PSALMS | Soundtrack for our Souls | Summer 2021 Truth & Transcendence | Psalm 19
Topic: Old Testament Passage: Psalm 19
Christopher Rich – July 19, 2021
PSALMS | Soundtrack for our Souls | Summer 2021
Truth & Transcendence | Psalm 19
Introduction | Truth & Transcendence
Good Morning Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we continue our summer series Psalms: Soundtrack for our Souls.
The Psalms are a rich anthology to help us have a realistic and artistic voice for understanding the complex relationship between God and His People as we learn how to think, act, feel and relate to God. The collection is brought together for a purpose. For a people, both individual and corporately, to be able to navigate and make sense of the God, the world, their lives and hearts in a language that speaks deeply to the soul. The Psalms are not a systematic theology, and they are not a science text book about the natural world, but they teach doctrine and the give poetic voice to what is true about God, His creation and His people. Key truths of God’s character and nature include God as the Creator of everything, Redeemer of His people, one who sustains, provides, and protects in the face of trials and opposition. We sing to God as warrior, King, Father, teacher, and judge, but most importantly… Psalms are about Jesus - Jesus is clear in Luke 24 that all of the Law, prophets, psalms point to him and are about HIM. Specifically, we see God as the Creator of transcendent beauty and glory permeating everywhere. We see God as the ultimate arbiter of truth which produces transformation in the life of his people, and how His transcendence and truth should lead us to a place of self-reflection, humility, and reliance on the God of truth and transcendence who reveals Himself through the person and work of Jesus. In Psalm 19 we will see how God has chosen to disclose Himself to humanity in general and His people specifically. How do we know there is a God? How do we know about God? How do we have clarity about God’s will? How are we to respond to God? How are we transformed?
PART I |His Creation Declares | v1-6
Psalms 19:1-6 | The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Choir of Creation – “To the Choirmaster..” This song is intended to be sung corporately with a large group of voices combining in harmony to sing a song of God’s glory. This song is both theologically and poetically powerful. In this case the choir is going to be a small reflection of another choir. Every part of creation, all that we see and know about, is one voice combining with a multitude of others to sing a song of God’s glory to the world. How does God choose to reveal Himself? In part through creation. Everything in creation speaks to the glory of God. In this song the focus is on the heavens and skies (or expanse above in Hebrew) proclaiming and declaring what is true about God, namely His transcendence. Skies are transcendent and over all things the sky is over all humanity, crossing any man made or natural boarders, the sky covers land and sea. The sky produces amazing and terrifying beauty and power with amazing sunsets and ominous storm clouds it’s a canvas so grand it can always been seen by simply looking up or looking out. Day - Pours out speech, is like a bubbling spring that cannot be contained or obscured by the earth. Each day speaking illuminating all the other aspects of God’s creation (mountains, rivers, etc) and then as the movement of this grand opera shifts from day to night, the sun quieting the voices of another choir crescendo, as countless constellations of stars sing of reveals the knowledge that this earth is not all there is but that we are part of a vast universe. You think the world is gran and diverse? Have you considered a universe of possibility?
We have been fascinated and captivated by it for millennia, with th tower of Babel humanity united to try to touch the sky, climbing mountains to be on top of the world, the myth of Icarus “he has flown to close the sun”. Astrology, sun worship, and finding meaning and power in the phases of the moon are still prevalent. We dreamed of flight and as we’ve waded into space travel and images from the Hubble telescope came in we have begun to see how small our world is and by association how truly small we are. Deep in our souls when we see creation, we know there is a creator. This creator is good. This creator is personal. This creator is glorious. This creator is intentional (Handiwork). He’s not a haphazard, throwing things together but is a purposeful creator. Our wonder and awe of creation should lead us to greater worship of the creator, but instead it can lead to a disconnect where we think somehow transcendence and truth are in competition with one another rather than in harmony. The Crown Episode Moondust, about the lunar landing in 1969 explores the themes of faith, discontentment, and transcendence the Prince Philip at church says “It’s not a sermon. It’s a general anesthetic.” Later another character says, “500 million people getting from televisions what they used to get from the church: a sense of coming together, a sense of community, of awe, of wonder.” All creation exists to reveals the power, presence, and purpose of God for us to respond to His truth.
