C. S. Lewis | a word about praising

Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Psalm 100:3

Following the commands to praise the LORD, we now receive our reason for praising Him: He is God! What a magnificent statement! We should praise God because He is God. In his book, Reflections on the Psalms, Lewis remarks that after becoming a Christian, he had much difficulty with the idea of being commanded to praise God. It seemed to him that God was acting like a megalomaniac, demanding praise to fuel His ego. However, read how he came to understand the nature of praise:

The miserable idea that God should in any sense need, or crave for, our worship like a vain woman wanting compliments, or a vain author presenting his new books to people who never met or heard of him, is implicitly answered by the words “If I be hungry I will not tell thee” (50,12). Even if such an absurd Deity could be conceived, He would hardly come to us, the lowest of rational creatures, to gratify His appetite. I don’t want my dog to bark approval of my books. Now that I come to think of it, there are some humans whose enthusiastically favourable criticism would not much gratify me.

But the most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything—strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game—praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars. I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praise least. The good critics found something to praise in many imperfect works; the bad ones continually narrowed the list of books we might be allowed to read… Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible… I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. (93-95)

Notice the two primary points Lewis makes there: enjoyment overflows into praise and all men urge others to praise what they care about. If we truly believe that the LORD is God, will we not do exactly what this psalmist is doing? Will we not beckon others to join us in praising the glories of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ?

Advertisements

A Psalm for Giving Thanks (Psalm 100)

Psalms Study Guide (Week 6)

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! (Psalm 100:2)

For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.  (Psalm 100:5)

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

OPENING THOUGHT

Though our present journey through the Psalms has been a short one, we have explored some of the most important psalms and their themes. For Psalm 1, we learned that there are only two types of people: the righteous and wicked, and for the righteous, everything is worship. Psalm 19 taught us that creation begs us to worship the Creator, and God’s Word reveals to us His great love and mercy. The 23rd Psalm urged us to place our absolute faith in the Good Shepherd. In Psalm 51, David gave to us an example of truly repenting to God in prayer. Lastly, Psalm 84 declared the joy of longing to be with God.

We finish our current study with the theme which people associate most with worshiping God: praise. This psalm is quite popular for its brief, but potent, call for us to worship the LORD with joy and thanksgiving. With emphatic commands, the psalmist cries for God’s people to praise Him and to serve Him with gladness.

Indeed, as much as the psalm is about praise, it is also about thankfulness to the LORD. The psalm is composed of two rounds of commands and statements. Verses 1-2 command us to worship God, and verse 3 tells us why we should do so with gladness. Verse 4 orders us to give thanks to the LORD, while verse 5 reminds us to do so because of God’s goodness. There is never a demand to worship God out of forced requirement; rather, the psalmist urges us to praise God out of overflowing thankfulness to Him!

Read verses 1-2 and discuss the following.

  • The psalmist commands us to serve the LORD with gladness. Why must we be glad when serving the LORD? Is it not enough to simply obey the LORD’s commands, or must we also be happy about it.
  • The writer also urges us to sing to the LORD as a form of worship to Him. What is the significance of singing praises to God?

Read verse 3 and discuss the following.

  • The psalm now moves from commands of action to statements of knowledge. Why is knowing God and knowing that we are His people crucial for worshiping God biblically? How does a knowledge of God lead to worship of God?

Read verse 4 and discuss the following. 

  • Here the psalm demands that we come before God in worship with thanksgiving. Why is gratitude a crucial component of worship? How does thankfulness relate to praise? Why are we called to always be thankful?

Read verse 5 and discuss the following. 

  • The psalmist ends by declaring the goodness, steadfast love, and faithfulness of God. How have you seen God’s goodness, love, and faithfulness in your life recently?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Consider the faithfulness of God toward you. Write a list of blessings that God has placed in your life, and pray thankfully to God for His grace to you.
  • Consider how you serve the LORD. Do you serve out of obligation or with gladness? Pray to the LORD for grace to serve Him with joy.

 

A Prayerful Longing for God (Psalm 84)

Psalms Study Guide (Week 5)

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. (Psalm 84:2)

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.  (Psalm 84:10)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

OPENING THOUGHT

We have already seen that worship encompasses virtually every aspect of our lives, and even all of creation calls us to worship our God, the Creator. Last week, we saw a key component for true worship: repentance. Through the prayerful repentance of David, we saw how the follower of Christ ought to be broken by sin and how we should to pray in response to our sins.

