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Psalm 19 sermon

Psalm 19

St Catherine’s, Eyton – 23rd August 2009


  • Favourite Psalm (v.1-4 anyway!), amazing poetry – One of the most poetic psalms

  • I’m in good company – CS Lewis’ favourite

    • The greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the word”

  • 3 distinct sections / voices – creation, law (Scripture), psalmist (David)

  • Some questions about the unity of the 2 halves

    • The style changes dramatically after verse 7

    • The name for God changes from “El” (God, creator of all) to “YHWH” (the LORD, the eternal self existent God)

    • the likelihood is that the first part was a fragment from an old pagan hymn which was taken and extended by the Psalmist (David)

Voice 1 – Creation (v1-6)

  • First voice is the voice of creation – declaring God’s glory

  • The purpose of creation is to praise God, day after day, night after night

    • So many ‘speaking’ words in this passage

    • The whole of creation – seen and unseen – is continually worshipping God and testifying to his majesty

    • Their words aren’t audible human words but everyone can understand them (v.3-4)

    • Can seem a strange concept but is similar to, e.g, Flashing blue lights on a vehicle – means “Get out of my way!” without having to use the words “get out of my way!

  • v.4b–6 talks about the Sun – joy at praising God

  • Every second, 700 billion tons of Hydrogen are burned up at 15,000,000°C, this has been happening for 4.6 billion years and will go on for another 5 billion years!

    • Every day it rises and sets, burning up over 60 quintillion (billion billion) tonnes of hydrogen in the process!

    • Nothing is hidden from it’s heat (come back to that later)

    • That is what God has asked it to do so it does it with joy

    • images of joy – bridegroom (Joel), strong man running (Usain Bolt)

  • We can fall into the trap of thinking that the universe is there for us, it’s not! It is there for God

  • Another trap is to think that creation itself is to be praised (old pagan hymn)

    • Creation is a sign to God, not God itself

  • Creation only gives us general knowledge about the creator, for more specific details about Him and our response to Him we need to turn to his revelation, his word.

Voice 2 – Law (v7-11)

  • The Psalmist’s thoughts now turn to the voice of the law with six parallel phrases describing 6 aspects of the Torah.

    • Law, Testimony, Precepts, Commandment, Fear, Ordinances

  • Their virtues

    • Perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, righteous, enduring forever

  • And their benefits

    • Reviving the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes

  • Conclusion is that the word of the Lord is ‘more to be desired’ than wealth or sustenance, in keeping them there is great reward!

  • Same trap as with creation – the Torah is a sign that points us to God, it is not God itself. It is to be desired but not worshipped.

    • The law “of the LORD” is perfect etc, it is only good because God has made it so.

Voice 3 – Psalmist (v12-14)

  • Once the psalmist has reflected on the wonder of God’s creation and the wonders of the law his thoughts turn to himself

  • After seeing God’s revelation through the creation and the law he realises his place as a “servant”, who belongs to and depends entirely upon the Lord, he has got his relationship with God very much in perspective!

    • he realises that the depth of his sin is even greater than he could ever know and that it is only by God’s grace that he could be called “blameless” and “innocent”.

    • The word for “hidden” faults is the same as the word in v6 – nothing is “hidden” from it’s heat, unique phrase to this psalm, a deliberate reminder of the fact that no sin is hidden from God.

  • He finishes with a prayer – v.14, which is all he can do!

Matthew 8:23-27

  • Why did I choose the Matthew reading?

  • This story contains all the elements of the psalm:

    • God’s power is clearly displayed in nature – the storm

    • God (Jesus) speaks specifically – “The commandment of the Lord is pure”

    • The disciples response is awe and wonder


  • how do we respond?

    • 3 challenges for you (and for me!)

  • 1 – How often do you let creation point you to God?

    • When you look up at the night sky do you think “wow the stars are amazing tonight” or “wow, God’s amazing tonight!

    • On top of a mountain – incredible view or incredible God?

    • See a flower – wonderful flower or wonderful God?

    • I know for certain that the stars, the mountains and the flowers are all “telling the glory of God!”

  • 2 – How often do you ask God to revive your soul, give you wisdom, fill your heart with joy or enlighten your eyes, without turning to the scriptures where God has promised to do all of the above?

  • 3 – When we’re amazed by the sheer number of stars in the sky and realise that the God who knows each one by name

    • Is the same God who chose to speak to us directly through the scriptures in order to draw us into a relationship with Him

    • And is the same God who sent his Son that we might be counted “blameless and innocent of great transgression (v.13)”,

    • what possible response could we ever have other than to bow down in awe and wonder and, with the psalmist, simply pray:

    • May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer”.

    • Amen!

One response »

  1. Great site…keep up the good work.


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