The Lord’s Perfect Revelation
We have no actual time frame when David penned this particular psalm. However, as we consider his life prior to being anointed as the next king by the prophet Samuel, it would not be a stretch to consider that he wrote this before his anointing. David, as the youngest of the sons of Jesse had the responsibility of shepherding his father’s sheep. This was a job that would take him away from home for long periods of time alone with just the sheep. It was during these times when he grew closer to the Lord through prayer and meditation on God’s word, many of his prayers would become psalms that he recorded with his pen and most likely, sang them to the Lord as he played his lute or harp. We can divide this psalm into three distinct parts. All of creation shows God’s glory Psalm 19:1-6. The word shows His grace and power, Psalm 19:7-11. And David prays for grace, Psalm 19:12-14. Praise and prayer are mingled, as David sings the work of God in the world without, he pleads for a work of grace within himself.
1. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.
We can picture David watching the grandeur of the sunrise or a sunset while he keeps watch over his flock. Communing with God, focusing on His power, wisdom, and goodness. Because we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) there is an innate desire within us to worship something that is greater than our self. Through the passage of time and the advancements of technology, man has filled his mind with many other things. Therefore, we have conveniently pushed God out of the picture because we have no time for Him. When is the last time you have left the world behind and truly sought after God, in His creation with no other distractions?
2. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.
The counter-changing of day and night is truly great proof of the power of God, and calls us to observe that. It is God who forms the light and creates darkness, setting the one against the other as seen in Isaiah 45:7. (I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.) As each day passes on, the knowledge of God is accumulating as time moves on. Each day has its own lesson in regard to the wisdom, the power, and the goodness of God, it’s up to us as individuals to learn from that as each day passes into the next one. There is a perpetual testimony that is given to the wisdom and power of the Great Creator.
3. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
Even though the earth is filled with people from diverse nations with different tongues, the heavens speak a universal language that is intelligible by all regardless of the tongue they speak. Even in the silence of the heavens, God’s glory is being shouted out; sadly most will plug their ears and minds to block out His voice.
4. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun.
The apostle Paul used this verse to show that the Jews have known the word of truth, but, having heard it, they refused to obey it, with the result that a door has been opened to the Gentiles to hear the gospel, Romans 10:18. But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
5. Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. 6. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Here David is describing the rising of the sun and the rotation of the Earth from the viewpoint of a man on Earth and is not teaching that the sun revolves around the Earth. By comparison, we use word like “sunrise” and “sunset” to describe the Earth’s rotation, when technically the sun does neither. We can also see a picture of Christ the bridegroom rejoicing over His people displayed in His entire splendor while looking down on all that is His, nothing hidden from Him.
In summation, we see in verses 1-6, God’s creation giving all glory unto Him. The world is like a school of divinity, and Christ, as the scripture tells us, is our doctor, instructing us by His works and words. This first section is like the introductory class 101 to seeing God. The next to follow in this Psalm is the advanced class, getting to know God. The Huguenot poet Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas (1544-1590) penned these words regarding how God reveals Himself to all men.
“ Therein our fingers feel, our nostrils smell,
Our palates taste his virtues that excel,
He shows Him to our eyes, talks to our ears,
In the ordered motions of the spangled spheres.”
7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8. The statutes 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, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.
At the beginning of this psalm the general revelation about God was introduced by using the nonspecific name for God (Hebrew ‘El, v. 1); but the specific revelation is marked by the revealed name of God (Hebrew Yahweh) translated in verses 7-9 six times as Lord. We also see a change of rhythm at this midway point in this psalm; the Word of God is being praised (Law). In the original text verses 7-9 have the same number of words in each clause.
The law of the Lord does not only suggest that it is speaking of the ten commandments or the moral law as seen in Romans 2:23-29. No, it means the whole word of God. That the “law of the Lord is perfect” is a reference to the absolute, complete, and entire trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures, which constitute the Bible. The Word of God is perfect in its accuracy and sure in it’s dependability.
There are two terms that are generally used to describe the above mentioned features of God’s Word: 1) Inerrant (perfect) means that, in the original copies of each manuscript written by each Bible book’s respective author, there was nothing mistaken or tinged with error. Satan, who despises God’s Word, has been casting doubt and trying to thwart it since the beginning. Yet, the excellence of the Holy Spirit’s protection of the Scriptures over the centuries has insured that the copies delivered into our hands from generations past are essentially the same. Even literary critics who claim no faith in the truth of the Bible attest to its being the most completely reliable of any book transmitted from antiquity, in terms of its actually remaining unchanged and dependably accurate. 2) Infallible refers to the fact that the Bible is unfailing as an absolutely trustworthy guide for our faith (belief in God) and practice (life and behavior). This is so because God is true (John 3:33; 17:3), because His Word reveals His truth (John 17:17), and because God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).
There is something else that we tend to forget as a people. There is power in the word of God. We read in the book of Genesis that with a Word God spoke all things into existence, that is an amazing display of power. In Matthew 14:28-29 Jesus is walking on the water during a storm as the disciples are being tossed about. When Peter calls out to Him to call him out on the water to come to Him, Jesus says only one word “come”. So, Peter stepped out of the boat and began to walk to Jesus because of the power of His Word!
As God’s people, in order to draw closer to Him we must embrace His Word; we should have an insatiable desire to ingest His Word on a daily basis, desiring it more than all the gold in the world or the best foods we could ever dine on. God’s Word warns us of the perils on not keeping it and also encourages us that if we do, there is a great reward! What a display of power and grace!
12. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. 13. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.
David realizes that any sin gone unchecked would lead to despair and disobedience. Therefore, he prays for Gods grace to protect him from any presumptuous attitudes.
What can we take away from Psalm 19? It is God’s desire that we as His people do not walk around powerless, so much so that He has given us His Word for protection and to empower us to live according to His directives.
Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.