Sure and Pure (Everlasting)

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Psalm 19:9

INTRODUCTION: Our 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 three of these – that God’s word is inspired, infallible, and authoritative. Today we move to the fourth aspect, which is everlasting. (Read Psalm 19:9 and pray.)

So far we have learned that the Bible is the inspired word of God, that is that all Scripture comes from God and that what Scripture says, God says. We have learned that the Bible is the infallible word of God, that it is true in all that it affirms and that it contains no errors. And we have learned that the Bible is the authoritative word of God – God’s word is not only true but right; the Bible shows us not only what to believe but how to live.

These are all important aspects of God’s word, but it is possible someone could believe all those things and yet still somehow feel that the Bible is not for us today. That was then and this is now and how could a book written thousands of years ago still be applicable today? Doesn’t God’s truth need to change with the culture? Doesn’t it need to keep up with the times?

That’s where today’s aspect comes in. Because God’s word is not only inspired, infallible, and authoritative – it is also everlasting. God’s word was not just written for those people way back then. It is also written for you and me in the here and now. God’s word is inspired, infallible and authoritative in the past, the present and the future. God’s word is applicable to us today because it is everlasting.

There are three things in particular we learn about the everlasting nature of God’s word from our verse today. 1) God’s word is worthy of your deepest respect. 2) God’s word is everlasting because it is pure. 3) God’s word is everlasting because it is sure. So let’s look at all three of these in turn.

I. God’s word is worthy of your deepest respect

First of all God’s word is worthy of your deepest respect. Psalm 19:9 says: “The fear of the Lord is pure.” (Psalm 19:9a) Today’s passage takes place within a series of verses that describe God’s word using six different terms – law, commandment, precepts, commands, fear and ordinances. Now the word “fear” seems out of place with these other terms at first. The other five words are common terms for God’s word that we find repeatedly throughout the Bible. But this is the only time that we find the word “fear” used as a synonym for God’s word.

   A. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
      – Proverbs 9:10

Usually we find this word applied directly to God rather than to his word. For example, we read in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) To fear the Lord means to stand in awe of his majesty, to treat him with the deepest reverence and respect because of his power and his holiness. Proverbs 9:10 says this is the beginning of wisdom. You cannot hope to grow wise in life untilyou first have a proper view of God. Do you want to have wisdom in life? It begins with the fear of the Lord. It begins with this deep reverence and respect for God.

   B. Respect for God includes respect for God’s word.
      – Psalm 111:10; Ecclesiastes 12:13

However, respect for God includes respect for God’s word. You cannot ignore what somebody says and then say that you respect them as a person. Part of the way you show respect for a person is by respecting what they say. You cannot separate someone’s words from who they are. The two go together. And it is the same with God and his word. Respect for God includes respect for God’s word.

Now the Bible also makes this connection between fearing the Lord and respect for God’s word. For example, Psalm 111:10 says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” (Psalm 111:10) Here respect for God includes following his precepts. If we do not follow his precepts, then we do not really fear the Lord. We see this again in Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Fear God and keep his commandments.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) You can’t do one without the other. The two belong together. Respect for God includes respect for God’s word.

And so this word “fear” might seem out of place in this list at first, but it is an important part of the Psalm’s description of God’s word. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Respect for God’s includes respect for God’s word. That’s the first thing we learn from Psalm 19:9 God’s word is worthy of your deepest respect.

II. God’s word is everlasting because it is pure

The second thing we learn from this verse is that God’s word is everlasting because it is pure. Verse 9 goes on to say: “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.” (Psalm 19:9a) And so here in verse 9 the psalmist makes the connection between the purity of God’s word and its everlasting nature. Let’s explore that a little further.

   A. God’s word is completely holy and pure.
      – Psalm 12:6; Psalm 119:140

First of all, God’s word is completely holy and pure. The word translated “pure” here is a word that means clean or morally pure. In the context of Israel’s worship in the Old Testament, it could also mean “ceremonially clean.” God’s word is completely holy and pure because God himself is completely holy and pure, and there is nothing in his word that conflicts with his nature.

We find this clean aspect of God’s word affirmed repeatedly in the Scriptures. Psalm 12:6 says: “The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6) That word translated “flawless” in Psalm 12:6 is the same word translated “pure” in Psalm 19:9. And here we have the picture of silver at the refinery, a precious metal being purified by fire, not just once, not twice, not even three times, but seven times, a symbol of completeness and perfection.

This refinery image shows up again in Psalm 119:140 which says: “Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.” (Psalm 119:140) The word translated “tested” in verse 140 is the same word for “refined” in Psalm 12:6. The words of the Lord are flawless. God’s promises have been thoroughly tested and refined. There is a reason why we call it the Holy Bible. God’s word is completely holy and pure.

   B. Only that which is pure lasts forever.
      – Psalm 93:5; 1 Peter 1:18-25

But Psalm 19:9 not only says that God’s word is pure. It says: “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.” (Psalm 19:9a) And here now is the connection between God’s word being pure and its everlasting nature. Only that which is pure lasts forever.

