Psalm 19

catseyenebula

We were struck by the power of God’s presence in the first six verses.  Especially because God could be seen in the things that are around everyone.  Information that is available to everyone.  We considered that God would come across as both immense but also caring by what you see in a typical day.  I wondered how much the city and urbanization shuts these kinds of things out?

Sometimes the immensity of the universe seems to be the message of science.  First that the universe is immense but but not infinite.  Also that the earth is not that unique and that there is the possibility of many life bearing planets in the universe.  So on the one hand we are made to feel small but on the other the inference of a divine presence is often denied.

These first six verses are usually called general revelation or a natural knowledge of God.  These verses tell us that without words anyone can know something about God or that a power greater than themselves exists in the universe.  What conclusions would people come to about God with only this information?

Verses 7 to 9 start to repeat different words for the teachings of God.  This reminded me of the kind of poetry you see in the psalms often, a repeated phrase that either duplicates or builds on the content of what came before.  The psalmists begins to talk about the rewards of following the precepts of God.  Lutheran likes to focus on the Gospel and minimize the effects of the Law but even Martin Luther describes three uses of the law: a mirror (which compares us to the requirements of the law so that we recognize our sin), the curb (which are the basic boundaries for a society to function based on the law) and the guide.  Does the guide of the law remind us that the boundaries that God has established revive us, provide a great reward, and are like the drippings of a honeycomb.  What is there in the limiting that also provides life and reward?

One of the group mentioned that drippings really are the best of the honey.  An experience everyone wished we could taste.

So this psalm moves from the general to the specific. The clues in the universe that God exists and the specific ways that God teaches about Himself and His hopes for our lives.  There is a sense of great joy that so often seems missing in our world.  People don’t like to be told what to do, they don’t like boundaries and rules but the opposite must be try without those boundaries the opposite happens-life is bitter, is kills and punishes us.  That is no alternative.  I pray for those who sense there is something more to this existence and sense in the immensity and beauty of the world that there is something behind it all.  I pray for their courage as well to seek and discover an answer and that they would meet the God of His Word.

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