Darrow Miller and Friends

Find the COMMANDS that Give LIGHT

  1. Nations in Disorder – From Where Shall Help Come?
  2. Why God’s Laws Are the Only Protection from Tyranny
  3. What the Most BEAUTIFUL PSALM Teaches About A Flourishing Life
  4. God’s PERFECT LAW: Hope for the Human Race
  5. ONE LAW That Revives the Soul
  6. Gaining Wisdom in a World of Folly
  7. Precepts: The Unlikely Path to Joy
  8. Find the COMMANDS that Give LIGHT
  9. The Intimate FEAR that Promotes a PURE LIFE
  11. A Human That Doesn’t Thrive is Like a Fruit Tree That Doesn’t Bear

Some have said that Psalm 19 is the most beautiful in the Psalter. If so, how fitting that we see that beauty because of light. God’s commands are radiant!

We’ve been examining the various terms in Psalm 19 about God’s Word. Today we come to the second half of verse 8 which speaks of “the commands of the Lord” and affirms that these commands “are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”

God's commands give light

The Hebrew word for commands is miṣ•wā(h), defined by the Dictionary of Biblical Languages as  “command, order, commandment,” i.e., “an authoritative directive, either written or verbal, given as instruction or prescription to a subordinate; terms, formally, commandment, i.e., the written legal conditions which are binding in a contract.”

The concept of government comes from God, and all governments operate by means of laws and ordinances. This is the divine pattern. God’s creation is governed by the divine order. God’s laws and ordinances comprise His covenant of governance between Creator, creation and creature.

Note that the divine nature is “radiant,” the Hebrew בַּר (bǎr): “pure, pertaining to a moral condition, radiant, giving light as a figurative extension of giving understanding.”

The Trinitarian Culture, derived from God’s nature, is marked by Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. These three elements are not independent or separated, but inter-related or integral. For example, the moral good is beautiful! Truth is good! The moral goodness and beauty of God may be described as His glory. This glory is radiant; it is light. God is light! God glory is pure light.

God’s commands are as God Himself: pure without dross, light without darkness.

As indicated in the table above, the divine purpose for this term is to give light, the Hebrew אוֹר (ʾôr), which can mean “shine, be in a state of light; give light, shine, light up, i.e., shine forth light rays from a source or a reflective source, sufficient to see and heat; give sight, i.e., cause the eyes to see.”

The purpose of the commands is to give light, to push back the darkness in our lives, to reveal our sin, heal our wounds, and shine on our path. It is light that allows the eyes to see. Eyes were designed to see, but without light there are no distinctions to be revealed to the eyes. One can have healthy eyes yet live in darkness where there is nothing to be seen. By the same token, a person could live in a world of light and have eyes that are blind.

And what is so blessed by the light? The eyes -עַיִן (ʿǎ•yin), that part of the body that is “the eye gate; understanding, formally, to come to understand as a mental perception, sight.” If you were blind, imagine all you would miss in life. I have been reflecting lately on the wonderful story of Helen Keller. Born a healthy child, at 19 months Helen contracted a disease that left her deaf, blind, and ultimately mute. Imagine what life must have been like for little Helen. Until the day she discovered meaning through her teacher, Anne Sullivan, Helen inhabited the small world of her dark mind.

Most of us can see, but can we perceive the truth? We can have the en-joy-ment of seeing physical beauty, yet be blind to non-material realities of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Light allows the eye to discern between truth and falsehood, good and evil, beauty and vileness. Light prevents confusion between the counterfeit kingdom of Satan and the reality of the kingdom of God. We have eyes to peel back the veil of relativism and the shadow of death that hangs over the land. The light disperses the confusion of darkness.

When the prophet Isaiah was taken into the heavenly throne room he witnessed God in his pure light. At the same time, he realized the depth of his sin.

‎And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. ‎“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”‎ Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Isaiah 6:3-7

‎‎The law of the Lord is not a heavy nor imposing thing. Rather, it is the light that allows us to see and experience life. The law of Moses convicts us of sin, the law of Christ brings us light and freedom, it brings us salvation. The commands of the Lord provide the order individuals and nations need to flourish.

–          Darrow Miller

This post is eighth in a series of ten on Psalm 19.

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).