Truth Matters!

What is truth, Pontus Pilate asked?
Truth incarnate was standing in front of him!

Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning.  But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.” Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,” that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke,  signifying by what death He would die. Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” Jesus answered,  “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world,  that I should bear  witness to the truth. Everyone who  is of the truth  hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them,  “I find no fault in Him at all. (John 18:28-38)

Jesus is the Truth

"For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea,
and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 
that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love,
and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding,
to the knowledge of the mystery of God, 
both of the Father and of Christ,  
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
(Colossians 3:1-6)

Jesus Himself had already said clearly, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

Seven times, Jesus alluded to Himself as identified with the "great I AM"-- the God who met Moses at the burning bush. (Exodus 3)

God also spoke to Moses and said to him: ‘I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name “The Lord” I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they resided as aliens. I have also heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are holding as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. Say therefore to the Israelites, “I am the Lord, and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.” ’ (Exodus 6:2-8)

God Speaks!

Jesus, the Son of God is called the Word of God (logos) a masculine noun in Greek. God makes Himself known to us by speaking to us through the prophets, the holy men of old. Their writings comprise our Old Testament. For this reason the entire Bible is called the written Word of God while Jesus retains the title of the living Word. After His resurrection His overwhelmed eleven disciples and a few friends were overwhelmed that He had returned from the dead. Yet in the previous three years together, Jesus told them four times,

‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death;then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.’ (Matthew 20:18,19)

In spite of not having gone to Seminary or Bible College, Jesus knew the Old Testament well and recognized that He was there on every page.

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.

Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.' (Luke 24:36-63)

The origin of our Bibles is a wonderful story well worth knowing. Our English Bibles today are quite faithful to the original Hebrew and Greek. Blueletter Bible is one excellent resource for anyone who wants to dive deeper. Suffice it to say that the Old and New Testaments authoritative and binding. God always backs the integrity of His Word.

"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16,17)

The Word of God Reflected

When God speaks the creation resounds like an antiphonal choir. This is evident in the 19th Psalm, for instance. Our usual daily speech is linear,

"For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little." (Isaiah 28:10).

Nature does not respond in words by quoting chapter and verse, but by singing as it were. The proper response to God is love which can't be easily verbalized. Words fail lovers. \\

Think of the love songs, books, poems which have been written that are about love.

Psalm 19

God’s Glory in Creation and the Law

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
   and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. 
Day to day pours forth speech,
   and night to night declares knowledge. 
There is no speech, nor are there words;
   their voice is not heard; 
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
   and their words to the end of the world. 

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun, 
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
   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 nothing is hidden from its heat. 

The law of the Lord is perfect,
   reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
   making wise the simple; 
the precepts of the Lord are right,
   rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
   enlightening the eyes; 
the fear of the Lord is pure,
   enduring for ever;
the ordinances 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. 
But who can detect their errors?
   Clear me from hidden faults. 
Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
   do not let them 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 to you,
   O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.


...Psalm 19 tells us that the knowledge of God has been written for us in two volumes, and that it takes both volumes to know God. There is the revelation in nature, and there is the revelation given in a Book, in the written Word. Both are essential to the knowledge and understanding of God.

In the first part of this psalm the Psalmist, David, sets forth the book of nature:

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalms 19:1-4a RSV)

That is a declaration of the greatness of God as seen in the world of nature. No wonder these verses were referred to by the astronauts on their recent trip to the moon. Every night since time began, the stars have come out and they spell out to man the message of the power and the wisdom of God. This is becoming especially vivid today. We are starting to read some of the fine print in this book of nature. We have now been able to step outside the envelope of atmosphere which surrounds the earth and to see the stars in new glory, to see still more of the orderliness of the universe, of the procession of the heavenly bodies and of the marvelous mystery of gravitation which holds them in suspended balance, keeps the stars and planets in place with relationship to one another. All this is designed to speak of God and of his intelligence, wisdom, and power.

