The precepts of Yahweh are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of Yahweh is pure, enlightening the eyes. (Psalm 19:8)
Where does a believer go to find joy, relief, happiness, deliverance from sorrow, anxiety, and depression? Where is the resource? The testimony of the psalmist is that it’s the Word that rejoices the heart.
The Scripture is full of guidelines for living from God. It says in verse 8, “they are right.” They give you right guidance in the proper way to true understanding. What a legacy we have in the Word of God, laying out a true path.
Try to think back to how it was when you had to chart your own course with no knowledge of what to do. We’re not left without a chart and a compass. We’re not left to wander around in a fog of human opinion. We have a true word to follow.
I believe the testimony of Scripture is that our true pleasure and delight comes from following the path laid out by the Word of God. Jeremiah was in the midst of tremendous human stress, rejection of his message, rejection of his person, the disaster falling on his entire nation, but he gave great testimony to the joy that comes through the Word in Jeremiah 15:16: “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became for me joy and gladness in my heart.” And John writes in his epistle that “these things we are writing, so that our joy may be made complete” (1 John 1:4). The Word of God gives testimony to the fact that it is the source of joy.
Do we have to have voices from heaven and talks with angels and supernatural experiences and miracles? Do we have to depend upon mystical science of the mind to be led by God into full joy? Those who might be depressed or anxious or doubting, not knowing what direction to go, can they not turn to the Word of God for the solution, guidance, and the direction that turns their sorrow into joy?
I fear that people who run from the Word of God to the sources that the world offers run away from joy, not into joy. And they find themselves further from the source than before they left.
The testimony of Scripture itself is that it is the source of the believer’s joy. In Psalm 119:14, the psalmist writes, “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches.” I wish we could say today that people were as excited about the things of the Word of God as they were about materialism.
In verse 54 we read, “Your statutes have become my songs in the house of my sojourning,” one of the most beautiful verses in all the psalms. In other words, “My life has been filled with songs about Your law. They bring me the joy that overflows in the music of my heart.”
In verse 76 he says, “Oh may Your lovingkindness comfort me, according to Your word to Your slave.” I go to You, God, in the midst of my needs and sorrow and sadness. The Scripture is perfect enough to convert the soul, wise enough to make the simple profound, and able to make the sad joyful.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 1986, titled “The Sufficiency of Scripture, Part 2.” In addition to serving as the pastor of Grace Community Church and the voice of Grace to You, Dr. MacArthur is the chancellor of The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, Calif. You can learn more about TMU at www.masters.edu.
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