Note: During the final week of airtime for BullyBoss Radio (www.blogtalkradio.com/bullyboss) Apostle Dr. Rebecca Michael and I started discussing the issue of God’s creativity and beauty in nature – and how many people miss it in favor of institutionalization. I felt led to post this here, it is my commentary on Psalm 19 as appeared in a 3-part series in our Scripture Study column in Power For Today Magazine.
From Thy Word Is A Lamp: Studies In The Book of Psalms as appeared in Power For Today Magazine, November and December 2010 and January 2011. All rights reserved.
Many Christians fail to see God’s true power and voice through nature. We are so busy seeking God through supernatural signs (that are often powerful and wonderful, no doubt) that we miss God’s power and glory manifest all around us. The colors, beauty, fragrances, textures, and design of our world sings great praises unto a powerful Creator, One Whose attention to detail is precise and Who cares as much about beauty and aesthetic appeal as any designer would. It would benefit any Christian to spend time in nature, seeking God’s glory. We can see it in the skies, the stars, the seasons, the creatures, the seas and waterways, the day, and the night.
Nature so reflects the glory of God that those pagans greatly in touch with the land mistook the glory of God in nature for its own glory and began idolizing it. Even though they distorted the glory inherent in creation, they truly recognized something powerful in it. Instead of letting nature lead us into idolatry, we need to see it can lead us into a more powerful experience with the Lord, and we can truly acquire knowledge of Him through our observations of it. (verses 1-2)
No matter where we go in the world, God’s creation is still present. We may be in lands where we cannot understand the words of men, but we can always look around and see the language of God. God is speaking through His creation powerfully, calling all to know Him and come to a place of repentance. As a line, the works of God are set firm in their knowledge and purpose, unfixable. As mankind does its best to destroy what God has created through greed and sin, God’s line still remains firm, revealing Himself to us through His works.
It is most interesting the Word makes specific reference to establishing a tabernacle for the sun. Within the universe, everything sits, sets, and revolves around the sun. It is a gravitational force as well as one that dutifully works to keep life on earth alive. Without the warmth of the sun, the earth would enter an ice age. It brings with it the promise of a new day and a new life. It establishes us able to maintain our lives.
In the spiritual realm, God is our spiritual “sun.” He comes forth, giving us the ability to run the race with confidence. He preserves our live and gives us the promise of a new day and a new life. As we know the Lord teaches us in “types,” using things common to us to point to realities of Him, we can see all of nature operating as a type and shadow of Him and His realities, revealing unto us great things about His nature and love for us. (verses 3-5)
The Spirit of God fills the entire expanse of space, in heaven and in earth. There is no place that is without His presence, and there is no place where we cannot find Him. Even though diverse religions have attempted to create so-called sacred spaces where God’s presence exists, there is no need to do such a thing. Every space of land on God’s planet is sacred, reflecting the power and glory of God. Supernatural events can happen anywhere as long as God’s Spirit infuses the hearts and minds of His people. Where His people are, there is the ability to walk in God’s power. As we see God working in and through all things, we are able to delve more deeply and understand what it means to “walk with God.” We do not need to have great, ethereal spiritual experiences to walk with God. All we have to do is take a walk with Him in the cool of the day and hear God’s voice as He speaks to us. (verse 6)
The first half of Psalm 19 glorifies God in His natural creation. In understanding God speaks through creation, the Psalmist now turns to glorifying God in His law. Just as the Psalmist saw God in creation powerfully, so does the Psalmist recognize we need God’s guidance for life and right living. While nature was God’s first revelation of Himself, it is not His exclusive revelation.
The Law of God is frequently spoken of as perfection in the Scriptures. The Law of God was and is perfect because it is a divine representation of God’s complete nature. It shows forth justice, principle, character, love, consideration, holiness, and righteousness. Those who read God’s law or experience it in some way see its value and are drawn to it because it brings about conviction of sin. Staring face-to-face with a perfect law makes even the best person recognize the sinfulness and wrongdoing in their lives, and makes them realize they need a Savior. This process begins the conversion of the soul, by which one repents, changes their sinfulness, and joins the ways of the Lord.
