Psalm 19: The Law of the LORD Is Perfect

This is another “Psalm of David”. Personally, I’m not a fan of this one. It’s a little too “yes man” for my taste.


Psalm 19

1The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky abovea proclaims his handiwork.
2Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4Their voiceb goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

7The law of the LORD is perfect,c
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rulesd of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Maybe it’s my imagination but this one seems a little like kissing up to me. Yes, I get that a psalm is likely to be written during a time when someone feels especially blessed but it’s the way this one is written. I also get that we should not presume to know that we know better than God what the best course of actions is for everything. I get it, I even believe that. I do believe that even things that we consider bad have their purpose in the grander scheme. I’m not a perfect follower of this philosophy because of death and loss and war but I hit that “I believe” button because I have little else to go on. I know how it sounds, I even disgust myself sometimes, but it’s more comforting than the thought that God has given up on or abandoned us. Perhaps I just don’t understand what’s happening the way a little kid doesn’t always understand how what they see as a catastrophe is good for them in the eyes of their parent. It’s what I have to go on.

Getting back to the psalm, though, this one makes it seem like there are never any worries and that there is no doubt or reason to doubt that all things are perfect when following the laws, as if being a follower of God isn’t full of just as much strife as not following God. Looking back on the Bible thus far, no one “had it easy”. More over, many of the laws seem unnecessarily strict and even misogynistic to many people.

All that serves to leave this psalm seeming a little like kissing up to me, like we’re going to ignore how hard it is for people in general to follow even the simplest of rules given to them by anyone from a parent to a king to God Himself. It’s not the same as “praise”, which we’ve seen before in these psalms. It just reads a little different from that for me.

I feel like this is what “yes men” sound like more than worshipers or followers of God. Perfect is just a little too far for me to be all that sincere. “Good” I can go with, based on the use of the word in other areas that “good” does not necessarily mean pleasant or easy to deal or cope with. Maybe it’s just me. What do you all think?

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