Psalm 19 is a beloved psalm for many. For C. S. Lewis, it was the “greatest poem in the psalter.”* Structured into three parts, the lyrical psalm focuses on knowing God through creation, knowing God through the goodness of God’s Word, and David’s prayerful response to both.
The leader at a retreat I attended invited us to watch the sun rise over the ocean for our morning prayer. No words were spoken other than “Dear God” at the beginning and “Amen” as we closed. For ten minutes in between, we communed with God by soaking in the beauty of the skies and the sounds of the ocean. It was almost completely wordless, yet so much was said. The first section of Psalm 19 is a poetic description of creation where “there is no speech” yet so much is spoken as the heavens tell of God’s glory and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork.
Stop for a moment and recall experiences in which you noticed creation speaking to you in wordless volumes: A day in the mountains, a fresh snowfall, a sunset that stopped you in your tracks, a field of sunflowers that took your breath away. When we attune to the splendor of nature, it evokes a response. During a hike in the Rocky Mountains, I was surprised by how the beauty along the trail awakened my grief for my beloved father who had died the year before. Without words, the majesty of God’s creation invited me to be present with the sadness I didn’t realize was just under the surface. Surely part of knowing God through creation is the way creation invites us to know ourselves; and in worshipful response, we can offer our presence.
*C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (New York: Harper One, 1958), 73-74.
Find time today to be present with how creation is declaring God’s glory, and engage it as prayer with “Dear God” at the beginning and “Amen” when you finish. Attune to what it evokes in you.
Through the scriptures and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God shows the paths of righteousness and warns against the ways of destruction. The writer of Proverbs describes this as the voice of Wisdom crying out, yet some refuse to listen—to their peril. The psalmist rejoices in the law of the Lord, for God’s decrees teach us how to live well. Living a godly life includes paying attention to our speech. How can we, James asks, praise God with our lips and then curse others with those same lips? Peter is tripped up by his words in Mark. He declares Jesus to be the Messiah, yet in the next scene he recklessly rebukes Jesus for speaking of his death. Our words matter, and God desires purity and consistency.
Read Proverbs 1:20-33. How clearly do you hear Wisdom’s call? What prevents you from answering that call?
Read Psalm 19. Where in creation do you hear God speaking to you?
Read James 3:1-12. How do you use your words in wise ways? When do you struggle with your words?
Read Mark 8:27-38. Who do you say that Jesus is?
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