In the first verse the clarity, the plainness, of this revelation is underscored. Literally, "The heavens are 'narrating' the glory of God." They are telling forth a story which, when read, will reveal the glory of God. That is what they are for. And the firmament, i.e., the "stretched-out-ness" of space, the infinity of space, proclaims or "shouts about" his handiwork. In Verse 2 the abundance of this revelation is emphasized:

Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. (Psalms 19:2 RSV)

The day pours out information about God and the night spreads the knowledge of God before us. In other words. truth about God is pouring in to us from all dimensions. if we only have our eyes open to see it. I never read this psalm without thinking of these words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush aflame with God; But only those who see take off their shoes, The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

It takes a seeing eye to perceive what God has said in nature, but that which can be seen is pouring out upon us. We have all felt this. This is why a hush falls upon a group of people who step out under the stars in a night sky, when the moon is riding high and the stars glow with glory. We feel the mystery of the infinite, reaching, calling out to our spirits, and a silence descends upon us. This is why men fall silent before the ebb and flow of the sea, as they sense the resistless, surging power of the sweeping tides. They understand something of the power of God in nature through that. This is why we feel a sense of loneliness and an intimation of infinity when we hear the wind howl, or we watch a storm rage, the thunder and lightning crashing around us. There is something of the voice of God which gets through to us on these occasions.

The Islamic prophet Mohammed wrote about the God whom he saw in nature, out in the sands of Arabia, back in the sixth century. This is perhaps the first time the Koran has been quoted from this platform: The marvels of the starry heavens, the day that follows the night, the rain that gives life to the dead earth, the ship that sunders the sea, the bird that flies, the horse that gallops, the motionless rose and the still stone, the winds, the clouds, the fire, water, the glance of a woman, the smile of a child, the palm tree that bends, the date that ripens; here O believers are the proofs of the power of God. The trees sing of his power, flowers waft their perfume towards him. He is the Lord of the pink morning, the white noon, and the blue evening. This is the way it ought to be. God has designed that nature should teach man of His being, of His power and wisdom. Verses 3-4 declare the universality of this revelation:

There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalms 19:3-4a RSV)

No men live anywhere who have not been exposed to this witness of God in nature. In the fourteenth chapter of Acts there is the account of how the apostle Paul and his traveling companion, Barnabas, came into a pagan city and were received as gods because they performed a miracle. The people thought they were Jupiter and Mercury and began to worship them. Paul and Barnabas stopped them and said,

"Don't do that; we're nothing but men, just like you! But we have come to declare the true God unto you, the One who made heaven and earth. He does not need to dwell in temples of stone, and he rejects these idols. But he has not left himself without a witness among you. He has given you rain and food, has done good to you," (Acts 14:15-17).

They were referring, of course, to the witness of nature, to its remarkable testimony that behind the universe which we see is a Designer, a Planner, a great and wise Being of infinite power and might. Why is it that men do not get this message? Why is it obscured or distorted?

In the next two verses the Psalmist uses the sun to give us a specific illustration of this testimony of nature:

In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth 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 hid from its heat. (Psalms 19:4b-6 RSV)

To the observer on earth the sun appears to go across the sky. And as men see it they are exposed to its testimony. But we know that somehow that testimony is clouded. Men do not see it clearly. Instead of seeing that the sun is the greatest symbol of God in nature, that just as the sun is needed to give light and strength to all living things on earth, so God is needed to give moral light and spiritual strength to men. Men have missed the message and instead of worshiping the God who made the sun, they worship the sun. I have here a print of a famous painting by the great cowboy artist, Charles M. Russell. It shows the Sioux Indians facing the sun in the early morning and worshiping it.

Why do men, especially children of nature like these Indians, worship the sun? Because the message which comes to us in nature is beclouded. Men do not understand it clearly. And, as a result, that which has been designed to teach the deity and the power of God is being missed, overlooked. This is the great issue at stake in this whole controversy over creation and evolution, and is the reason why I am disturbed about it. I have no quarrel with scientists who want to come up with hypotheses as to the processes by which the universe was formed and life was developed. This is perfectly proper and is their sphere.

