Read: Psalm 19:1 – 6; Romans 1:18 – 23
Psalm 19 has three distinct parts: 1) vv. 1 – 6, the glory of God revealed in His creation; 2) vv. 7 – 11, the glory of God revealed in His the Law – that is, in His revealed Word; 3) vv. 12 – 14 the response required from us by God’s revelation in His creation and in His Word. The particular emphasis of vv. 1 – 6 is the universality of the witness of the heavens to the glory of God: “Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
Think About It: How do the discoveries of modern astronomy add to our appreciation of God’s power as displayed in the heavens? What are some of the things we can learn about God through His creation? What are the limits of general revelation—that is, what can’t we learn about God through observation of His creation? What are some things I have personally experienced of God through interaction with His creation?
Prayer: Thank God for His glory and majesty as revealed in the things He has made.
Read: Psalm 19:7 – 11; 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17
The second part of Psalm 19, vv. 7 – 11, deals with God’s revelation in His Word. The emphasis in Psalm 19 is on that particular portion of God’s revelation God had given to His people up to the time of David – the Law, contained in the five books of Moses. These verses exalt the excellence of God’s revelation in such a way that we also get a glimpse of the excellence of God, who gives the revelation.
Think About It: What words are used in vv. 7 – 11 to describe God’s word? How do these words reflect on God Himself? What impact does the Word of God have on those who read it, according to these verses? Do I value and highly desire the Word of God?
Prayer: Praise God that every word of His proves true.
Read: Psalm 19:12; Psalm 90:8; Numbers 32:23; 1 Corinthians 4:1 – 5; Ephesians 5:25 – 27
The third part of Psalm 19, vv. 12 – 13, deals with our response to God’s revelation in His creation and in His Word. Psalm 19:12 is a logical response to the thought of verse 11 that God’s Law provides both a warning (of punishment for disobedience) and the promise of great reward for obedience. This encouragement raises the question of whether or not there is compliance – have we earned reward or punishment? Particularly at issue are “hidden faults.” Hidden faults can be sins which we are aware of, but hide from others, but they might also include sins to which we are blind ourselves.
Think About It: Why do people try to hide their sins from others? Is hiding sins a successful strategy? What are some causes of blindness towards sin? Does lack of awareness about my sin mean I am not responsible for it? How can I be sensitive towards my spiritual blind spots?
Prayer: Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner. Please grant me a sensitive conscience and a repentant spirit.
Read: Psalm 19:13; Genesis 4:7; Numbers 15:30;
Psalm 19:13 warns against presumptuous sins. Some examples of presumptuous sins in Scripture include: 1) Numbers 14:44, when Israel presumed to be able to be victorious in battle after God had told them not to go into battle; 2) 1 Samuel 15:22 – 23, 13:11 – 14), when Saul presumed to offer sacrifices himself when Samuel’s arrival was delayed and presumptuously permitted people to keep the spoil; 3) Deuteronomy 17:12, when divinely appointed authority is ignored or disobeyed; 4) Deuteronomy 18:20, when someone falsely claims to speak for God.
Think About It: What are some contemporary examples of presumptuous sins that would parallel biblical examples? Have I been guilty of presumptuous sins? What do I need to do about it?
Prayer: Lord, be merciful to me a sinner; please keep me back from presumptuous sins.
Read: Psalm 19:13; Luke 12:47 – 48; Romans 6:12 – 14
Presumptuous sins (which involve an intentional, willful, self-justified decision in direct contradiction to God’s command) stand in direct contrast to unintentional sins (Leviticus 4:2), which are sins committed in ignorance, or without “malice aforethought,” with no attempt to call good evil, and evil good (Isaiah 5:20). Jesus differentiated between unintentional and presumptuous sins in Luke 12:47 – 48, saying that the person who sins willfully receives the greater punishment. But no differentiation is made between unintentional and presumptuous sins regarding the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ (Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18). Christ died for all types of sin, and all kinds of sinners; He bore the severest penalty for the least worthy of us. One troubling aspect of presumptuous sin suggested by Psalm 19:13 is its potential to have dominion over a person. The person who sins presumptuously has already re-defined their wrong actions as right, and thereby inoculated themselves against conviction of sin. Sin is thereby allowed to strengthen its hold on the person unhindered.
Think About It: What are some contemporary examples of how sin gains dominion in people’s lives? How can the reign of sin be broken in a person’s life, according to Romans 6:12 – 14? Have I let sin gain dominion in any area of my life? What do I need to do about it?
Prayer: Lord, I present myself to You, to be an instrument of righteousness in Your hands.
Read: Psalm 19:14; Matthew 12:33 – 37
David closes Psalm 19 with a prayer that the words of his mouth and the meditation of his heart be acceptable in God’s sight. Jesus taught that our words spring from our heart. Ttherefore, in considering how our words can be acceptable to God, we must first consider whether the thoughts of our heart are acceptable to God. Since our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), what hope do we have? We need a new heart, which is precisely what God does for us when we come to Christ (Ezekiel 36:26, 2 Corinthians 5:17). Then we need to keep that heart.
Think About It: Read 1 Corinthians 10:5, Colossians 3:16, and Philippians 4:8. What do these passages suggest that I should do in order to keep the thoughts of my heart acceptable to God? What should I avoid doing in order to keep wickedness out of my thoughts?
Prayer: May the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Read: Psalm 19:14; Psalm 141:3; James 3:5 – 6
David prays in Psalm 19:14 that the words of his mouth be acceptable to God. The battle to make our speech acceptable to God begins in our hearts, as we have already seen. We should also pay attention to what comes out of our mouth so that we can keep watch on how we are doing.
Think About It: Read Romans 12:14. What does this verse suggest about what my speech should sound like? Does cursing someone necessarily involve swearing? How can I bless people with my words? Read Ephesians 4:29 and 5:4, 19 – 20. What do these verses in Ephesians tell me I should avoid in my speech? What should I try to accomplish when I speak? How do I need to change my speech to conform to these verses? For example, what words and topics would I avoid, and what words and topics would I add?
Prayer: My the words of my mouth be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.