Psalm 1 presents the blessed man as one who delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law, day and night (Ps 1:2). As we study and keep God’s law we will come to delight in God’s law. In Psalm 19:7-9, David gives us reason to obey and delight in the law of the LORD. He identifies various characteristics and effects of God’s Word. In this note, I conclude our series of reflections on Psalm 19:7-9 by considering verse 9b. David concludes his meditation on the character and effect of God’s Word with this summary statement:
The rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
David is not simply referring to the accuracy and inerrancy of God’s Word. The rules of the LORD are trustworthy and certain, firm and final, and they define and govern right and wrong. The rules of the LORD are true and righteous altogether, because the LORD is true and righteous altogether. They are an expression of his divine, eternal, and perfect wisdom and righteousness. Here we see the fundamental distinction between our rules and God’s rules. We aren’t perfectly and eternally wise and righteous. Our rules can never be true and righteous altogether. Without the gift of God’s Law, we are left to rely on our own wisdom and righteousness, which leads error and injustice. But God has not left us wander on our own, as Moses reminded the people of Israel:
See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? 8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today? (Deut 4:5-8)
The rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether, and our obedience to his rules is a witness to the nations that the LORD our God is with us and his word is righteous and true.
Finally, the rules of the LORD are righteous “altogether.” Spurgeon comments, “jointly and severally the words of the Lord are true; that which is good in detail is excellent in the mass; no exception may be taken to a single clause separately, or to the book as a whole.” As we read God’s Word and seek to submit to his rules, there are some rules that are hard to understand and hard to follow. We’ll be tempted to make excuses and look for exceptions. Yes, it’s true that we need the wisdom and guidance of God’s Spirit to faithfully keep God’s Word. God’s righteous rules need to be rightly interpreted and applied, but we must never conclude that some of his rules are not true or righteous. Remember the words of the wise teacher in Proverbs 30:5-6:
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Yes, as we read God’s Word and seek to submit to his rules, there are some rules that are hard to understand and hard to follow, but “every word of God proves true.” As I have persevered in the obedience of faith, I’ve found that God’s word proves true. As you keep God’s Word and abide in it, you will gain an increasing confidence in his word and will declare with greater conviction, “the rules of the LORD are truth, and righteous altogether.”