By Kaaren Craig
Consider Psalm 19. The heavens declare the glory of God.
Psalm 19 takes the one who is watching or listening from the macro to the micro, from thinking about the expanse of the entire universe which is God’s creation to the words one speaks and the meditation of one’s heart. Another way to look at this lovely psalm is global thinking (the big picture) to sequential steps (what to do about it). Both are needed.
Today the problem many are dealing with is how to go from what is outside the home, community, social and work relationships (macro), to isolation with little community interaction (micro). Our social lives have been disrupted causing few social contacts and limited space in which to live. Zoom meetings are a replacement but are not the same thing as meeting face to face.
The shepherd boy, David, spent much of his time outdoors by himself under the canopy of constellations, daily experiencing the rising and setting of the sun and the constant bleating of sheep. (That is not community interaction, but fortunately his isolation allowed him to give us insightful advice).
This forced shutdown has altered lives in countless ways. The question we must answer is this. “How do we deal with it daily?” Psalm 19, the advice in David’s journal, offers us some answers.
The Big Picture: Global thinking
- Psalm 19:1
The rising of the sun is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them,
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.Psalm 19:6
Look up—recognizing the glory of God through His creation, the beauty and expanse of the heavens, will bring awe. The stars at night and the clouds by day are beautiful. Trust—through the constancy of the rising and setting of the sun that can be predicted to the minute of rising and setting. The light and warmth of the sun goes everywhere. Even through the night, the sun’s radiance produces heat. Is God, who is the Supreme ruler over all His Creation, still on His Throne? When we believe that is true, then God shows us by the unchangeable rhythm of nature how the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. That is visual affirmation.
Taking Steps: Sequential thinking
- Ps. 19:7-11
- The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring 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 judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. 10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.
David gives us some answers. God’s instructions through the Torah/Scripture speak directly to reviving our souls, giving us wisdom, bringing joy to our hearts, insights for living (in isolation too), reverence for Him (trust) and insights into His laws. God’s instructions that warn and reward are richer than gold and sweeter than honey.
- Ps. 19: 12-14
Now that we get a peek at who God is, what He has done, and how to live, what are we to do? Specific instructions:
- Ask God to clean up my hidden faults. (Isolation tends to reveal/magnify thoughts we are all good at stuffing). All of life’s distractions have been removed and we are alone 24/7 with ourselves, except now we are hidden away with God.
- Ask God to help me get away from deliberate and controlling sin.
- The goal or answer to isolation: May my words be pleasing and my heart meditations be pleasing to God. We must use these times in the wilderness for maturing.
- All of Psalm 19
God still speaks through His creation, not necessarily through audible words, but in creation (visual affirmation).
God also communicates with us through words. He speaks through His instructions (Torah, Scripture) on how to live: anytime, anywhere, any place, with others or alone.
Now we must also communicate with God. The shepherd boy, David, turned his focus on God, asking God to help him speak words pleasing to YHWH, his strength (rock) and his redeemer. Just think of David alone with the sheep and how he talks to God.
This is the challenge to those of us living in isolation. We did not choose to be isolated, but it can be a time of increased communication with our words to God. That is global thinking—the Big Picture (the heavens declare the glory of God) melded with sequential thinking—daily (how is God speaking to me through His Word?). In Job 38:1-41:34, God elucidates who He is and what He does (verbal or spoken affirmation). No wonder Psalm 19 ends with these words: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my strength (rock) and my redeemer.”
Psalm 19 (KJV)
To the Chief Musician, A Psalm of David. (God’s Word Is Revealed in Creation.)
1The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.
2Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge.
3There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber and rejoices as a strong man to run a race.
6Its going forth is from the end of the heaven, and its circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12Who can understand his errors? cleanse me from secret faults.
13Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Please give us your thoughts on this article!
- Did you agree?
- Did you disagree?
- Do you have something to add?
Do you have a personal experience you would like to share?
Kaaren Craig is a BibleInteract board member and loves exploring the depth of Scripture.