Psalm 19 - God's Word
The text in Psalm 19 reminded me of past conversations I’ve had with non-believers that started something like this. “Christianity is no different than other religions-why does it matter what I choose to believe”. There is no one way to respond to that assertion for in fact Christianity differs from other belief systems in many ways. For today, let’s look at one of the most striking differences we find when we examine the various doctrines of divine revelation upon which the teachings of all belief systems are based. At the heart of these other religions, we find that the authority on which they are based is not divine, and in the final analysis, not dependable. For example, many of these religious systems are based on a man-made deity or multiple deities with manufactured characteristics rather than divine attributes. At any given time, those who serve them cannot have a true knowledge of their character. We see this in pagan gods portrayed in religions both ancient and modern who are unpredictable, changing their demands, actions, or emotions on a whim, leaving their followers unable to know what is expected of them.
The God of the Bible, however, is far different. His character remains consistent, for “He is who He is” and does not change like the blowing wind. James says, “there is no shadow of turning in Him” (James 1:17). Because He is not capricious, He can be known. He can be trusted. His words are a true revelation of Himself, and we need not fear that He will act arbitrarily. This was good news for the ancient Israelites, and it remains good news for us today.
I love the way Psalm 19 speaks of the perfection of God’s Law and assumes the knowability of the Lord by emphasizing the surety of His laws. When this Psalm was written, Israel lived in a pagan culture surrounded by people who followed temperamental, unpredictable deities. God spoke to them, giving rules that are “true and righteous altogether” (v. 9). If these rules were based on whimsy, they could not be true and righteous altogether, because there would always be the possibility that the Lord might change His mind and change what was once righteous to now be unrighteous. But God’s statutes are based on an unchanging standard — nothing other than the character of the Lord Himself.
Even though Psalm 19:7 refers to “the law of the Lord”, I believe David’s words support an understanding of the term law in this passage to refer to the entire body of divinely inspired teaching. When we read, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” — we can see His Word calling men and women to repentance and in so doing imparting life by its Spirit filled power. Further, verse 11 warns us against error and points us to a sure reward that we receive by faith.
As Psalm 19 calls us to keep His laws, it seems logical that from generation to generation, our God’s truth must be unchanging. Theologians refer to this concept as “the immutability of God.” It is the Christian doctrine that teaches God is unchanging in His character and nature. To put it another way, who God was in biblical times is who God is today. The Scriptures are filled with examples of God’s immutability: “For I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6) and “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). Our God’s truth remains constant because He is unchanging. Since God is unchanging in His character and nature, He is also unchanging in His will, purpose, and actions. This is an important point for those of us living in New Testament times. Why? Because God has revealed Himself fully in the person of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1–2) in Scripture.
The conclusion is that God’s Word is the foundation upon which we confidently proclaim truth to a constantly changing world. No matter the time, culture, worldview, or political agenda, God’s Word is relevant because it is based on a timeless God. His law then and now can be trusted because it has been promised by the life-giving Creator who never changes.
Father – we are grateful that in this day and age, when people doubt that there is any ground for certainty, Your Word provides us the anchor and grounding upon which we can stake our very lives. Help us to never doubt that you have revealed Yourself to us truly and given us the knowledge of Your character through the inspired Word of the Bible. Help us to use its Truth as a guide for our good and Your Glory. Amen
By Ron Kelley