Psalm 19: What’s your “Precious?”

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Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his errors?
    Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
    let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
    and innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Still Standing – A Study of a Roadside Tree #2 | Outside Elgin, TX | January 2023

I was never able to get past the 30 page description of a tree in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (or maybe it was The Hobit). OK, maybe I exaggerate a little; maybe it was only 25 pages! But I have watched the Lord of the Rings movies several times. And the portrayal of Sméagol/Gollum is so very well done. He speaks of the Ring as his Precious. The tone of voice, non-verbal cues, and cinematography conspire to make it clear. His Precious is so very very precious. Too much so, in fact. It has become his idol. It is his god. And it will kill him.

That’s what idols do. That’s what the devil does: he steals, kills, and destroys. And we all have various Precious things that vie for a dangerous place in our hearts. Anxiety about finances can choke out generosity and result in financial idolatry. Fear of the future can elevate the need for certainty and understanding and replace faith. A need for power and control can lead to sexual misconduct and abuse. These kill the soul. They are the fools gold of life and joy.

But God’s word is truly precious. More precious than gold and sweeter than honey. God’s words are the word of life (cf. John 6:68-69). They enrich the soul. God’s word warns us of dangerous thoughts, words, and actions. It directs us in paths of true joy and blessing. God’s word points us to Jesus, the source of eternal life. God’s word lifts our spirits to focus on more noble things. And it helps us deal with the very real muck and mire of daily life.

The wisdom literature (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes) provide insight and guidance for daily living. The prayer book of the Old Testament (Psalms), gives words to our prayers. We learn great lessons from the history of Israel (the first several books of the Old Testament). The prophets challenge us and call us to repent and return to God. Then comes the fulfillment of it all: the New Testament’s witness to Jesus. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. So as we hold God’s word precious, we are ultimately holding Jesus as most precious. He is the way, the truth, and the life. We gain access to the Father and his throne of grace only through him. He is truly precious!

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