- Nations in Disorder – From Where Shall Help Come?
- Why God’s Laws Are the Only Protection from Tyranny
- What the Most BEAUTIFUL PSALM Teaches About A Flourishing Life
- God’s PERFECT LAW: Hope for the Human Race
- ONE LAW That Revives the Soul
- Gaining Wisdom in a World of Folly
- Precepts: The Unlikely Path to Joy
- Find the COMMANDS that Give LIGHT
- The Intimate FEAR that Promotes a PURE LIFE
- God’s ORDINANCES, Your REWARD
- A Human That Doesn’t Thrive is Like a Fruit Tree That Doesn’t Bear
We usually think of law as a restraining force. But one law sets free. One law gives life! The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul, Psalm 19:7.
The Law – תּוֹרָה (tô•rā(h)) of the Lord is akin to “a legal prescription of something that should or must be done.” In its most basic understanding, it is the Law of Moses. But the Torah is used to describe the basic narrative of the Hebrew people in their call by God to be His People. In other places Torah is used to refer to the comprehensive nature of Jewish teaching and practice. So the Law of the Lord has a comprehensive understanding greater than that of the 10 commandments.
What is the nature of the Law? It is perfect as its Divine Author is perfect – תָּמִים (tā•mîm): “having no moral defect.” It is perfect for what it has been designed to do: revive the soul. God’s purpose for the Law is to revive שׁוּב (šûḇ): v. return, to move “back to a point previously.” It is translated to restore or convert the soul נֶפֶשׁ (ně·p̄ěš), that is, the “heart, the inner self.”
In the Great Commission, Christ gives the church the task to disciple nations. That includes teaching nations to obey “all that I have commanded.” “The law of the Lord” is to the Old Testament what the “all I have commanded” is to the New Testament. It is comprehensive and defines the circle of God’s order.
We have seen great advances in the preaching of the gospel of salvation; never have there been more Christians and churches. Yet our lives are often shattered, our communities and nations fragmented and impoverished. Why? Because we have not loved and proclaimed the gospel of the Kingdom of God!
In our rebellious state we are enslaved and impoverished. God’s original intentions for humans is that they may prosper in His original intention. He wants people’s souls revived, their paths turned away from the path of death, destruction, and poverty and turned back to the way of life. He wants nations to flourish, to reach their God-given potential.
How are we to be restored? Jesus tells us in John 8:31-32: “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ’If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” We are not simply to read the words of Jesus or even merely to reflect on his words. We are to remain (μένω [menō]: vb. stay, remain, abide, continue to exist) in the words of Christ. Our freedom does not come simply through believing (πιστεύω (pisteuō): vb. think to be true, to believe) in Christ, but in living in the circumference of his word. Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it well in The Cost of Discipleship: “The response of the disciples is an act of obedience, not a concession of faith in Jesus.”
The law of the Lord is not only perfect – true in its nature, it is also effective in its task of restoring the soul. If you long to have your soul restored, the law of the Lord has the ability to perform that function; it can bring us back to our true selves. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 reminds us of the practical nature of the Law of God in building virtuous lives: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Law of the Lord is a God-given tool to prepare us for life and service. As the ancients said, “to be good and do good!”
Individuals and nations need to live and walk within the circumference of God’s order. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul!
– Darrow Miller
This post is fifth in a series of ten on Psalm 19.