More Precious Than Gold (Priceless)

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Psalm 19:10-11

INTRODUCTION: Our message series is called the Magnificent Word of God, and we are looking at various aspects of God’s word as presented in Psalm 19. So far, we have looked at the first four of these – that God’s word is inspired, infallible, authoritative and everlasting. Today we move to the fifth aspect, which is that God’s word is priceless. (Read Psalm 19:10-11 and pray.)

If you’ve ever watched TV, you’ve probably seen one of the Master Card commercials from their “Priceless” campaign. The first of these commercials was aired way back in 1997 and shows a Dad taking his son to a baseball game as the narrator says: “Two tickets – $46; two hotdogs, two popcorns, two sodas: $27; one autographed baseball: $50; real conversation with 11-year-old son: priceless. There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard, accepted at ballparks coast to coast.”

Well, the commercial definitely got one thing right. There are some things money can’t buy. There are many things more valuable than money. And then there are those things that are the most valuable of all. Psalm 19 teaches us that God’s word is priceless. There is nothing more valuable than knowing and keeping God’s word.

I. There is nothing more valuable than God’s word

First of all, there is nothing more valuable than God’s word. There are a lot of valuable things in this world, and most people value money more than anything, but there is nothing more valuable than God’s word.

   A. God’s words are more precious than gold.
      – Psalm 119:72, Psalm 138:2, Proverbs 8:10-11

Psalm 19 tells us that God’s words are more precious than gold. Look at the first half of verse 10: “They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold.” (Psalm 19:10a) The word translated “precious” is a word that means desirable, something that a person takes great delight in. God’s words are more precious, more to be desired than gold, than much pure gold.

There are different kinds of gold, and the word translated “pure gold” is a word that speaks of the finest, most purified gold of all. Today we measure gold in carats. 9 carat gold is 37.5% pure gold and is the most affordable kind for jewelry. 18 carat gold has twice the gold content – 75% gold and much more expensive. 22 carat gold gets you up to 91.6% gold and then, of course, 24 carat gold is the purest and most expensive of all at 99.9% gold. That’s as high as the scale goes, and that’s what this word “pure gold” means – 24 carat, 100% pure gold.

God’s words are more precious than gold, and not just any kind of gold, but pure gold, and not just pure gold but much pure gold! And so we go from good to better to best – from gold to pure gold to much pure gold, and God’s word still comes out on top.

You hear a lot of advertisements for gold on the radio these days. I hear the announcer say: “This is the absolute best time to buy gold!” and I wonder, “Really? Then why are you selling it?” If it’s the best time to buy, you don’t sell! But people have always been attracted to gold.

I love stories about the old west, and a big part of the stories is the lure of gold, and the various gold strikes and claims, and what people were willing to sacrifice just to get their hands on that gold.

Some people were willing to give up everything for gold. What are you willing to give up for God’s word? How precious is God’s word to you? How desirable? There are people who have given up their lives for God’s word. William Tyndale was burned at the stake for his commitment to translate the Bible into the language of the people.

There are other Scriptures that speak of the supreme value of God’s word. Psalm 119:72 says: “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Psalm 119:72) Can you say that today? If you were given the choice between thousands of pieces of silver and gold or God’s word, which would you choose? If someone offered you thousands of pieces of silver and gold but you could never read God’s word again, would you accept?

Psalm 138:2 says: “You have exalted above all things your name and your word.” (Psalm 138:2) We already know that God’s name is exalted. We pray every week in the Lord’s Prayer: “Hallowed be your name.” Psalm 138 tells us that God’s word is also exalted and along with God’s name exalted above all things. There is nothing more valuable than God’s word.

Proverbs 8:10 presents you with a choice: “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” (Proverbs 8:10-11) Nothing you desire can compare with God’s word. So which do you choose in life? Which do you choose each day?

Everyone is looking for the best investments for their money and time. We want to know what investments are most valuable, which will retain their value, which will grow in value. I’m not a stockbroker, so I can’t tell you the best investment for your money this morning, but I can tell you the best investment for your life is to invest yourself in God’s word. Choose God’s instruction instead of silver or rubies. God’s words are more precious than gold.

   B. God’s word has value both for this life and the life to come.
      – Psalm 73:24-26, 1 Timothy 4:8

Not only that but God’s word has value both for this life and the life to come. We read in Psalm 73: “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:24-26) God’s word gives you counsel to guide you and to draw you closer into relationship with God. The Bible will guide you safely through this life and into the next. Earth has nothing of value that can even compare.