Romans 1:18-25 | 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
There is transcended truth about God found in visible creation (invisible attributes like power and divinity). The voice of God’s glory is heard everywhere, yet it doesn’t make a sound. Creation is part of God’s voice even with it doesn’t utter a sound it is singing of His glory! This is all seen as plan to everyone, yet in our foolishness we deny this truth, ignore the Creator, and get enamored with creation leading to darkened hearts dishonoring our bodies, while serving our individual lusts and worshipping what is less than fully God.
Truth and Justice Shines- Our hearts might be darkened but God’s light is undeterred. Sun personifies justice in the near east historically. It brought light and illuminated what was right and wrong in the world. Tent is like tabernacle, place of dwelling. This points to a place and perspective where truth, life, and justice dwell. We know that the earth revolves around the sun, but they didn’t. Ultimately it doesn’t matter. This is poetry not a science textbook. What it is describing is you’re looking for the source of light, life, heat, etc. and you think you’ve found it creation around you. Yes, creation and nature are the tangible means of provision, but they are not the ultimate source of provision. There is a source behind the source and that source is God. It doesn’t matter if you think the sun is on a track or not, it matters that there is one who created the sun for the purpose of blessing and life. The sun is not God, the sun is made by God. The sun rising and setting is a testament to metronome like consistent obedience to God in both it’s form and function.
“What though nor reveal voice nor sound Amid their radiant orbs be found; In reason’s ear they all rejoice, And utter forth a glorious voice, For ever singing as they shine, ‘The hand that made us is divine.’”
– Joseph Addison, English Poet 1712
Nothing Hidden - Sun is unrelenting glory as it runs with passion and purpose. Every sunrise and sunset is a triumphant musical sermon declaring the glory and intentionality of God. As the sun runs it’s course in the world emanating great heat, so does the glory of God. You might be able to obscure the light from the sun, but the heat is as unrelenting as it is undeniable. When it’s hot, there is nowhere to go, because everywhere you are it’s there. There is no limit to where the glory of God is revealed in creation. Like heat permeates even in the shade and darkness, the knowledge of God, the revelation of God in the world is unrelenting. You can pretend that God isn’t there, but you cannot deny His presence and power in the world He created.
God has revealed himself universally through the creation of the universe. Universal revelation begins to move to more specific revelation. “Ok, there is a God, but need greater clarity if I am going to be changed.”
PART II |His Commands Decree | v7-11
Psalm 19:7-11 | 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Clarity in Decrees - Creation declares God’s transcendence, but the clarity of God’s Decrees bring us transformation. It is a transformation we need and one which is overwhelmingly positive. One that is wholly positive. Physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics all reveal part of the nature of God and His creation. Creation declares an announcement there is a God, one who is powerful, glorious, and beauty. But an announcement alone can be information, (think birth announcement from distant friend or who won a cornhole championship) but information cannot lead to transformation unless it is instructional or actionable. We need both understand the transcendence of God’s great creation to know He’s a God worth listening too, and we need the Truth of God’s word to have great clarity in how we are formed and transformed to live a life responsive to God with awe and obedience.
“Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe… the starry heavens above and the moral law within” - Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher
Law (God’s comprehensive term of all God has said) = Perfect (blameless) = Revives the soul – So without the Law our soul would wither. Jesus says all the “law and prophets” can be summarized to Love God and Love People. This requires a little more detail than look at a sunset and figure it out. God has not left us alone to guess about how we are to live. He has given us His WORD, quenching our souls like living water in a dry and weary land as it moves us from withering and dry to revival, repentance, and true refreshment.