The Psalmist also makes it clear that God’s Word is sure. His testimony of promises, salvation, history, events, and the whole encompassing of His word is good. When we understand His Word, His precepts, His law, and His testimony, we are made wise. It is not about how much education we have in the natural, but the amount of spiritual understanding we have about God and His ways, and how well we understand and execute those ways in our life. God’s precepts are not hard to understand, but do require application. (verse 7)
God’s precepts are never wrong. Doing what God asks and requires of us should bring us gladness, no matter how others respond to it. In obeying God, we are bringing about power and life to ourselves. It is essential we recognize God’s commandments as pure, bringing light and joy to the entire person. They are not given to us because God is mean, judgmental, or doesn’t desire us to enjoy life. Because God’s commandments are pure, they bring a perspective of light to the soul. They lead us unto right living, and the power of His true salvation. The commandments of God are a piece of eternity standing before our eyes, here and now, opening us up to the power and truth of eternal righteousness. (verse 8)
The word “fear” in this passage refers to holy and reverential awe, recognizing the greatness of God and standing in awe of His power. It is a clean, pure, honorable thing to do, with no sin or wrongdoing attached to it. There is no shame in fearing the Lord our God. It is a blessed thing to know who God is and love Him, honoring Him with our worship and obedience. Such fear and obedience endures always, into the end of time, because it is a piece of eternity. As we stand, recognizing God as we can, we are participants in eternal life.
Recognizing God’s judgments as true and righteous in their entirety is often another matter entirely for believers. It is very difficult for believers to accept God’s will, especially when it involves pain, suffering, or difficulty. We do not like the idea of justice equating to something that makes life harder for us. Because we are unable to see God’s “bigger picture” when we go through trials, we don’t understand the reasons behind what we go through. We also dislike it when God does not act as we would desire on our behalf. In the end, we trust God, and His judgments, and understand even though we don’t understand, in the picture of eternity, He is fully just, righteous, and true, even in His judgments. (verse 9)
Why are the precepts of God to be desired more than gold? Most of the people in this world would consider nothing more precious than gold. Gold is the most precious metal, highly sought, and sold for a high price. It represents worldly assessments of high values and high purpose in trading. It is a sign of power. Just as with all things temporal, the value of gold rises and falls. It changes with times and eras of fads and financial stabilities. It also has the potential to be bought and sold, meaning an individual has the potential to eventually wind up without gold or finances as its security backing. Using gold is a sign of security in this world’s system. While everyone needs money to survive, it should never be where our security lies.
The precepts of God are more desirable than gold because through those precepts come wisdom. God’s precepts are eternal. We can never use them up or find them inapplicable to a certain situation. We can never run out of His wisdom applied to a situation. God’s precepts do not rely on economic circumstances and are useful despite economic downfalls. Through God’s Word applied, we can find ourselves prepared for everything that will come along, both the good and the bad, in the entire stretch of our lives.
The Word is also spoken of as being sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb. In Biblical times, honey was used as a primary sweetener. To compare God’s Word to honey was to say it brought a sweetness, a blessing, something that was pleasant, to one’s life. It was not bitter, indicating repulsion and gall, but true sweetness. This revelation makes me wonder about so many who totally and completely distort God’s Word to make it sound totally unappealing. They truly fear the sweetness, pleasantness, and blessing of obedience to God out of fear of being controlled. They would rather live controlled by greed, gold, and gall than enter God’s place of true freedom. (verse 10)
God’s Word is not haphazard. It serves to us as a warning. We learn what happens when we keep God’s precepts, and what happens when we do not. In God’s love and mercy He has given us the ability to learn right from wrong and laid everything out for us, crystal clear. The Psalmist reminds us there is great reward in heeding God’s warnings, and obeying His precepts.
We also see the humility of the Psalmist, which every one of us should seek to aspire to. We need to ask God for revelation of our own sins. We need to never presume we are more than we are, because it is God through Christ that makes us who we are. Through God’s transformation in our lives, we have the ability to be upright. Let us keep a watch, that we may keep ourselves from error! (verses 11-13)
It is no accident Psalm 19 ends with a passage seeking God’s acceptance. We have seen and examined God’s natural law, and God’s written law. Both are seen to be perfect, beneficial, and a reflection of God’s very nature. They sing His praise and herald His glory and grace. It should be the desire of every believer, every sincere individual who adheres to God’s precepts, to align their words and thoughts unto God. We should all seek and hope what we say, think, and do is acceptable to God. That is so key to obedience. As we see God, our Creator, Redeemer, Strength, and yes, even our Father, we will desire to be conformed into the image of His likeness and will. (verse 14)
(C) 2010, 2011 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.