The law of your mouth is better to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Psalm 119:72 ESV
The psalmist has already expressed a variation of this idea in verse 14, saying, “In the way of your testimonies I delight, as much as in all riches.” He will also return to this theme in verse 127, “Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.” Of course, Psalm 19 probably has the most well-known verse along these lines: “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (v. 10). Proverbs 3:13-15 makes the same point regarding God’s wisdom:
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than the gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Why then is this such a common thought in the Scriptures? Why is God’s Word repeatedly lauded as being of more value than gold and other riches?
The most obvious answer is because riches are almost universally valued. Government-printed money comes and goes with the tides of kingdoms themselves, but most people today would be just as delighted in receiving a block of pure gold as someone from the first century. Precious stones have always held sway over men’s desires. Thus, to celebrate Scripture as more desirable is a mighty thrust against the normal inclinations of the human heart.
But that still does not answer why we love gold and silver and why we ought to love God’s Word even more? I think Scripture is often compared with riches because they are quite similar. Gold and jewels are held to be more valuable than ordinary rocks because of their great beauty, precisely because they are not ordinary. The Scriptures are, likewise, beautiful, especially when compared with other books. Like a diamond gleams when struck by a ray of light, God’s Word becomes almost blindingly beautiful whenever the Holy Spirit’s illuminating rays open our eyes to be behold a mere fraction of its wonders.
Yet as beautiful as precious stones are, they are ultimately a means to an end. The chief benefit of gold, silver, and jewels is their use for purchasing other goods and necessities. Again, the same is true with Scripture. As beautiful as the Bible is, it is not an end unto itself; rather, it is a means to an end. That end is knowing God Himself. As the psalmist says here, Scripture is the law of God’s mouth; it is His revelation of Himself to us.
If my wife wrote me a letter expressing her love for me, I may rightly delight in her penmanship and writing style, but I ought to ultimately delight in her and in her love for me, which is what the letter is intended to express.
So it is with God’s Word.
Gold and silver are of great valuable because with them you can buy anything in this world, but God’s Word is supremely valuable because by it we come to know and love the Creator of heaven and earth and how His Son has purchased our adoption to Himself.
May all of God’s people declare with the psalmist: “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”