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.
In them 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 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
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.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
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.
C. S. Lewis called Psalm 19, “the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world” (Reflections on the Psalms). It’s a simple and beautiful psalm that is broken into to two main parts, verses 1-6 and 7-14.
This section is about the praise of God in nature. Its beautiful poetry shows how all creation pours out its love for God. There’s an idea embedded in verse 2 that has formed the curiosity of the world that exists deep inside me. It’s that knowledge can be found throughout the universe. We can observe and discover the infinite God within creation. He’s given as a world to explore from the micro-universe to the macro, from quarks to clusters of galaxies. God has given us the mental faculties to learn the way in which he has ordered everything and the emotions to see the beauty in it. “The heavens declare the glory of God.”
Lewis rightly identifies verse 6 as the linchpin of the psalm. It acts as the transition from a meditation on creation to the law of the Lord. In the same way that the sun dominates the daytime sky, the Torah dominates human life. As theologian and biblical commentator Peter Craigie states,
There could be no life on this planet without the sun; there can be no true human life without the revealed word of God in the Torah.
These verses give 6 characteristics of the law and then illustrates how those characteristics are beneficial to and impact each of us.
- The law of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul
- It is the nourishment that our inner selves need
- The testimony of the Lord is sure and makes wise the simple
- It supplies wisdom and meaning to the ordinary
- The precepts of the Lord are right and make the heart rejoice
- It is the source of joy for our lives
- The commandment of the Lord is pure and enlightens the eyes
- It reveals truth and reality in our existence
- The fear of the Lord is clean and endures forever
- It is the everlasting foundation upon which our lives are built
- The rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether
- It provides, in its totality, a picture of righteousness
The psalmist continues by adding imagery to the value of the law comparing it to honey and to gold followed with a prayer that will also be ours.
Prayer and Reflection
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Amen.