International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending October 19, 2010
Purpose: To embrace the law as a good gift from God, revealing God's will
Scripture Text: Psalm 19:7-14 (NRSV)
(7)The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the LORD are sure, making wise the simple; (8) the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eyes; (9) the fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. (10)More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb. (11)Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (12)But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.
(13)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. (14)Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
If you have been following our lessons you know that last week we talked about God's creation and it magnificence. If you read the first 6 verses of this Psalm you will see that God's creation reveals to all human kind, not only the existence of an awesome God, but also His goodness. In today's text verses 7-14, another of God's attributes is revealed through His gift of the Torah or law. The word translated as law in the NRSV might better be translated as “way” or “instruction”; the word law paints a somewhat negative picture, but when we think of it as God's way or God's instructions it seems to lessen its harshness.
It is often easy for conservative or longstanding Christians to become so determined to follow God's, so called law, that they miss the joy that God intended for His people to have. God’s (law) instructions are a gift of grace, they can revive, instill wisdom, instruct, and give us joy. God’s way is clear, enlightening, true, enduring, precious, sweet, and rewarding. All of these things are positives not negatives. God's law is as much a part of His creation as the sun, moon and stars.
Just as we were given dominion over God's creation, God's law was given to us to enable the creation of mankind to succeed in our assigned duty. Can you imagine a family, church, or community operating without any instructions? God in His mercy provided for His creation to be governed with good common sense rules and instructions.
When you read the entire Psalm 19, the theme of God's glory is evident in all of His creation including His created law. Who would want to live in a world without that law? God's law makes society and community possible. Just as we need to guard against worshiping God's creation instead of the creator, we also need to guard against worshiping the law, instead of the one that has given it. As with the rest of God's creation the law is “good.”
If we look at God's law as a gift, then we can begin to understand how the Incarnation, becoming one of us, was an example of God's greatest gift. Try as we might we are all guilty of coming up short when we compare ourselves to God's precepts and goodness. God coming in the form of man, and living a life perfectly, according to God's law, allows us to get a glimpse of what the creator had in mind when we were given the law. And it also provides for us an ability to recognize both God and Redeemer. While the law instructs it also condemns. Jesus gave us instruction, but also redemption. Notice the last word of our text, even in the Psalmist time; he recognized the need for a Redeemer.