Darrow Miller and Friends

What the Most BEAUTIFUL PSALM Teaches About A Flourishing Life

  1. Nations in Disorder – From Where Shall Help Come?
  2. Why God’s Laws Are the Only Protection from Tyranny
  3. What the Most BEAUTIFUL PSALM Teaches About A Flourishing Life
  4. God’s PERFECT LAW: Hope for the Human Race
  5. ONE LAW That Revives the Soul
  6. Gaining Wisdom in a World of Folly
  7. Precepts: The Unlikely Path to Joy
  8. Find the COMMANDS that Give LIGHT
  9. The Intimate FEAR that Promotes a PURE LIFE
  11. A Human That Doesn’t Thrive is Like a Fruit Tree That Doesn’t Bear

Of Psalm 19, C.S. Lewis said, “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.” This psalm is exceptionally beautiful. It inspires awe at the glory of God revealed in his creation and in his Word.  A few moments of reflection on this wonderful psalm reap rich reward.

While this psalm is beautiful and both inspires awe and engenders despair, its unity is not immediately obvious. Psalm 19 falls into three distinct divisions:

–          Vs. 1-6 General Revelation – Drawn to God

–          Vs. 7-11 Special Revelation – Flourishing with God

–          Vs. 12-14 The Cry of Flawed Man

The first part of the message, vs. 1-6, draws us to God.

psalm 19 speaks of heavenly bodies include andromeda galaxy “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” … David’s words explode with beauty, leaving our minds and hearts awash in the truth of their declaration: God lives! The glory of God is revealed through His creation. All creation declares: The Creator God is real and He is alive! God’s revelation is universal; it is to all people. He reveals that He exists and something of his nature and character. Creation declares God so clearly that human beings can know that He exists!

Every human faces a personal question: Do I want to know the Creator or do I want to attempt to live independently of Him? The apostle Paul says the evidence for the Creator’s existence is so glaring that people who deny Him are “without excuse” (see Romans 1:19-20). Indeed, from the vantage of the Bible, there is no such thing as an atheist. Those who think of themselves as atheists are simply “repressing” the truth.

General revelation can only take us so far. It is the Word of God, special revelation, that affirms our need for salvation, God’s self-sacrificing plan for our redemption, and the path to walk in our new life.

The second part of Psalm 19, verses 7-11, teaches us the path of flourishing with God. This passage is for people have chosen to know him and live within the circle of His kingdom. This part of the psalm reveals the glory of the Law of the Lord first to the Jews– the sons of Abraham, and second to the Christians – the adopted children of Abraham.

The third part of the psalm, verses 12-14, describes the plight of a flawed man. Here “the servant” of God acknowledges his dilemma as a sinner and has a sense of despair. He recognizes that there are sins of commission – doing the things we should not do, and sins of omission – not doing the things we should. In the first instance sometimes we sin willfully, at other times unconsciously “forgive my hidden faults.” But the servant pleads for forgiveness and begs God to help him live within the framework of His Kingdom order.

Now let’s examine the heart of this psalm, the pathway of flourishing!

         7      The law of the LORD is perfect,
         reviving the soul.
         The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
         making wise the simple.
         8      The precepts of the LORD are right,
         giving joy to the heart.
         The commands of the LORD are radiant,
         giving light to the eyes.
         9      The fear of the LORD is pure,
         enduring forever.
         The ordinances of the LORD are sure
         and altogether righteous.
         10      They are more precious than gold,
         than much pure gold;
         they are sweeter than honey,
         than honey from the comb.
         11      By them is your servant warned;
         in keeping them there is great reward.

Note the move from the beautiful and lyrical verse of general revelation to one of the most tightly structured passages in the scripture. In these five verses the comprehensive nature of the law of God is unpacked in six defining statements:

  1. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
  2. The statutes the Lord trustworthy making wise the simple.
  3. The precepts the Lord right giving joy the heart.
  4. The commands the Lord radiant giving light the eyes.
  5. The fear the Lord pure enduring forever.
  6. The ordinances the Lord are sure and righteous altogether.

Each statement includes five critical elements:

A. The Descriptive Title – nomenclature/terminology/expression for the word of God.

B. The Source – Yahweh: Jehovah, the LORD the name of the one true God, with a focus on his indisputable existence and His covenantal relationship with His people

C. The Divine Nature – nature/properties which reflect their divine origin

D. The Divine Purpose – the impact on the life of the beneficiary

E. The Subject – the beneficiary of the impact

The following table summarizes these observations:

Psalm 19

Note that the the Law of the Lord is restated five times. The Law of the Lord is also “the Statutes of the Lord,” “Precepts … Commands … Fear …” and “Ordinances of the Lord.” Each new term is a synonym to the Law of the Lord and each identifies a different dimension of the Law of the Lord.

In following posts we will examine each of these elements to see how obedience to God’s  laws leads lead to our flourishing.

–          Darrow Miller

This post is third in a series of ten on Psalm 19.

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).