Psalm 19 (NRSV)
God’s Glory in Creation
“The creation is quite like a spacious and splendid house, provided and filled with the most exquisite and the most abundant furnishings. Everything in it tells us of God.”
— John Calvin (1509-1564)
1The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Genesis 1:1 (KJV)
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
“How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory!
How plainly it shows what he has done!”
— Psalm 19:1, Today’s English Version
“At this latitude, I’m spinning 836 miles an hour round the earth’s axis; . . . In orbit around the sun I’m moving 64,800 miles an hour. The solar system as a whole, like a merry-go-round unhinged, spins, bobs, and blinks at the speed of 43,000 miles an hour along a course set east of Hercules. Someone has piped, and we are dancing a tarantella until the sweat pours . . . I close my eyes and I see stars, deep stars giving way to deeper stars, deeper stars bowing to deepest stars at the crown of an infinite cone.”
–Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
2Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
3There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
4yet 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,
5which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.
a poem by Joseph Addison, published in 1712
The spacious firmament on high,
with all the blue ethereal sky,
and spangled heavens, a shining frame,
their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun from day to day
does his Creator’s power display;
and publishes to every land
the work of an almighty hand.
Soon as the evening shades prevail,
the moon takes up the wondrous tale,
and nightly to the listening earth
repeats the story of her birth:
whilst all the stars that round her burn,
and all the planets in their turn,
confirm the tidings, as they roll
and spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though in solemn silence all
move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice nor sound
amid their radiant orbs be found?
In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
and utter forth a glorious voice;
for ever singing as they shine,
“The Hand that made us is divine.”
God’s Glory in the Law
7The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;
8the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes;
9the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
Psalm 119:103 (NIV)
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
11Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.
13Keep 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.
from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
Let the meditation of my heart be acceptable.
Some of us need to realize that we possess hurtful patterns of behavior that are deeply seared upon our souls and our psyches. Have you ever been guilty of using a person for your own ends without even knowing it? Have you ever taken advantage of people without realizing you were hurting them? Have you watched while people in powerful positions crushed those underneath them? Have you seen parents manipulate children and vice versa? Many times we act in our own self-interest without being aware that we are doing so.
The psalmist wrote about this long before any psychology class was taught or any theory of counselling was developed. If you begin to let God’s Spirit have his way in your life, you will find that he reveals to you your patterns of behavior and coping mechanisms that are sinful and harmful to other persons. We can pray along with the psalmist, “Lord, there are hidden sins in me that I don’t even know about. What do I do about them?” The psalmist prayed that God would hold him innocent until he became aware of his presumptuous sins and could fix them. He asked God to keep him from these sins committed in ignorance. Then he could sincerely pray the last verse of the psalm:
14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
HERE is “Psalm 19” by Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739). Played on the great organ at St. Bavo Cathedral in Holland by organist Diane Bish.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.