Psalm 19:8a “the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart”
One of the words that is used to describe the contents of the Bible is “precepts.” In Hebrew, this means “mandates” given by God. Precepts, as defined by the dictionary, are “general rules intended to regulate behavior or thought.” The precepts of the Lord are called “right.” This word is also translated as “straight,” or “pleasant.” God has told us in His Word the right way to live to bring joy into our lives. So often “rules” are seen in a negative light. They are viewed as a legal means to keep one from doing what they otherwise might want to do. But that’s just the point. Our natural inclination about most things in life is self-destructive. It’s the sinful condition we all find ourselves in. We often choose to do things that at first look so good to us, but in the end, we find that they trap us and bring into our lives negative and hurtful consequences. Adultery is a good example. People get involved in this sin not because it looks like a bad thing for them, but a good thing. They enter into these traitorous relationships with someone other than their spouse because it is enticing to them. It just seems so right. But inevitably, much destruction comes into a life as a result. Besides bringing pain into the life of the spouse one has promised to love “until death do us part,” it also brings guilt, divorce, devastated children, and sometimes even death as evidenced by the many “love triangle” murders we often read about in the newspaper. But God has given us rules to keep us from such pain. He has told us that it is right to “rejoice in the wife of our youth (Proverbs 5:18).” He has told husbands to love their wives and wives to submit to and respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-33). This is the path to joy in marriage, a joy that God wants us to experience. And God has filled His Word with such precepts to guide us onto a path of joy. For you see “It is he who made us, and we are his (Psalm 100:3).” And He alone knows what’s really best for us and what, in the end, always leads to joy. Unfortunately, we are largely ignorant of these truths without His Word. So, do you want joy? Do you want to know the truth about how to live in ways that are “right” for you, so that it goes well with you? These truths are all available to us in His Word. May God help us to read and act on these truths, God’s revelation of the path to a truly joyful life.