Psalm 19 is a gorgeous slice of poetry written to help us tune in to the voice of God.
The poem begins with introducing us to the natural world, reminding us that all of creation is telling us about God, and more—that nature is a profound mouthpiece, an obedient prophet in a tumultuous world. “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard,” David insists (:3), or, as one translation has it, “There is no voice or speech, and yet their voice is clearly heard.” God is speaking through nature instead of language. This is why we are all without excuse (Romans 1). No one can ever say they haven’t heard God’s voice or been pointed his direction.
True, these kinds of messages aren’t laid out in black and white. They ignite the seeker in us instead of spoon feeding us Sunday School answers. Knowing that, the writer gives us an example of what he’s talking about. How is nature speaking? Well, “In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat” (:4-6). But this is just to get our imaginations sparking.
Here’s one that occurred to me recently: During the day, the sun’s rays touch us directly. At night, all light is reflected. But night or day, his light reaches us. Translation? There are times when we are basking in the presence of God, life is bright and cheerful, and things are sailing along. But there are also times when darkness creeps its way over our world, obscuring the direct rays of God’s glory. We feel alone. But at these times, we need to stop insisting on direct sunlight. There is a time for everything, and this is night. Instead, we need to look around and discover the ways, places, and people who are reflecting his glory to us indirectly. When I look at the moon, for example, it’s proof that the sun is out there somewhere. So maybe a well timed hug is reflected glory, and should be received as such.
Next the writer dives into the richness and life-giving gift of God’s written word, which really is spelled out more clearly. Through his written word God revives and guides us, changes and inspires us. Amen?
But lastly, the writer turns to a third arena where God’s word resonates: the human heart: “Who can discern his (own) errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (:12-14). David is beautifully conscious of the motions of his own soul and how God is stirring things within it. He realizes God’s Spirit is at work and wants to receive the word there too.
David models for me the kind of life where God is always working, always speaking. A God-saturated world to explore with him at our right hand.
I love the psalms. They encourage, teach and challenge us. Thank you.
Funny, I just posted about Romans 1 and Psalm 19 this week as well. You’ve taken it a step further with this post, Brad. Great insight!