Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Psalm 19 - Prayer and Meditaionn

Psalm 19 - Prayer and Mediation

hyacinth bean

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 perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening 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.
Psalm 19

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David closes this beautiful psalm with these beautiful words. This is a very moving prayer from the heart of David. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.  Psalm 19:14 A literal translation of this text would read something like this: “Let what I speak and what my heart murmurs to itself be a delight to You, Lord.”

The word of ones mouth could easily just be words.  One can read, recite or say meaningless words. The words might even sound good to the listener. But to have any meaning they must come from the heart. A prayer of praise that does not come from the heart, is just empty, meaningless sound waves. These words of David came from his heart after meditation. This is how our prayers to God should be.  They can be after meditating on His Word, or His characteristics.  God is listening and God, unlike others you may speak to, knows your heart. You can pray softly, you can sing, you can cry, you can whisper, you can shout –– but the words from the mouth must originate in your heart.

The Hebrew word here for meditation is Higga´ion. The word here refers to the practice of reflection or contemplation. The verb "to meditate" is found mainly in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word means to murmur, moan, or sigh. This meditation is not to be confused with cultic or oriental practices of meditation. In those meditations one tries to empty their mind of all thoughts. The cultic meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. The cultic meditation usually involves rhythmic chants and offerings to appease the gods.  The meditation that David expresses here could be described as “waiting on God” and “thinking on His Word or His character.” This meditation is described in the activities of the blessed man - but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. Psalm 1:2

Be acceptable in your sight. The Hebrew word translated os acceptable is רָצוֹן rason. The word means delightful, good pleasure, will favor acceptance.  The word in this case, and in many others, indicates God’s acceptance of a sacrifice. David prays that while in God's presence, his words will be from his heart and that they will be words that please God.  David knows that God judges not only one’s actions and words but also the meditations of his heart.

O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.  Rock is the Hebrew צור sur.  This means a cliff, a rock, a boulder.  Figuratively it means a refuge, an edge.  When the word is used to describe God it refers to strength and protection. God is David's strong, sheltering rock.  God is also David's redeemer.
גָאַל gaal- go'el is the Hebrew word translated as redeemer.  Redeemer refers to the Oriental law of kinship.   The next of kin, which was describer in detail by the law, would be a redeemer.  The responsibility for a go'el fell first to someone’s brother, then uncle, cousin, and finally to the nearest living clan relative. Leviticus 25:48–49. It means to perform the part of near, or next.   To redeem is to act as a kinsman, an avenger, a deliverer. A redeemer would marry a brother's widow to provide a child for the brother. A redeemer is someone who will pay back.  A redeemer had the right to redeem individuals who had sold themselves into indentured servitude.  Leviticus 25:47–49

 In the Psalms, God is seen as a Redeemer on a more personal level. The metaphor here puts God in the role of a relative, a father, who protects members of his extended family in times of need and crisis.  God is the one who delivers or redeems the life of the psalmist.  Psalm 103:4  In the midst of the trials of Job, he clings to the hope of God's redemption.  Job 19:25  David said that God was his strength. God is his redeemer.

As Christians our Redeemer, God in Christ is the One who buys us back from sin, servitude, and shame.  As Christians we can look to God for our strength. We must proclaim that Christ is our rock (strength) and our redeemer.  As Christians we should be concerned that our words and thoughts should be acceptable our Lord Jesus Christ.  What a beautiful psalm this is.  God reveals Himself in His marvelous creation, God reveals Himself in his Word (The Bible).  God is Awesome!   We are sinners and God provided our redeem.   We should please Him with our words and heart.  We should praise His Glorious name.
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My words and thoughts and their acceptability to God caused me great pause. It is something that I have taken rather lightly.  If things go as I plan, I will continue that thought on future blogs, God willing.

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My wife and I have the joy of watching our granddaughter on some blessed days. She is now four years old. It seems that she has always liked to color.  You may have noticed that when children first start to color, they have two problems.  First they rarely choose the appropriate color for the right item they are coloring.  Secondly, they do not stay within the lines. Their boundary when they color is the entire page and it may also include the table on which the paper lies. This rarely results in a beautiful work of art, but it still goes on the refrigerator.  As the child grows and matures, the choices of the colors in more appropriate and the colors stay within the guidelines.  These pictures are much more satisfying, and are also displayed on the refrigerator.

God's children are quite similar. Our prayer life resembles the child learning to color. At first, we don’t know what to pray for nor do our prayers stay within the guidelines of His will. As we mature and continue praying, though, we learn to pray for the right things and stay within His will, resulting in a satisfying prayer life.

Adapted from Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Edited by Michael P. Green

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