Just as the psalms themselves frequently shift moods, we turn now to a significantly brighter psalm. Written, likely, by the Sons of Korah, this psalm is entirely about desiring to be with the LORD. Their poetic longings flow through each line as they declare their love for the courts and dwelling place of God. There is such a degree of exuberance to their words that we might even say that they are desperate to be in the presence of the LORD.

Interestingly, the center of their focus though is upon the temple of the LORD, the designated house of worship for Israel. Within the temple, worship was primarily made through animal sacrifices to God. There likely should a level of shock to us in thinking about how the psalmist speaks so longingly about a place of ritual sacrifices; however, painted within this psalm is a picture of the sacrifices that the LORD desires. He wants us to come before Him in joy and delight, longing to be with our Father. Do we likewise desire to be in worship of God?

Read verses 1-4 and discuss the following.

  1. The psalmist opens this hymn by pronouncing his overwhelming desire for being in the temple (aka the LORD’s dwelling place). For what reason did the psalmist so strongly desire to be in the temple?
  2. After expressing his opening desire for being within the courts of the LORD, the psalmist exuberantly declares the blessings of dwelling within the house of God, singing forever His praises. How is this similar to our anticipation of heaven’s joys? Why will we never grow weary of praising the LORD?

Read verses 5-9 and discuss the following.

  1. The description within these verses of a worshiper traveling toward the temple led to this psalm being sung frequently by Israelites making pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Here the psalmist is determined to complete his journey, resolving to be as unstoppable as possible. Do you have a similar determination to meet with God in prayer, through reading the Scriptures, and in corporate worship with other believers?

Read verses 10-12 and discuss the following.

  1. The psalmist claims that he would rather be a doorkeeper within God’s house for a day than spend one thousand days anywhere else. Is this similar to how you value God?
  2. We find in verse 11 a very strong statement that God will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly. Does this mean that we can claim material blessings as some prosperity teachers might interpret this verse? How do we reconcile this verse with the fact that good things do appear to be withheld from us at times?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Consider the psalmist’s longing for the LORD. Resolve to fast as the LORD leads you (for example: one meal, one day, or one week), praying for a greater hunger and thirst for the God.
  • Pray for a greater joy and delight in God.

The Heart of Repentance (Psalm 51)

Psalm Study Guide (Week 4)

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1)

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  (Psalm 51:17)

OPENING THOUGHT

All of life is worship. We cannot escape from God’s glory as revealed in His creation. We cannot feign ignorance of God’s revelation through His Word. The only question is whether we will worship God or something else. There can be no other answer. We were made to worship. Last week, we saw the great psalmist, David, worshiping the LORD by expressing his confidence that the LORD is his shepherd. His faith in God is worshipful to God because it expresses his reliance upon (and the reliability of) God.

We now leave the beautiful and tranquil 23rd Psalm in order to study Psalm 51, which is anything but tranquil. The subscript of the psalm informs us that David wrote this psalm after Nathan spoke to him about Bathsheba, which can be read in 2 Samuel 11-12. This was, by far, the darkest moment of sin in David’s life. He had committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba, and when she became pregnant, he had her husband killed as a cover up. David went months thinking that he managed to fully hide his sin until God sent Nathan to rebuke David.

From this rebuke, David pens one of the most insightful chapters in all of the Bible. We have modeled for us within this psalm the heart of repentance. David humbly and brokenly begs God to cleanse him of sin and to restore his joy in the LORD’s salvation. Within this psalm, there are many important keys for us to learn from David of how repentance is a form of worship.

Read verses 1-2 and discuss the following.

  • In beginning his petition for forgiveness, David sets the foundations of his prayer upon God’s steadfast love and abundant mercy. This shows that David is completely reliant upon the LORD’s grace for forgiveness. In what ways is this similar to how we believe in the gospel?

Read verses 3-6 and discuss the following.

  • Here David claims that his sin was only against God; however, we know that his sin also did great damage to Bathsheba and, of course, Uriah. What does David mean then by saying that he only sinned against God?

Read verses 7-12 and discuss the following.

  • In the midst of the guilt of his sin, David prays to hear joy and gladness. By comparing his guilt to having broken bones, we know that David was burdened with the weight of his transgressions, but still he prays that they would rejoice in being broken. How is David able to take comfort, and even rejoice, in the breaking of his spiritual bones that God is doing?

Read verses 13-17 and discuss the following.

  • David claims that the result of God forgiving his sin will be David teaching sinners about the LORD. Out of his gratitude, David will gladly and boldly declare the glorious goodness of the LORD. How ought our approach to evangelism be similar to these verses?

Read verses 18-19 and discuss the following.

