Psalm 19 - The Heavens, the Law, and the Servant

Date: 9/16/2018
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Psalms
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

Psalms 19 (Complete Jewish Bible trans.) - The heavens declare the glory of God, the dome of the sky speaks the work of his hands. 3 Every day it utters speech, every night it reveals knowledge. 4 Without speech, without a word, without their voices being heard, 5 their line goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. In them he places a tent for the sun, 6 which comes out like a bridegroom from the bridal chamber, with delight like an athlete to run his race. 7 It rises at one side of the sky, circles around to the other side, and nothing escapes its heat. 8 The Torah of ADONAI [YHWH] is perfect, restoring the inner person. The instruction of ADONAI is sure, making wise the thoughtless. 9 The precepts of ADONAI are right, rejoicing the heart. The mitzvah of ADONAI is pure, enlightening the eyes. 10 The fear of ADONAI is clean, enduring forever. The rulings of ADONAI are true, they are righteous altogether, 11 more desirable than gold, than much fine gold, also sweeter than honey or drippings from the honeycomb. 12 Through them your servant is warned; in obeying them there is great reward. 13 Who can discern unintentional sins? Cleanse me from hidden faults. 14 Also keep your servant from presumptuous sins, so that they won’t control me. Then I will be blameless and free of great offense. 15 May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be acceptable in your presence, ADONAI, my Rock and Redeemer.

Three wonderful dimensions of God's revelation of Himself: His creation, His Logos, and how this works out in his servants.

The Glory of the YHWH Revealed in the Heavens (1-7) - In the first section of the Psalm, explains that the starry, night sky reveals the glory of YHWH (the Covenant Lord). “God not only shines, but also resounds in the heavens” (Calvin). Both day and night speak forth the glory of their Creator.  Night speaks through the myriad of stars and day speaks by the circuit of the sun.

Kant: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and reverence, the more often and more steadily one reflects on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”

Though the heavens do not sound audible words, still their “line” (musical string), or “voice/message” (kaw/kol, Rom. 10:18) goes out to the ends of creation. The heavens are like a tent for the sun. The sun is like a the bridegroom and a military hero or athlete. The sun runs across the sky and nothing escapes its heat. Natural revelation renders people without excuse in the unbelief (Rom. 1:19-21).
The Wisdom of the YHWH Revealed in the Word (8-11) - The section of the Psalm addresses the Word of the Covenant Lord. “The instruction of the LORD is all-encompassing [just as] the all-encompassing circuit of the sun, so v. 7a asserts that God’s torah is all-encompassing” (NIB).  Several terms for God’s Word are used: Torah (law), instruction, precepts, commandment (mitzvah), fear, and rulings. Torah is described in six adjectives along with the effects: 1. perfect, thus restorative, 2. sure, thus making wise, 3. right, thus rejoicing the heart, 4. pure, thus enlightening, 5. clean, thus enduring forever. 6. true, thus righteous altogether. They are desirous as gold and sweet as honey. Special revelation provides redemption and wisdom for sinful servants of God.

"Nature has a voice but it has no heart, and it offers no solution to man’s greatest problem, that of sin" (John Phillips).

The Word of the YHWH Revealed in His Servant (12-15) - The final section turns to the application of God’s revelation to His servant, in this case, David. Through the Word God’s servants are warned and through obedience there is great reward. In 19:13 David asks a question of self-examination: “Who can discern unintentional sins?” Petitions follow: “Cleanse me from hidden faults,” “keep your servant from presumptuous sins, so that they won’t control me.” This self-examination before the Lord’s Word results in the acclamations of the obedient servant of the Lord being “blameless and free of great offense.” The final verse is a useful prayer: “May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be acceptable in your presence, ADONAI, my Rock and Redeemer” (15).

“No prayer can be acceptable before God which is not offered in the strength of our Redeemer or Divine Kinsman, through Him who took our nature upon him, that he might redeem us unto God, and restore the long-lost inheritance” (Matthew Henry).



Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more