We read in 1 Timothy 4:8: “Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) When you invest in God’s word, you are making an eternal investment. God’s words are more precious than gold. God’s word has value both for this life and the life to come. That’s the first thing our Psalm teaches us this morning. There is nothing more valuable than God’s word.

II. There is nothing sweeter than God’s word

Secondly, there is nothing sweeter than God’s word. Look at the second half of verse 10: “They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.” (Psalm 19:10b) Just like the first half of verse 10 distinguished between two kinds of gold – regular gold and pure gold – so this part of the verse distinguishes between two kinds of honey. The first word used for honey here is just regular honey, the kind you might find on your shelf, which is already plenty sweet. But the second word refers to fresh honey flowing right from the inner cells of the honeycomb. This is the best and sweetest honey of all. So God’s words are not only sweeter than honey, they are sweeter than honey from the comb. There is nothing sweeter than God’s word.

   A. God’s words are like food for the soul.
      – Job 23:12, Psalm 119:103, Matthew 4:4

In comparing God’s word to honey, Psalm 19 brings out a truth we find throughout Scripture: that God’s words are like food for the soul. Just as we need physical food to strengthen and nourish our bodies, so we need spiritual food to strengthen and nourish our souls. And we find that spiritual food in the word of God.

For example Job says in Job 23:12: “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” (Job 23:12) Or we read in Psalm 119:103, similar to our verse here in Psalm 19: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103) Or the words Jesus quoted to Satan in the wilderness: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

The Bible uses different analogies when it compares God’s word to food. Sometimes God’s word is compared to milk because milk is essential to help a young infant grow. (1 Peter 2:2) Sometimes it is compared to bread because we need daily food to keep our bodies healthy and strong. (Matthew 4:4) Sometimes it is compared to meat because meat is for the mature who have grown strong enough to digest the more difficult portions of God’s word. (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:14) And sometimes it is compared to honey to bring out the pure delight and sweetness of knowing God through his word. (Psalm 19:10) God’s words are like food for the soul.

Now we usually think of the sweet foods as desserts or candies, the extra stuff you can eat after you’ve eaten the more substantial foods. But with God’s word you don’t have to choose between supper or dessert. God’s word is both delicious and nutritious. It is meat and milk and bread and honey all at the same time.

   B. God’s word offers you far greater pleasures than the world.
      – Jeremiah 15:16, Hebrews 6:5, 1 Peter 2:2-3, 1 John 2:17

Which brings us to the next aspect of the sweetness of God’s word: God’s word offers you far greater pleasures than the world. There is nothing the world offers that compares to the sweetness of God’s word.

The prophet Jeremiah testified in Jeremiah 15:16: “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty.” (Jeremiah 15:16) Maybe you don’t like honey. So substitute something else sweet that you like instead. Maybe for you God’s words are sweeter than ice cream or sweeter than chocolate, than much pure chocolate, or sweeter than cheesecake. But the point is this. When you eat God’s words, when you take God’s word into your life, when you read and study his words for yourself and make them a part of your life, they will be your joy and your heart’s delight. The world cannot compare.

Hebrews 6:5 speaks about those “…who have tasted the goodness of the word of God.” (Hebrews 6:5) God’s word is good, because God is good. That’s why 1 Peter 2 says: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2-3) God is good, and his word is good. And so we taste the goodness of God through the goodness of his word.

There is nothing the world offers that compares with the goodness of God and his word. The world offers you so many temptations and pleasures, lots of laughs, but none of them are ultimately satisfying or fulfilling. None of those pleasures will last. 1 John 2:17 says: “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17) God’s word offers you true and lasting pleasures. His commands are not burdensome. They are not a burden or a weight, but sweetness and delight to the person who receives them. They are like food for the soul.

Now food is good, but it’s not helpful to you unless you actually eat it. And so we must take God’s word into our hearts and our lives. When you do take God’s word into your heart, it is incomparably sweet. God’s words are like food for the soul. God’s word offers you far greater pleasures than the world. There is nothing sweeter than God’s word.

III. The greatest value comes in not only knowing but keeping God’s word.

So Psalm 19 tells us there is nothing more valuable than God’s word. There is nothing sweeter than God’s word. And then it goes on to tell us that the greatest value comes in not only knowing God’s word but keeping God’s word. Look at verse 11: “By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:11) It’s not just knowing God’s word that is important but also keeping it. Knowing God’s word comes first. You can’t keep what you don’t know. And there is great value in just knowing God’s word. But the greatest value comes in not only knowing but keeping God’s word.