The theory of evolution is an attempt at this, based upon certain types of evidence which have been construed to support it. But what is so desperately wrong is that Darwinism, as it is largely taught in our schools and our popular communications media today, is a means of removing God from his creation. It is a means of teaching that this whole process just happened, apart from any exercise of creative intelligence. Thus the testimony of nature is rendered silent, and the message which God has designed it to speak to man is not heard, and man does not know that there is a God in the universe.

That is why man thinks God is dead, if indeed he ever existed at all. Darwinism is one of the major reasons why that idea has seized upon the popular mind in our day. Something is happening to us as a people because of that.

In the first chapter of Romans the Apostle Paul says that men are exposed to the truth about God which is evident in creation, and they deliberately reject it. And, because they do, God lets certain things take place.

Paul lists them for us. One is that because men do not like to retain God in their knowledge he gives them over to a reprobate mind, i.e., their thinking becomes distorted. This is what is producing the twisted applications of some of the discoveries of science, resulting in some of the tremendously complex, insoluble problems we are facing today.

Because men do not want to retain God in their knowledge, because there is this conspiracy of silence to eliminate God from his creation, because there is an unwillingness to acknowledge that God is in the laboratory, as well as in the church building or in the home, God gives men over to a demented science which produces not only helpful technological achievements but also those which blast and ruin us. Science and technology, once regarded as our benefactors, are now appearing to us more and more as our destroyers, having polluted the atmosphere, ravaged the forests, and destroyed many forms of life in various ways. Now they are confronting us with the possibility of the total pollution and destruction of our environment.

This is the judgment of God upon a world which twists and distorts the revelation of nature. Nature is designed to tell us not only how things happened but who is behind them. It is perfectly proper for a scientist to investigate the realm of nature. Man has made some wonderful discoveries about how God put things together. They are fascinating, exciting, opening up whole new vistas of life, and properly so.

What is wrong is the attempt to exclude God from that realm and not to allow nature to carry us on to that end for which it was designed -- to bring us to an understanding that behind this universe, behind ourselves and the mystery of our own being, is the great intelligence and wisdom and power of a living God. That is why we feel so lost and lonely, alienated and forsaken in a mechanistic universe.

But the book of nature is only Volume 1. There is also another book, Volume 2, designed to answer the other pressing questions we humans ask: "Why? What is behind all this? What is the meaning of it all? Where are we headed, and why are we involved in this whole process? Nature can never answer those questions. That is why those who work exclusively in the realm of nature can never state a satisfactory purpose for life. Nature simply does not embody that knowledge. If this great, throbbing question, "Why?" is ever to be answered, the answer must come from the lips of God himself. So he has given us a Book, and now the Psalmist presses on to that. I n the next few verses he outlines for us the effect of the Word, the written revelation of God, and what it can do in human life:

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 for ever; the ordinances 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 thy servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalms 19:7-11 RSV)

There is the resource of God designed for the inner life of man. Nature ministers to and feeds and strengthens and supports our outer life. But here is that which touches the inner life, makes for the conquest of that inner space which is so all-important to human life.

The Psalmist takes its characteristics one by one and shows us what they can do. First, "the law of the Lord." That is the widest term for all the written revelation God has given us. "The law of the Lord is perfect." It is complete, there is nothing left out. It is comprehensive, it does everything that we need it to do. There is no part of your life, no problem that you will ever face in your life, no question with which you will ever be troubled, that the Word of God does not speak to and illuminate and meet. So it is perfect, "reviving the soul." Remember that Jesus spoke of "rivers of living water" which would be available to buoy up the human spirit and to meet its need. This is exactly what the Word of God is designed to do for us. Second, "the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." Sure means "dependable, reliable."

