*The Riches of the Word
I remember a conversation I had with a guy one time who tried to convince me that he didn’t need to read God’s Word. His position was that reading the Bible was for the pastors and that it was the pastor’s job to then tell him what he needed to know. This man has since remained a very immature Christian at best and years after our conversation, he has no more desire to be in the Word than he did years before.
Unfortunately this person’s attitude toward God’s Word is the norm. George Barna’s research indicates that Bible reading among folks that claim to be Christians is at an all time low. 18%, less than 2 out of ten read their Bibles on a daily basis. 23%, almost 1 in 4 claim to never read their Bibles.
Consider these statistics in light of:
1 Tim. 4:7-8 (ESV)
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Is it any wonder the church in America is in the shape it is.
We must be disciplined to read and hear God’s Word on a consistent basis if we are to be godly people. Hit or miss is not going to get us where we need to be.
Psalm 19:7-14 (ESV)
 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.
 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
 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.
 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
I want to start this message with a series of questions.
*-Do you think you would pay more attention if God spoke to you from heaven in an audible voice or through the written words of Scripture?
*-Would you believe and obey the words spoken to you from heaven more readily than you would the words you read in the Bible?
*-Do you think your present level of response to the written words of Scripture is an appropriate one?
*-What positive steps could you take to make your attitude toward Scripture more like the attitude God wants you to have?
One of Christ’s names given to us in the Bible is Wonderful Counselor. Jesus is the One in whom we should always turn to receive truthful, helpful, and transforming counsel. His divine wisdom is a well spring that his children are to lap up until we are satisfied. We are continually to go back for daily follow-up sessions. Jesus’ counsel is perfect, truthful, renewing our minds, and all we need.
The problem with most of us is we don’t realize the wealth we possess in God’s Word. We often turn everywhere else looking for answers to life’s questions and leave our Bibles on the shelf. We turn to pop psychology and the latest fad to answer our questions. We search and we search only to come up empty when turning to man’s counsel.
If you are getting answers from any place besides God’s Word you are at best getting half truths and at worst lies. Man’s methods are to place blame onto something or someone else when in reality we are to blame. We are the most medicated, blame shifting generation in history because we refuse to face up to the truths.
King David was a lot like us. He suffered many things and had many questions.
David understood God’s sovereignty and his own depravity. He knew where to find help.
1- The Law of the Lord is Perfect (Psalm 19:7-9)
Truth Declared- The law of the Lord is perfect,
Truth Applied- reviving the soul;
Here the word law is used. The Hebrew word Torah which is understood as God’s written Word. He uses the word translated perfect which means in the Hebrew mind complete or sufficient.
So God’s written word is sufficient to meet all our needs.
God’s Word is all sufficient and is able to transform our soul.
In other words we can be transformed, converted, caused to be born again by the power of God’s written word.
2- The Testimony of the Lord is Sure (vs 7)
Truth Declared- the testimony of the Lord is sure,
Truth Applied- making wise the simple;
David says that the testimony of Scripture is trustworthy in revealing to us who God is, what we should believe, and how we should live. Scripture is the only sure revelation we have about God. Scripture is more trustworthy than human experience and human reasoning. Often times we write off the truths found in Scripture because they don’t sound right to us. We must trust the Word over anything else.
Peter knew this truth.
*2 Peter 1:16-19 (ESV)
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,”  we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.  And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,
Peter said, I saw all these wonderful, magnificent things unfold with my own eyes. I saw the transfiguration of Jesus myself. I heard the voice from heaven declaring that Jesus is the Son of God. Peter then goes on to say, We have something even more trustworthy and that is the written Word of God.
We can become wise through the revelation of Holy Scripture.
3- The Precepts of the Lord Are Right,
Truth Declared- the precepts of the Lord are right,
Truth Applied- rejoicing the heart;
David’s third discovery is that Scripture is sufficient in giving us guidelines and principles for living. Many today are distressed because they lack direction. God’s all sufficient Word gives us purpose and direction. In so doing we are joyful. If you are depressed, anxious, fearful, or doubting don’t turn to modern methods such as self-esteem, and self-fulfillment teachings that make the problem even worse, turn to the same place David turned, God’s Counsel.
