Thursday, June 4, 2020

a study of the book of psalms: day 19

My friends,
Do you need healing this morning? Is your heart hurting and confused and angry at the state of our country? At the senseless loss of life? At the mistreatment of others and the destruction of property? Are you unsure how to respond, or should you even respond? Are you at a loss as to how to explain it all to your children or grandchildren? Do you have a friend who just needs to talk about it, but you feel like your head will explode if you hear any more? Or your heart will, if you feel any more? 

Friends, the answer is clear and it's in this very psalm. God works in this way, you know. He speaks to us when we open our hearts to him; when we are silent and listen long enough to hear his voice. He promises this. 

Open the Lord's TWO great masterpieces today, drink in his words and his love and his encouragement, and allow him to wash away your despair and your hopelessness. 

Because he will. 
xoxo

Creation & Scripture: God's great works
Psalm 19
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
(1)The heavens declare the glory of God; 
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
(2)Day after day they pour forth speech; 
night after night they reveal knowledge.
(3)They have no speech, they use no words; 
no sound is heard from them.
(4)Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, 
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
(5)It is like a bridge groom coming out of his chamber, 
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
(6)It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; 
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

(7)The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
(8)The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
(9)The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The 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.
(11)By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
(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.

(14)May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart 
be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my redeemer.

"I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world."
--CS. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

David is not talking about heaven in this poem; he's actually talking about the sky and the sun. David looked up to the sky and saw the handiwork of God, his Father.

And was blessed by it.

No one knows for certain at what point in David's life this was written, but Charles Spurgeon reminds us of this interesting piece, 

"In his earliest days the psalmist, while keeping his father's flock, had devoted himself to the study of God's two great books--nature and Scripture; and he had so thoroughly entered into the spirit of these two only volumes in his library that he was able with a devout criticism to compare and contrast them, magnifying the excellency of the Author as seen in both."

Here in the Pacific Northwest we look up to the sky, and on a nice day you will often hear, "the sun is out" or "the mountain is out." I realize this is not a thing in many parts of the world, but here we all understand this. We see the sun and the blue sky, feel the warmth of the sun, and we feel blessed.

However, can we see the handiwork of God on dark and gloomy days, as well? I'm actually having trouble with this one today, and the last few days come to think of it. 

David proclaims the sky and the sun are evidence of God. Do you believe this?

Do the day and the night sky speak to you? Do they reveal who God is to you?

Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 
V2 ESV

This is so beautiful. The day and the night sing the praises of God, the Creator. The Hebrew word used for "pours out" is something like a great fountain. The beauty of the sun and the clouds and the expanse of the sky is a great, gushing fountain proclaiming the mightiness of the Father. 

The night sky...where would mankind be without the night sky? The moon and the stars guide our lives and have throughout time. The night sky also reminds us of our smallness, right? We study the stars and the constellations; we long to understand them. 

"Is there something else out there?"

"We can't possibly be alone in this great unknowable expanse."

Even in David's time, they knew this truth:
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

In verses 7-9, the psalm shifts from the glory of God as revealed in His creation to the awesomeness of who He as is as revealed through scripture. 

"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.'"
--Charles Spurgeon

The law of the LORD is perfect...
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy...
The precepts of the LORD are right...
The commands of the LORD are radiant...
The fear of the LORD is pure...
The decrees of the LORD are firm...
Also, did you notice the shift in the Hebrew name of God? In this section, David is using the most holy of names, YHWH (Yahweh or Jehovah). 

David felt very strongly in the beauty and sanctity of the Word of God. But let's remember that David would have had only a portion of the Bible that we know today. 

David Guzik of Enduring Word says that, "David would have had the first five books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy), Joshua, Judges, a few Psalms; and perhaps Job and Ruth. We can only imagine what King David would have written about Isaiah or Hosea or the entire Psalter, much less any of the books of the New Testament. We can say with confidence that God's word is far more glorious than David knew!"

Spurgeon calls the portion of scripture that David had as compared to the whole that we have, "the darkest and most historical portion."

Interestingly, this psalm glorifies God in His awesome creation, then praises Jehovah in the holiness of His word, then asks for help as a lowly sinner, and ends with these glorious words...

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

Today, as uncertainty creeps around every corner, seek the beauty of God in His creation.

As fear of illness and unrest in our world threaten to suffocate us, look to the heavens to see the handiwork of God. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Nothing that is happening today, no worry of my heart, is new to Him.

As sadness burdens our souls at the injustice in our world and we do not know what to do or where to turn, open God's word. The answers are there. The hope is there. The healing is there. The ability to love others is there.

God has written two great masterpieces for you and for me. They both tell us of his great love for us. They remind us that we are never alone; that he goes before us. And they draw us into relationship with him...if we let them.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
--Jesus (Matthew 11:28)

Father, give us strength today. As this world seems to be falling around us, your words remain the same. As our country struggles in so many ways, your creation cries out to you, its creator. As we read from your two great masterpieces today, reveal your heart to us, give us direction and love for our neighbors and for those who are different from us in appearance...and in thought, which is often even harder for us sometimes. Help us to see others through your eyes. Heal our land of despair and illness, keep our loved ones healthy and safe, and strengthen your church. Amen.

HExoxo





 


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