You can count upon this word to be true. Therefore you do not need to know a lot about everything else. The Word of God is not against knowledge; it is only against knowledge which does not begin at the right place. But even if you do not have a lot of knowledge, even if you are "simple" in terms of education you can still be made wise by trusting Scripture because it is sure, it is reliable. That is why we are exhorted:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. (Proverbs 3:5 RSV)

There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25 RSV)

You can be deluded and deceived by some of these alluring, gossamer-like philosophies which float around today, suggesting, for example, that pleasure is the reason for which you exist, that to enjoy yourself is the supreme object in life, that anything you do toward that end is right. But the Word of God says, "No, that is not right!" God is the One who ultimately will give pleasure. It will be beyond anything you ever dreamed. But to follow pleasure for pleasure's sake is the way of death, and it will lead you on to that. The testimony, the Word, is sure.

Then, "the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart." Do you not rejoice in your heart to know that you are right about something? When you get into a controversy with somebody and he argues with you but you have the solid assurance that you are right -- what a feeling! Well, that is the way it is with the Word of God. The glorious thing about this Book is that when the story is all told, when everything is said and done it will all end up just as it is written here. This Book is right, it is the way things really are. And, "the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes."

The charge is sometimes made that the Bible is a dirty book because it speaks of incest and adultery and fornication and perversions like homosexuality and other ugly things. It also speaks of malice and bitterness and is filled with slaughter and bloodshed. It is often described as an immoral book, and there have been attempts to classify it with some of the immoral and obscene literature which is so widely abroad today.

But there is one great difference. It is true that the Bible contains these things, because it is a realistic book which deals with life as it is. But the one great difference is that it never shows evil as though it were good. It never makes adultery look attractive. It always looks like what it really ends up to be -- sordid and shameful. And it never makes homosexuality appear to be inconsequential. It reveals it to be a terrible distortion of human nature, and reveals that those engaged in it are pathetic beings who need to be prayed for and helped and delivered from the clutch of its awful hold over them, which is destroying their manhood or their womanhood. It is pure, enlightening the eyes, showing you the truth. That is what David has found.

Also, "the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever." The word "fear" is sometimes read as though it meant cowering in terror before some awful being who is about to strike you dead. But that is not what this means at all. It means respect, honest respect for God. That, says the Psalmist, is clean, and it will keep you clean, too. It is "enduring for ever." Once you enter into the fear of the Lord in its rightful sense you find that this produces a quality of life which keeps you from defiling yourself.

Then he sums them all up: "the ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether." They are also wealth-producing, enriching, "more to be desired than gold," he goes on to say. And they are wonderfully pleasant, marvelously pleasure-producing: ...sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalms 19:10b-11 RSV)

You might say, "I don't see these things in the Bible. I read my Bible and it's supposed to do that for you, but when I read it I don't find these things." Do you know why'? The Psalmist will help us with this, too. We need to notice as we go through this list that when David talks about various aspects of revelation he always uses the phrase, "of the Lord." The law "of the Lord," the testimony " of the Lord," the precepts "of the Lord," the commandment "of the Lord" -- all the way through. This, of course, means that these aspects in themselves are not what we need; they are channels by which we find the Lord. It is he who does all these wonderful things for us. It is the Lord who forgives and revives and cleanses and enlightens and makes us to rejoice. It is God, it is the Lord Jesus. And as we find him in the pages of Scripture these wonderful things happen to us. The only things which can interfere are given in the next few verses. David asks,

But who can discern his errors? (Psalms 19:12a RSV)

That is the problem. If you cannot read the book of nature, or you cannot read the book of the Word, it is not because there is anything wrong with the book. It is the reader who is the problem. "Who can discern his errors?" What a question that is! It indicates that we are all victims of hidden failure in our lives. If we examine ourselves we usually look fine. The book of Judges says that at times in that period of Israel's history "...every man did what was right in his own eyes." That permitted just about anything, and the resulting chaos was terrible. Everybody thinks that what he does is right. We cannot see our own errors. Yet these errors, these twists, these distortions of attitude and thought, are constantly affecting us so that we cannot see truth the way it is. We do not understand it in nature and we do not understand it in the Word. Therefore we desperately need to be delivered from hidden errors.

