Summary: What fulfills your life? In this study we look at some reasons that God should be the one who brings you satisfaction, joy, answers, and rescue.
Psalm 19 is one of the most beautiful and most famous of the psalms. Most likely you are familiar with at least some of the verses in this psalm. It starts out as a meditation on how God speaks clearly from creation, moves into a description of how clearly God speaks from His Word and then ends with David thinking about how he has not followed God’s Word, but desires to be in sync with his creator. This psalm points out two things that are a witness for the existence and character of God: His creation, and His Word. We move from a general revelation about God, to a specific revelation about His character.
1 – 6
“Heavens” and “sky” are two different Hebrew words but they essentially mean the same thing—the arch of the sky above. What David is saying here is that without using literal words (verse 3) the creation speaks loudly and constantly (“pours out”) the glory and works of God.
Paul echoes this idea in Romans 1:19-20 “Since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 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.”
Before I had a relationship with God I was what you might call a philosophical naturalist. I would only believe that which I could see and make sense of. I used to picture the planets circling the sun and thought that it was all a part of a natural order, an order that came about essentially by chance. Carl Sagan once said “The cosmos is all that there is, all that there ever has been, and ever shall be.” Clearly he is mocking Jesus Christ who “is, was, and is to come, the Almighty”. But when I let the incredible beauty, complexity, and immensity of creation really hit me, I realized that there is nothing “by chance” about it. The cosmos is not there is, there is a creator behind it all. Just because you can’t explain something in scientific terms doesn’t mean it hasn’t been created by God.
In verse 4 he describes the sun as having the brightness of a new husband after his first night with his bride. Then he describes the feeling as that of a runner on a race course. These two ideas suggest youthful strength. The fact that nothing can hide from the heat of the sun suggests that it is the most powerful of all the signs of God’s creation.
Now David moves to wonderful exaltation of the actual words of God, spoken through the Scriptures.
7 – 11
David uses six descriptions of God’s word and their effect on the human heart.
“Instruction” is the word Torah, which represents the Scriptures—the books of Moses. “Perfect” means complete. “Renewing” is the Hebrew word “to return to the starting point.” God’s Word strips away all the manmade philosophy and religious thought and shows us the character of God and the unvarnished character of man.
“Testimony” is “witness”, “trustworthy” or “firm” – providing wisdom to those who “are seducible” ie: able to be moved to another opinion.
“Precepts” means “appointed by God” and is the Law, “right” means “straight.” “Making glad the heart” is a good translation.
“Command” is literally that, and refers to the Law again. “Radiant” can also mean “beloved.” “Enlightening” means “to illumine like the dawn.”
Verse 9 basically says the reverent awe or fear of God will stand forever.
“Ordinances” can mean “verdict”. “Reliable” means “stable” and “righteous” means “to be right”.
God’s Word brings us back to how we should be thinking, resonates with us that this is truly the right way, the stable way, the enduring way.
In verse 10: both honey and gold where precious commodities in David’s day, but God’s Word is more valuable than either of them. In fact, all that we hold precious on this earth will fade but God’s Word will never fade away!
We are indeed warned by God’s Word, but we are also encouraged by sticking close to God in His Word—the rewards are so much greater then honey or gold—they are God Himself!
So as David is reflecting how wonderful and pure God’s Word is, basically a statement of His character, he starts thinking of how unstable he is in obeying that Word.
12 – 13
Three things in mind here: David first realizes that even if outwardly he feels like he is obeying God, he knows that he probably violates God’s character on a regular basis and isn’t even aware of it. We all have “hidden faults”— David’s descendant, Jesus Christ, bore the penalty for all those faults we could never see. But He also bore all the blatant things we do—those things that are well aware of but seem to “rule” over us anyway.