Psalm 19 (a little late)

I just couldn’t get it together to post last week, and my excuses are likely similar to yours, but I’m not going to let them excuse me from writing. When I work mainly from a computer and/or driving, it’s difficult to motivate myself to once again open a laptop. So here I am, a little late in the posting, but posting nonetheless. Last week’s reflections from Lectio – on Psalm 19 – a commentary this time instead of a re-written prayer.

Psalm 19 begins with a recognition that God is greater than the entire world as we know it. Rather than focusing on the rocks crying out, or the creatures great and small praising, this Psalm is focused on the heavens, the skies, the unknown (at the time) that surrounds the entire world. The heavens, which engulf all of creation, declare the glory of God. The skies tell of the glory, the days and nights reveal God’s omnipotence.

I think this last week, I needed that reminder – stopping at the beginning of this Psalm just to note that God is bigger than all of this. That his word and creation, the glory of His name is beyond my comprehension and more important that each small moment that causes stress and worry – each argument, each discomfort.

It’s a funny Psalm because from this praise, the psalmist shifts to an acknowledgement/recognition sort of praise which praises not God as just God, but instead focuses in on the commands, the law, the statues, the precepts, the decrees, and the fear of the Lord. As a modern reader, this shift feels quick and unexpected – Glory to God: we are on board. Praise the Lord for his ruling: umm….

I’ve been mulling this over the last couple of weeks and just don’t know if I can express exactly how I’ve felt. So forgive my rambling, runaway, sentences, and also my broad, royal we, statements which may or may not resonate with you, dear reader.

We are a people that constantly question laws; that find rules obtrusive and oppressive; that abhor anything fearful, and statues and precepts seem patronizing. Yet, this psalmist praises these exact things, and not only praises them, but links them to good and virtuous and longed for states of being. The Lord’s laws are perfect, refreshing (vs. 7) – the statutes are trustworthy, making wise the simple (vs.7) – precepts are right, and give joy (vs 8), commands are radiant, giving light (vs.8), Fear of the Lord is pure and enduring (vs. 9), decrees are firm and righteous (vs. 10) – the Psalmist goes on to align these laws with Gold and Honey – valuable things – rewarding. When I read the Psalm through last week, I didn’t actually make the connections between the descriptions and their results until another friend pointed them out, and now I just can’t move beyond them. This way of looking at laws and commands and precepts and statutes, assumes not only the servant heart we’ve been created to emulate, but also assumes that the laws themselves are virtuous. Clearly, these are laws created before and beyond the heavens – laws we don’t quite understand in our culture of capitalism, of vice and opportunity outweighing virtue when given the choice – such an amazing thing to sit and think that following the rules could result in joy, in wisdom and refreshment, in light – in gold and honey.

The rest of the psalm goes on, and if you’re of or near my age, maybe you had the Acapella song stuck in your head for the rest of the week:

“They are more precious…

than gold….sweeter than the honey….”

How about you?

Did you write? Did you pray the psalms? Did you publish your thoughts? send me a link, friends and Grace and Peace to you all this week.

One thought on “Psalm 19 (a little late)

  1. Well, all the usual excuses here too, for not getting this written out. i did, however, read and contemplate Psalm 19 throughout the week. From my perspective, that coincided with the the High Holy Days of the Jewish calendar and made for meaningful meditation.

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