Devotion in Psalm 19
By Nicole McLeod
The Light and glory of God… in His World and Word
Ps. 50:23 “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me.” Praise to you for Psalm 19. I pray you will be glorified in this devotion as you bless Your word to our hearts.
Psalm 19:1.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.
Long before the invention of the Hubble telescope and advanced super-microscopes, this psalmist, David, was a shepherd boy, watching his father’s flocks day and night. 24/7 he could observe, and absorb, the wonder and glory of God’s creation all around him. He and the other psalmists of ancient days, so beautifully expressed their awe of the MAGNIFICENT power, wisdom and majesty of God, they saw on display. (i.e. Ps. 8, 29) And they used their God given skills with words to honor, praise and give glory to the One “enthroned above the heavens”, “above the circle of the earth”, “over all the kingdoms of the earth”. “The Lord Most High”, The “Author” of creation, and salvation and revelation.
W.Wiersbe “Nature preaches a thousand sermons a day to the Human heart…”
CH Spurgeon “He is wisest who reads both the World-book and the Word-book as two volumes of the same work, and feels concerning them, ‘My Father wrote them both.’”
The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork
David directs our attention upward to the heavens … and then even higher- to the glory of the One who sits above the heavens - (El)- the singular of the Name of God – The Mighty One from Gen. 1). From the heavens a testimony of God’s glory goes out to all the earth day and night. God’s glory: is an amazing thing to think upon (and makes for a very rich and word study). The word here in Ps. 19 for glory is (Kābōd ) "the heavy, weighty brilliant holy unchanging beauty and the splendor of God’s presence. It is the beauty of his holiness – the splendor of His majesty and the way he puts his holiness on display for people to apprehend. Moses asked to see it (Ex. 33) In the OT it filled the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-35) and the Israelites were led by it . The disciples saw it: (John 1) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. And Jesus was the radiance of it In our natural state we all fall short of it (Ro. 3:23)Rev. 21 tells us that at the end of time, heaven will shine with it in splendor so great, there will be no need for the sun.
Colossians 1:27 says that: Christ in us is the hope of it! (1:27) GLORY!
We are given glimpses of His glory in the universe around us, in the word before us, in the greatness of our salvation given to us, and in the presence of the Holy Spirit in us.
2 Cor. 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Look at the language used in vs. 1-4 – declare, proclaims, pours out speech, reveals knowledge, all words that describe communication. Every person has received some truth about God for the universe which displays “His eternal power and divine nature –(Ro. 1:20) speaks to all, and yet without words or language. (Vs. 3 translation is tricky) no speech, no words, voice not heard. The message has gone out - through all the earth to the end of the world day after day and night after night. Pours forth is like the irrepressible bubbling up of a spring.
Twice when preaching the gospel to the gentiles, recorded in (Acts 14:(14-18) and 17:(22-31)) the Apostle Paul mentioned this universally declared and heard message of God’s glory in Creation as his starting point to talk about the God who created it. He also wrote about this in his letter to the Romans:
Romans 1:19-20 “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
That is why in chapter 10:1-15 he said we must take the gospel (the Word of salvation in Christ) to them as 10:17 “ …faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for (here Paul quotes Psalm 19) “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
The summer after college, I decided to go hiking and backpacking in Alaska – and set off with my ladies tent and cute REI backpack to enjoy some time in nature. One of the most challenging hikes had fairly good terrain days 1-3 but day 4-5 was a steep incline more boulder-climbing holding on to rocks than hiking. I was up for it - until the 3 rd night I got sick – and felt too weak to continue – and decided to head back as heading down was easier. I set up my camp that night alone by a stream and wrote in my journal of how small I felt and how big and overwhelming the universe seemed. And I thought of God! His message was reaching my heart, it affected me, but I did not yet have the rest of the story (the Bible) to show me the way to know who God is or have a relationship with Him. The way I felt, reminds me of Psalm 8:
Psalm 8:3-4 When I consider the heavens and the work of Thy fingers, and the sun and the moon and the stars, what is man that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou would visit him?
