Psalm 19[ref]NIV New International Version Translations[/ref]
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. 3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, 5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. 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. 12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
This Psalm was written by King David, and addressed to the “director”, thought to be the musical director. David focused on the majesty of God and His handiwork as Creator, as well as on His direct revelation through Moses, referred to as His “Law”. In the first verses there are references to a message continually being preached by the “heavens”, containing knowledge and going out to the entire world. Paul quotes this Psalm in Romans 10:18, identifying that message as the saving Gospel, using it to show that the Gospel was always available to Israel.
God reveals himself through his world, through nature. Verse 1 and 2 mention the heavens, the day, night, etc. He says that they are telling of God’s glory, but then he adds in verse 3 that they do this without actual speech. Verse 4 shows us that natural revelation reaches every place on earth, therefore it reaches every person. The imagery in verse 5 is says that natural revelation is dominating and powerful. It cannot be ignored. All people have to respond to it. Romans 1:18 echoes that.
Verse 6 shows that no one escapes the sun. Even if you are blind and cannot see it, you still feel the heat. Although it has no voice (verse 3), people still experience it. And we are all led to ask the question, “How did it get there?” Notice how Ps 19 says the heavens are telling His glory. This is present tense for us. Special revelation, Scripture, has ceased, but the natural revelation continues. We can receive natural revelation fresh, each day.
Items for Discussion
- Can you think of how we receive natural revelation? Hints: Appreciation & Observation
- David also lists types of special revelation. Can you find them?
- The Law of the Lord (7a)
- This could be referring just to the Mosaic law, which to the Jew was the central part of Scripture, or this could refer to all of Scripture. The Word of God is perfect because it is directed toward the well-being of man. It gives us comfort and encouragement.
- The Testimony of the Lord (7b)
- Making wise the simple means it gives man a solid foundation and stability so that he is not easily led astray.
- The Precepts of the Lord (8a)
- The Commandment of the Lord (8b)
- The precepts and the commandments refer to the precision and authority with which God addresses us. They revive and refresh us, encourage us, etc. And just like nothing is hidden from the sun in God’s natural revelation, God’s Word enlightens us and reveals evil.
- The Fear of the Lord (9a)
- The human response to God’s word. David is listing the attributes of the word of God..1
- The Judgments of the Lord (9b)
- God is fair. We often think that life is not fair. There is much injustice in the world, but it is a comfort to know that God is fair and will work it all out in the end.
- The Law of the Lord (7a)
- In verse 11 David says, “By them (the precepts and commandments) is Thy servant warned.” How does Scripture do this?
- Scripture warns us of our inherent evil – our sinfulness.
- Scripture warns us of our condemnation and destination without God. It tells us what is coming in the future – judgment.
- Scripture warns us of specific temptations and sins. It tells us what not to do.
- Scripture warns us of our obligations. It tells us what we should do.
- So what is the benefit that David gives for doing all of this?(See 11b)
- There is peace and pleasure in obedience. No guilty conscience. When your conscience is bothering you, there is no place to hide and you are miserable. But if you have done right, then you can be at peace no matter what the circumstances.
- And what does David ask for?
- Acquit me of my hidden faults (12)
- Keep me from presumptuous sins (13)
- This is the attitude that I am above the laws of God. They don’t apply to me no matter what the Bible says. Nothing bad will happen to me. It is interesting that this is exactly what the Catholic Church was doing in Martin Luther’s day. They were selling indulgences (forgiveness papers) so that a person could go sin (on purpose) and then cash in his coupon and be forgiven. That was what started the Protestant reformation.
I John 1:5-7
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
In an effort to build confidence in God’s promise of salvation, John explains some essential truths about the nature of God, Jesus, and us.
Verse 5: Note that the message John is proclaiming is “from him.” John is saying that Christianity is not some private, esoteric enlightenment. Rather, it came directly from the God himself and is manifested completely in the incarnate “Word of life.” Just as it is the nature of fire to produce heat, so it is the nature of God to reveal himself. The message John proclaims: “God is light.” “Light,” used metaphorically, has two aspects:
Intellectual: For the Greek and Hebrew mind, light was often associated with truth, whereas darkness was associated with error (cf., Ps. 43:3; 119:105, 130; Mt. 4:13-16; Lk. 2:28-32; Jn. 1:4-9; 1 Tim. 6:16; 1 Jn. 2:8).
Ethical or moral: Light is also associated with purity and goodness, whereas darkness is associated with impurity and evil (cf., Is. 5:20; Eph. 5:8-11; Rom. 13:12-13; Jn. 3:19-21; 8:12; 12:46).
Verse 6: Beginning in Verse 6, John lays out 3 false claims and 3 divine responses. The three false claims concern:
- False Claim
- God’s Solution
1:6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness
We lie and do not live by the truth.
1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1:8 If we claim to be without sin
We deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1:10 If we claim we have not sinned
We make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
2:1 But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
Verse 7: To walk in the light is to be in the presence of God himself. It is a conscious, sustained effort (the Greek tense of “walk” is on-going) to be responsive in our behavior and attitude to God’s illuminating truth.
There are three benefits from “walking in the light:”
“Fellowship with one another”.
“The blood of Jesus . . . purifies us”
“from all [or “every”] sin”
Items for Discussion
- Can one can be righteous without doing righteousness?
- The first false belief claims that sin does not affect our relationship with God. John speaks against the ideas that: God’s laws are not relevant to believers.
- In what way can the Church fail its members by modernizing?
- In Verse 6 John is saying that we must come to God on his terms, and that those terms are non-negotiable. Christianity not only claims that God is holy, righteous, and morally pure, but that all who belong to him take sin seriously.
- The good news of our faith is that we are not left to our own resources and ourselves. God has provided a solution to our problem of sin: The cross of Jesus! The Cross was not comfortable to Christ nor should our Church serve the comforts of its members.
- What does walking in the light mean to you?
- We are honest about who we are and about who God is. And, we deal decisively and finally with sin by availing ourselves to the continual benefits of the cross.
- If you were setting goals for a Church, what would your top three goals be?