in verse 7, David tells of God’s attributes as they are demonstrated in Scripture. God has revealed himself by His word to men and in doing so has shown the value of the Scriptures for true worshipers. Verses 12-14 tell us of the effect of God’s word on David.

Verses 7-11 of this Psalm forms a brief but instructive Hexapla containing six descriptive titles of the word; six characteristics of the word; and six divine effects or qualities of the word. This hexapla is followed by a recognition of the supreme value of the Scriptures.

The Hexapla

Title                                                Characteristics        Divine Effect / Quality

The law                         of the LORD            is perfect       converting the soul

The testimony               of the LORD            is sure            making wise the simple

The statutes                 of the LORD             are right        rejoicing the heart

The commandments    of the LORD             are pure         enlightening the eyes

The fear                       of the LORD             is clean          enduring forever

The judgments            of the LORD              are true         they are righteous altogether

They are to be desired more than Gold, yea, than much fine Gold; They are sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is Thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward.

To summarize: The six titles or functions of the word given are law, testimony, statutes, commandments, fear, and judgments. The six characteristic qualities of the Word given are perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, and true. The six summary statements given which tell of a divine effect or quality of the word are it converts or restores the soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, enlightens the eye, endures for ever, and they are righteous. To these we can add that Scripture is a warning to God’s servants which brings about great reward when it is heeded.

But notice that the key characteristic of this section is the repetition of the phrase “of the LORD.” David uses different names for God throughout this Psalm. In the first part of the Psalm when David was talking about creation, He used the name “El” to refer to God for El refers to God as the creator. In this section he uses the name Yahweh, translated as the Lord, which refers to covenant keeping God. This is the name God uses for Himself in reference to revealing Himself to men through special revelation of His word. The emphasis in this passage is not actually upon Scripture itself, but rather on the LORD who has given the Scriptures to man.

Lets examine each one of these statements more closely.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul (vs. 7a)

Scripture is the law of God. Law is “torah.” It is a set of regulations made of statutes, ordinances, precepts, commandments and testimonies. Torah is the general word for Scripture under which the specifics given in the rest of the Psalm fall. It is the revelation of God’s will. This is actually a picturesque word describing Yahweh pointing out the road to life. That is the path I want you to walk and these are the instructions, the road map if you will, of how to recognize the path, to know if you are on or off the path, and how to get back on it if you get off. The law is the road map to a Godly life.

This law is perfect, complete, whole, literally “all sided.” Nothing needs to be added and nothing should be taken away. If you add to the Law, you add the foolishness of men. If you take away from the Law, you remove part of God’s direction. This Law is perfect. You cannot improve it. You can only follow it, and if you do follow it, then it will have its blessed effect upon you. If you disregard it or disobey it, there will also consequences.

The effect of the law is to convert or restore the soul. This word is used to signify repentance (Joshua 24:23, Jeremiah 4:4,14 and Hosea 10:12), and while it does not necessarily mean conversion in the sense we use that term within Christianity, it does speak of a beneficial reviving effect that permeates the very life and soul of a child of God. It speaks as much or more to those already saved as to those still lost. The Law of God puts you on God’s path and keeps you there, and should you stray off the path, careful examination of it can bring you back.

The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple (Vs. 7b)

The root meaning of testimony is “to bear witness” and it is used as a synonym for “law” in Psalm 119 nine times (vs. 14,31,36,88,99,11,124,144,157). The law of God is His testimony because it is his own affirmation relative to His very person and purpose. The testimony of the Lord is God’s authentication or confirmation of the Law.

This testimony is sure. It is absolutely certain. There is no variation in it. When God wanted to show the sureness of His covenant with Abraham He swore by Himself (Heb. 6:13 – “For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘I will surely Bless you, and I will surely multiply you’”). This is the firm foundation upon which you can build your life.

This testimony makes the simple wise. Simple does not mean foolish, but “open.” The simple are those who are ignorant. They are uneducated. These are those who will heed the advice of Proverbs and give attention to wisdom and incline their ears to understanding. The simple, the “open,” will listen and learn. In contrast, Proverbs 17:28 says, A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind. “ The testimony of the LORD will give Godly wisdom to the one who is open to receiving it. The foolish will receive no such instruction.

The Statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. (Vs. 8a)

Statutes or precepts is a general term for the responsibility that God places on His people by the authority of His uttered word (used 24 times – all but 3 in Ps 119). These are the general principles by which the LORD wants us to live. These would be general commands such as those in the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses. Each commandment covered a wide area.

These statutes are right, moral, fitting, proper, etc. They are founded upon the righteousness of God and not on the vain philosophies and wisdom of men. They map out a straight course by which a man can be guided.

Is it any wonder then that they cause the heart to rejoice? Have you ever found yourself lost in trying to get to a destination. Remember the frustration of that moment? Contrast that with the joy of finding and following correct directions to some wonderful destination. That is the joy in the heart of a man using the statutes/precepts/principles of scripture in guiding his life.

