7 The law of the Lord is perfect,[c]
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever; (Psalm 19, NIV)
“Reviving the soul” — I recall how the Gospel of Matthew drew me in when I chanced upon it as a child; there was peace, stillness, calmness when I read it — something that was a rarity in a tumultuous household. Indeed, my soul revived under the influence of His Word.
“Making wise the simple” — the longer I walk with the Lord, the more I realise that though the Gospel is simple in its basic message, it isn’t simplistic. While in theological college we were admonished to read the newspaper with one hand and the bible in the other, I have been occasionally challenged by surprising spiritual experiences to read the Word from a new perspective.
Jesus Himself challenged the Scribes and Pharisees to read the Word in a different way when He said the Sabbath was for man, not man for the Sabbath. What a fresh and freeing perspective — and from the Lord Himself!
“Rejoicing the heart” — I was 31 when I first read the Gospels in its entirety. It struck me how welcoming Jesus was of women. Raised in an environment where the males, regardless of character or aptitude are frequently preferred over the females, I had expected Jesus after his resurrection to appear to one of his male disciples. That was the conclusion I anticipated.
I was astounded when He appeared to Mary. For a whole day, or more, I couldn’t get over it.
“Jesus — You love Mary. Jesus — You love women. Jesus — You love me.”
I still am astounded.
“Enlightening the eyes” — after reading the bible in its entirety, I found myself able to think better, faster, and with greater clarity. Much of the confusion that had plagued my earlier thinking disappeared as the Word gave me the grid through which to evaluate life and come to better conclusions. I think it’s no coincidence that some of the greatest universities in the world were founded by Christians.
“The fear of the Lord is clean” — I would juxtapose that with Jesus saying to His disciples that He had cleansed them with the Word (John 15:3). Somehow, coming to the Lord with reverence for His Word and reading it as a journey of spiritual discovery has had a cleansing, calming effect on spirit and soul.
The Lord is in charge. Be at peace.