Year B – Proper 19 – Psalm 19

1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament* proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice* goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens* he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
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 nothing is hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances 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 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent;*
do not let them 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 to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Summary—The first six verses exult in God’s disclosure of Himself in nature; the next five in God’s disclosure of Himself in Law; the final four offer back to this self-disclosed God a plea for moral rescue—the inevitable response of one who wonders at God’s moral majesty.  David admits that the heavens aren’t speaking verbally (v.3), but immediately clarifies that they might as well (v.4): so forcefully and inescapably do they mean that God is glorious, observers are without excuse (Rom. 1:18-20; 10:18).  But as David considers the sun, he’s reminded of its hot, exposing, penetrating rays: “nothing is hidden from its heat” (v.6).  Which is just what God’s Law is like, so he transitions to that.  Like the sun, God’s Law cuts through deceptive fog and exposes every moral nook and ethical cranny, and it does so with uncomfortable heat.  Yet David does not shirk from this; on the contrary, this process revives the soul and makes wise the simple (v.7), it rejoices the heart and enlightens the eyes (v.8).  Therefore, this Law is sweeter to David than honey (v.10).  But just as God’s glorious sky led to God’s glorious Law, God’s glorious Law now leads to David’s inglorious heart (11-14).  His only  hope is that God will save him, not mainly from sin’s consequences, but from sin itself (12-14).

Insight— How frequently do you look up?  How frequently do you lose yourself in the wonder of the clouds?  In the transcendence of the night sky?  You should let yourself more frequently.  A finite creature could never imagine infinity if it weren’t there—these things speak of a God worth wondering at and a country worth longing for.  You’re supposed to gaze; David did.  And David shows us what it looks like to gaze well: if we gaze in the way God means us to, our thoughts will turn to Him in His awesome perfections, and from there to His Law, and from there to our short-fallings, and from there to gospel hope.  So gaze and wonder and exult frequently; and, every so often, check back with Psalm 19 to see if you’re gazing well.

Child Catechism—
What does the sky say?
A:  God is glorious!

Discussion— Parents, if you’ve got decent weather and a clear sky, tonight, why not take the kids out and wonder together at God’s glory?

Prayer— O God, the heavens declare Your glory, and the sun is like Your Law.  By it, we are warned; falling short of it, we hope in your saving acts and gospel promises.  Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to You, O Lord, our Rock and Redeemer.  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline

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