The commandments of the LORD are pure, enlightening the eyes. (Vs. 8b)

Commandments are the specifics of God’s word. His statutes are the general principles and His commandments are the specific ways of carrying out those principles. For example, one of the Ten Commandments is, “Thou shalt not to covet” (Exodus 20:17). To covet is to lust after that which belong to someone else. Much of the Levitical code specifies what was off limits. Some of the specific commands include:. Don’t take your neighbor’s wife, kids, house, animals, etc. If you find your neighbor’s ox straying you are to return it to him, etc. The commandments are the specifics of the general principles contained in the statutes/ or precepts of the LORD.

These commandments are pure and without defilement. There is no mixture of error. There is no sin stain polluting it. The NIV translates this word as “radiant” in trying to express this purity. It is so pure that it shines.

The effect of the commandments of the LORD is an enlightenment of the eyes. Ever been on one of those cave tours were they turn off all the lights and it is totally black? Visual perception is difficult when light levels are low and impossible if there is no light. The same is true spiritually. Spiritual perception is diminished or non existent when it is surrounded by the darkness of sin. However, the commandments of the LORD bring light to the subject so that you can see clearly. The LORD’s commands even impart freshness and joy to the very looks of the eye.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever (Vs. 9a)

Proverbs says that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and understanding and it is a fountain of life (Prov. 1:7, 14:27). The fear of the LORD is wholesome reverence for the will of the LORD. It is a response of submission to God’s authority and majesty.

This is a proper fear and it is clean. The Hebrew word for clean here is similar to the word for purity except that this one refers to purified metals, and that is what the fear of the LORD does in our lives. It purifies us from the dross, the impurities, of life. Every place in Scripture where someone has a vision of God there is a corresponding purifying effect on their life. Daniel fell before the angel of the Lord. Isaiah had his mouth cleansed by a coal from the altar. John is found weeping in his vision of heaven. Ezekiel fell on his face. When a man or woman is confronted by the LORD, there is a proper fear that will purify.

The fear of the LORD is clean and it endures forever because its value never diminishes. It also imparts life. There will always be a proper fear or reverence of the LORD by those who are believes. Unbelievers will also have a fear of the LORD, but they may not have it until they are suffering eternal punishment for their sins in Hell. In either case, the fear of the LORD endures forever.

The Judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether (Vs. 9b)

There is no corruption in God’s court for the judgments of the LORD are true. To judge in this sense is to decide between right and wrong and pronounce guilt or innocence. No evidence is overlooked. Everything is examined.

There is a strong emphasis in this passage upon this word “true” because it is the only noun among the corresponding adjectives and it implies utter dependability. God is judge over the lives of men and the verdicts He gives are true. Rev.20:12 says that God will judge “from the things written in the books, according to their deeds.” God’s pronouncements are always accurate. Man will receive what he deserves. Galatians 6:7 states, “do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

All of these together are summarized as righteous. They are correct, holy. There can be no claim of injustice laid against God. He has given the Scriptures so that we might know Him and the path He wants us to walk. He has given us general principles and specific commandments. These things are to change our lives by causing us to repent and make us wise. They bring joy to our hearts, enlighten our eyes, and bring us into a personal relationship with Him forever. God is righteous. His Word is righteous. David saw the Word of God as something uniquely valuable.

They are more to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold. Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honey comb. Moreover by them is Thy servant warned, in keeping them there is great reward (Vs. 10-11)

The word of God was precious to David, more precious than gold or any other material thing. Mark 8:36 asks the question “What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” The answer of course is nothing and David recognized the worth of the Scriptures to be above all else. David also found the Word to be sweet as honey. Remember that they did not have Nutra-Sweet, Saccharin, or even processed sugar. The sweetest, most pleasant food that could be mentioned was honey and especially that honey which dripped from the honeycomb. It had no impurities in it and so was the sweetest. That is how David regarded the Scriptures. He knew that they were a warning to him of how God wanted him to live and the dangers of going down his own path, and so he also knew that by keeping the Scriptures, i.e. hiding them in his heart and obeying them, there would be great rewards. David stated this truth again in Psalm 119:9-11 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Thy Word. With all my heart I have sought Thee. Do not let me stray from Thy commandments. Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”

David did not view Scripture as just some set of rules and regulations to follow or some great literary work that should be studied for its intellectual content. David loved the Word because it reveals God including His attributes and His love for man. 1 Samuel 13:14 says that the LORD had searched out for Himself a man after His own heart, and that man was David, and David’s heart after God is revealed to us most clearly in his love for the things God had set forth in Scripture. If you want your relationship with God renewed, if you want to be someone who truly seek after God, then part of that will be approaching Scripture in the manner David did. You need to develop a love for God’s word because it reveals God to us and that changes our lives.

We see the effect of the Word on David’s life in the next final section of the Psalm in verses 12-14.

