Psalm 19 (March 14, 2011)

[1] The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  [2] Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.  [3] There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.  [4] Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun,  [5] which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.  [6] Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.  [7] The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;  [8] the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;  [9] the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.  [10] More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.  [11] Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.  [12] Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.  [13] Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.  [14] Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19 ESV)

Napoleon, the French military genius, was aboard ship in the Mediterranean one clear starry night. He was on deck and was walking past a small group of sailors apparently mocking the idea of a supreme being. One sailor remarked, “God of creation, what a joke.” Napoleon stopped, stared at them, and sweeping his hands across the stars of the sky he said, “Gentlemen, you must get rid of those first!” The idea of the first six verses in this Psalm is that the created order around us is speaking volumes about the existence and attributes of God. As we look at these verses, let us be acutely aware that the created order is still speaking to us.

Exposition

The subjects of the first two verses make it simple for us to see who is speaking. The heavens are the ones declaring and the skies are proclaiming something to us. The word “heavens” here is referring to the place of meteorological activity such as rain, wind, hail, snow, the clouds, as well as the stars the sun and the moon. God has put them before us to speak to us about himself.

Hope in the Psalms

While the developments in the weather are often an inconvenience, and frequently tragic, such as the recent earthquake off the coast of Japan, the creation is still speaking. We have seen this before as we looked at Psalm 8.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

The hope that this passage offers us is that God is bigger than we are. The way we view ourselves is always dependent upon how we view God. Psalm 19 is a great instruction for us in how we can and should view God rightly.

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