  • In making a prayer for Zion, David understands that his sins have impact upon others in Israel; thus, he also prays for God to do good to them as well. In what ways can our sin harm or impact others?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Note David’s desire for more than simply forgiveness of his sins; he longs for God to fundamentally change his heart. Prayerfully consider if this too is your heart’s desire.
  • Consider David’s thought on sacrificing to God, which he knew that God wanted to come from gratitude, not from obligation. Consider also your own offerings and giving to God, whether they come from gratitude or obligation.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

Here is a section of my study notes from my sermon on Psalm 19, 2 Reasons for Worship. I pray they are helpful.


“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice 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, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of the them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.”

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

The psalm opens with one of my favorite statements throughout the entire Bible. The heavens preach the glory of God and proclaim His handiwork. There is much to consider within those words, so let us first define our terminologies. The ancient Hebrew concept of heaven consisted of three tiers, or a three-leveled heaven. The first tier of heaven is, what we would call in English, the sky. We now call the second level of heaven the cosmos, or outer space. Finally, the third heaven is what we might think of conceptually as being Heaven, the spiritual plane in which God dwells. Thus, the psalmist is not merely speaking of the spiritual realm that we would call Heaven; rather, he is much more referring to the physically viewable heavens above us.

Next, we must understand what is meant by the word “glory.” Glory, as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it, is “public praise, honor, and fame” or something that brings “praise or fame to someone or something.” Thus, giving glory to God is about giving to Him honor, praise, and distinction that we believe is owed to Him or is worthy of Him. Our worship of God brings glory to Him because we are acknowledging that He is entirely worthy of our adoration and devotion. It makes sense then how a person might glorify God through worship, but how do the heavens declare and proclaim the glory of God?

Consider stars. They emit light, in part, because they are centers for thermonuclear fusion, and they only remain spherical because of gravitational confinement.

The previous sentence is a fancy way of saying that stars (including our sun) are constantly exploding outward with the unimaginable bursting of thousands upon thousands of nuclear blasts and are held together only by the sheer strength of gravity. That is, by far, the craziest game of tug-o-war ever!

Each star must then be nothing less than a miracle, but then let us think upon the number of stars in the universe. Obviously, this is scientists providing their best guesses, as no one is able to truly count the number of stars. Nevertheless, it is thought that most galaxies contain anywhere from 100 to 400 billion stars and that there are certainly more than 100 billion galaxies in the universe. This would leave us with anywhere from 10 to 200 sextillion stars in the universe. Just for effect, here is what 200 sextillion looks like written numerically: 200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. In his very awesome YouTube video[1], Fraser Cain estimates that there are anywhere from 2.5 to 10 sextillion grains of sand in the entire world. This makes it very likely that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on the earth. Furthermore, he points out at the end of the video that there are still more atoms in a single grain of sand than stars in the universe.

This is not even to consider the amazing things upon the earth or the beautiful terrors within the sky. For instance, there is a special type of shrimp called the pistol shrimp. It has one greatly enlarged claw that makes the whole creature look lopsided. However, the giant claw has a very specific function. When the shrimp is hungry, it will open its claw and wait for a fish to swim in front of it. The claw will then snap shut with such force and speed that it creates a loud bubble of sound that stuns or even kills the fish. In fact, the snap of its claw actually causes an effect known as sonoluminescence, which is when sounds emit a short burst of light.[2]

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”[3] The apostle makes the same point there as David: God’s creation proclaims His glory, “namely, His eternal power and divine nature.” We are meant, as creatures, to look upon the glories of God’s creation and understand that God must be infinitely more glorious than it because He created everything.

We first ponder the vastness of the universe, and then how much more immeasurable is our God. We marvel at the miracle that is our sun and every star, but also at the power of the God that spoke each of them into existence. We struggle against the complexities of quantum physics, only to take joy in understanding that nothing is too small for God’s care and guidance. Creation screams the enormity, supremacy, grandeur, meticulousness, and excellence of God’s glory.

Are you listening?

The Voice Always Heard

Verses 2 through the majority of 4 here describe the declaration and proclamation that the heavens are making. In each of the three verses, David makes the same point but in a slightly different manner. This triple repetition is important to note. In Hebrew, the Old Testament writers did not have many of the literary devices at their disposal that we have presently. For example, they had no italics, underlining, or bolding of words for added emphasis. Of course, this did not stop them from emphasizing particular points. One of the more common forms of adding emphasis was repetition. Throughout Old Testament poetry, one will notice that many things are said then repeated in another way. This was all to accentuate the point stated. If regular repetition was common, triple repetition was like italicizing and underlining the same words. A repetition of three highlights even further the importance was what is being said.

