Psalm 19

by Matthew Clark

Happy New Year!

One of the joys of living in Malaysia is the blessing of experiencing a variety of different new year celebrations. So far, we have had the western celebration of January 1st with its new year resolutions, and now we move on to the Chinese New Year celebration with the colourful traditions and the regular greeting of “Gong Xi Fa Cai” is very common.

This phrase translates (roughly) as “wishing you enlarge your wealth”. We may also wish each other prosperity, good health and happiness. This year we have health and wealth very much in mind as the terrible strain of Covid-19 affects us economically, physically and mentally. It is an uncertain world and a challenging one. So how should we react as Christians? One avenue is to review our understanding of ‘wealth’ when we as a Christian community wish our friends and family abundance in the future.

It is a blessing to us all to hear the prayer and praise of a wealthy man, King David, as he converses joyfully and prayerfully with God in Psalm 19. David sings praise before the Lord for His laws, statutes, precepts, commands and decrees. David describes these lovingly as ‘perfect’, ‘trustworthy’, ‘right’, radiant’ and ‘firm’.

Our human perspective is to view laws as something of a burden. Indeed, when we create our own laws or customs to supersede God’s loving designs for us, we do create burdens. David on the other hand describes the effect of God’s laws in glowing and appreciative terms:

  • They refresh the soul
  • They make wise the simple
  • They give joy to the heart
  • They give light to the eyes
  • All of them are righteous.

God’s word and His law are POSITIVE. They are rather like the control and warning systems on an aircraft which can sense unseen danger, show the right course, make minor corrections or give alarms at major faults, keeping us alive and well.

David gives God’s revelation and guidance the highest priority and describes them as

They are more precious than gold,than much pure gold;

they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

Psalm 19:10

Indeed, they are more precious than gold and immersion in God’s word is the best investment you can make this year. The greatest blessing that we can show our friends and family is God’s word that guides us safely and happily through life. May we follow David, absorb God’s personal guidance for us and write His laws in our hearts in the coming year.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer”

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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