Sunday, January 28, 2018

Psalms: A Guide To Prayer And Praise Session 2 - Psalm 19 Declaring God's Glory

The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group studying the book Psalms: A Guide to Prayer and Praise by Ron Klug. The Psalms are some of the most widely read and best-loved portions of the Bible. For thousands of years these songs of faith have spoken to the hearts and minds of people around the world. The Psalms are songs–music our spirits sing to the Creator. They are poems–full of vibrant imagery and strong rhythms. And they are prayers–our deepest emotions expressed to the Lord who feels with us. Most importantly, the Psalms are God’s Word to us, revealing the truth about him and our relationship with him. Study along with us by getting a copy of the book by clicking this LINK or the image of the book at the end of the study notes. You can also hear the audio of each session of the study by clicking on the YouTube Thumbnail

Some things we have learned as we started this study, last week, are that the Psalms are songs, they are poetry, they are prayers, and they are God’s word. They are divided into various literary types. Some of the main styles include:

  • hymns of praise 
  • laments (a cry of pain or struggle from an individual or group)
  • penitential psalms (a cry of remorse, seeking forgiveness)
  • songs of thanksgiving 
  • songs of trust
  • wisdom psalms (expressing truths about life)
Last week we studied Psalm 8 which is a Psalm of praise. The theme of Psalm 8 is God’s glory and majesty and the elevation of man. Some have titled it “Man’s dignity and God’s glory” or God’s glory, man’s dignity” . Another description is God’s glory is magnified by His works and by His love to man.

Today we are going to study Psalm 19. This Psalm is similar to Psalm 8 because it also addresses God’s glory as it relates to creation.

1. Why is it that we don’t recognize God more often in the “common bushes” of life?

Because we have been taught how big and magnificent God is, and He is, we miss the “forest for the trees”. We want to make things too complex. The excerpt from Elizabeth Barrett Browning very appropriate.

“Earth’s crammed with heaven and every common bush aflame with God; but only those who see take off their shoes, the rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.”

Psalm 19:1-6 (NKJV)1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.3 There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard.4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,5 Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.6 Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

2. What is the psalmist affirming in verses 1–4?
He is affirming that the creation itself declares God’s glory. Much like verse 3 of Psalm 8.

Psalm 8:3 NIV When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

The sheer vastness of outer space and the coordination of it all is astounding. If you could travel at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, it would take you 8 minutes to get to the sun. To go from the sun to the center of the Milky Way would take about 33,000 years. The Milky Way belongs to a group of some 20 galaxies known as the Local Group. To cross that group, you’d have to travel for 2 million years. The Local Group belongs to the Virgo Cluster, part of an even larger Local Supercluster, which is a half-billion light years across. To cross the entire universe as we know it would take you 20 billion light years (National Geographic World [Jan., 1992], p. 15)!

What particular features of God's creation are mentioned?

The heavens and firmament.

What’s the difference if any in the firmament and heaven?

The firmament is the heavens or the sky, especially when regarded as a tangible thing.

Genesis 1:6-8 (NKJV)6 Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.

  • The Atmospheric Heaven - The First Heaven

The atmospheric heavens include the air that we breathe as well as the space that immediately surrounds the earth. The technical term for this is the "troposphere." It extends about twenty miles above the earth. The space above this is called the "stratosphere." The Scripture uses the term heaven to describe this area.

Genesis 6:7 (ASV)7 And Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground; both man, and beast, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Matthew 6:26 (NKJV)26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

  •  The Celestial Heaven - The Second Heaven
This use of the term heaven refers to outer space or the stellar heaven. It includes the sun, moon, and stars.

Matthew 24:29 (NKJV)29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

  • Heaven Of Heavens

The Scripture speaks of heavenly spheres beyond that which is visible from the earth. It is called the heaven of heavens.

Deuteronomy 10:14 (NKJV)14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it.

Psalm 148:4 (NKJV)4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens!

  • Heaven As The Home Of God - The Third Heaven
The Bible is clear that God cannot be limited to any one geographical place.

Yet Scripture also teaches us that there is a certain geographical place where God resides. It is also designated heaven.

Paul said he went to the third heaven.

2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (NKJV)2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a one was caught up to the third heaven.3 And I know such a man--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows--4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Hebrews 8:1 (NKJV)1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,

Acts 7:55-56 (NKJV)55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,56 and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

The location of the abode of God is not revealed in Scripture.