When David was fearful, depressed, and anxious, where did he turn?
Psalm 119:50 (ESV)
This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.
Isn’t that what everyone is looking for? Purpose and comfort in knowing that our lives mean something.
Recorded on October 21 and 22, 1965, this song by Lennon is distinctive because it was the first Beatles’ song not to be about love. It was written as John’s desperation of feeling like a man with no purpose… the “Nowhere Man.”
Nowhere Man by John Lennon
He’s a real Nowhere Man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his Nowhere plans for nobody.
Doesn’t have a point of view,
Knows not where he’s going to,
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
That is our dilemma without Jesus Christ and without His Word. We are nowhere people with nowhere plans living life in a nowhere land. We have no purpose and no point. We go from one idol to the next looking for fulfillment only to come up empty every time.
I am sure at times David felt this way also. David knew someone that gave his life meaning and joy.
4- The Commandment of the Lord is Pure (vs 8)
Truth Declared- the commandment of the Lord is pure,
Truth Applied- enlightening the eyes;
Scripture is pure, clear and authoritative. It isn’t a book of suggestions but a book of commands. It isn’t a book about man but a book about God. Because of its overall clarity it brings people into an understanding of God. It enlightens our eyes as to who God really is and stands in contrast to the gods we like to manufacture.
Without the Word of God we will wander aimlessly through life chasing every idea that masquerades as truth only to come up empty every time.
2 Tim. 3:6-7 (ESV)
For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,  always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
5- The Fear of the Lord is Clean (vs 9)
Truth Described– the fear of the Lord is clean,
Truth Applied- enduring forever;
Here David uses the word fear as a synonym for God’s Word. Scripture is perfect and to add anything to it would be adding imperfections. It is also eternal.
Mark 13:31 (ESV)
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Where does this leave us today?
When we hear in the news about gay marriages and wonder if there is a problem with that, we turn to the Word of God. When we see pictures of War in Iraq and wonder if it is good or not, we turn to God’s word and see if it is appropriate. When we hear about new promised cures for whatever, we turn to God’s Word. When we wonder about Christians going to court against another Christian, we turn to the Word. When we wonder about raising our children we turn to the Word. When we want to be a better husband or wife we turn to the Word.
It will never pass away.
6- The Rules of the Lord Are True (vs 9)
Truth Described- the rules of the Lord are true,
Truth Applied- and righteous altogether.
God’s judgments and verdicts are righteous.
Priscilla Slagle in her book published in 1987 called, The Way Up From Down has given us advice in dealing with our anxieties and depression.
Her suggestion whenever we have negative thoughts is to shout, “Cancel!”
She also recommended programming your sleep and playing a tape recording all night that contained positive feedback. During the day play positive music. She also said to find a belief system that works for you-any will do-be especially careful to avoid any that speak of sin and guilt.
Why is it that we are drawn to this type of help over an above true help? Because when we listen to soothing music we may feel a little better but we haven’t dealt with our real problem. We haven’t dealt with our sin and guilt before God.
Jesus illustrates this deep problem that all of us have when He boldly confronts the Pharisees.
*John 8:43-47 (ESV)
Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.  Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?  Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
In this passage we can see even the tendency we have as believers is to listen to the Devil and our old nature. That is why so often we go looking for truth in all the wrong places.
 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
God in His merciful grace has given us the riches of His Word. I pray we would see it as the source of direction and joy as we walk with Christ.
Do you think you would pay more attention if God spoke to you from heaven or through the written words of Scripture?
Would you believe and obey the words spoken to you from heaven more readily than you do the Bible?
Do you think your present level of response to the written words of Scripture is an appropriate one?
What positive steps could you take to make your attitude toward Scripture more like the attitude God wants you to have?