As Ryder and Josh set plates and forks on the table for lunch, a dog started barking outside. “There Sarge goes again,” said Ryder with a sigh. “He’s always barking.”
“This bark sounds different than usual,” said Mom. “Maybe one of you boys should go check it out.”
“Aw, Mom, we’re busy,” said Josh. “Besides, Sarge barks at everything–squirrels, people, cars. You name it, he barks at it.” Since Mom didn’t insist, no one checked to see why Sarge was barking.
When Josh and Ryder went out to ride their bikes later that afternoon, they stopped and stared at the empty garage. “Where are our bikes?” asked Josh.
“I don’t believe it!” cried Ryder. “They’re gone! Who would have the nerve to come into our garage in broad daylight and take our bikes right out from under our noses?”
“After all the work we did mowing lawns to buy those bikes,” said Josh. “Now this!”
The boys rushed into the house. “Our new bikes are gone! Someone stole them!” Everyone hurried out to see for themselves.
Dad returned to the house to call the police department and report the loss. When he came back outside, he stopped to pet Sarge. “Didn’t we hear Sarge barking a couple hours ago?” he asked. “He was trying to warn us, and we didn’t listen to him.”
That evening Dad read aloud from Psalm 19. “Warnings are important,” he said after he finished reading. “Today Mom warned you boys to check on Sarge, but you didn’t. Sarge was warning us about the bikes getting stolen, but we didn’t listen. In this psalm, we see that God speaks through His Word not only to teach us about who He is and how much He loves us, but also to warn us about sin.”
“You mean how sin separates us from God, and only trusting in Jesus can free us from sin and give us eternal life?” asked Josh.
Dad nodded. “Yes, the Bible definitely warns us about sin in that way. But it also warns those who already trust in Jesus about the consequences of sin and how disobeying God can mess up our lives and keep us from living the life God wants for us. Let’s be sure to listen.”
How about us? Do we take warnings seriously? God warns Christians about the dangers of sin in the Bible. Listen to Him and obey His commands. Is God warning us about something today? If we think He is, we must pray and ask Him to help us know what action to take and get advice from someone we trust. God’s warnings are one of the ways He helps us and guides us through life.
Psalm 19 points out two areas where God has chosen to reveal Himself. The entire universe testifies of the Creator and brilliantly displays the glory of God. If we look for Him in the beauty of the world around us, we will find Him. God has placed the sun (which was an object of worship among the pagans) in the heavens and is therefore supreme over it. The figures of the bridegroom and the runner picture the sun’s glory and power as it moves across the sky. Since it is so glorious, how much more glorious must its Creator be.
Psalm 19 reveals a God who always communicates through His word and His works. They show us the loving heart of God seeking our hearts. As we listen to the heavens and nature, we hear God’s glory. The heavens and nature worship God with their praise and witness His glory to us.
God isn’t limited to words in His communication with us. He uses dreams, angels, visions, impressions and mental pictures. Since He is the communicator, we need to hear Him speaking to us beyond our limited mental capabilities.
God communicates with us through the Old Testament law. The law converts us and restores us to God. It drives us to despair so that we may be driven to Christ. The process is completed when we accept the crucified and risen Christ as our Saviour.
All of the means God uses to communicate with us have the same goal. God wants us to know Him, to worship Him, to love Him, and to obey Him. When God speaks, He speaks the truth. His commandments are just and righteous. They tell us what to do and how to please God. The knowledge of God is for the worship of God. His commandments are pure. They transmit the light of God to our souls. In Christ we become light and we are to live in that light.
Testimony, statutes, commandments and judgments are all synonyms for God’s law, the Bible. The connection between the previous verses with their references to creation and God’s Word here is that as the sun is the centerpiece of creation, so must God’s Word be the centerpiece of believers’ lives.
David prayed for cleansing and help that he might be blameless and innocent. He wanted more than just forgiveness. He prayed that his future words and thoughts would always be acceptable in the sight of God, who was the source of David’s strength and redemption. This is a good prayer for us as well. Words are powerful and rarely neutral. If we want our words to bless other people, they must always be spoken in truth and love. We should think before we speak and look for ways in which our words will bring God glory.
David’s question in verses 12 to 14 expresses that without God’s Word, it is difficult for people to know if or when they violate God’s will. The Word brings hidden faults to light and offers strong warnings about what displeases God so that the believer’s actions, words and thoughts may receive God’s favour. We need God’s Word so that we can understand the works of God. General revelation holds us accountable, but it also condemns us because in our sin we deny the Creator. But in the darkness, God speaks. When we commit our lives to Jesus and trust Him alone for our salvation, God forgives us of all our sins, even the ones we don’t remember.
Because of sin, God’s Word is not our natural instruction nor our natural delight. The real reason why many people in the Western world reject Jesus is repression and rejection of what they instinctively know to be the truth-that there is one, true, living God who created us all and has revealed Himself through the Person of Jesus Christ. God’s Spirit has to bring conviction of sin and cleansing of sin. The Holy Spirit will control our lives.
The liberating message of God’s Word is ours every moment. Satan may attack us, but we have the Sword of the Spirit. The world may tempt us, but we can hide God’s Word in our hearts. Obeying God’s Word gives us three rewards:
- The reward of doing God’s will.
- The reward of living a fulfilled life.
- The assurance of being ready to stand before Christ’s judgment seat.
If we want to live lives that honour God, we must put God at the centre of our lives and we must do things God’s way. God’s Word should be the most valuable thing in our lives. To hear His Word and to do it is to build our spiritual lives upon the rock. Seeking, studying and obeying His Word helps us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.
Are we living in fear because we aren’t following God? Could it be that peace won’t come because practical obedience isn’t the pattern of our lives? Is disobedience producing fear and dread in our hearts? It’s time for us to come home to God. On the way back, God will drive, we will ride shotgun, and our fears will be packed in the trunk.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p.718)
- Sarah Young, “You Will Find Me.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- “A Curious Incident (Part 1)” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Williams, D. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol.13: Psalms 1-72 (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1986; pp. 157-166)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Steve Arterburn, “The Power of Words.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Rev. Billy Graham, “How Can You Ask Forgiveness for Things You Don’t Remember?” Retrieved from arcamax.com
- Michael Youssef, Ph.D., “Champions Do Things God’s Way.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Anne Graham Lotz, “Instinctive Recognition.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- David Jeremiah, “Turning the Page.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Ron Moore, “Clean and Clear.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com