The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:7-11)
Look at the language David uses here in the above verses. He rejoices in the Law. He loves it! “The commandment of the Law is pure, enlightening the eyes,” he sings. “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.”
In four verses, he drives home this point:
The Law is good! The Law is good! The Law is good! The Law is GOOD!
Why? Because the Law reveals the absolutely perfect character and commands of God. The Law tells us in greater detail than creation can ever hope to who God is, what he has done, and what he requires of His people.
The Law of God should cause us to rejoice.
Remember, David is specifically singing of the Law in this Psalm—he’s singing of the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
So you know that that means? He’s rejoicing over the stories of Noah and his family surviving the flood, Abraham and his family finding a home in the promised land, and the epic story of God’s rescuing Israel from slavery in the Exodus. But he’s also rejoicing over long genealogies, laws regulating the minutiae of life as God’s covenant people. What you can wear, what you can eat, how you are to worship…
What does he say about all of this?
They’re more to be desired than gold. They’re sweeter than honey…
But here’s the thing:
The Law that David’s rejoicing over? It condemns him. Every time David reads it, he can see how far short he’s falling. How far from the mark he is. “Moreover, by them is your servant warned,” David sings, “in keeping them there is great reward.”
David brings us to an important truth—one that, if we’re not careful, we too easily miss. The Law, he says, warns us: It tells us where we are falling short of God’s perfect requirements. It brings conviction.
It brings condemnation.