Monday, November 6, 2023
Sunday, November 5, 2023
"The heavens tell of the glory of God; And their expanse declares the work of His hands." (Psalm 19:1)
In this text, we see that King David, the Psalmist, has deeply pondered the works of God. As a result of this contemplation, his soul is moved deeply. David is in awe at creation, whether it be the skies, sea, or the land. God has disclosed Himself through the created order of things. Paul said as much in Romans 1:20.
"Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge." (Psalm 19:2)
Creation is personified as it continually makes known to us the presence of God. It bears the majestic imprints of His authorship. Creation flows with the beauty of His craftsmanship. Nature itself bears witness to the fact that it has an intelligent designer. Nature reveals to us that it has a rational first cause.
"There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard." (Psalm 19:3)
The glory of God is universal. It exists everywhere and involves every one of us. The glory of God fills the earth absolutely. The witness of creation transcends even barriers of human language. It speaks volumes to us without using words.
"Their line has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." (Psalm 19:4)
David says that the witness of the heavens to the glory of God extents to every part of this earth. It is therefore incumbent on all men to worship the living God.
The Apostle Paul gives this verse a broader application in Romans 10:18 in which the gospel is to be received by all men. Nature indicates to us that God exists. The gospel provides a description of what God is like.
"Which is like a groom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices like a strong person to run his course." (Psalm 19:5)
The sun is likened to a bridegroom raising from his resting place, one who displays strength and confidence.
"Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat." (Psalm 19:6)
The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. It is used by David as an illustration of God's creative power. He has in mind the scorching heat of the ecosystem in which he lives.
"The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." (Psalm 19:7)
King David changes his focus from natural revelation to special revelation. The word "perfect" here has the meaning of blamelessness or freedom from fault. David sees the Law as having a restorative effect on our souls and imparting wisdom to those who lack it.
"The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." (Psalm 19:8)
David takes joy in obeying the laws of God. It is within the framework of His divine revelation that we are to base our doctrine and morals.
"The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether." (Psalm 19:9)
The Law was meant to instill in the Jewish people a proper sense of respect and devotion to God. Note the various words used to describe the Law in this context: perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, and true. Just as God is holy, so are His commandments.
"They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much pure gold; Sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb." (Psalm 19:10)
David's words are precisely what one would expect of any ardent Jew. He praised the value of God's Word as being without measure. It is better than what the best of life has to offer.
In regards to the meaning of the phrase "sweeter than honey," C.S. Lewis notes:
"...The temptation was to tum to those terrible rites in times of terror-when, for example, the Assyrians were pressing on. We who not so long ago waited daily for invasion by enemies, like the Assyrians, skilled and constant in systematic cruelty, know how they may have felt. They were tempted, since the Lord seemed deaf, to try those appalling deities who demanded so much more and might therefore perhaps give more in return. But when a Jew in some happier hour, or a better Jew even in that hour, looked at those worships-when he thought of sacred prostitution, sacred sodomy, and the babies thrown into the fire for Moloch-his own "Law" as he turned back to it must have shone with an extraordinary radiance. Sweeter than honey; or if that metaphor does not suit us who have not such a sweet tooth as all ancient peoples (partly because we have plenty of sugar), let us say like mountain water, like fresh air after a dungeon, like sanity after a nightmare. But, once again, the best image is in a Psalm, the 19th." (Reflections on the Psalms, p. 62-63)
"Moreover, your servant is warned by them; In keeping them there is great reward." (Psalm 19:11)
The Law instructs people in the way that they should be. It serves as a corrective standard to wrong behavior. Adherence to the Word of God results in the gaining of the knowledge of divinely revealed spiritual truths.
"Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults." (Psalm 19:12)
The kind of righteousness that we should be striving for is not an outward appearance that impresses other people. It is an inward kind that stems from the heart as a result of having been changed by grace.
"Also keep Your servant back from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be innocent, and I will be blameless of great wrongdoing." (Psalm 19:13)
David confessed his sins to God. He did not self-righteously try to hide them. He did not want any kind of sin to be in his life, either privately or publicly. He despised the ways of an evildoer.
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight,
Lord, my rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)
Our prayer to God should be that He keeps us from sinning. We ought to be pleasing to Him. God is our strength against temptation. He is our strength against earthly enemies. Compare the reference to a redeemer in this verse to Job 19:25.