I experienced for myself, this wordless voice in creation. It prepares the way for His more specific revelation in His written word, which shows us God’s holiness, and our great need for a Savior and that prepares the heart for the voice of grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the beauty, light and glory of God that I see in Psalm 19 and hope comes through in this morning devotion.
“Sun, moon, and stars are God's travelling preachers…Jesus Christ is called the Word, for he is a far more distinct display of Godhead than all the heavens can afford; they are, after all, but dumb instructors; neither star nor sun can arrive at a word, but Jesus is the express image of Jehovah's person, and his name is the Word of God.”
Heb. 1:1-3 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
Lets continue in Psalm 19: (4b-6) In them (the heavens) 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 It’s rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The sun rise each morning is a beautiful display, with beams of color, warmth and light “a crowning achievement of God’s creation” pictured here like a man in his prime on his way to get his beloved bride or like a strong ready athlete running a race with Joy. In my imagination, only the coming of the “Sun of righteousness” the Son of God, in all His glory for His bride could be able to surpass this daily display of God’s glory that can be seen worldwide in the morning sunrise. The picture is joyful, like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber in the finest clothes on the happiest day of his life. It is the fulfillment of dreams and a time of joy. His mercies are new every morning, Great is His faithfulness.
As the Sun makes its course daily through the skies it freely gives its warmth, strength, life and light to all and nothing is hidden from its heat. The sun’s light touches upon plants, sea life and animals as well as mankind - extending even into prison cells through barred windows, into hospital rooms and brings it’s light. It is a picture of God’s universal goodness to the good and evil alike. In a similar way the Word of God we hold in our hands (as we will see in the next 6 verses) like the Sun above – has the power, strength and joy to shine into darkened nations, and darkened and downcast hearts bringing light and change. Don’t you think that our Bibles are also like a tent for the Son, for when we open them; it reveals to us the “Sun of Righteousness”. Christ is the central “Son” of scripture – we see elsewhere poetically pictured with a glorious appearance as a bridegroom – His joy as a champion and his circuit and influence throughout the earth.
“There’s the wonder of sunset at evening The wonder of sunrise I see
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul Is the wonder that God loves me”
Don’t these magnificent verses make us want to go outside, watch a sunrise, gaze at the infinite galaxies glittering above us, and soak in the beauty and the joy that is expressed all around us in God’s creation and let it fill our thoughts with the weight and beauty of His glory. Then, when we open his Word and see even more clearly His loving character and grace, reaching out to pull us close, we can praise Him and give him the glory due His name.
The scriptures, (like the sun above), penetrate our minds, warm and give life to us, while also searching, testing and purifying us. I thank God for the light of day with us, the Light of the World, Jesus, with us, and the Light of the Word here before us?
Now we come to the next section of this psalm, praising the law of the LORD. God’s revealed truth even more perfectly reveals the glory of God to us, with words that speak to the soul by God’s Spirit. In vs. 7-10 David moves from praising God for His general revelation – of His power, majesty, and wisdom to praising God for the power of His special revelation found in God’s Word, His law, with seven glorious statements about the powerful work it does in the human soul. Note: (Name of God shifts here from El to Lord, Jehovah/Yahweh – The covenant keeping God:
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; The law (the teaching and instruction) ( 2 Peter 1:3 is perfect (It gives us a ll things that pertain to life and godliness). There is power in the Word - “The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death” It is complete, reviving; bringing new life to the soul. It turns us from sin to holiness.
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;:The testimony of what is true and right. It is sure - - reliable and certain. Making wise the simple that need instruction.
1John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life
vs.8 the precepts (statutes) (rules for daily living) of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; They are right because God is right and we rejoice to know God’s right truth.