What then is the point that David is making here? He is stating the same case that Paul made in Romans 1:18-20. The metaphorical voice of the heavens declaring the glory of God “goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” As creatures that dwell within, and are ourselves, God’s creation, we cannot run from creation’s proclamation of God’s handiwork. In fact, David states in verse 3 that not hearing the voice of creation is an impossibility. The best we can do is to ignore the sky’s preaching, but we are too steeped in God’s designs to claim ignorance. In fact, David claims that day and night are pouring out knowledge of our God’s greatness.

At first, I read verse 2 as being a direct continuation of verse 1, meaning that day to day and night to night the heavens were declaring the glory of God. However, that is not how the verse reads; it reads that day to day and night to night pours out speech and reveals knowledge. Day and night happening at all declares to us the greatness of God. We understand this even more today than David did then. We know that the earth is at the exact point in our solar system where life is sustainable. If our planet’s orbit were to shift toward the sun, we collapse under the unbearable heat. If it drifted away from the sun, the earth would perish under a sheet of ice. Each day is miracle and a testament to the supremacy of Him who “upholds the universe by the word of his power.”[4]

The Illuminating Sun

Finally, David ends this first stanza by turning toward the sun. The poet-king apparently views the sun as the crowning achievement of the heavens, since he describes the heavens as its tent. He provides wondrously poetic imagery of the sun’s rising being like a groom coming down the aisle on his wedding day. There is here a picture of rapturous joy and triumph to the sun’s rotation. Perhaps, we can glean from the David’s writings a challenge for us to revisit our appreciation for the daily and the ordinary. Because the sun has given us light throughout our days (both as individuals and as humanity in general), we can take its beauty for granted.

Furthermore, just as the sun provides heat to all the earth, so to does its proclamation of God’s glory cover the whole earth. No one is entirely hidden from the effects of the sun, and likewise, no one can outrun creation’s declaration of God. Once more, it is from this idea that Paul draws his thought in Romans 1. The apostle essentially declares that there is no such thing as an atheist. We see this thought when Paul claims that God’s invisible attributes “have been clearly perceived”. This leaves all men without excuse. On the day of judgment, no one will have the plea of ignorance, as God has clearly made “His eternal power and divine nature” known to all men. In case we try to argue that God did not give humanity a sufficient about of time to listen to creation, note that Paul says God’s glory is perceived “ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” Or to say it another way, there has never been a moment or circumstance in which a person was not able to perceive something about the character of God from His creation. It “is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.”

This also fulfills Paul’s words in Romans 10. We might look at Romans 10:13-17 and wonder how God can condemn people without them ever hearing the gospel preached. However, this psalm and Paul’s words in Romans 1 show that nature preaches the glory of God. The LORD has woven into the fabric of existence itself a begging for us to look beyond creation and its beauty toward the God of all beauty.

Nevertheless, for all the glory that God reveals in nature, they still give only a partial revelation of God. Creation only reveals enough concerning God to condemn us before Him; we need further revelation for salvation. That special revelation comes in the form of God’s Word, which is David’s next topic in verses 7-11 of this psalm.

[1] Cain, Fraser. Are There More Stars Or Grains of Sand?

http://www.universetoday.com/106725/are-there-more-grains-of-sand-than-stars/

[2] Read all about the pistol shrimp on Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpheidae

[3] Romans 1:18-20

[4] Hebrews 1:3

The LORD Is My Shepherd (Psalm 23)

Psalms Study Guide (Week 3)

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 19:6)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  (John 10:11)

OPENING THOUGHT

Thus far, we have discussed worship as a way of life and two reasons for worshiping God. The natural revelation of God (as displayed in creation) and the special revelation (as declared in Scripture) both guide our hearts toward worshiping the LORD. In viewing the glory and the goodness of God through nature and the Bible, we see the weight of our sin more fully, allowing us to pray alongside David for God to make our words and our thoughts acceptable to Him.

We now dive into, what is often considered, the most popular psalm throughout the history of the church. This song of David boldly declares the LORD to be our shepherd, which means that God will be faithful to care and provide for him. As much as this is a psalm of faith, it is also a psalm against fear. David is essentially proclaiming here that he should not fear enemies, death, or lacking what he needs because the LORD is faithful to guide, provide, and protect him.

Throughout history, many have turned to these words for comfort in times of difficulty. When the shadow of death looms over, they recall this psalm for solace. However, this psalm is not full of blanket promises for humanity in general; rather, only the people of God are able to truly call Him their shepherd. If God is our shepherd, we are then His sheep. We are helpless, defenseless, and not very intelligent, just like sheep. Fortunately, we have a very good Shepherd, who is faithful to care for us.

