Psalm 19 is one of the well known psalms of David. We are not given any background information concerning the setting or circumstances upon which David penned this psalm. In this psalm David describes the two ways that God has revealed Himself to mankind. As we read this psalm, let us soak in the beautiful imagery that David brings to our attention concerning how God has spoken to us.
I. Revelation of God in Creation (1-6)
A. God’s creation speaks to us continuously
- David begins by telling that God has been revealed to us through the creation. The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. David tells us that we need to simply cast our gaze upward to see the glory of God. All that is in the sky proclaims the glory of God since these things are the work of His hands.
- In the day we see a blue sky, moving clouds of different shapes, styles, and sizes, and the sun which burns so bright we cannot look at its majesty. By night we see the stars, the moon, and from time to time planets within our solar system. We have come to find out that the universe is vast, wondering if it is endless itself. We have not found an end to space and our exploration of its grandeur.
3. Notice that God’s speech through creation is continuous. Day after day and night after night God communicates to us His glory and His knowledge. The creation shows God infinite knowledge. Who could come up with such ecological systems that God has created? For example, the plants and trees produce oxygen for us to breathe. When we breathe, we produce carbon dioxide which is what the plants and trees breathe in. There are so many relationships that God has created in this world that work together for the universe to co-exist. God has made this world to be self-sufficient, which shows God’s great glory, knowledge, and power.
B. God’s creation speaks to us abundantly
- Notice that the creation “pours out speech.” The creation is speaking volumes to us about God. This imagery is described to us like a fountain. When we stop to consider the great things of this world, we are constantly hearing the power of God and glory of God being communicated to us. It is amazing how our bodies were made to heal the way that they do. God did not make bodies that simply broke like a car breaks. The body has the power to repair itself, which testifies continually about the might of God.
- I believe the more we learn about our world and about the creation, the more we are able to see the might and glory of God. It is important for us to notice that David does not say that the creation reveals God’s will for our lives. David points out that God’s revelation is general, that is, it only reveals to us that there is a God. We are able to look at all that is made and realize the glory and splendor of a higher power than ourselves.
- This was the very point that Paul was trying to make in Romans 1:20. Paul presents the argument the Gentiles should know of God because of the creation. “From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). This is a powerful argument that Paul makes that is still useful for us today. Many people want to know what will happen to people who do not know God. Perhaps they do not have Bibles, perhaps they are isolated, or in some other hypothetical circumstance. But God says that all people should know God and be seeking to know God’s will because of the creation. God’s creation abundantly speaks about God.
C. God’s creation speaks universally
- God’s creation speaks to all mankind. Verse 3 says, “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” God’s voice of creation has gone throughout all the world as verse 4 says, “Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the inhabited world.”
- This is why no one has an excuse before God. The glory of creation has gone throughout the whole earth. No one does not have access to the heavens and skies which declare the glory of God.
- David uses the glory of the sun to prove these three points concerning God’s revelation. The sun is described as a groom coming from his chambers. The sun rises from one end of the heavens and circles to the other end. Nothing is hidden from the heat of the sun. It is curious to consider that so many cultures worshipped the sun because of its immense heat and strength and also because they were so dependent upon the sun plant and work. Yet God created the sun, showing us how much more powerful God truly is. That which is created is too strong for us to understand or behold. How much more is the God of heaven! David now transitions in verse 7 to describing God’s second form of revelation.
II. God’s Revelation in Scripture (7-11)
A. Descriptions of God’s law
- The second way God has revealed Himself to people is through His written word. God, through the scriptures, is showing us who He is so that we may understand His personality and His character. God’s law is described with six different characteristics. With these six characteristics, David also describes six actions that the word of God accomplishes. In this section we will see the power of the Lord described through the word of God. I believe we will see that we underestimate what the word of God can do in our lives.
- The instruction of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The word of God is not deficient in any way. Rather, the word of God is perfect and complete. The word “reviving” means “bringing back.” The word of the Lord has the ability to bring back the soul, bringing back to life from the death we subjected it to. No matter what our circumstances or sins, the word of God can bring us back if we will let the word of God do that work within us. The word of God brings spiritual life to our souls. Thus, Jesus reminded Satan “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
- The testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the simple wise. We are able to believe what we read in the word of God. We can trust the things God has told us. When we follow the directions given by word of God, we will find salvation, contentment, joy, and eternal life. The person who will open his or her heart to accept the teachings of God and obey them will become wise. Common sense may avoid this person, but obedience to God will show their wisdom. However, the person who thinks he is wise and does not need to listen or obey God’s word is a fool and will show himself to be a fool. Paul made a similar point in 1 Corinthians 1:19-21 where God used the foolishness of the gospel to destroy the supposed wisdom of the wise.
- The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad. I believe that David is speaking about the straightness of God’s laws, that they are not crooked. The statements of God are straight to keep one who obeys them on the straight path. To walk on the straight path will make the heart joyful. There is great reason for joy for following God’s straight precepts. Not only do we know that we are being obedient to God, but obeying God will maximize the joy in our lives. Satan lies to us making us think that God is keeping us from joy. But the truth is following God’s ways will bring gladness to our hearts.
- The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. So pure is the word of God, David describes it as if it is giving off light. Some translations say, “The commandment of the Lord is radiant,” trying to show the purity of the word of God. The purity of God’s law is enlightening to us. The word of God purges the darkness and shows us the direction we must take. Too often we allow ourselves to walk in darkness as we live our lives not seeking a lamp to find the proper direction.
6. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. Corrupt things decay and pass away. Purity endures forever. Since the word of God is pure, without any blemish, error, or defect, it is in line with God’s character and endures forever. The word of God can have a cleansing effect in our lives. It can clean up our character, our lives, our mouths, our personality, and our actions. The word of God has the ability to make us clean by changing us into the enduring character of God.
- The ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous. We can rely upon the word of God for direction because the word of God is righteous through and through. Everything God says and does is in our best interest. Everything word God speaks is righteous and every act God takes is righteous. This gives us dependability with God.
B. The value of God’s law
- The ability of God’s law to make these kind of changes in our lives is immeasurable. The word of God can revive our souls, make the simple wise, gladden the heart, and enlighten the eyes. David now expresses how wonderful these things are to him.
- First, David says that this is more desirable than gold (verse 10). How impressive is this understanding of God’s law! Do we look at God’s law to be even better than an abundance of fine gold? Do we see that God’s law has more value to our lives than all the money and possessions that can be obtained in this world? If we treated the word of God as more valuable than gold, perhaps we would use the word of God more diligently and frequently.
- Second, David says the word of God is sweeter than honey. In fact, the word of God is sweeter than honey dripping from the very honeycomb. Not only does the word of God have great value for us, but the word of God has the ability to fulfill us and enrich us like nothing else in this world. The word of God can fill the void in our lives that many try to fill with physical things. Yet, our spirits can only be filled by God and His words for us. David understood this and therefore described God’s words as being the sweetest thing in life.
- Third, David points out that there is great reward from God in keeping His words. Not only is there the great reward of God’s inheritance on the day of judgment, but there is great reward in our lives today. When we obey God’s laws and let Him rule our lives, then we are going to make righteous decisions that will not reap consequences. We will make decisions in our lives that will help us have hope, contentment, peace, tranquility, and joy that others do not have because that are strapped down and burdened by the guilt of sin and evil. They are slaves to their own desires and lusts and are unable to break free because they have not obeyed God’s commands. Our joy in this can be maximized when we obey God’s commands for we now and in the future receive great reward.
- Fourth, the word of God is a great warning to our lives. God does not leave us ignorant concerning the consequences of disobedience. God warns us about what will happen when we ignore God. God tells us that we will suffer when our decisions are not based upon God’s righteous laws.
III. Response to God’s Revelation (12-14)
A. Prayer for forgiveness
- David has told us that there are two ways that God has revealed Himself to mankind. God has generally revealed Himself through His creation. The glory and wonders of God are clearly seen in the things that are made. God has also specifically revealed Himself through His word, which is able to cleanse us and revive our lost souls. So what should be our reaction and response to the revelation of God? David tells us in these final verses.
- David begins by asking God for forgiveness from His sins. David realizes that he has many errors in his life. David accepts that he is not perfect, that he has committed many faults and is in need of the Lord’s forgiveness. Further, David is not only interested in the sins that he is aware of but asks for cleansing from his hidden faults and sins. There are so many things that we do on a daily basis that we likely do not realize is sin.
- Consider this point from this view: Did we show that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength today? Did we love our neighbor as ourselves today? Did we have the love of Christ fill our hearts with compassion to the lost and helpless today? It is easy for us to not pay attention to how we treat others. It is very easy for us to offend another without knowing we have done anything wrong. David is keenly aware that he is constantly falling short and perhaps not aware of it. For those times, David asks for forgiveness. We must consider these areas of our attitude and disposition before God also. We may be able to say that he did not lie, steal, curse, or lust. But did we fully love God? Did we fully love our neighbor? Did we have the attitude of Christ dwelling in us? We have hidden faults and are always in need of God’s forgiveness.
B. Prayer for deliverance
- David also pray for deliverance from future sins. David asks God to keep him from willfully sinning and rebellion. We need to pray to God for this strength to overcome the desires of the flesh that we know we ought not to obey. We need the help of God to not succumb to our weaknesses. David’s words are very appropriate, “do not let them rule over me.” Paul said, “For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Sin is not to be our master. We cannot be led by sin and our sinful desires.
- This is what David is praying for his own life and I am sure we can agree that we also need this in our lives. We cannot let sin win. We cannot let sin rule over us and be the master of our lives. God has delivered us yet too often we turn back to the slavery of sin. Who is going to be in charge of our lives: God or sin? God or Satan? We must make that choice. David says he is a servant of God and asks God to keep him from turning aside.
C. Prayer for mouth and heart to be found acceptable
- Perhaps the most important part of David’s prayer is his request to be found acceptable in God’s eyes. This prayer identifies two areas that God judges: actions and motives. God looks at our hearts to see if our motives and attitudes are in line with the righteousness of God. God demands that are hearts be clean in His sight. Actions without the heart is found to be worthless. Samuel told Saul this spiritual truth when Saul refused to kill all the Amalekites because he was going to offer sacrifices to God with the animals. Samuel told Saul that sacrifice is not greater than our heart’s obedience. Our motives and intentions of the heart must always be analyzed and judged for God is judging our hearts.
- But just as important are our actions. A good heart is not all that God has required of us. God demands that a good heart bring forth fruit. We see this principle with Uzzah who had the right motive for reaching out at touching the ark of the covenant in 2 Samuel 6. However, God struck Uzzah dead for his violation of God’s law. Our actions are also held accountable to God and we must examine our deeds to be sure that we are acting righteously and appropriately in the sight of God.
- Let these three things also be our prayer: we need forgiveness for past sins, deliverance from future sins, and cleaning today of our hearts and mouths to be found acceptable to God. God has revealed His glory and His power. God has revealed His will and laws to show us the way we ought to go. It is now time for each of us to obey.