God often speaks of His laws and commandments as testimonies (Ps 119:2), precepts (Ps 119:4), statutes (Ps 119:5), and judgments. (Ps 119:7) It’s all God’s Word (Ps 119:9) revealing God’s Way (Ps 119:37), so what’s He telling us about it through these various terms?
Our testimony is what we declare about our personal experience. Since God experiences completely and perfectly, His witness and testimony is reliable, making us wise. (Ps 19:7b) He flawlessly proclaims the nature of metaphysical reality through His commandments (Ps 119:138), enlightening our eyes. (Ps 19:8b)
A precept is a moral principle or guide that may be found within an instruction or law; we discover them within God’s commandments as He opens our eyes. (Ps 119:18) For example, the Sabbath command contains precepts relating to rest (Ex 20:10), work (Ex 20:9), setting aside time for communion with God and others (Le 23:3), holiness (Ex 20:8), life cadence and rhythm (Is 66:23), God’s creative work (Ex 20:11), human value and equality (Mk 2:27), servant leadership (Ge 2:2-3), God’s prophetic timeline (Col 2:17), and of salvation itself. (He 4:10-11) We find understanding through YHWH’s precepts as He teaches us how to think clearly (Ps 119:104), and we search them out within His commands knowing that these are His testimonies, perfectly revealing His nature, way and wisdom to us.
The statutes of YHWH are His specific commands and laws, and the words that perfectly express them. (Ps 19:7a) These laws are flawless in both content and scope (Ps 119:96); if we add to them, take away from them, or alter them in any way we diminish this perfection. (De 4:2) These statutes are commands in sense that they are not optional; God requires us to obey them diligently. (Ps 119:4)
As we hide these words in our heart (Deu 6:6) and meditate on His statutes (Ps 119:48), YHWH changes our souls (Ps 19:7a), teaching us the nature of sin (Ps 119:11), and moving our hearts to rejoice in Him. (Ps 19:8a)
The judgments of YHWH reveal His discernment, His analysis, His altogether righteous estimation of every motive, thought and action. (Ps 19:9) His understanding is infinite (Ps 147:5), knowing all eventualities and possibilities about all things at all times. Each of His commandments is thus both a testimony about, and a perfectly just evaluation of some dimension of spiritual reality; God’s commands are windows into His ultimate righteous accusation of the wicked (Jn 5:45), as well as His willingness to quicken us all to fellowship with Himself. (Ps 119:156)
YHWH’s testimonies are profoundly wonderful; our souls should deeply cherish them (Ps 119:129), sticking to them like glue (Ps 119:31), valuing them above all riches (Ps 119:72), meditating on them (Ps 119:99), delighting in them and drawing our counsel from them. (Ps 119:24) Taken together they form one law, a single perfect testimony of metaphysical reality, eternally righteous (Ps 119:144), applicable in every age, founded forever. (Ps 119:152) We should ask God to incline our hearts to them (Ps 119:36), and seek the regular fellowship of those who know them well. (Ps 119:79)