Focal Passage: Psalm 19:1-14
Immanuel Kant once wrote, “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and the more steadily we reflect on these: the starry heavens above and the moral law within.” The psalmist elucidates both points in this symphonic hymn of declaration and revelation. He moves from heaven’s “wordless” declaration of God’s glory (v. 1-6) to the clarity of the written word’s revelation of God’s grace (v. 7-10) and then personally responds in faith and humility (v. 11-14).
1) The wordless declaration of God’s glory. I find a breathtaking clarity in winter skies. The crispness of the air seems to purge away all unnatural impurities and effluence leaving only a crystal blue sky shouting out exuberant joy to its Creator. Each day irrepressibly bubbles over with expressions of praise to and reflections of God and His creative thoughts.
Hymnist Joseph Addison writes:
“What though nor real voice nor sound
Amid their radiant orbs be found;
In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
For ever singing as they shine,
‘The hand that made us is divine.’”
2) The written revelation of God’s grace. Today the need for rediscovering the filial joy and wonder of divine relationship is essential as time for personal prayer and study is tested by mounting cultural and economic challenges. Undaunted by his own disheartening trials, the psalmist points to six components of divine revelation or encounter: the law (Torah) or God’s revealed will, the testimony (statutes) or truths attested by God in covenant, His precepts and commandments by which God addresses us, holy reverence (fear) in response, and His ordinances (mishpat) or judgments. Arthur Weiser writes, “For the poet the law is the point at which an encounter takes place with the living God who reveals himself in the law…” Thus through encountering God and His word of revelation the believer is embraced, redeemed and sustained.
In the face of divine revelation and glorious majesty, the worshiper moves not by a false pride but prayerful humility recognizing his/her inadequacy and assured by faith that each prayer will be answered by his/her Redeemer’s forgiving and preserving grace — “O Lord, my rock and my redeemer!”