Psalm 19 has three sections. “The heavens declare the glory of God” begins the first section and concludes with verse 6 concerning the revelation of Creator God in the midst of creation. The second part begins in verse 7 and runs through verse 11, which commends God’s law. The final few verses reflect the response of the person of faith to God’s commands.
In verse 7, the poetry and focus of the psalm begin to change. The focus shifts to the “law of the Lord.” The psalmist expresses great joy at being part of a people whom God has blessed with the law and its promises. While the transition seems abrupt, the psalmist understands that just as the sun encompasses all the earth with its radiance and heat, so nothing and no one can hide from God’s word through the law, which enlightens all.
As noted by the psalmist, God’s commands revive the soul, bring wisdom, rejoice the heart, and enlighten the eyes. These decrees, precepts, commandments, ordinances not only bring us joy, but our keeping them protects us from our transgressions and ourselves. We glimpse the good life that God has in store if we follow God’s commands. The psalmist also issues a warning about the danger of turning our backs to those commands. The laws of the Lord are perfect and have stood the test of time.
This passage invites us to look at our lives and recognize the possibilities of joy more than judgment, healing more than condemnation, creativity more than legalism. The commands of God intend to help us lead good lives, orderly lives, and joy-filled lives. The psalm closes with a prayer that many preachers use to open their sermons, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” May it be so.
God of life, help me to follow your commands and turn from my transgressions. Amen.