Today’s reading contains a meditation, a blessing, and a prayer. There’s much to gain from a serious look at these psalms.
Psalm 19 is one of my favorite for a couple of reasons. First because contains a verse that is a prayer of mine — so much so that I always include it in the “signature” of much of my email correspondence. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD my rock and my Redeemer” (vs. 14). I certainly want to control my actions, too, but I figure (and I think the psalmist does, too) that if I can control my thoughts and words, the deeds will be a relative piece of cake. This is what Jesus and the New Testament teach, too. If the thoughts of our hearts can be correctly monitored and channeled, our deeds and words will certainly be less inclined to be unrighteous (Matt. 5). And if I can control my tongue (James 3:2), such control would surely be able to bridle in the actions of the rest of my members.
But vs. 14 is the end of a larger passage that is a grand sermon to consider. Think about the starry night sky, the regulation of the planets, the sun and moon, and all the wonder of the visible universe! Who guides and directs it? Whose laws do these great heavenly objects obey? And do they not compose a beautiful and exquisitely choreographed ballet that has caused mankind to wonder from the dawn of time! What if we humans were to obey the LORD’s spiritual laws the way that the heavens obey Him in His natural laws of physics? Would the result not be inexpressible beauty in our lives, in our families, in the church, in our friendships, and in society general? But God has allowed free will in humans and sadly the result has been chaos — like the planets leaving their orbits, like gravity failing from time to time as it wishes, or like the sun deciding to give only a half-effort to light and warm the earth. Our free will also allows us to seek and do God’s will. If God’s perfect will manages the universe so wisely and well, do we not think He could do just as well with our lives? That’s where the psalmist breaks into praise and prayer for his own life, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 20 contains a neat little blessing. Something that could be said at a graduation or a wedding, although it seems (at least to my mind) to be originally meant for a king (perhaps Solomon?). Regardless, it’s a great wish for anyone.
Psalm 21 seems definitely to be a psalm for a king, probably David himself (according to the traditional epigraph). Here’s a king who understands for sure that his strength is not in his own arm, but in the LORD. If only we could adopt David’s trust in the LORD — but sadly sometimes even David stumbled in this trust. It is the LORD who rescues from the hand of enemies, troubles, and fears. It is not our skills, our wisdom, our education, our technology, our weapons, our effort, our sincerity, our heritage, our diet, our looks, our achievements, our politics, our money, our insurance, our great cities, our back-up plans, or our barriers that rescue us. It will be God, period.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.