The Psalms can be difficult to preach about but there are times when they can speak to the heart like no other book in the Bible. Some Psalms just seem to resonate with us and many believers have a favourite Psalm. I think this Psalm is my personal favourite, although sometimes it can be whichever one I’m reading at the time, I have loved this one for years. In my teens I set it to music and although mercifully my melody has not endured, my love for Psalm 19 certainly has.
The Psalm is about revelation and has two main themes. Verses 1-6 are concerned with the revelation of God through creation and verses 7-13 with the revelation of God through the word.
God in creation – ‘The heavens declare the glory of God’. It says it all. We look to the heavens and quickly become aware that we are very small indeed. With the help of science we find that we are even smaller but we see something majestic as we look at the stars. Paul writes in Romans;
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
David tells us the heavens have no words, they make no sound but their voice goes out to all the world. Someone has said ‘their soundless music sings’. I heard a story (I’m not sure of its truth) that during the Communist era in Eastern Europe, there was a drive to remove anything the pointed to God (that is true). The story goes that someone asked; ‘what are you going to do about the stars?’
In the second half of this section, David speaks of the sun. As in the previous Psalm when he spoke of smoke rising from God’s nostrils (18:8), the language is poetic. He isn’t saying that the sun goes around the earth. He is rejoicing in God that he has provided the sun that makes life on earth possible.
God in the word – we can certainly see God in creation but to understand his character we have to look to his word. As we have already seen this week, as God is perfect so is his word. David uses words like; perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant and firm to describe the law of God. It’s a rock on which we can build our lives but that is only the beginning. He uses phrases like; refreshing the soul, making wise the simple, giving joy to the heart and light to the eyes and says that it is sweeter than honey and more precious than gold. We see that for David, the word of God was something that brings joy and life to the human experience. Just as God has provided the sun to make life possible, so he has given his word to make spiritual life possible. Let’s be like David and treasure it.
In the last few verses, David seeks to live by the revelation of God’s word. It’s possible to treasure the Bible and find it fascinating without actually applying it to our lives. David sought forgiveness and asked for help in living for God. It’s something that resonates with my heart and perhaps yours too.
Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory. (Speak O Lord – Keith Getty and Stuart Townend)