Week 1: Psalm 19 (Ken)

Psalms for All Seasons describes Psalm 19 as follows: "Psalm 19 is a poetic masterpiece that celebrates God's mighty creation (vv.1-6) and life-giving law (vv. 7-11) as the basis for a humble and faithful piety (vv. 12-14). It celebrates both modes of God's revelation -- through creation and through the written word -- and describes the fitting responses to this two-fold gift...."

Let's read the Psalm one more time:

Psalm 19

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 bridegroom 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.

Here's a little of what John Calvin writes about this Psalm:

"... this psalm consists of two parts, in the first of which David celebrates the glory of God as manifested in his works; and, in the other, exalts and magnifies the knowledge of God which shines forth more clearly in his word. He only makes mention of the heavens; but, under this part of creation, which is the noblest, and the excellency of which is more conspicuous, he doubtless includes by synecdoche the whole fabric of the world. ..."

A footnote in Calvin's commentary on this Psalm states, "Dr Geddes has remarked, in reference to this psalm, that “no poem ever contained a finer argument against Atheism, nor one better expressed.”

Discussion

The psalm ends with these words: "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Keeping this verse in mind, consider sharing with this group a brief reflection about one of the following personal experiences:

How has experiencing God's creation strengthened your faith?

How has God's Word brought comfort to your soul?

How has this specific Psalm (19) been meaningful to you in the past?

Post script

A new comment has been added by Cory Howell to this thread in group Book of Psalm Study Group: The Voice: Psalm 19 Being a collector of Bibles, I often like to look at various versions, to see the different ways translators can approach the text. For Psalm 19, I think this rendering from The Voice is particularly well done:

1 The celestial realms announce God’s glory; the skies testify of His hands’ great work. 2 Each day pours out more of their sayings; each night, more to hear and more to learn. 3 Inaudible words are their manner of speech, and silence, their means to convey. 4 Yet from here to the ends of the earth, their voices[a] have gone out; the whole world can hear what they say.[b] God stretched out in these heavens a tent for the sun, 5 And the sun is like a groom who, after leaving his room, arrives at the wedding in splendor; He is the strong runner who, favored to win in his race, is eager to face his challenge. 6 He rises at one end of the skies and runs in an arc overhead; nothing can hide from his heat, from the swelter of his daily tread. 7 The Eternal’s law is perfect, turning lives around. His words are reliable and true, instilling wisdom to open minds. 8 The Eternal’s directions are correct, giving satisfaction to the heart. God’s commandments are clear, lending clarity to the eyes. 9 The awe of the Eternal is clean, sustaining for all of eternity. The Eternal’s decisions are sound; they are right through and through. 10 They are worth more than gold— even more than abundant, pure gold. They are sweeter to the tongue than honey or the drippings of the honeycomb. 11 In addition to all that has been said, Your servant will find, hidden in Your commandments, both a strong warning and a great reward for keeping them. 12 Who could possibly know all that he has done wrong? Forgive my hidden and unknown faults. 13 As I am Your servant, protect me from my bent toward pride, and keep sin from ruling my life. If You do this, I will be without blame, innocent of the great breach. 14 May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. (from The Voice, available at www.biblegateway.com)