A Psalm for the New Year, Part 1

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
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,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
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.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
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.

– Psalm 19:1-11

The Psalms have always been very special to me.  Although I would not venture a comparison in any other way, I do think that David and I were somewhat wired the same way.  So often he says things exactly the way I would say them or deals with issues that are on the front burner of my mind.  I just finished reading – very slowly and meditatively – through the Psalms (and I’m considering doing so again very soon).  One Psalm stood out as an ideal one for the New Year – Psalm 19.  I’m sure it wasn’t written with a new year in mind, but in contains a couple of resolutions along with a lot of material that we need to keep reminding ourselves about continually.

The first eleven verses deal with revelation: Verses 1-6 deal with general revelation.  Verses 7-11 with special revelation.  The natural tells us that there is a God and certain limited things about that God (He is powerful, intelligent, orderly, etc.). The special tells us the rest of the message necessary for us to come to know the God of general revelation.  David uses six terms to describe the Word (the source of special revelation), six descriptions of the Word, and lists six things the Word does.  The study of the natural world should lead us to God, but nature alone is not sufficient as is evident in the scientific culture today. We need the Word, but we also need to realize that the two are coordinate (where there is apparent conflict between the natural world and the Word, something is missing from the equation.

– Charles Wood, The Woodchuck Den

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