Read verse 1 and discuss the following.

  1. For being one of the most well known verses in the Bible, it is quite odd for two reasons. David calls God his shepherd, which was a less than ideal profession, and he calls himself a sheep, even though he is a king. What does this tell us about David’s relationship with God (and our relationship with Him)?

Read verses 2-3 and discuss the following.

  1. Twice David states that God leads him and once that God makes him lie down. Like a sheep to a shepherd, the king is acknowledging his utter dependence upon the LORD to lead and instruct him. Do you likewise understand your need for God’s leading? In what ways has God led you or caused you to depend upon Him recently?

Read verse 4 and discuss the following.

  1. David declares that he will not fear whenever death’s shadow falls upon him because God is with Him. The very presence of God is all the comfort that David needed. In what ways do you take comfort in God’s promise to be with us to the end of the age?

Read verse 5 and discuss the following.

  1. Banquets were the epitome of ancient provision and hospitality; however, they were not often prepared for the guest in the midst of his enemies. Still David claims that his head is anointed and his cup is full (two signs of a well made banquet). What does this verse tell us about David’s faith in the LORD?

Read verse 6 and discuss the following.

  1. David claims that goodness and mercy (or steadfast love) will follow him all the days of his life. He does not mean that they will casually follow him but that God’s goodness and love will relentless pursue him all of his life. How are we able to believe that God’s goodness and love follow us, even though we know that suffering and troubles still occur?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Read John 10 alongside Psalm 23. Make a list of connections between the two chapters, and how Jesus applies David’s statements about the LORD to Himself.
  • Consider David’s confidence in God as his shepherd. In what areas of life are you fearful? Bring them before God in prayer, acknowledging His sovereignty, protection, and provision.

2 Reasons for Worship (Psalm 19)

Psalms Study Guide (Week 2)

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

OPENING THOUGHT

Last week, we initiated our study of worship with Psalm 1. We saw there that worship is a lifestyle and that true worship must come, not only from what we do but also from who we are. We read about two ways of life: the righteous and the wicked (meaning, those who follow God and those who do not). The righteous are known for their delight in the law of the LORD and for being like deeply rooted trees. The wicked, on the other hand, are like chaff that is blown away with the wind and destined for destruction.

We now turn to a psalm of David, which could be described as celebrating God’s communication with us. At its essence, the psalm looks at two reasons for why we ought to worship God, followed by a prayer to God. The first part discusses the heavens above and how they reveal to us the glory of God. The second section celebrates the law of the LORD and all of its benefits. Finally, the poem concludes with David’s prayer to the LORD.

Both the world (God’s creation) and the law (God’s Word) reveal to us the character of the LORD. By these two forms of revelation, we are therefore able to know God more fully, which makes them prime reasons for worshiping God. Of course, the more we understand of God’s nature, the more we begin to understand of our nature. This is why David’s concluding prayer is so focused upon his sin. After pondering the holiness and glorious might of God, David pleads with the LORD to keep him from committing sins that God despises. Fortunately, in Christ, we are blameless before God, and we can continue to let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart be acceptable to Him.

Read verses 1-6 and discuss the following.

  1. By saying that the heavens declare the glory of God, David is speaking about what is called God’s natural revelation (what nature reveals to us about God). What attributes of God can we observe from creation? Is natural revelation sufficient for understanding the basics of the gospel?
  2. David claims that the voice of the heavens, which proclaim God’s glory, go throughout the earth so that everyone hears. Similarly, Paul writes in Romans 1:18-20 that God’s attributes have been clearly known to everyone because of God’s creation. Given these two passages, is anyone able to truly be an atheist?

Read verses 7-11 and discuss the following.

  1. In this section, David turns from the natural revelation of God to the special revelation found in the Scriptures, which he takes great delight in. What are some reasons for why David calls the law of the LORD more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey?

Read verses 12-14 and discuss the following.

  1. This section seems to be slightly out of place with the previous verses. How might David’s prayer for the LORD to keep him from sin relate to the first eleven verses of the psalm?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Having discussed how nature and the Bible both reveal God to us, take a few moments to observe the beauty of God’s creation and meditate on the Word. Prayerfully rejoice in God, who gave us both of them.
  • Consider David’s final prayer, for the words of his mouth and the meditation of his heart to be acceptable to God. Make this your prayer as well, asking God for grace to live and speak in ways that are pleasing to Him.