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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Psalm 19

You know the opening words of Psalm 19. You've probably seen it on posters, plaques, t-shirts.
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (Psa 19:1)
I know. Good stuff. But that's just the first verse. As it turns out, the entire song from David is about declaring the glory of God.

The first 6 verses expound on how we can know God from what He has made. Paul said the same thing in his letter to the church at Rome (Rom 1:18-20). In His creation we see omnipotence, omniscience, His care for His creation. We see infinity and we see precision in the smallest details. God claims that He makes light and creates darkness (Isa 45:7) and David exults in how both day and night tell us about God (Psa 19:2ff). God controls the sun, as powerful as it is (Psa 19:4-6). We can learn a lot about God from what He has made.

But there is a better revelation. God has actually revealed Himself to us in word -- in His Word (Psa 19:7-10). We can draw inferences from His creation, but we have His explicitly spoken Word for a better account of who He is, what He is like, and what He wants. In fact, according to David, His law, His precepts, His judgments revealed in His Word are pleasant, not onerous. These restore the soul (Psa 19:7), rejoice the heart (Psa 19:8), and are altogether righteous (Psa 19:9), just to name a few of the happy benefits. David concludes, "They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb." (Psa 19:10)

The final verses, Psalm 19:11-14, offer another benefit to His Word and to knowing Him. This benefit addresses our condition -- sin. There is a warning in God's creation and in God's character and in God's Word that should drive us from sin. It warns of blind spots we all have, sinning when we don't know it (Psa 19:12). There is the constant sin of presumption (Psa 19:13) -- sins done on purpose that can captivate and enslave us -- that God's creation and His Word should drive from us.

Nature and God's Word are key elements in knowing who God is. His commands, His judgments, and our fear of Him ought to be seen as beneficial rather than problematic. Many see God as the Cosmic Killjoy, like He's looking around seeing who's having fun and trying to stamp it out. To the ones who know God, this must not be. Obedience is good, but rejoicing in it is better.

My constant prayer, then, is found in the last verse of David's song.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. (Psa 19:14)

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