God’s Glory in Skies and Scripture
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;And the expanse [of heaven] is declaring the work of His hands. Day after day pours forth speech,And night after night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there [spoken] words [from the stars];Their voice is not heard. Yet their voice [in quiet evidence] has gone out through all the earth,Their words to the end of the world.In them and in the heavens He has made a tent for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. The sun’s rising is from one end of the heavens,And its circuit to the other end of them;And there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect (flawless), restoring and refreshing the soul;The statutes of the Lord are reliable and trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart;The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;The judgments of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned [reminded, illuminated, and instructed];In keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors or omissions? Acquit me of hidden (unconscious, unintended) faults. Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous (deliberate, willful) sins;Let them not rule and have control over me.Then I will be blameless (complete),And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heartBe acceptable and pleasing in Your sight,O Lord, my [firm, immovable] rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19: 1-14
Well-known author C.S. Lewis wrote of this psalm, “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.”
The psalm invites us to extol God for making the heavens and giving us the Bible. The skies are His nonverbal declaration of awesome creative power; the Scriptures reveal His perfect will for our lives.
As the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome sets forth the unmatched skill of Michelangelo, even more so do the heavens “narrate” the glory of God. God’s existence may be known through His masterful artistry- the creation of space.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning said it well: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush aflame with God; but only those who see take off their shoes. The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.”
After contemplating the heavens, David bids us to consider the Scriptures. As the sun lights our outer world God’s Word illumines our inner life. The Bible is no less a marvel of divine creation than the majestic order of the heavenly bodies. Charles Spurgeon well summarized this truth: “He is wisest who reads both the world-book and the Word-book as two volumes of the same work and feels concerning them, “My Father wrote them both.”
Take time to develop the regular daily practice of taking God’s Word into your heart. You will find, along with David, the Bible produces these consequences in your life.
In Psalm 19, David gives us five things that God’s Word provides for us. The five are the essentials that everyone would do well to live by, especially Christians. Our current worldly environment has called into question every human-led institution. One only needs to scan the news to discover this truth. Governments and their leaders at every level, corporations and their leaders at every level, justice and social systems and their leaders at every level, and the church universal and its leaders at every level are no longer trusted to be honorable or truthful or to place the well-being of those they serve above themselves and their self-serving agendas. Mistrust has even found its way into the family unit with the rise of infidelity, and child and spouse abuse. Where, we wonder, can we find something or someone to trust. As David writes Psalm 19, he has experienced betrayal, disloyalty, and broken promises.
In the seventh verse he writes, The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”
George Wood says, “Since God’s Word is perfect and without flaw, it is sufficient to meet all my life needs. Many times hardship and difficulty crush against me and I feel faint and weak. But God speaks to me in the Bible and revives my life by restoring vigor and vitality. His Word provides inner food without which life cannot be fully lived.”
Jesus told us two important things about the Word of God. Listen to His answer when the devil met Him in the wilderness:
But Jesus replied, “It is written forever remains written, ‘.’”
“Heaven and earth [as now known] will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”
We may not be able to trust much in the things of this world but one thing’s for sure, we can trust in God and His Word. Outside of His Word-His promises- we have nothing to trust for our future. If God’s Word isn’t without flaw then our hope for eternity hangs in the balance and we have no sure foundation for life.
There are times in life when we can’t see our way clear. Airplane pilots train extensively to fly by their instruments when they are flying in the clouds. I’m told that on such occasions without instruments the pilot can become quickly disoriented and up seems down and down seems up. We’re they to fly by feeling, they would no doubt crash. I read recently of a diver who was so deep that nothing was visible. Their instruments went out and they didn’t know which way to swim to get to the surface. Thankfully they noticed the bubbles from their breathing and followed them. The diver said there were moments when he felt like he was swimming sideways but he knew bubbles always went up, so he overrode his feelings and trusted the bubbles. There will be times in life that if you trust your feelings, you will find yourself going the wrong way. You need an instrument, a bubble, something to guide you. George Wood says, “The Bible is my trustworthy guide. I must navigate my life by its directions on who God is, who I am, and how I may walk with Him. I reject my own wisdom to gain His. He helps me see things as they really are.”
In the eighth verse, David writes: “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”
We must believe, accept, and apply the truth that God’s precepts are right and they alone map out a straight path of spirituality and morality. Spirituality and morality are the inseparable twins. We can’t possess the one without the other. In a word, we will never be spiritual while not practicing morality and we will never be moral without being spiritual- living as directed by the Holy Spirit. They show us the way to true fulfillment. George Wood says, “The Bible takes me beyond superficial human happiness into a deeper realm where a clear conscience, a clean heart, and the presence of Jesus bring lasting joy.”
In the ninth verse, David writes: “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.”
Light always dispels darkness. As a matter of fact, that’s the only way darkness is dispelled. The Word of God shines the light upon my inner world causing me to see what before was hidden. Remember the day that the Holy Spirit shined the light on you and you saw yourself in your sins? Remember how hideous that looked? Now remember how He also showed you Christ and made known to you His love. George Wood says, “As I admit the light, the darkness of ignorance, rebellion, doubt, and disobedience flees away. I gain a new appreciation of the difference between momentary pleasure and eternal satisfaction.”
In the tenth to the fourteenth verses, David tells us that left to ourselves we will develop our own sense of values, of right and wrong, and miss Gods way completely. The Word of God creates a hunger a hunger to be inwardly healthy and a desire to open my heart to the Holy Spirit so He can develop in me the character of Christ.
George Wood says, “I can never know God apart from the Bible; therefore the words in it are more valuable than any possession and taste better than any food. God is honest with me to tell me when I’m doing wrong, and His Word creates in me a desire to be like Jesus who had no hidden faults or willful sins, who had no bondage in His life because He lived under the Father’s rule, and whose ways were blameless and innocent from any big or little wrong.”
David concludes the psalm with very familiar words that ought to express the desire of every Christian: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
May this become our desire as well.
Five things Psalm 19 tells us about the Word of God: It revives, it provides wisdom, it gives joy, it brings clarity, and it builds godly character. May it have its work in us daily.
Dr. John Thompson