‘The Lord’s teachings are perfect.
They give strength to his people.
The Lord’s rules can be trusted.
They help even the foolish become wise.
The Lord’s laws are right.
They make people happy.
The Lord’s commands are good.
They show people the right way to live.’ – Psalm 19. 7-8From Martin Haywood:
Which is your favourite Psalm? C S Lewis was in no doubt about his choice when he said that Psalm 19 “is the greatest psalm in the psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in all the world!” I wonder if you would agree with him? Certainly, from our viewpoint it is one of the clearest statements in the Old Testament about how God revealed himself to people in the days before the time when Jesus, his son, came to earth in human form.
In the first 6 verses, the poet, King David, talks about the way in which God shows himself to us through creation – and most especially as we look at the sun, moon and stars out in the infinity of space and feel the heat of the sun as it shines down on us.
I have been so struck this year about the reliable certainty of the seasons as, even whilst being forced to keep indoors, I have been able to watch trees bud and come to leaf. Flowers have once more shot upwards from seeds buried and seemingly dead in the dust of the earth but now brought again to life by our Creator God. By just looking out of the window I have been able to glory in the blue skies and rejoice in the sunlight. In spite of all our ups and downs, God is constant and reveals himself to us anew every year as he sustains the earth and all that he created.
In the second part of the psalm – verses 7-10 – David rejoices that God teaches us so that “even the foolish become wise.” “His laws make people happy.” Indeed, the commandments of the Lord are “more precious than gold” and “sweeter than honey from the comb”. Why? Because by them we are warned: if we simply follow our own consciences then we will err and sin without even realising it. But if we stick to the law we will not be separated from God. (And today as Christians we are even more blessed, of course, as we have the gift of the Holy Spirit to live within us and “put the laws of God on our hearts and write them in our minds” [Hebrews 10; 16])
God reveals himself through nature, through the Bible and finally (verses 12-13) through personal revelation. David calls God his “rock” (an impregnable fortress in whom we can find refuge) as well as his “redeemer”. Not only does he release us from slavery and suffering but he releases us to freedom and joy.
I pray that this is your experience as it is mine.