Study 3 THE REWARD FOR OBEDIENCE
(Scripture Portion: Psalm 19)
The key-words of this study are in Psalm 19:11 – “In keeping them there is great reward.” In this simple statement the psalmist tells us that there is a reward for obedience. Some of God’s children are disobedient, (in fact, we all are at times); but when we obey Him the Lord promises us a “great” reward. The reference is not primarily to future rewards which we shall receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10), but to rewards we receive here and now. One day we must all appear before the Lord to be rewarded, or to suffer loss, according to the way we have lived and laboured for Him (1 Corinthians 3:9-15), but Psalm 19 is speaking of a reward for obedience which is to be received and enjoyed here and now. Notice the words “in” and “is”; that means that in the actual process of doing God’s will and keeping His commandments there is great reward.
1. Before we think about the rewards that God promises and gives for obedience, let us look at verses 7-11, where we are told seven things about the commandments of the Lord which are contained in His Word, and which we are to “keep”.
- 1. They are POWERFUL – “reviving the soul” (verse 7). The Word of God is the instrument He uses to turn men and women from darkness to light, from Satan to Himself (Acts 26:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:9), and what a powerful instrument it is (Romans 1:16; Hebrews 4:12)!
- 2. They are PLAIN – “making wise the simple” (verse 7). The commands of the Lord are so clear and plain that the “wicked fools” need not be in any doubt about them (Isaiah 35:8).
- 3. They are PLEASING – “giving joy to the heart” (verse 8). We are sometimes tempted to think that God’s will is hard – but look up Romans 12:2 and 1 John 5:3.
- 4. They are PURE – “The commandment of the Lord is pure” (verse 8 KJV), absolutely pure, with no mixture of evil. God’s commands are holy, like God Himself.
- 5. They are PERMANENT – “enduring for ever” (verse 9). They are never out-of-date; they are appropriate and applicable for every age and circumstance and are never in need of revision (Matthew 5:17).
- 6. They are PRECIOUS – “more precious than gold” and “sweeter than honey” (verse 10). To the true believer Jesus is precious (1 Peter 2:7); His blood is precious (1 Peter 1:19); so is His Word (Psalm 119:72; 2 Peter 1:4).
- 7. They are PREVENTIVE – “by them is your servant warned” (verse 11). “Prevention is better than cure”, and God seeks to prevent us from sinning and grieving Him by giving us His commandments.
How wonderful God’s commandments are! How right the psalmist is to speak of them as being “perfect” in verse 7!
2. What are the rewards God promises to the man or woman who will keep His commandments?
- 1. LONG LIFE. Can obedience affect one’s length of days? Look up Deuteronomy 32:46-47; Proverbs 3:1-2. As a general principle, if we will seek to live in the will of God and obey His laws, then our days will be lengthened; but if we break His laws by living careless, intemperate, self-led lives, then our days may be shortened.
- 2. PROTECTION. There is a wonderful promise in Ecclesiastes 8:5 – look it up! Does it mean that nothing will “go wrong” if we obey God? It means that Romans 8:28 will be fulfilled in our experience. Sorrow, trials and testings will come, but as they come from Him they will never be “evil”, always “good” (Deuteronomy 23:5).
- 3. GLADNESS. Read Nehemiah 8:13-17, and notice the last words in verse 17. The most joyful people in the world are those who are constantly seeking to keep God’s commandments and please Him – look up 1 Chronicles 16:27, and compare Acts 2:41 and 46. Obey God and you will discover the secret of abiding joy.
- 4. GREAT PEACE. Yes, great peace – Psalm 119:165. What a priceless reward this is – to enjoy great peace even in this world of trouble, fear and war (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6-7)!
- 5. THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION. Many Christians lack the assurance of their salvation, but God wants us to know that we are eternally secure in Christ our Saviour (Colossians 3:3). Now look up 1 John 3:24. Keep His commandments, and you will know.!
- 6. ANSWERS TO PRAYER. There is a wonderful promise in 1 John 3:22, where we also discover why some of our prayers are not answered. If we seek to obey God, He promises to answer our prayers. What a reward!
- 7. THE CONSCIOUS PRESENCE OF CHRIST. Look up John 14:21, and notice that the emphasis is upon the word “show”. The Lord is always with us (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5), but we are only made really conscious of His presence when we are obeying Him.
3. What does it mean to keep God’s commandments?
- 1. It means SEEKING them. We cannot know them until we find them, and we can only find them by seeking them (1 Chronicles 28:8).
- 2. It means seeking them ALL. Read 1 Chronicles 28:8 again. This is a life-long occupation!
- 3. It means OBEYING them. Not only finding them, but doing them – look up John 2:5; Acts 9:6; James 1:22.
- 4. It means obeying them PROMPTLY, as the psalmist did in Psalm 119:60! Why are you hurrying? To keep God’s commandments!
- 5. It means DELIGHTING in obeying God, as the psalmist did in Psalm 112:1.
Underline Deuteronomy 5:29 in your Bible!