In the New Testament the Apostle Peter says,

So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander. [Then you will be] like newborn babes [who] long for the pure spiritual milk [of the Word], that by it you may grow up to salvation. (1 Peter 2:1-2 RSV)

That is what is wrong, that is what hinders our desire for the Word -- these hidden errors. The Psalmist faces the fact that something is wrong with the reader. So he concludes this Psalm with a wonderful prayer:

Clear [or cleanse] thou me from hidden faults, Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. (Psalms 19:12b-13 RSV)

"Cleanse thou me from hidden faults." Is that your prayer? Do you know what will happen when you pray that way? You might think that God will take a sponge and wipe around inside you so you will not even know what those hidden faults were. But God does not do that. His way of dealing with hidden faults is either to send somebody to point them out to you or to bring them out through some circumstance in which you are suddenly confronted with what you have done or said and you find that it is ugly and you do not like it.

That is the way God cleanses us from hidden faults. He opens up the secret places. Usually he does it through other people because, as God well knows, we cannot see ourselves but other people can see us. These faults are hidden to us but not to others. They see them very plainly. And we can see their hidden faults better than they can. You know that you can see the faults of somebody you are thinking about right now, better than they can. You say, "I don't see how they can be so blind." Well, someone is thinking that very same way about you.

We do not see ourselves. That is why it is always proper to say, "Lord, cleanse thou me from hidden faults. Help me to see myself through the eyes of a friend who loves me enough to tell me the truth." And then "Keep me back from presumptuous sins." Presumptuous sins are those in which you are confident that you have what it takes to do what God wants. Self-confidence is presumption. God never asks us to do anything on that basis. If we depend upon ourselves we are acting presumptuously, and any activity which stems from self-confidence is a presumptuous sin. "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

For me to act as though there is anything that I can contribute is to be guilty of this kind of sin. The cure for this is dependence upon the activity of God in you as a believer. So David is praying, "Lord, keep me back from this kind of activity. Let me realize that without you I can do nothing. Help me to depend upon you to work through me. Then I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression." Then he closes with these often-quoted words which are so wonderfully, marvelously penetrating that we should say them together this morning as our closing prayer:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalms 19:14 RSV)

"Let the words of my mouth what I say, and the meditation of my heart -- what I think, be the kind of words and thoughts that have sat under the judgment of your word, Father, reflecting the instruction, the light, and the love of your heart, so that what I am, both inside and outside -- be acceptable before you."

That is a wonderful prayer, is it not? That is what opens the books. When you pray that kind of prayer before you read either the book of the Word or the book of nature, then you will find that God will speak to you in a marvelous way...

Notes on Psalm 19 by Ray Stedman

Constable's Expository Notes
Verse 1: This verse is a summary statement. The "heavens" refers to what appears in the sky above us. The "firmament" or "sky" is the canopy that seems to cover the earth from our vantage point as we look up. It is a synonym for "heavens" (synonymous parallelism). The glory of God in this context points to the splendor of the Creator. As we look up, we see the amazing handiwork of God.

Verses 1-14: David observed in this wisdom hymn that under the influence of the sun, the heavens make God’s handiwork in creation known to humanity. Likewise, people learn of God’s plan to bless humankind under the influence of God’s Law. In view of this dual revelation, in nature and in Scripture, David prayed that God would cleanse his life so he would be acceptable to God.

In the polytheistic ancient Near East, this psalm was a strong polemic against the pagan sun gods whom their worshipers credited with executing justice. The psalmist claimed that Israel’s God was the Creator of the heavens, including the sun, and He established justice on the earth.

Every day and every night, this revelation of the power and greatness of the Creator communicates, since human beings observe it daily. The presence of the heavenly host is a non-verbal testimony to God’s existence that reaches every part of the planet. Everyone, regardless of his or her language, can understand it (cf. Romans 1:18-20 (NAS), "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."). This is "the paradox of wordless speech." It is also an oxymoron.

