UNIVERSAL AND PARTICULAR
Lord, I acknowledge You not only as my Savior but as my Creator, too.
Read PSALM 19
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
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 reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
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 deprived of its warmth.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing 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,
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism). O Lord, may I see both Your general and Your specific splendor.
The first third of this psalm relates to the universal (1–6) and another third to the particular (7–10) aspects of God’s glory. In the universal section, the psalmist delights in God’s splendor visible throughout creation. According to a well-known philosophical argument for the existence of God, any design reflects the nature of the designer. So here, the created world continually proclaims the glory of its Creator. In ancient cultures, the sun was often worshipped as a god, but the psalmist asserts that the sun (and everything else) is God’s handiwork and exists for his glory. We might want to remind ourselves that only the one true God is worthy of worship and check whether someone or something has taken the place that rightfully belongs to him.
Moving to the section that spells out the particulars, the psalmist expresses delight in God’s gift of the Law to the nation of Israel. The Law is not restricted to the Ten Commandments but refers to a way of life in line with God’s stipulations for Israel (“Torah” is instruction). In the New Testament, Jesus explains and models the life that God expects from us. Thus, Paul urges Christians to imitate Jesus and to live by the Spirit.
Bringing the universal and the particular together, God created a world where people can live an ordered life and both aspects—the created world and the created order—prompt the psalmist to praise the Creator. The psalmist closes by expressing his desire that his spoken words and unspoken thoughts may be pleasing to God. May our sole desire also be to please God by loving him with our entire heart, soul and might.
How can you hold together the universal and particular aspects of God’s work? How does God’s plan for you fit into his overall plan for the worldwide church?
Lord, I listen closely to hear the heavens declaring Your glory and I watch the sky to see Your handiwork.
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