Psalm 19b: “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes”
When we read God’s word, often times there are different words that translate in English to appear to be the same word. Such as in studying the different names for the word of God. But as we have seen thus far, there is a difference, even if a slight one, of the six facets of revelation concerning God’s word.
We have looked at the law, testimonies, and statutes and how they reveal a different characteristic of the word of God. Today we will look at His commandments.
When I think of the commandments, I can’t help but think in terms of the Ten Commandments. However, I heard this past week that there are 603 other commandments in the word. No one can possibly keep that many commandments. The word tells us that! In this study I am not trying to get us to focus on trying to obey these commandments, but I think it necessary to at least be aware that the six different terms in Psalm 19 conveys six different things.
Commandment in the Old Testament can be looked upon as both “prescription” and “proscription”; meaning “what we shall do” and “what we shall not do”! If we just look at the Ten Commandments it is easy to see the difference:
• You shall not have any other gods before me!-proscription
• You shall not make for yourself a graven image of anything in the heaven above…-proscription
• You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…-proscription
• Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.-prescription
• Honor your father and your mother.-prescription
• You shall not murder.-proscription
• You shall not commit adultery-proscription
• You shall not steal-proscription
• You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor-proscription
• You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, etc.-proscription
In this set of commandments there are more of what we shall not do (proscription) than what we shall do (prescription). But since people have a hard enough time keeping these ten, we won’t go through any others. Suffice it to say that the commandments of the LORD are about we shall do and what we shall not do!
The commandments of the LORD are pure. David wrote, “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” This word pure also means innocent or free. If I had to choose which word the psalmist meant, it would be free. The commandments of the LORD, contrary to popular belief, are freeing, not binding!! Our Pastor likes to say, “when you know what God wants, give it to Him!” It’s freeing to know what God approves of and what He doesn’t approve of. Don’t you think? It has a way of letting you know His very heart about certain things. I have a daughter who always check with me about what she is doing. She just wants to know what I think about the things she is doing or want to do. She wants my approval! I get that, because I want God’s approval! Sometimes she doesn’t even have to ask because she knows what I will say, but she asks anyway. Especially if she thinks I will change my mind. Similarly to God, sometimes people ask God to change His mind about His commandments. Trust me when I say, you are wasting your breath!
“Enlightening the eyes” is a phrase used in the New Testament. Paul prayed in Ephesians 1 “that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened.” What does this even mean? In the New Living Translation it states the commandments are for “giving insight for living”. Doesn’t that sound like freedom? When you know the right and the wrong way to live life, it is freeing. Having insight into what is wrong and right causes your eyes to be opened and your understanding to be clear. One would think that the commandment to not steal, or kill, or even to not commit adultery would be easy to keep and easy to understand, but sad to say, they are not easy to some people! And I would venture to say that those people are looking for a reason for them to not make sense!
Again, I am not doing this study for bondage sake, but for understanding sake. As I mentioned before, some people struggle with the restraints God’s Word places on their lives, but these restraints are for our good. For our freedom. And although we are not bound by the Old Testament commandments, even Jesus expected us to refrain from adultery, thievery, lying, and many of the other proscriptions in the law. Not to bind us, but to free us. In Galatians Paul wrote, “It is for freedom that Christ set us free!” Jesus wants us as free today from the bondage of sin, as He has always wanted us. Nothing in my study of the word has shown God in a selfish light. If anything, it has shown the magnitude of His love and His heart towards mankind.
Don’t allow the devil and your desires to lie to you about obeying God’s word. They are not burdensome! It isn’t about Him as much as it is about you. For your right living! For your victory! For your freedom! Now go and walk in it! Wonderful Jesus!