Maybe you are a small group leader. Six months in, you discover that some are more committed than others. A few are always engaged. One or two seem disconnected. You begin to wonder, What am I doing wrong? It’s not what I expected. Or maybe you are a Christian parent. You determine...
Our country changed this month. The Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage should not have surprised us, but it should sadden us. As a nation we have now institutionalized a rebellion against God’s design for the family, and no rebellion against God ends well. This is worth lamenting.
Yet, so much has not changed. The sovereign lordship of Jesus Christ over all creation has not changed. Our mission to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth has not changed. And, praise God, his Word has not changed. It never does. So, all of the benefits of cracking the Bible open each day remain the same, as we read, meditate, pray, and live by the Word.
What are the unchanging benefits of our Bible reading? Psalm 19 offers seven:
1. The Bible revives our souls
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul (v. 7)
For one reason or another, our souls often grow weary. Maybe it’s the sin we see in our own hearts or in the world around us. Maybe it’s exhaustion from the business of family, ministry, work, or school. Maybe it’s suffering. Whatever the cause, we grow weary. And we don’t just feel this in our bodies and our minds, we feel it in our souls. Our passion and zeal for the Lord begins to wane. We need reviving.
The Bible does this. It steeps our souls in the deep truths of God and his love for us in Christ and revives us.
2. The Bible makes us wise
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple (v. 7)
As we navigate the changing landscape of our culture, we need wisdom. When should we speak, and when should we remain silent? And if we speak, what should we say? Anyone who has logged into Facebook in the last few days has asked those questions (or at least we should). Every day as we navigate all the various roles and responsibilities God has given us in life, we need wisdom. We need to be made wise.
The Bible does this. We gain real wisdom every day when we open the pages of this book and hear God speak. There is no greater teacher. There is no greater source. And by his grace, God takes simple people like us and makes us wise as we come to his Word.
3. The Bible leads us to rejoice
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart (v. 8)
These have been days to lament, and more will come. International, national, local, and personal tragedies all lead to lament. And lamenting sin and its effects is godly. Yet, so is rejoicing in all things. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). So how can we both lament and rejoice? Where does joy come from in the midst of sorrow?
The Bible does this. Nothing stirs affections like the Bible. Here, the God of all creation speaks directly to us and brings tidings of comfort and joy (and not only at Christmas time). He tell us that he is just, and he will not stand for sin. Yet, he tells sinners that he offers us grace and forgiveness in Christ before his final judgement falls. For those who know this glorious blend of justice and grace, there is always reason to rejoice.
4. The Bible opens ours eyes
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes (v. 8)
There are seven billion of us on this planet, and without the eye-opening Word of God, all of us are blind. We are unable to see the glory of God which is actually always on display (). Unable to see the error of sin (v.2). Unable to see the Redeemer (v.14). So we shouldn’t be shocked when our world seems blind to God’s design for anything, including marriage. We need our eyes opened.
The Bible does this. When God speaks through his Word, he opens our eyes to the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6) Every day when we come to the Bible, he refocuses our sight on his reality.
5. The Bible gives us something that lasts
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever (v. 9)
Nothing in this world lasts forever. We know this personally as we watch our youth fade, our loved ones pass away, our careers come to a close, and eventually our own lives end. We’ve now been reminded of this nationally, as a level of security and freedom we’ve experienced as Christians in this country seems to be diminishing. As Robert Frost reminds us, “Nothing gold can stay.” We’re longing to find something that lasts.
The Bible does this. God’s Word gives us truth and promises that are not going anywhere. Thousands of years have not erased the Bible’s relevance or accuracy, nor will thousands to come. The Word of the Lord endures forever.
6. The Bible shows us perfection
The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether (v. 9)
Not only is everything in this world passing away, it’s all flawed. No country is perfect. No court is perfect. No person is perfect. Everything in creation is marked by the effects of the fall, and this should not surprise us. What we need is something to come to us from outside this fallen world, showing us what is actually right, and true, and perfectly good.
The Bible does this. There is no error, there is no half-truth, there is no fault or spot or imperfection of any kind in God’s Word. Scripture is an unshakable foundation of truth and reliability to stand on at all times.
7. The Bible warns us and leads us toward reward
By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward (v. 11)
There’s a lot of talk about our nation rejecting God and embracing sin right now. Well, we’ve all done that (Romans 3:23). And without a clear warning, our blind eyes and our calloused hearts would not know it. We need warning.
The Bible does this. The pages of Scripture contain warning after warning about sin and its effects. What a merciful God we have. He has every right to wipe sinners off the planet, but he continues to warn us through his Word.
And for those who heed the warning, who acknowledge our rebellion and our need of forgiveness, there is a Savior. Jesus never sinned. He kept the law. Yet he laid down his life for sinners, to forgive our rebellion and redeem our lives. Now, under the banner of his grace and by the power of his Spirit, we can grow in obedience to God’s Word. And there is reward in this (see Psalm 1). Now and forever.
None of that changes. And that is what makes the Word of God “more to be desired…than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (v. 10).
So, Christian, no matter what’s happening in the world around you, read your Bible and experience all of its unchanging benefits.