Verses 4-6: God has placed the sun in the heavens. He, not it, is supreme. The figures of the bridegroom and the runner picture the glory and power of this centerpiece of God’s creation. Since it is so glorious, its Creator must be even more glorious. The pagans used the same figures of speech to describe the sun, which they worshiped as sovereign. The name of God used in Psalms 19:1-6 is El, a title that describes the power of God. El is "the strong one." In Psalms 19:7-9 (NAS) "The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring 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 judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. Psalms 19:7-9; Psalms 19:14 (NAS) "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord , my rock and my Redeemer. In 14 the psalmist wrote that El is Yahweh, the name of God that stresses His covenant relationship to Israel. Thus he claimed that the Creator is Israel’s God, not some pagan nature deity.

Verse 7: The revealed Word of God has the same dominant influence over humankind as the sun does over nature. Whereas the sun restores natural life, God’s law restores the life of the human soul. The sun dispels physical darkness, but the Word of God removes the darkness of ignorance from our understanding. It is flawless and reliable.

Furthermore, it brings joy and wisdom to people because it is correct and enlightening. The terms "testimony" (Psalms 19:7 (NAS) "The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Psalms 19:7; "statutes, NIV), "precepts," "commandment" ("commands," NIV), and "judgments." Psalms 19:9 (NAS) "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. Psalms 19:9; "ordinances," NIV) all refer to various parts of the God’s law. [Note: See VanGemeren, pp. 184-87, for explanations of the various words that describe God’s Word that appear primarily in Psalms 19, 119, but also elsewhere in other psalms.] 

Verse 9 The special revelation of God in Scripture is also free from any mixture of truth and error; it is consistent with reality. Consequently it is enduring and completely righteous. The word "fear" refers to the whole of divine law. Knowledge of God’s law puts the fear (reverential trust) of God in people’s hearts (cf. "Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.' Deuteronomy 4:10 AV).

Verses 10-11: David regarded the words of God as more valuable than gold, the most expensive substance in his day, and more pleasing and satisfying than honey, the sweetest substance. God’s words warned him of error and danger, and they brought him rewards of many kinds as he followed them. ...the mark of a true Bible student is a burning heart, not a big head (They said to one another, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?' Luke 24:32; "Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies."" (1 Corinthians 8:1)." 

Verses 12-13: David’s rhetorical question expresses the impossibility of knowing if or when we violate God’s will without the light that His Word provides. It can bring to light faults hidden otherwise and can warn us of what displeases God so we can confess and avoid these offenses. David asked God to use His Word to bring these sins to his attention so they would not dominate him. This would result in his being blameless in God’s sight and free from the huge mass of sin that would be his without the revelation of Scripture.

Verse 14: In closing this psalm, David prayed that his words and thoughts would please God. In view of the context, this takes place as we allow the Word of God to affect our lives. David viewed his words and thoughts as sacrifices to God (cf. "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15). This is the implication of "acceptable" or "pleasing." As he closed this psalm he evidently regarded God not as his judge but as the foundation of his life and the One who had purchased him for a special purpose. The Word in the hand is fine; the Word in the head is better; but the Word in the heart is what transforms us and matures us in Christ ("Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. Psalms 119:11 

God has revealed Himself in nature and in Scripture. This revelation should move us to bow in humble adoration and willing obedience before our Creator. Psalms 1, 19, 119 all deal significantly with the Word of God. I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world." Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable


The Gift of Love

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly,but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

(1 Corinthians 13)


God is omnipotent and holy. He has sovereign authority over everything in heaven and on earth. He spoke into the void of space and an entire universe sprang into existence without delay. When He speaks to us we ignore Him, take our time to answer, and generally edit His requests. We are guilty of cosmic treason and out to be court marshaled.

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place, 
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
(Isaiah 57:15)

God was Personal In Creation

Once "only God" existed. This does not creation was "ex nihilo"--out of nothing. A created universe adds nothing to what God is, was, and will be. God is not one Person but three, and the Three exist eternally outside of time and space in what is called "The Procession of the Trinity." God is a living Being-- far wiser and greater than any man. God does not get lonely, nor bored, nor restless for change. But imagine a day when the Three council together about creating a universe complete with humans made as much like God as possible. There is real risk involved because men having free will and discerning may assume they can be their own gods and be self-sufficient apart from the Creator(s). A broken universe might result.