David’s response. Verses 12-14

David asks in verse 12, “Who can discern his errors?” Jeremiah (17:9,10) would echo this some years later saying, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick: Who can understand it?” It is the Lord that searches the heart and tests the mind. Because David had been confronted with the reality of God he recognized his true position and state. The revelation of God in creation reminded him that he was only a creature made by an awesome and marvelous God. His study of Scripture told him even more of this wonderful God and how that God wanted him to live. David recognized his own sin and requested mercy from the LORD. He asks God to “Acquit me of hidden faults.” He prays for pardon for those sins he has done in ignorance.

But David does not stop there, he goes on knowing that he could fall into other types of sin as well, so he prays; “Also keep back Thy servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression” (vs. 13). David wants the LORD to keep him from falling into the sins of pride and arrogance that result in willful sin. Such willful defiant sin is mentioned in Numbers 15:30 and the penalty for it is being cut off from the congregation. This type of sin would be great transgression and David wants to be kept far from such wickedness. He desires to be blameless.

But David goes beyond this too. He wanted more than just to be prevented from sinning and have forgiveness for sins he committed in ignorance. David also expressed his desire for an on-going relationship with God in verse 14. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” David has a relationship with God for He calls Him his rock and Redeemer. David wants to be pleasing to the LORD in every way including the words of his mouth and the meditations and thoughts of his heart.

David recognized his own sin and sought God for cleansing. David was not content with just an outward appearance of righteousness. He sought to be holy in his inner being as well. As David observed part of God’s wonderful work of creation, he recognized his own place in relation to God as one of His creatures. This restored that proper fear of God which is part of true worship. David also realized the worth or value that God’s word would have in his life. David knew that the Bible was God’s revelation of Himself and would help him develop a closer relationship with God and live a life pleasing to God. This is why David had such a love for the Word. David was a true worshiper of God. This is why God called David a man after His own heart.


That is the effect Scripture is to have on us, but the only way it will have that effect is if we know what it says, believe it, and commit ourselves to following it. If we call ourselves Christians – “Christ ones” – then we have no option but to follow Scripture for that is what Jesus did. We cannot allow our emotions or our own foolish desires to disrupt our commitment to follow the Word of God. You either bend your will to what God says in the Bible or you should quit claiming to His follower. My prayer for this church is that each and every one of us will bend our wills to God’s will and live our lives according to His Word regardless of our emotions and personal desires.

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) How many different words are used for the Bible and how many times is each word used? 2) Talk with your parents about how the Bible helps you live for God.
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What do you believe about the Bible? Explain the reasons for your belief. Is Biblical faith a “leap off a cliff”? Why or why not? Briefly outline Psalm 19. Explain each of the titles given in those verses including the relationship between them: Law, Testimony, Statues, Commandments, Fear, Judgements. Explain each of the characteristics given in verses 7-9. How do they explain the corresponding title & compliment each other? Explain each of the effects or qualities given in verses 7-9. How have you seen these effects of the Word of God in your own life? How diligent are you to study the Scriptures? Explain. What is the emphasis in the Hexapla in verses 7-9? How did David express the value of the Word of God to him? Express in your own words the value of the Word of God to you. What was David’s response to the Word of God? How did it help his relationship with God? What is your desire concerning your hidden sin? Your current sin? Future sin? Your relationship with God? How can those desires be fulfilled.

Sermon Notes – 5/6/2007 am

The Bible: The Foundation for Truth – Psalm 19


Why We Believe the Bible (Review: Request 4/29/07 sermon for detail)

Psalm 19

Verses 1-6

Verses 7-11

Verses 12-14

The Hexapla

Title                                                        Characteristics       Divine Effect / Quality

The law                         of the LORD            is perfect       converting the soul

The testimony               of the LORD            is sure            making wise the simple

The statutes                 of the LORD             are right        rejoicing the heart

The commandments    of the LORD             are pure         enlightening the eyes

The fear                       of the LORD             is clean          enduring forever

The judgments            of the LORD              are true         they are righteous altogether

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul (vs. 7a)

Law =________________________________________________________

Perfect = _____________________________________________________

Converting the soul = ___________________________________________

The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple (Vs. 7b)

Testimony = __________________________________________________

Sure =________________________________________________________

Making wise the simple = ________________________________________

The Statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. (Vs. 8a)

Statutes = _____________________________________________________

Right = ______________________________________________________

Rejoicing the heart = ____________________________________________

The commandments of the LORD are pure, enlightening the eyes. (Vs. 8b)

Commandments = ______________________________________________

Pure = ________________________________________________________

Enlightening the eyes = __________________________________________

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever (Vs. 9a)

Fear of the LORD = ______________________________________________

Clean = _______________________________________________________

Enduring forever = ______________________________________________

The Judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether (Vs. 9b)

Judgments of the LORD = _________________________________________

True = ________________________________________________________

Righteous altogether = ___________________________________________

The Value of Scripture- vs. 10-11

David’s Response- vs. 12-14

Desire to Have Sin Revealed (vs. 12)

Desire to be Kept from Sin (vs. 13)

Desire for A Righteous Walk with God (vs. 14)

 (If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click Here)

Grace Bible Church Home Page || Sermon Archives

For comments, please e-mail  Church office