Psalm 19: 1a, 2a, 7, 14 (NIV)
The heavens declare the glory of God; Day after day they pour forth speech; The Law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
This is one of three psalms that specifically celebrates the Torah, or God’s Law. The other two are Psalm 1 and Psalm 119. David seems to have spent a considerable amount of time pondering not only God’s creation – in this case the heavens above him – but God’s Law as well as his own place in this grand and eternal scheme of things. The remarkably beautiful poetry of this psalm also reveals just how moved he was by all of it, while remaining painfully aware of his own imperfections…specifically in light of the boundless glories of God, revealed in both His general revelation (the Heavens) as well as in His special revelation (the Word).
Staring into a fire. Gazing out over the sea. Looking into the expanse of a clear and expansive and star-filled night sky. They all seem to yell, “There is something rather than nothing!” Even in David’s limited understanding, he recognized the glory of God in the nighttime sky. How much more so with the aid of modern science. Earth’s position relative to the sun. The fact that the earth has a moon. The tilt of the planet on its axis. The placement of the other planets in our solar system. Our solar system’s placement in the Milky Way galaxy. The expansion rate of the universe itself. The deeper we look into space and into its design and functionality, the more it yells, “Designed,” which of course means it is yelling, “Designer!” They pour forth speech day after day, indeed.
David moves on from God’s general revelation to God’s special revelation – His Word. Spurgeon’s commentary on this psalm exhorts that, “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.’” Creation does indeed tell us much about God…but His Word tells us much more. God’s Word contains all that any of us need to live a life of fulfillment and purpose. Like the car owner’s manual, it shows us how to operate at maximum efficiency while avoiding major break-downs. Also, like the car owner’s manual, it tends to be left to gather dust, and our lives can certainly show the signs of that neglect. You may not have the advanced degrees awarded by man, but if you have knowledge of the Word of God, you have wisdom that no educational institution can provide…making wise, the simple.
All of this begs the question: What do we do with the Glories of God and the Declarations of His Word? Can we ever fully express and/or appreciate the majesty of His creation? Can we ever fully live up to the requirements of His Word? No, we cannot. But we must try. God’s Law requires perfection, but His Love provided grace. Like the psalmist, we petition God for His help in choosing our words, thoughts, and deeds while seeking to notice and appreciate all that He has created and provided for us to enjoy and ponder…and that will be pleasing in our Father’s sight.