Imagine further a division of responsibility in the Divine Committee. (1) The mind of the Father will be devoted to the design, the master plan, as Chief Architect. (2) The Son of God, aka, the Word of God, will translate the blueprints into physical entities. (3) The Holy Spirit will energize, empower and direct the ensemble. The three Persons will stay involved from Day One. When the inevitable rebellion occurs, the Son of God will enter history at a certain point in time and repair what has been broken. men created to be mere puppets with no options as to who they serve will not have free will. Free will within the godhead is highly prized.

Long ago God spoke to our forefathers in many and various ways by the prophets, has in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his mighty word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs." (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Within the Godhead: Three Persons

God is not bi-polar, but tri-polar. At least by design, our relationships are not only with one another but mutually with God. The three-fold Corinthians not easily broken.  

“That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." 

Of course, all relationship derive from the Community of the Trinity—we only have relationships at all because the Godhead is relational among themselves and we are made in His image.

"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named…” 

(The procession of the Godhead can be seen in two simple illustrations, What is Time? and Who is God? by Ray Stedman)

Man was created in the image of God: Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’  So God created man in his image,in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them... (Genesis 1:26, 27)

Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ ...out of the ground the Lord God had formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.’  (Genesis 2:18-27)

An original unity of "man" was replaced by a division into two complementary opposites. The image of God in our race is therefore carried by the man and the women in equal weight. Whatever other terms we may wish to associate with man being made in the image and likeness of God, the existence of two separate sexes is a very important part of the image of God which we, as men and women, jointly bear. It is as if half of life is to be understood and interpreted from a man's point of view and half from a woman's point of view. These two points of view are not identical nor opposites, nor polarities, they are complementary!

The existence of two sexes and the fact that it takes male and female persons to adequately reflect the nature of God implies that the Being of God is as much masculine as it is feminine. This is a difficult concept because God Himself does not describe Himself as a sexual being. All the persons of the Godhead are called by masculine nouns and pronouns in our English Bibles. Furthermore the godhead consists of a union of Three Persons, not two, as in human marriage.

Does God speak differently to men compared to women? Yes and no. Both are created spirits, so the term "man" is generic. Men and women are both accountable to God for what they know not for how they feel. Women are far deeper emotionally than men and they differ biologically. But in daily life we don't normally treat women the same way we treat men.

God Always Has Been Personal

From Bryce Self

The Lord definitive of all our relationships because our identity derived from personal relationship with Him first of all… Basis of Christian ‘Koinonia’ as well as separation form the world’s darkness—this relationship excludes that one. 

Genesis 17:8—Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” 

Exodus 6:7—will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

Exodus 29:45—I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. 

Leviticus 11:45 —For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. 

Leviticus 22:33 —who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord.” 

Leviticus 25:38—I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. 

Leviticus 26:12—I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. 

Leviticus 26:45—But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.’ ” 

Numbers 15:41 —I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.” 

Deuteronomy 26:17—Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. |

Jeremiah 7:23 —But this is what I commanded them, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ 

Jeremiah 11:4—which I commanded your fathers in the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey My voice, and do according to all that I command you; so shall you be My people, and I will be your God,

Jeremiah 24:7—Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart. 

Jeremiah 30:22—‘You shall be My people, and I will be your God.’ ” 

Jeremiah 31:1—At the same time,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.” 

Jeremiah 31:33—But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people

Jeremiah 32:39—They shall be My people, and I will be their God

Ezekiel 11:20 —that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God

Ezekiel 14:11 —that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me, nor be profaned anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be My people and I may be their God,” says the Lord God.’ ” 

Ezekiel 34:24—And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken. 

Ezekiel 36:28—Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 

Ezekiel 37:23—They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God

Ezekiel 37:27—My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 

Zechariah 8:8—I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.’ 

II Corinthians 6:16 —And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 

Hebrews 8:10 —For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people

Revelation 21:3—And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 

Approaching a Holy God under the Old Covenant

Today we have direct access to God because a better way was opened for us by Jesus Christ. This big change is discussed in detail in the New Testament epistle to the Hebrews.

