“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,
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.”
The law of the Lord brings life. Life to the soul dead in transgressions and to the soul wearied by trouble and affliction. The Spirit of God moves in His truth, breathing life into dry bones.
“O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones:
Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.”
It brings wisdom. A wisdom far surpassing our human reasoning, something much stronger which sees beyond our perspective.
“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
It causes our hearts to rejoice—because the heart has been set free. Free from the deception of sin. Free from fear, because we have discovered the love of God and abundant life in Christ. Free to run, without shame or reservation, in His commands.
“I will run in the way of your commandments, for you set my heart free!”
Psalm 119:32 (footnote translation)
It enlightens our eyes, removing the veil that once kept us from seeing the glory of God and recognizing truth and beauty and light.
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”
It endures forever. The perfect law of God will never pass away. It is pure, undefiled, guarded by the Maker of heaven and earth, who has supreme authority over all He has made and who never changes. While our circumstances, emotions, and understanding will change, the law of our Lord stands fast—firmly fixed in wisdom and justice.
“Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.”
It is righteous in its entirety. The foundation of the throne on which the Lord reigns is righteousness, and He will never act or command in such a way that contradicts what is right. We can trust Him here, even when we can’t wrap our minds around the “Why.”
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.”
These laws are to be desired more than the finest gold, and in truth they are sweeter than the drippings of a honeycomb.
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
James refers to it as “the law of liberty” (James 1:25). What a beautiful, God-honoring statement. It reveals the law of God not as a set of rules designed to hinder and restrict as a prison, but rather as a law which releases us and brings joyous freedom. Similarly, John assures us that the commands of God are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).
Yet if this is the case, why do they sometimes feel restricting and burdensome—like a cruel joke or an unnecessary weight?
It is because sin is so strong in its deception. The enemy—as a lion, prowling around for one to devour (1 Peter 5:8)—twists our logic to view the righteous law of liberty as wrong. It is in these moments when we must hold fast to our faith.
Faith in the One who died for us and rose again, that we might be saved and raised to reign with Him forever. Faith in the One who makes our souls come alive. Faith in the One who brings us into His family, who has written our names on His heart and engraved them on His hands. Faith in the One who is faithful and true, who will one day return to defeat evil once and for all. Faith in our God who is good, who is wise, who is trustworthy.
It is faith in Christ which overcomes our temptations to sin and the questions in our heart which lead us dangerously away from Him. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).
In faith, we cling to the truth of Psalm 19 and choose to walk in the beautiful, righteous commands of our God. And in our obedience, His Spirit enables us to see that His law of liberty is to be desired more than gold, more than the rarest and most precious of jewels. We will taste and see that our Lord is good and His law is sweet to the taste (Psalm 34:8). Our heart will rejoice at His Word, like one who finds great spoil (Psalm 119:162). We will experience the truth of Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing came make them stumble.”