“My God shows Himself” (Psalm 19) (John MacDiarmid)

Sermon preached at PCF on 27 July 2014

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Reference: Psalm 19

Many worship songs can be about us rather than about God!

In fairness to modern hymn writers the same can sometimes be true of the Psalms. They often start by looking at their own situation and then moving into how god can help them. What is noticeable, and attractive about Psalm 19 is that it starts by looking at God, and then applies that to our own situation.

It is a good pattern for prayer, for preaching and for worship. If the focus of our attention is God, it will take our eyes off our own difficulties, and then they take on a different shape altogether.

The main point that this Psalm makes is that our God is a God who shows himself to his creatures, and then draws a response from them.

God shows himself…

1 …through his Creation

I imagine David was in the open air enjoying the beauty and the majesty of all he saw around him when he was inspired to write this Psalm.

He talks of creation itself speaking eloquently of the glory of God , using language that can be understood everywhere. The message is clear; the creation itself is enough to speak of the existence of God.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

David found it very hard  to understand how anyone can be an atheist. He would have said, as we would say, that the only possible way that you can not believe in a Creator God is by deliberately closing your mind to something which is obvious. Paul agrees with this when he says:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1;18-20)

What is Paul saying? The same as David is saying. The existence of God is obvious and can only be suppressed by wickedness.

David then goes onto talk about a specific example of  the creation that points to God as creator:

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The sun is so amazing that many have actually worshipped it. But we know that it was created by something infinitely more powerful.

What an amazing God. We need to take time to thank him for his great creation and the glory that it reveals.

2 …through His Word

Creation can give us so much. But it does not give us a moral code to live our lives, or tell us in detail about who God is and what he requires from us. So God has not left us without specific instruction

The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

In this section of the Psalm – sometimes given the title “the glories of God’s word” – we find for ourselves that God not only shows himself – he communicates with us. He has spoken, and continues to speak through His amazing word. Thank God for the Bible – the library of writings from God that tell us everything we need to know about Him and His will for us.

Consider how the word is described: “perfect..right..radiant..trustworthy..pure” :who would not  want to do everything they could to get this into their lives?

And if that is not enough encouragement…consider what it does for us:

“refreshing the soul….making wise the simple….giving joy to the heart….giving light to the eyes”

Who in their right minds would not make this their guidebook for the rest of their lives?

So what should our attitude to it be?

They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.”

David would rather have God’s word than great riches, and fine food. He valued it more he valued his money and looked forward to his intake of it more than he looked forward to his food.

And the benefits go on:

By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Who would not take up such a great opportunity?

3 …through His Son

We only mention this briefly because it is not in the text. But it is fair to mention it here because David did not have the completion of God’s revelation.

The writer to the Hebrews says:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,

It is the dear son of God who enables us to know most about God, and, then bringing it all together, Jesus endorsed every part of God’s word (he himself was the Word of God) and was the source of God’s creation.

Meditating on God and the glories of His Word draws two responses from David;

1. A desire to live a life to please God. David asks God to help him root out of his life everything that is displeasing to him

But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from wilful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.”

2. A desire to worship him with our hearts

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

The glory of God and exposure to His word should lead us into a time of worship, of thinking about God or confessing who he is and what he means to us and of verbally adoring Him.

John MacDiarmid

July 2014

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