3. How does the created universe “speak” to the world?

Romans 1:20-21 (NKJV)20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

4. The writer used two pictures to describe the movements of the sun. Why is the sun a good picture for describing and meditating on the glory of God?

Psalm 19:5 (NKJV)5 Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.

First a bridegroom. The night before the wedding is one of anticipation and the morning of the wedding the bridegroom jumps out of bed excited about going to get his bride. During the time of David there was a big procession led by the bridegroom. in all the splendour of his bridal attire, in all the freshness of youthful vigour and buoyant happiness

Then the strong man excited about running a race. As a man who is vigorous and powerful, when he enters on a race. He is girded for it; he summons all his strength; he seems to exult in the idea of putting his strength to the test, and starting off on his career. The idea is that the sun seems to have a long journey before him, and puts forth all his vigour, exulting in the opportunity of manifesting that vigour, and confident of triumphing in the race.

5. What can we learn about God from the world of nature?

That God does exist.

Why doesn’t everyone, then, believe in God?

Romans 1:18-25 (NKJV)18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

To reject God, to turn away from the light, naturally brings darkness. This darkness came into their inner being—the mind, reasonings, emotions, etc. In their idolatry, i.e., in their creating substitutes for the being of God, they actually thought they were wise. Worthless thoughts quickly brought worthless objects of worship. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Psalm 19:7-14 (NKJV)7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression.14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

6. In verses 7–9, what names and adjectives are used to describe God’s law (his written revelation)?
  • Perfect
  • Sure
  • Right
  • Pure
  • Clean
  • True
  • Righteous
  • Testimony
  • Statues
  • Commandment
  • Judgements
7. How does your present attitude toward the Bible compare with that of the writer of Psalm 19?

I agree. I go to the word to hear the will of God when making decisions or confirming or rejecting something I’ve seen or heard. I go there to find truth

8. What does God’s Word do for us, according to each of these verses?

Gives direction.

Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Creates and sustains faith

Romans 10:17 (NKJV)17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Judges actions

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

9. In verses 10 and 11, what are the psalmist’s ultimate conclusions about the value of the Word of God?

It is invaluable, indescribable, and there is great reward in meditating, knowing, and obeying it.

10. It’s been observed that the knowledge of God has been revealed to us in two ways: in nature as well as in the written Word. Both of these are essential to our knowledge and understanding of God. Do you agree?


11. What is the difference between the two kinds of sin mentioned in verses 12 and 13?

Psalm 19:12-13 (NKJV)12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

The two types are secret faults and presumptuous sins

Secret faults are sins that we commit that we do not see or recognize as sins. We commit them not knowing we have committed sin. Nevertheless, we are still held accountable for our actions, and we will eventually pay the penalty. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Presumptuous sins are willful sins, ones we do knowing that they are sin before we commit them. Such willful sins, depending on one's attitude, can be spiritually very dangerous.

Under the sacrificial system there was no sacrifice for presumptions sin.

Numbers 15:30‭-‬31 NIV “ ‘But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes the Lord and must be cut off from the people of Israel. Because they have despised the Lord ’s word and broken his commands, they must surely be cut off; their guilt remains on them.’ ”

The word presumption does not quite mean in Hebrew what it does in English. In English, it simply means "to assume," to take a matter upon oneself without considering all the factors and doing it. However, in the Old Testament, it carries the idea of acting arrogantly—of rebellion. In fact, it means to do something with audacity or to be headstrong. It refers to those who overstep their bounds or dare to act in a disobedient manner. A willfulness is implied in the word that is not contained in English, making it much more forceful.

How does God deal with our hidden faults?

Thank God for Jesus

Romans 7:21‭-‬25 NIV So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

He forgives us. When we acknowledge that we are sinners and ask for God’s forgiveness through Jesus and His sacrifice.

Ephesians 1:7-10 (NKJV)7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.

When we sin He forgives us.

1 John 1:7 (NKJV)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 Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1:9 (NKJV)9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

12. How does the prayer in verse 14 relate to these areas of sin?
Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Having prayed that God would keep him from sinful actions, he now prays that God would govern, and sanctify his words and thoughts: and this was necessary to preserve him from presumptuous sins, which have their first rise in the thoughts. Redeemer - This expression seems to be added emphatically, and with special respect to Christ, to whom alone this word Goel can properly belong.

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