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Psalm 19: Revealing the Will & Wonder of God  



In September - October 2023 (Volume 60, Issue 5) I was asked to join a series of articles on "Studying the Sacred Songs of Israel." in the publication "Words of Truth." I was assigned Psalm 19 and encouraged to focus on the will of God. This is that article. If you would like to subscribe, or read the entire volume, please click here.


The first book of Psalms is mostly written by David. Ezra is believed to have compiled these psalms with the intended purpose of keeping this first book entirely comprised of Davidic psalms (only 4 are anonymous). One can trust his scholarship and the work of the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:20-21). This book also relates to the book of Genesis. The general theme is about man and His relationship to God (Psalm 1, related to Genesis 1-2), then follows with man’s fall and rebellion (Psalms 2-15, related to Genesis 3-11), and ends with hope of redemption through Christ (Psalms 16-41, related to Genesis 12-50).


It should be noted that: 1) The first 41 psalms focus on God's ability to deliver those who fear Him as the Creator. They reflect much of David's life and his understanding of the glory of God. 2) This book uses the divine name Yahweh (273), more than Elohim (15). 3) Every kind of emotion is revealed in these Psalms. David pours out his heart to God, begs God for protection, and asks Him for help against his enemies. These three things reveal a personal appeal to the reader to put ourselves in his shoes. No doubt God allowed these psalms to be preserved in the Bible to help one feel a one-on-one interaction with God.


Psalm 19 is a beautiful chapter that highlights the majesty and glory of God as revealed through both the natural world and the divine law. It combines deep theology and simple poetic imagery. This particular psalm seems to have three primary divisions: 1) Natural Revelation (vs. 1-6), 2) Biblical Revelation (vs. 7-11), and 3) Human Revelation (vs. 12-14). The objective of this article is to help make application of this great section of Scripture.


1) Natural Revelation (vs. 1-6) The psalmist begins by celebrating how the “heavens declare” the glory of God, showcasing the craftsmanship of the Creator (Genesis 1). The imagery used paints a picture of a universal language spoken without words. Literally the heavens “utter speech” to the inhabitants of the earth. Day and night communicate the undeniable knowledge that God created the universe and everything in it. There is no “speech” or “language” where this is not evident. Even to the ends of the earth.

David powerfully uses the sun as an example of the testimony of God. Interestingly enough, there are several religious groups that actually worship the sun. God had revealed to the nation of Israel that though the sun is a great entity, in and of itself, it only points to an intelligent Designer. There is One that is greater than the sun, moon and stars of heaven.


2) Biblical Revelation (vs. 7-11) The psalmist transitions into praising the law of the Lord. David reveals that the Word of the Lord is perfect, trustworthy, and wise. It is capable of bringing joy and enlightenment to the heart. Even though the great creation of God declares His glory, God has also provided special revelation in the Bible. Paul says that it is “profitable” to man in many different areas (II Timothy 3:16-17). This revelation goes far beyond nature. Though not superficial, nature pales in comparison to the statutes, commandments and judgments of God.


The law is also depicted as a guide, offering direction and discernment to those who follow it. The Hebrew word “torah” can actually be translated as guidance, teaching, or instruction. David uses wordplay in this section to emphasize the importance of God’s guidance in navigating life. He uses several synonyms to reveal the nature of God’s word and how it converts, cleanses and changes a believer. God seeks to reward those who heed His warnings and humbly seek His guidance.


3) Human Revelation (vs. 12-14) As the psalm concludes, David acknowledges his own limitations and asks for forgiveness. He seeks redemption from foolish errors, hidden faults and willful sins. If God’s word is to dwell in nature and the word alone, how does it impact man? The truth is that God seeks to indwell the human heart! He wants to empower His people on the road to faithful living. This comes full circle when one reaches the New Testament and can see the indwelling of the Holy Spirit upon the Lord’s church.


The closing plea is for the “words” and “meditation” of David, and ultimately the nation of Israel who sings this psalm, to be pleasing to God. This reflects a deep desire for one’s alignment with divine principles. Every thought and intent must surrender to the will of God. There is a powerfully testimony given to all when God’s people focus on acceptable worship and daily Christian living. One can become a child of God and emulate the Word of God.


Psalm 19 perfectly encapsulates themes of divine revelation through nature, law, and the human heart. David acknowledges the splendor of creation while emphasizing the importance of living in accordance with God’s guidance. He helps the reader (or singer) to understand the power of God’s word and the simplicity of the application to such a message. It must prick one’s heart and move their mouth to praise. This wonderful psalm is a poetic expression of awe, humility, and a yearning for spiritual connection. If you follow it, you will find purpose.

 

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds



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