- 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
Wisdom is not natural for fallen humans, but God has provided for that need.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple, Psalm 19: 7b.
Psalm 19 speaks of the statutes of the Lord. The Hebrew term is עֵדוּת (ʿē•ḏûṯ: statute, regulation, i.e., a principle). “These commands serve as a warning, urging, or witness to the covenant agreement” (Dictionary of Biblical Languages). More popularly the word is translated testimony of the Lord. This testimony, like its Divine Source, is trustworthy (אָמַן ʾā•mǎn:“ faithful,” “loyal,” “reliable,” and “ incontestable.”) Its divine purpose is to make wise (חָכַם ḥā•ḵǎm) those people who are simple (פֶּתִי pě•ṯî: “naive, i.e., pertaining to persons that are easily deceived or persuaded, showing lack of wisdom and understanding.”)
Not all cultures think of wisdom as important. Hinduism, for example, considers ignorance (avidya) a virtue. Totalitarian societies want their citizens to be compliant, not to question, not to think. A majority of school systems in the world fail to teach students to think rationally, to ask questions and seek the answers, to develop their creative impulses through the arts. Most schools teach a rote learning process of empty repetition and memorization. This form of learning breeds ignorant, apathetic citizens. In a free nation, wisdom must be acknowledged as the virtue, ignorance recognized as the vice.
This sequences begins by stating that the Law of the Lord revives the soul (v 7a). Now that the soul is alive it must become knowledgeable and wise. The restored soul is to become healthy in knowledge and in virtuous behavior.
The proper goal of education is a wise citizenry, capable of self-governance based on the word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. Such wise, self-governing people are of all humans most free. People who are lawless and ignorant end up being ruled by tyrants. The statutes of the Lord have the ability to transform naïve, easily deceived people into people of wisdom and understanding. God’s Word converts docile citizens to people who are free and self-governing.
In a world of growing moral and cultural relativism, gross uncertainty about the meaning and purpose of life, and growing anxiety about the future, “the testimony of the Lord” can bring meaning and purpose to one’s life and provide stable ground on which to walk.
– Darrow Miller
This post is sixth in a series of ten on Psalm 19.