How We Know the Law of the Lord is Perfect
“The law of the LORD is perfect.” Psalm 19:7
The Bible often tells us to keep God’s laws and commandments. Believers willingly do so because we love Him and want to please Him. More than that, we trust His law is perfect and inerrant.
How do we know His law is perfect? King David addresses this question in Psalm 19. In two short verses, he details the law’s perfection and how it accomplishes what it proclaims.
First, David lays out the top reason why the law is perfect. According to verse seven, the number one reason is that it transforms the soul. It completely changes our lives. This is arguably the Bible’s greatest description of God’s word and His power.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.”
When God gave Moses the law (Torah) in the Old Testament, the purpose was not merely to give the Israelites rules to obey. The purpose was to provide guidance on spiritual and practical matters and to test their devotion to Him. Unfortunately, most of the Israelites failed.
Though saved from a brutal Egyptian regime and shown incredible miracles, many chose not to obey the Lord. The result was their three-week walk to the Promised Land became a four-year wandering in the wilderness.
God was merciful in His patience with His chosen people, but He especially blessed those who were dedicated to Him. He showed them extra favor. They had a changed heart, a renewed mind, and a desire to be closer to Him because the law converted their souls. They believed and trusted Him entirely. We can experience the same favor.
David gives us two reasons in Psalm 19 not only how the law is perfect but also how it affects those who follow it. Though we now live under a covenant of grace and not the covenant of (Moses’) law, God’s word still has the power to convert souls and transform lives.
God’s Law Makes Us Wise
“The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” (v7)
The better translation for the word testimony here might be “to bear witness.” God’s word bears witness to its divine authorship. It is sure and cannot be changed. It is trustworthy and reliable, as we see in 2 Timothy.
Many Scriptures start with what is good about a particular biblical doctrine, followed by an explanation of why. The apostle Paul uses this format in 2 Timothy 3:16, where he declares that all Scripture is God’s inspired, inerrant word. He then describes what it is good for and why.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good. work.”
Scripture is good and profitable for:
- Establishing a doctrine
- For reproof
- For guidance and correction
- For instruction in how to live righteously
What will these things do in one’s life?
- A person is made complete in the Lord
- A person is thoroughly equipped for every good work the Lord has for him or her
The Bible uses this format — declaration then fulfillment — to teach individual themes and commandments as it repeatedly proves why God’s law is perfect. God, out of the abundance of His love, does not simply tell us to do something; He explains why so we can learn and grow in understanding.
Second Timothy 3:16 describes one way God’s law is perfect. Through our obedience, His perfection becomes ours, and we are made complete and thoroughly equipped for His plans for our lives. In the process, He makes the simple-minded wise as they study His word, as Psalm 19:7 tells us.
Our Hearts Rejoice
“The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart.” (v8)
The dictionary defines a statute as an established law or rule and the document that expresses it. Biblically speaking, God’s statutes are His law, His rules, and the Bible is His document through which He reveals Himself. He expresses His holiness and righteousness through His word.
We know from verse seven of Psalm 19 that God’s word is perfect and sure. Verse eight then tells us His law is right. It is good, proper, just, and conforms to the truth of His word. Those who obey Him discover His goodness and truth as they work out their faith.
In discovering the truth, they experience peace beyond human understanding (Philippians 4:6), and consequently, their joy increases. Their hearts rejoice with the knowledge of His truth, leading them to desire to serve God more.
The result is they love obeying the law.
Followers of Christ cannot help but rejoice in the knowledge of God’s truth. True believers cannot help rejoicing when they follow His statutes.
His Law is Divine and Pure
“The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (v8)
The word commandment in this verse is related to “order.” With this context, we can see that the law is understood as divine orders directly from the Lord Himself. It is without blemish, without error. It is completely perfect, just as He is perfect. It is pure as He is pure.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
As we discover in verse seven that God’s statutes are right, our hearts rejoice. Similarly, as we discover His commandments are pure, our eyes are enlightened. They become clear and open. We can suddenly see what we could not see before when the enemy blinded us.
God reveals Himself to us through His divine word — His statutes, His commandments. As we obey them, we become wise, our hearts rejoice, and our eyes open to the only truth we will ever need. That is God’s truth, for in Him is all truth.
His Law is Sweet and Desirable
Finally, Psalm 19:10 reminds us we should strongly desire God’s law because of its sweetness in our lives.
“More to be desired [is the law] than gold, yea, than much fine gold. Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” (my addition)
If you love dessert, you probably have a favorite, something you absolutely cannot resist because it is so good. The psalmist tells us we should desire God’s word, including its law, just like that. It should be something you crave every day because you trust it. It should be a longing in your heart to obey.
When we crave God’s word and keep His commandments, God slowly reveals Himself to us. We grow an intimate relationship with Him, a relationship that grows sweeter every day like a growing honeycomb. We learn He is a good Father, and His law is love and mercy. It is also fair and just. And the more we trust Him, the more we long to serve Him. The more we long to worship Him.
Keeping God’s commandments is our only hope. He is our only path to freedom and eternal life. David understood this when he said in verse eleven of Psalm 19, “And in keeping them there is great reward.”
Do you crave to keep His laws? Is it a priority in your daily life? If it is not, it may be time to re-examine your commitment to Him. If you do not fully trust Him or put Him first, perhaps now is a good time to renew your relationship with Him or begin altogether. Out of our obedience comes great blessing and eternal rewards.
“And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments.” (2 John 1:6)
“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21)
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)