Psalm 19 – The Glory of God’s Creation

Once again I am amazed at the complexity of the psalms.  I never understood how complex ancient Hebrew poetry was until I started studying it in detail.  Before we dive into the actual content of Psalm 19 lets take a quick look at a few of the structural elements.

Structure: Numerically Perfect

The number 7, which represents perfection, fullness and abundance, is the primary organizing factor in this psalm. Notice these uses of the number 7:

  • 7 uses of YHWH with the middle usage in verse 8
  • 14 (7 + 7) verses
  • 7 cosmic elements mentioned in verses 1-4
  • 14 (7 + 7) characteristics of the law mentioned in verses 7-10
  • 7th Element = “sun”; 7th Characteristic = “radiant”

The psalmist is telling us that God's creation is perfect and complete with the law being twice as glorious as the physical creation.

The psalm divides into four sections.

The Universe Proclaims the Glory of God

Psalm 19:1-4

God's creation is a natural revelation constantly declaring the wonders of God. No one can escape the message from God so that, as Romans 1:20 says, we are all without excuse. Everyone should recognize the glory of God.

This section includes seven elements of God's creation:

7 in circle
  1. The heavens (1a)
  2. The sky (1b)
  3. Day (2a)
  4. Night (2b)
  5. Earth (4a)
  6. End of the World (4a)
  7. Sun (4b) - this begins Cantos II

The Glory of the Sun

Psalm 19:5-6

This section begins marvels at the glory of the sun which, by extension, reflects the glory of its Creator.

This poetic picture of the sun – grand as a bridegroom, powerful as a strong man, joyful as a runner – symbolizes the message of God reaching the whole earth. Notice the parallel themes of verse 3-4, talking about God's voice in natural revelation, and verse 6, the sun's heat. Both go throughout the whole earth, to the very end, and no one can escape them.

The Glory of the Law

Psalm 19:7-10

Now we switch over to God's special revelation: His law. Here we find 14 characteristics of God's law – two sets of 7 pairs:

7 in circle
1.PerfectReviving the soul
2.Sure/TrustworthyMaking wise the simple
3.RightGiving joy to the heart
4.RadiantGiving light to the eyes
5.Pure/CleanEnduring forever
7.Better than GoldBetter than Honey

Notice that at the very middle is the word “radiant” bringing us back to the glory of God and the glory of His sun.

This section concludes by reminding us that we are both warned and rewarded by the law.

Concluding Prayer

Psalm 19:11-14

This is the only section that is addressed to God. It is a beautiful prayer of commitment to the God of creation and the law. The psalmist shows us how we should respond to God's glorious natural and special revelation. This last section is such a great prayer that I can think of no better way to end then simply quoting from the psalm.

Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Jerry Wyrick

This post is part of a series on the Psalms.

by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory

Posted in General Worship, Personal Worship, Psalms.