THE SUFFICIENT WORD
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.” Ps 19:7
“Why, the Book has wrestled with me; the Book has smitten me; the Book has smiled on me; the Book has frowned on me; the Book has clasped my hand; the Book has warmed my heart. The Book weeps with me, and sings with me; it whispers to me, and it preaches to me; it maps my way, and holds up my goings; it is the Young Man’s Best Companion, and is still my morning and evening Chaplain.” Charles Spurgeon
Introduction: Religion can become a culture. By that, I mean that we become so used to the environment we stop living it intentionally. We just do things without engaging our mind or our heart. We say we love the Good Book and never really get into it. We say the Bible is the basis of all we do but seldom apply its promises to the details of life. We say we love Jesus with all our heart and then we spend our day hardly giving him a glance. We say we trust Jesus to meet every need of our lives and then when the pressure hits, we depend upon the promises of the world for our relief.
We at GMTB believe that God has chosen to speak to us in his Word. It is through the scriptures that he speaks purposefully, powerfully, personally and practically. The Puritan Thomas Watson once suggested that we should “Think in every line you read that God is speaking to you.” The more we devote ourselves to a prayerful engagement with His Word, the more we will hear him reveal His will and His ways. The more we pursue and trust in the promises in his Word, the more our faith will grow in him. God has a vested interest in our lives. His glory is revealed as we, his people, trust in his promises in the darkest of nights. His Word, known and obeyed, will give us a sure anchor that will enable us to remain secure in the midst of life’s greatest storms. [Matthew 7:24-25]
A little knowledge of God can be a dangerous thing. The Greeks had a word for people who had just enough knowledge to make them dangerous. They called those people sophomores. Sophia, wisdom, was joined to the term moros, “fool”, to produce the description “wise fool.” That phrase describes Christians who never get past an elementary walk with Christ. They drink the milk but never get to chew the meat. They remain infants who are “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” [Ephesians 4:14] In other words, they never come to know the depth of the riches of God found in Jesus Christ. Their lack of a truth driven life will tragically prevent them from growing up “into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” [Ephesians 3:15]
Only as we regularly dive into the Word with a passion to know Christ and please him in every way, will our lives become the God-honoring witnesses he designed us to be. So, being a student of God’s Word is not an option. It is crucial! “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15
Exposition: In Psalm 19, the psalmist reveals the two ways God declares his glory: 1] Through what he has made in creation; 2] What he has spoken is written down in His law. In the first six verses, the psalmist shows how the glory of God is spoken in wordless communication. In the wonders of the universe, in the radiance of the sun, God’s glory is seen everywhere and at all times. In verses 7-11, he carefully reveals how God reveals his glory through his Law. For the psalmist, the law is all of God’s essential truth that is necessary for the man to know and honor God, written down.
Verses 7-11, are a very carefully laid out exposition concerning the purpose and the power of God’s law. When the psalmist writes of God’s general revelation to all men, he uses the most-high name of Elohim [1-6]. But, when he speaks of God’s special revelation to his people, he uses the covenantal name of Jehovah [7-11]. So, it is the Lord’s- law, statutes, precepts, commandments, fear, and ordinances. Each of the forms of the law are given a characteristic along with an effect. So, we come to verse 7, where the psalmist declares: “The law [form] of the Lord [Jehovah] is perfect [characteristic] reviving the soul [effect].” Let us now unpack what this awesome passage means for us today.
“The Law of the Lord is perfect.” The law comes from a God who is perfect. In other words, he has need of nothing. All that he does is done is out of his pleasure and directed toward his predetermined purpose. He has all power so that he can accomplish anything he chooses and there is no power that can thwart his plan. He has all knowledge about all things large and small. He rules the universe and the atom without the slightest loss of energy. “Do you not know, have you not heard that the Lord is an everlasting God, creator to the ends of the earth? He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no man can fathom.”
All that he does is morally and ethically perfect for he is the One who is “Holy! Holy! Holy! He is the standard of right and wrong and no one can successfully call his actions into question. He knows everything about man for He designed him and formed him for His own unique and glorious purposes.
So, when we come to the law we are submitting ourselves to what is perfect in every way for it comes from the God who is perfect in every way. Perfect in that it is complete, whole, sufficient, and lacking in nothing. In God’s law we see and hear all that we need to know God, follow God, honor God, and rejoice in God. It comes to us with power. It not only enlightens our minds by the Spirit so that we can see God through it, it softens our hearts so that we want what it declares to us. It addresses our minds with essential truth and caresses our hearts with powerful love.
So, whatever situation we find ourselves in, we can turn to God’s law and receive what we need to be victorious for the glory of God and the delight of our soul. That is what is meant when we say that the Word of God is sufficient. It is perfect for salvation, sanctification, maturation, celebration and glorification in every situation.
What is its effect? It revives the soul. It brings life to the heart that is dead in sin, withered by neglect, beaten down by abuse. We have a God who is a Good Shepherd who makes us lie down in green pastures; who leads us beside still waters, who restores our souls. Do you see what I am saying? God desires to be that Shepherd we follow in complete trust in every circumstance.
If that is true, if “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” [2 Tim 3:16-17] why do we so quickly run to the quick fix theories of the world? If God’s Word can “thoroughly” equip us “for every good work,” what more do we need? That is the point. God’s Word is sufficient.
Conclusion: The problem is obvious. We do not really believe that the Word is sufficient. We have been told that our problems are beyond the scope of God’s Word. They lay buried deep in our unconscious, controlling us without us even being aware. Or, we are being told that our problems are in our genes and chemicals and are only effectively dealt with by drugs. Or, we are told that our problem can be solved simply by using the potential that is innate but unrealized within us. In all of these cases, God and his purposes for us are left out. We are listening to the world rather than the Word.
G. K. Chesterton once remarked, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and not tried.” Let me say it in a more pointed way. When we choose the solutions of the world, Jesus and his promises to us are ignored. Still, he continues to invite us to come to him for perfect peace that only he can give. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matt 11:28-30]
The question each person has to answer for themselves on a daily basis is, “Will I go to him? Is He really perfect and are his promises really sufficient? You will never know unless you trust him with your circumstances. “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” [John 7:17]
“Though earthly trials should oppress me
And cares from day to day increase;
Though this vain world should sore distress me
And seek to rob my Savior’s peace;
Though I be brought down to the dust,
Still in mercy I will trust.
Sure, His great love shall make me willing
To bear my lot and not to fret
While he my restless heart is stilling,
May I His mercy not forget!
No matter what may be the test,
His love shall be my only rest.”
Herman W. Goekel
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Dr. Gary Rieben. © Give Me That Book. Email: Grieben@aol.com. Website: www.GiveMeThatBook.org. Postal: GMTB | P.O. Box 1045| La Quinta, CA 92247 USA | 619.829.2390
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