   A. God’s word will guard you from many troubles in life.
      – Psalm 119:127-128, Proverbs 8:34-36

Why is this? First of all, God’s word will guard you from many troubles in life. The first half of verse 11 says: “By them is your servant warned.” (Psalm 19:11a) The word translated “warned” is a word that means to admonish or to give a warning. It can also mean to send out light, like a lighthouse that warns the approaching ships about the rocks that lie under the surface of the water.

Think about it. How many ships have been wrecked by ignoring the lighthouse’s warning? How many lives have been wrecked by ignoring the warnings of God’s word? There are so many temptations and traps in life, just waiting to trip you up and bring you trouble. They are like rocks under the water. It looks fine on the surface. The world gives you the “all clear” to plunge ahead into all sorts of things that will ultimately destroy you, but God’s word sends out the light and gives you fair warning. When you keep God’s word, God’s word will keep you. It will keep you safe and guard you from so many troubles in life.

The psalmist writes in Psalm 119: “Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.” (Psalm 119:127-128) There are many paths to take in life. Unfortunately many of them only lead you to trouble and grief. But when you love God’s word, when you treasure it more than gold, more than pure gold, you will be protected from every wrong path.

We read in Proverbs 8 about God’s word: “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:34-36) When you keep God’s word, you find life and favor from the Lord. But when you ignore God’s word, you’re only hurting yourself. All who hate God’s word love death.

Psalm 19 is a psalm of David, and notice how David identifies himself in verse 11: “By them is your servant warned.” (Psalm 19:11a) David loved God’s word because he viewed himself as God’s servant. Are you a servant of God? Because until you view yourself as God’s servant, you will not heed God’s word or his warnings. The greatest value comes in not only knowing but keeping God’s word. Why? First of all, because God’s word will guard you from many troubles in life.

   B. There is great reward in keeping God’s commands.
      – Psalm 16:11, Hebrews 4:2

And then secondly, because there is great reward in keeping God’s commands. Look at the second half of verse 11: “In keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:11b) Notice there is not only a reward for keeping God’s commands. There is a reward for that as well. But here David says there is great reward simply in keeping them. In other words, the keeping of God’s commands is a reward in and of itself. It carries its own reward.

There is great reward in keeping God’s commands, and there is great reward afterwards as well. As David writes in another Psalm, Psalm 16: “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11) We enjoy the great reward of walking the path of life now and eternal pleasures later as well. As Charles Spurgeon writes: “Servants of God not only find his service delightful in itself, but they receive a good recompense: ‘in keeping them there is great reward.’” As servants of God who keep his commands we experience joyful service in the present and great reward in the life to come.

Now don’t misunderstand what David is saying here. We do not receive rewards from God because we have somehow earned or deserve them. We have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory. We don’t deserve rewards but God’s judgment. But God saved us by his grace, and God rewards us by his grace as well. This is the wonderful, motivating truth in Psalm 19:11. God in his grace promises rewards for those who keep his commands. In keeping them there is great reward.

Ralph Venning writes: “Though we should not serve God for a reward, yet we shall have a reward for our service … Though our reward be not for our good works, yet we shall have our good works rewarded, and have a good reward for our works.”

There is nothing more valuable than knowing and keeping God’s word. Once again, the value does not come simply from knowing it. Hebrews 4:2 tells us: “The message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.” (Hebrews 4:2) The message had great value, but it had no value to them, because they did not combine it with faith.

The greatest value comes in not only knowing but keeping God’s word. Why? Because God’s word will guard you from many troubles in life. And there is great reward in keeping God’s commands.

CONCLUSION: There is nothing more valuable than knowing and keeping God’s word. You cannot put a price tag on Scripture. There is nothing more valuable than the word of God, and there is nothing sweeter than the word of God. Knowing God’s word has great value, but the greatest value comes in not only knowing but keeping God’s word.

Money can buy you all sorts of things in this world, but money cannot buy you anything of lasting value. There are many sweet things that life has to offer, but there is nothing sweeter than knowing God and Jesus Christ through his word and following his commands. My prayer for you today is that you will understand the supreme value of knowing and keeping God’s word and commit yourself to reading and following God’s word yourself. God’s word is inspired, infallible, authoritative, everlasting and priceless. There is nothing more valuable than knowing and keeping God’s word.

© Ray Fowler

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