We see examples of this in the physical realm. That which is impure is subject to corruption and decay. An impure metal is subject to rust. One rotten apple spoils the bunch. A diseased animal is susceptible to death. Only that which is pure lasts forever.

There are other Scriptures that make this same connection between holiness and enduring forever. For example we read in Psalm 93:5: “Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord.” (Psalm 93:5) God’s statutes stand firm; they endure forever; why? Because God is holy, and therefore his words are holy. And holiness endures forever.

We read in 1 Peter 1: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed … but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19) You were not redeemed with perishable things, but with the precious blood of Christ, the holy one, a lamb without blemish or defect. In other words it is because Christ is holy that his blood has saving power forever.

And because God’s word is holy, God’s word lasts forever. Peter goes on to say: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’” (1 Peter 1:23-25)

Because God’s word is holy, God’s word lasts forever. That’s why Peter calls it the living and enduring word of God. The grass withers and the flowers fall. Why? Because they are subject to death and corruption. But not God’s word. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.

Why does God’s word last forever? Because God’s word is completely holy and pure. And only that which is pure lasts forever. That’s the second thing we learn from our verse this morning. God’s word is everlasting because it is pure.

III. God’s word is everlasting because it is sure.

1) God’s word is worthy of your deepest respect. 2) God’s word is everlasting because it is pure. And then finally 3) God’s word is everlasting because it is sure. Look at the second half of verse 9: “The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.” (Psalm 19:9b)

The ordinances of the Lord refer particularly to God’s legal requirements or verdicts. And we are told here that these ordinances of the Lord are sure. That’s a great quality to hold on to when we are so often unsure about things in life. We live in uncertain times, and it’s not often you find anything in life that you can call a sure thing. There are so many things in life that we count on that disappoint us or let us down. But not God’s word. God’s word will never fail you in any way. God’s word is everlasting because it is sure.

   A. God’s word is firmly established.
      – Psalm 119:89, 152

Let’s explore this word “sure” a little further. The word translated “sure” is a word that speaks of firmness and stability, and so first of all it means that God’s word is firmly established. Psalm 119:89 says: “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89) Psalm 119:152 says: “Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.” (Psalm 119:152) When God speaks, he digs down deep. His words are a rock that cannot be moved. His laws carry divine authority that cannot be overturned. God’s word is everlasting because his word is firmly established.

   B. God’s word does not expire or change.
      – 1 Chronicles 16:15; Matthew 5:17-18

Secondly, God’s word does not expire or change. This same word translated “sure” also carries the idea of reliability and truth. God’s laws are not like the laws of man that are legislated and then re-legislated and constantly changing. God’s laws are not random or arbitrary. God’s laws derive from his very nature which is itself unchanging.

We see this in the Old Testament Scriptures. 1 Chronicles 16:15 says: “He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations.” (1 Chronicles 16:15) And we see it in the New Testament. Jesus said in Matthew 5: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18) God’s word spoke the universe into existence. As such his word predates the heavens and the earth, and his word will outlast the heavens and the earth.

God’s word does not come with an expiration date. His word carries the same authority today that it carried two thousand years ago, and it will continue to carry that same authority for the centuries to come. Once again this is an important quality to hold on to when we live in times that are constantly changing, a culture that is constantly shifting beneath our feet. God’s word lasts forever. It is never outdated. It will never expire. It will never change.

   C. All of God’s word is righteous and lasts forever
      – Psalm 111:7-8; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 24:35

God’s word is firmly established. God’s word does not expire or change. And then finally we are told that all of God’s word is righteous and lasts forever. Look at the second half of verse 9 again: “The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.” (Psalm 19:9b) They are altogether righteous. That means that what is true of one part of God’s word is true of all of it. We can’t pick and choose which parts to obey. All of God’s word is righteous and lasts forever.

Once again we see this truth affirmed throughout the Scriptures. Psalm 111 says: “The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness.” (Psalm 111:7-8) Psalm 119:160 says: “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” (Psalm 119:160) And then we have the sure testimony of our Lord Jesus himself: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)

All of God’s word together is righteous. God’s word is firmly established. God’s word does not expire or change. These things are true of all God’s word. His word is altogether righteous and no part of God’s word will ever fade away. God’s word is everlasting because it is sure.

CONCLUSION: And so verse 9 adds such an important dimension to our understanding of God’s word. God’s word is not only inspired, infallible and authoritative but it is also everlasting.

It is called the fear of the Lord because it is worthy of your deepest reverence and respect. God’s word is everlasting because it is both sure and pure. There is no corruption in the word of God that would cause it to suffer decay. God’s word is firmly established, and God will never have second thoughts about what he has said. His word is altogether righteous, and no part will ever pass away.

God’s word is everlasting which means it is directly applicable to your life right now. It’s not some dusty history book sitting on the shelf, but God’s living and active word which is worthy of your most diligent study and investment. If you want something that will truly last, something you can take with you from the cradle to the grave and beyond, something that will go the distance, go with God’s word.

Only two things last forever – people and the word of God – and so that is where you should put your priorities. If you want to build a life of lasting value, make sure you build it on the solid foundation of God’s everlasting word.

© Ray Fowler

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