Thursday, May 23, 2013

Psalm 19 - The Greatest Psalm

sunset from Sanibel causway 2002

Psalm 19

The Witness of Creation and Scripture
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, 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 there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfectreviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is suremaking wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are rightrejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pureenlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the rules 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 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not 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 in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

C, S. Lewis wrote of Psalm 19, "I take this to be the greatest poem in the psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world."  We have looked at this wonderful psalm over the last several days.  We have seen how God reveals himself in His creation and in His law. The law of the Lord is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean and true.

Gods law is perfect. God is perfect so his law is perfect as well.  God's law is completely without error. God's Word is both the old Testament and the New Testament is perfect.  There is no contradiction or error in His Word. Following God's law will result in reviving or refreshing the soul.  Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters.  Proverbs 25:13

God's law is sure.  The Hebrew word used here is אָמַן aman.  This word means to build up or to support, to foster as a parent or a nurse.  The law of God is trustworthy.  The result of following the sure and trustworthy law is to make wise the simple. The Hebrew word for simple is פֶתִי pethiy. It means foolish, too open minded, easily seduced.  Following the word of God will make us stronger and wiser in God.  It will build up and strengthen our faith.  We will not be so easily swayed to the ways of the world.  God will teach us the correct way.  There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.  Proverbs 16:25

God's law is right.  The Hebrew word translated as right is יָשָׁר yasar.  It means righteous, straight, upright, correct, level, straightforward.   Following God's word will keep you an the straight path. The result of following the right law is rejoicing in the heart.  As sinful people we will turn to the wrong path.  Satan's way often seems far better, more fun and with quicker results. Satan promises a lot, but he only delivers death. Joy comes from following the law of God. God's law will brighten you heart, it will make you glad. As a child of God this joy is eternal. 

God's law is pure.  Pure is the  Hebrew word - בַר bar - it means choice, clean and pure. The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.  Psalm 12:6  Following the pure law will result in enlightening the eyes.   The word here is אוֹר or - it means  to make luminous, kindle, to give light.  It can refer to the break of day.  The law will make your eyes light up.  Following the pure law will result in that "lightbulb" going on in your brain.  You will see the truth. You will "get it," i.e. understand the truth and beauty of God.

God's law is clean.  The word here is טָהוֹר tahor.  It means clean in a physical, chemical, ceremonial, ethical or moral sense.  In the Old Testament we learn that a sacrifice had to be clean.  The animal that was to be sacrificed was to be spotless. One spot or blemish will make a sacrifice unclean and worthless as a sacrifice.  God's law is true.  The Hebrew word "true" here is word מִשְׁפָט mispat.  This word means: justice, regulation, prescription, judgment.   Righteous is the word צָדַק sadaq.  This means to cause to be right in a forensic sense.  Altogether is יַחַד yahad.  This means likewise, united together.  So God's law is true and righteous altogether.  God's true law demands justice.  God's clean, everlasting, righteous and true law has condemned all is fair and beautiful.  But humans are all sinners. This perfect law has pointed out our sins and condemned us.  Since we are all sinners, we all deserve our punishment in hell. 

The ceremonial law was done away with by Christ the Messiah.  But God's word does not change, God's clean law is enduring forever.  Jesus said, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my  words will not pass away.  Matthew 24:35  We are all sinners. We cannot meet the requirements of the law.  One blemish, one sin, will make us morally and ceremonially unclean.   That is why the unblemished Lamb of God, Jesus, sacrificed Himself for his children. Humans will break the beautiful precious law of God.  Breaking the law will bring the judgment of the everlasting law.  Only followers of Christ are washed clean from their sins in the blood of Christ.

Praise the Lord, Christ is risen from the dead, and His children have been redeemed.


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