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Psalm 19:114comment (1)

September 3, 2009

By Douglas Wilson

Related Scripture: Psalm 19:114

Explore the Bible
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile

Psalm 19:1–14

We begin this study of the Psalms focusing on reasons for singing God’s praises. Over the coming weeks, we will see certain attributes of God’s nature revealed within the Hebrew songbook: justice, faithfulness and greatness. This week’s focus, however, addresses the means by which God reveals Himself.

Psalm 19 is a great place to begin our study of the Psalms for a number of reasons. First, it begins with God and His revelation to us. Second, it contains a superscription — additional information about the passage — referring to this song as a psalm of David. Finally, Hebrew poetry employs parallelism and Psalm 19 offers some wonderful examples of word pairs: heavens/sky, day/night, speech/words, all the earth/end of the world.

This psalm gives attention to God’s general revelation through creation and His special revelation through Scripture. As a trained Pharisee, Paul likely thought of the truths of this psalm while writing Romans 1–3. No one is without excuse before God, Paul wrote, because He reveals Himself through creation and His Word.  

See God’s Works (1–6)
Francis Bacon explained that God demonstrates His existence through the book of His works (creation) and the book of His words (the Bible). As a scientist, Bacon observed that repeatable and measurable experimentation is possible only because of an ordered universe, the product of an orderly Designer. Other significant individuals responsible for the modern scientific movement — including Copernicus, Galileo and Isaac Newton — began their formulations with a belief that the universe demonstrated the orderliness of its Creator. This Davidic psalm does not serve as an apologetic for God’s existence. Rather the author presupposes that God is and His creation reveals who He is. The observable pattern of the sun during the day and the stars in the night sky cry out that God is real. Every people group on earth is capable of recognizing the design and order of the creation.

Search God’s Word (7–11)
David continues by focusing on God’s special revelation, which would have primarily included the Mosaic Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy). This term is misunderstood sometimes because these books include narrative, songs, principles, observations, personal revelations and various laws. This passage speaks to the various aspects of the Law, employing six terms to describe them: instruction, testimony, precepts, commandment, fear and ordinances. These terms are paralleled and here the overall description of God’s special revelation holds great significance. God’s Word is perfect, reviving the soul; it is trustworthy, giving wisdom to simple people; it is right, bringing joy; it is radiant, bringing light to the eyes; it is pure, enduring always; and it is reliable and righteous.

With this reality, why do we not look to God’s Word every waking moment? Why do we get caught up in the cobwebs of life, entangled and bound by every passing thought? We must hear, read, learn, live and share His Word. If we see who God is, who we are, what Jesus has accomplished and humanity’s need for Christ, perhaps then we would live with an eternal perspective and redeem our time.

Seek God’s Will (12–14)
David recognizes obvious sin in his life; a later psalm reveals his brokenness over previously unrepentant sin. The king also recognizes that he is capable of unintentional sin. To this end, he asks the Lord to reveal his sins of ignorance. We can only truly turn away from sins of which we are aware. Two significant thoughts close this psalm. First, the Psalmist desires to be in right standing with God, both in words and in actions. He wants to be acceptable to God, a thought echoed by Paul in Romans 12:1–2. Second, he calls the Lord his rock and redeemer. When David calls the Lord his rock, he employs the language of Jacob as he blessed Joseph (Gen. 49:24) and Moses, which he used in his final song (see Deut. 32:4, 18, 30, 31). The Redeemer makes our lives worth living, just as Boaz did for Ruth, David’s great-grandmother.

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Comment (1)

    Taylor Anderson 12/6/2012 1:02 PM

    This Psalm clearly explains how the Word of God is much more than a list of "do's" and "don'ts". It breathes life into us again and again, it gives wisdom, it springs up joy in us, it opens our eyes to the mysteries of our Lord, it shall never fade away, and it is perfect. Because this is a reality you are right to ask why we don't look to the Word of God at every waking moment.

    I am very much like David in the fact that sometimes I don't even realize what I did wrong. Asking the Lord to reveal any sin in me should be a very reoccurring prayer. "Declare me innocent from hidden faults" is a very bold but much needed prayer.

    One thing that really stuck out to me was the last verse. I have read it, heard it, and even quoted it too many times to count, but reading it this time was different. What God revealed to me was that if the meditation of my heart is off, that is if the attention of my heart is anywhere except on Him, then the words of my mouth are unacceptable in His sight. I know this to be true because out of the overflow of the Heart the mouth speaks. This is important to me as a Christian but as a worship leader, I cannot forget this!

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