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The commandment (or Divine orders) of the Lord is pure: It comes from a God who is Himself pure and holy; it enlightens the eyes; it brings the light into our souls. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
Vs.9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;9 The fear of the Lord ( reverential trust) is clean, those precepts that create reverence, hatred of evil. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom - enduring and standing firm forever.
The rules [ d ] of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. The rules (judgments) His judicial decisions are true, (right) 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. Amen!
“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord- Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word What more can He say than to you He has said - To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled.”
Vs. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
The word has power to warn us of the nature of sin, and keep us from it. The word for warn is zâhar, to throw light onto a subject. God is a patient teacher and His word illuminates what is sin, warn us of sin, and teaches us how to deal God’s way with it by confessing, forsaking, repenting of it and walking in the Spirit so we can grow in grace on this journey with Him. In keeping them there is great reward. One of the great rewards is peace of mind. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Is. 26:3
2 Who can discern his errors The word for errors comes from a verb, which means to wander, to go astray; then, to do wrong, to transgress. It refers to wanderings, or departures from the law of God. Many of my flaws are hidden, even from myself, difficult to discern motives and why I do what I do – like we read of in Ro. 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
(KJV) Cleanse thou me from secret faults - The word “secret” means that which is hidden, covered, concealed. Jer. 17:9 says that no one can understand his or her own heart. Our secret faults and recurrent struggles are the suffering of many today and rather than seek turn to God and confess it (like Adam and Eve) we put our efforts into covering it over, and we are all the worse. I excuse, I rationalize, but I need the mirror of God’s word (Jam. 1:22-25) to reveal sin so I can then repent , confess and forsake them as God has taught us. (Psalm 51 – as Tonya taught, and George taught last Sunday provides us with the right spirit with which to confess our sins to God. )
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. “Restrain thy servant; or, do not allow him to commit those sins”. The word used here is in contrast with the secret faults mentioned in the previous verse. The idea here is that pride can be our problem and there are sins, which come from relying on our own strength. “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation” we don’t want sin controlling our lives like a slave master. What things make a sin presumptuous? When we know better. When God’s Word or our friends have warned us. When we have warned others of the same sins. Cleanse us Lord and restrain us Lord for Your great Names sake and Let sin not have dominion over me.
“It is better to prevent sin and avoid trouble than to confess sin and try to remedy the mistakes”.
Then shall I be blameless – upright, a friend of God … innocent of great transgression: “He would be saved from the great guilt which would ensue if he should give unchecked indulgence to secret faults, and if he should be allowed to commit the open sins which were the result of pride and self-confidence.” Barnes
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. (names of God - Jehovah Tzuri and Goeli)
This is a prayer we ought to pray all day long. Who and what are we thinking about? Our words and actions, in our everyday lives, either glorify God or they don’t. I do believe that if my heart is made right, then my words and deeds will follow.
Jehovah (El) Tsuri – The Rock – God’s unshakable character (from Names of God devotion) “He is the rock of the universe. He is the foundation of everything from the laws of Physics to the unchanging laws of morality – unshakable because God is the permanent changeless foundation of all reality.” He does not change, He is the same yesterday today and forever. His standards are rock solid and provides the divine stability we need, so we know what to expect. Just as we can be sure of the sunrise, we can be sure of His love for us and His promise of salvation.
Jehovah-Go’el The Redeeming God : God created us to glorify Him, and we belong to Him, but because of Sin we became slaves and would remain in that desperate state were it not for Jesus, On the cross Jesus bought us out of slavery and set us free, and Christ in us – the hope of Glory! We have been redeemed and set free, may we walk in that freedom and live for His glory.
Close in prayer: May the words that we speak and all the thoughts of our hearts be established by You and be acceptable in your sight - pleasing and agreeable to your heart. You alone are our strength – rock and redeemer, enable us to live this kind of life in Christ. And t hank you God for the beauty of all you have made in this universe and in our world. We offer our lives, our prayers and our worship. In Jesus name.