Because God is holy and we are not, a human mediator must bridge the gap. That Mediator is Jesus.

The Tabernacle and the two Temples that followed were built according to exact blueprints given to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

Immediately upon entering the Tabernacle a great wash basin was in the path, and the great altar of sacrifice. Cleansed and consecrated priests descended from Levi could enter the Holy Place where oil lamps were always kept supplied with oil, the bread on the Table of Shewbread could be renewed daily, and incense supplied. A great curtain separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies which only the High Priest could enter.

"...The first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a tent called the Holy of Holies. In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat. Of these things we cannot speak now in detail." (Hebrews 9:1-5)

There are two cherubim over the Mercy Seat, facing each other, beaten from one piece of gold, looking at the blood in the center. “There I will meet with you” above the Mercy Seat and between the cherubim—above || & between == describing the form of the Cross. 

"Such preparations having been made, the priests go continually into the first tent to carry out their ritual duties; but only the high priest goes into the second, and he but once a year, and not without taking the blood that he offers for himself and for the sins committed unintentionally by the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary has not yet been disclosed as long as the first tent is still standing. This is a symbol of the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various baptisms, regulations for the body imposed until the time comes to set things right.

But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come,then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!

For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. Where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Hence not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been told to all the people by Moses in accordance with the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the scroll itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you.’ And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Thus it was necessary for the sketches of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." (Hebrews 9:6-28)

But our age has lost the concept that moral absolutes exist (except for death and taxes). In Physics we call this state of affairs "Maximum Entropy!" Chaos, in order words.

"The only meaning in life is existential." "My truth need not be your truth but we ought to seek ways to live together on an overcrowded planet." "Truth statements are suspect because politicians lie and religious leaders are in it for money or power over the people." "My parents mean well, but..." "I know the Bible well but there are obviously many charlatans and false teacher out there, who do I trust?" "For now I'll trust my instincts and someone if the present with good vibes and are consistent." "Karma matters." "Lady Luck is my companion." "I pay attention to someone if they have good vibes". "We don't really want to know one another too deeply, for now it's go with the flow." "There are no absolutes."

A Relationship with God is Full of Content!

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
“Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things,
and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37)

Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 

Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.
The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.
My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?
Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?
Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. (James 3:3-12)

An Invitation to Abundant Life

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
   come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without price. 
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
   and your listen for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
   and delight yourselves in rich food. 
Incline your ear, and come to me;
   listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
   my steadfast, sure love for David. 
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
   a leader and commander for the peoples. 
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
   and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
   for he has glorified you. 

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
   call upon him while he is near; 
let the wicked forsake their way,
   and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
   and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. 
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
   and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
   giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
   it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

For you shall go out in joy,
   and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
   shall burst into song,
   and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
   instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
   for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. 

Heavenly Reading

The Call of Heaven


Christ in You

City Living in New Jerusalem

A Grain of Wheat

Jesus, the Hound of Heaven

Taking God Seriously


The Seven Churches in New Jerusalem

The Wife of Jehovah, The Bride of Christ

The Revirginized Bride

A Song in the Night

The Royal Road to Wholeness 

Rapture Prep 

Aspects of the Return of Jesus Christ

The Bema Seat of Christ


The Consequence Engine

A City in Space

New Bodies


A Glorious Church

Wholeness of Person

 I Can Not Come to the Banquet

The Call of Heaven

The Two Churches 

The Philadelphia Church 

The Return of Jesus (with Bride)

Psalm 45: The Wedding Psalm 

The Excluded Ones 


1. I Heard the Bluebirds Sing,

2. Jesus, The Light of the World

3, Pachelbel: Canon in D


Jesus Savior

The Connected People

Time Warps

Christ in You

Jesus our Healer 

Little Children

Conformed to Christ

The Exchanged Life

The Face of God

Jesus, Judge of All

Taking God Seriously

That Last One Percent 

Wholeness of Person

Wachet Auf (Wake Up)


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July 24, 2021