His Testimony (God’s Covenant Declarations) = Sure (confirmed and verified) = Makes the Simple (foolish) Wise. God promises have been confirmed and verified as He consistently follows through with what He has said. In foolishness we have exchanged the truth about God for lies and worshiped creation (including ourselves) believing this is a path to wisdom. When we rest in God’s promises we move from foolishness to wisdom.
His Precepts (God’s precision) = Correct (Right) = Rejoicing – God isn’t careless or incompetent to be God. He is a master craftsman, a skilled artist, and an eloquent author who has written a story of beautiful redemption without any plot holes or loose ends. We can trust His story will resolve well. This moves us from sadness as we are impacted by the seemingly senseless pain of a broken world to joy remembering no suffering is in vain.
His Commandments (God’s Authority) = Pure (True) = Enlightening our Vision – If our foolish hearts are darkened then we need light to see what is true and walk in the new life we have been called to. When God is our authority we cannot be. As we follow God’s lead were are moved from ignorance to illumination.
Fear (God’s Reverence) = Clean (Holy) = Enduring Forever – Worshiping God will never go out of style. The grass withers the flower fades but the word of our LORD endures forever. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Rejection of the Lord of life leads to destruction, reverence is the path to eternity.
His Rules (God’s just decrees) Justice = True (Reliable, Dependable) = Righteousness – While we see and experience wrong and injustice in lives we You can trust God’s Judgement. In all situations which God mediates and speaks into, He can and is reliable to ultimately bring full justice, either in the present or for eternity.
His Law is greater than all Treasure and any Pleasure – We crave when we are most unsatisfied. This is most evident when are souls are weary, when we are walking in foolishness, when our hearts are downcast, when our vision is obscured, and our strength is fading. We seek revival, wisdom, joy, illumination, and endurance through the pursuit of treasure and pleasure These are not bad things at all, but they are no sufficient to give us what we truly need to for transformation and flourishing. . If I had greater resources I would be wise and secure to endure. If I just experienced more pleasure, I wouldn’t have to feel sadness or be grieved by injustice. Instead, the call is to pursue obedience to and trust in God, with the assurance of great rewards including: victory, longevity, flourishing, legacy, and prosperity. But there is a problem, we cannot do it!
PART III |His Christ Delivers | v12-14
Psalm 19:12-14 | 12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
We don’t keep the law! – We don’t know how screwed up we are we are blind to our own sin and brokenness.
Hidden Faults – Not small as to be imperceptible but they are so common as to be unremarkable, it in our sin nature. In addition, there is Willful, intentional sins – This is the stuff we know is wrong but do it anyway. This is a cry out to God to do something we are simply not capable of. Sin is strong, our ability weak, but God is strong. God, on my own I am not even capable of understanding the depth of my errors, faults, and willful sins. For transformation and salvation, we’re going to need more that marveling at God’s creation and trying to keep God’s commandments. We are going to need to rely on Christ for Deliverance. It is Jesus who is the perfect embodiment of God’ Word, who empowered God’s Creation, and bring deliverance for our lives.
John 1:1-4 | In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. In Jesus, God has already provided the “acceptable” sacrifice of His Son on the cross making us innocent and blameless as we exchange our sin for His life, including sin we don’t even know about which God has paid for and forgiven us from. God’s forgiveness of our sin is greater that our awareness of our sin. Be shaped God’s revelation to humility and repentance. Resting in our Jesus our Rock and Redeemer. Rock is a place of strength and refuge. Redeemer is our champion, our Christ. In Him we are redeemed and declared innocent, Through the power of the Holy Spirit, He make us new, clean, and empowers us for greater obedience, and great worship. Romans 6:14 | For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. When we Trust Jesus!
More in PSALMS | Soundtrack for our Souls
August 29, 2021PSALMS | Soundtrack for our Souls | Path of Mercy | Psalm 25
August 15, 2021PSALMS | Soundtrack for our Souls | Fast from Fear – Feast on Grace | Psalm 34
August 8, 2021PSALMS | Soundtrack for our Souls | Summer 2021 | Jeff Potts - Hope Community | Psalm 32