All of us have an inclination towards independence. We feel naturally that we should be left alone to “do our own thing”. We have a general sense of morality, and a personal code of ethics that govern us. Never mind that we routinely speed, coast through stop signs, and right turn on red (after stop) without stopping. Never mind that we have no problem with telling “white lies” because they serve to protect us or our friends and family. 70% of the successful salesmen will tell you they have no problem stretching the truth to sell their product (the other 30% are lying). Let’s also admit that the sex drive is such a powerful force that we have done things we are not proud of, and nothing has the power to temporarily alter one’s ethics like MONEY. I have seen “good men” do things I thought they were incapable of when cornered with the fear of loss of money. I could go on and on, but you get the point.
No wonder there are repetitive passages throughout the Bible about human nature and our inadequacy before God. Every author in the Bible speaks to our problem, so if you are one of the very normal people who is happy with his/her self, complacent, and feels self sufficient—I have two words, “Wake Up”. I say this not to condemn or depress, but to impress upon you our great need for a higher authority. We desperately need the truth that is way beyond what we feel, or “how I was raised”, or “my philosophy is”. The Bible says “GET OVER YOURSELVES” (my paraphrase). Jesus said that the Word of God is truth. We need to turn to a higher authority, we need to live by the ultimate truth which can only be found in the Word of God.
I think Isaiah must have felt pretty good about himself. After all he was born into an influential, upper class family. He hung around with royalty. He held a prestigious position as a prophet of the God of Israel, and people respected him as a man of God. The fact was he just thought he had it all together, and God would show him the sobering reality between the righteousness of man and the true righteousness of God. Because of the importance of the message God was going to entrust to Isaiah, God let him see heaven and the glory of God along with holiness that earthly man cannot comprehend. Isaiah’s response is very instructive for us. “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the Lord.”(Isaiah 6:5). Isaiah for the first time had a full realization of his shortcomings versus God’s holiness—and it wasn’t pretty.
What Would David Do ?
David understood that there are only two kinds of people, those who believe in the one true God, and those that don’t. The people who believe in God trust not in their own feelings and philosophies, but humbly turn to God’s revealed Word for guidance, truth, and answers. Unbelievers trust in themselves to design a god of their own choosing and truth that works for them. We need only look at the sad condition of the world to answer the question, “How’s that working?” David wrote, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”(Ps.1:1-2)
These verses tell us what to avoid and what to embrace. David says to avoid the influence of ungodly people who may put a very positive spin on things or solutions to problems. Most marketing is based on very subtle positive sounding advice or solutions like: “If it feels good-do it.” “Go for the gusto”. “The ends justify the means”. “This is the Me generation”, etc. This is worldly advice that most people live by and certainly sounds good, but the long term results are disastrous.
David reveals a three stage process in Psalm 1 of moving from walking to standing to sitting. Stage one is walking alongside ungodly people, stage two is standing with sinners, and stage three is actually sitting down with the scornful (becoming one of them). Don’t get that close to those who mock God, or don’t take a seat in their classroom. Instead, find your “delight” in the Word of God. Find your counsel, get your answers from a higher authority. Dwell on, be immersed in knowing and doing the will of God.
The respect David has for God’s Word is inspiring. Read Psalm 19. Let me paraphrase—God’s Word is the standard for human conduct. It is God’s self disclosure, and you can’t know Him without it. In God’s Word are His doctrines and principles we need to know. It is a manual on worship and praise of the only ONE who deserves it. It contains the judgments of the Lord about everything that is wrong with the world.
Psalm 19 also tells us the character and value of Scripture. It is perfect, complete, and reliable. It is the right path. It is pure, it is clean, and it is absolutely true.
What affect does the Word of God have? What does it accomplish? It “converts the soul”, meaning it transforms the inner person. It contains life changing words. Simple people like us become wise, and our hearts rejoice. It “enlightens our eyes” meaning that God shines light on the truth to us through His Word. Unknown things become knowable and understandable. It has an eternal affect on us. The material things come and go but the truth “endures forever” (Ps.19:7-9).
Psalm 119 describes our proper attitude toward God’s Word. It is a wisdom psalm concerning our necessary attention to and delight in the Word. The author repeats over and over how important God’s Word is, and how much he delights in it:
Your testimonies are my delight, teach me your statutes.
I have rejoiced in Your testimonies, I shall delight in your statutes.
Strengthen me according to Your Word
Give me understanding that I may observe your law
I delight in Your commandments, I trust in Your word
The Law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold coins
Measuring Up—Examine Yourselves
How do we compare to David? Clearly David has a very high regard for God’s Word. David knows that he knows nothing about God without it. He views the Scriptures as alive and life changing. He believed God used His Word to accomplish great things and reveal Himself to man. David knew that there is no real living apart from the Word of God. Are we better or worse than David? Do we know more than David? In the area of accomplishments, wealth, and victories very few of us can hope to measure up to David; but in the area of revelation and truth we are blessed with the same source as David. The only thing holding us back is our lack of devotion and commitment to the Scriptures, and our trust in God to enlighten us through them.
Each of us can examine ourselves. Is the Bible your source for authority and truth? Do you have a worldly perspective or a biblical perspective? Do you delight in God’s Word as David did? Do you dwell on it, meditate on it, and memorize passages? My great fear for myself and for you is that in this fast paced materialistic culture, “the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of riches will choke out the life changing Word of God”(Matt.13:22)
New Testament Advice
When believers had wandered off and gotten lost in the things of the world, the authors of the N.T. sent them letters saying things like: “Don’t be unaware”, “Hold fast the Word”, “Remember who you were…once separate from Christ”, “long for the pure milk of the Word like newborn babes that by it you may grow”, “Don’t forget the purification from former sins”, “Be diligent”, “Remember from where you have fallen”.