Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God

1The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Sitting on the mountain ledge, staring out into the lake below  me, I could feel the heavens declaring the glory of God.

I was at a place called Lake of the Clouds in the early morning. The sun had been rising from above the mountain and was shining brightly on the lake. At that moment, I was going over different Psalms in my Bible, and the first verse of Psalm 19 caught me.  I felt a connection to the author of this Psalm, which theologians attribute it to David.

4b  In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
    It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

I imagined that he had also been sitting somewhere beautiful, thousands of years ago, looking at the same sun that I was looking at. He also felt the heavens declaring the glory of God.

As he witnesses the sunrise, his thoughts went to the nature of God.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,

giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9a The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.

When I first read this Psalm, years ago, I thought it took an odd turn. However, as I sat there I felt like I understood. When you are looking at the glory of God, you cannot help but think how awesome He is—how amazing His nature, His law and His commands are.  After all, it was He who made the laws of nature, it was He who commanded the sun to come up every day. I also came to understand this verse:

9a The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.

The word fear in Hebrew has a  different connotations than in English. Fear in the Old Testament is geared more towards respect and awe of His grandness. It is also to understand that God is so much mighty than this world. The troubles of this world are no threat to our mighty God.

I came to a place of fear and awe at the mighty power of our God, and so understood the next verses:

9bThe decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb

Everything about the Lord is righteous and so His decrees are much more precious than gold and much more satisfying than honey (after all, He created those too!)

His decrees give us a perspective of how broken we are and how much we need Him.

12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

Only He can help us discern our faults and keep us from our own brokenness.  He is the only one that can make us blameless, thanks to the blood of Christ.

Sitting at that moment, I understood what David meant, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had. And so prayed the same prayer that he wrote thousands of years ago.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

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