The Heavens Reveal, The Word Regenerates, The Believer Responds

Psalm 19

Camel trying to get his nose in the tent: tent is science class, camel is Intelligent Design. Argument goes: let’s start with end product, work backward to origin. If end product shows evidence of purposeful design, then must have had a designer. It’s ok if designer has no name, presence of designer is enough to refute big bang theory. Argument from design perhaps all right, as far as it goes. Stops short of important goal, so also does Christian view of nature/creation at times. Important to keep in mind not only the who, also the why of creation.

Q9: What is the work of creation?

A9: The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.

That is the what and who of creation, but it doesn’t indicate the purpose for which “God made all things of nothing”. Text opens with statement that “The heavens declare the glory of God” – God designed his creation so it could declare his glory; more significant, he designed creation purposefully so it would declare his glory. Equally true of the other book God wrote, the Bible. Not simply capable of revealing God, purposefully intended to do just that.

He is wisest who reads both the world-book and the Word-book as two volumes of the same work, and feels concerning them, “My Father wrote them both.” CHS

David in this psalm adds third component: God intends people to respond to what they read. Mankind not to simply be passive observers; like the rest of creation, man’s purpose is to glorify God. Not everyone who reads the books gives glory to God, most stop short of that – glorifying creation or god of own design. Believer has no lack of material for praise, though: what we see in universe around, what we see in Scripture.

A. natural revelation v.1-6 (God’s World – teaches his transcendence)

plain obvious declaration/announcement

God doesn’t play hide-and-seek, hard to find; continuous proclamation wherever you look in created order, God’s handwork on display, uncovered and out in front

get emphasis in right place: God’s glory, God’s handwork openly and obviously proclaimed

ongoing proclamation: not simply acts of creation, what happened first six days that display; just as obvious now as thousands of years ago

macro scale or micro scale: more knowledge leads to more wonder

Hubble Space Telescope, Curiosity rover on Mars; electron microscope, MRI technology; stars or cellular mechanisms

declaration of nature transcends language

another aspect of God’s design – his creation would declare his glory even after Babel; multiplicity of languages doesn’t hinder its communication

easily crosses all geographic, political, cultural barriers; no place where its mute declaration cannot be “heard”

universal reception – who cannot sense the sun and its effects?

everyone without exception feel effects of the sun – its light, heat, results of its presence on plant life, etc.

truth about existence and glory of God just as universally present

Paul thinking about this when he wrote Romans 1:20ff?

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”

speech, words not necessary to communicate basic truths about existence of God; no one is ignorant of his existence

antidote to nature-worship

to be satisfied with worship of creation is to willfully supress Creator’s message and intent

even children recognize parents’ handwriting – image-bearers recognize Creator’s handwriting

true understanding of nature intended by God to bring attention and glory to God

limitation – no word of Christ

existence of Creator made obvious by world-book – sufficient data/information communicated so all mankind without excuse

but… vast numbers do not worship one true Creator; reasons why are not found in nature nor is solution to problem

B. special revelation v.7-10 (God’s Word – teaches his immanence)

is completely sufficient to serve God’s purpose, meet mankind’s need to know truth

six titles, six characteristics, six benefits (concise 3-verse summary of Psa 119)

law – the Lord’s authoritative instruction for how man should live

testimony – God’s self-revelation: witness of who he is, what he’s done, what he requires

statutes – God-given principles to guide thought, word and deed

commandment – non-negotiable requirements given by God for man’s good

fear – holding God in awe, reverence – “manual” for worship, how to approach God acceptably

judgments – God’s verdict of right and wrong expressed in his Word

characteristics

perfect – complete and without error, contains all we need to know about what to believe, how to behave

sure – certain and trustworthy, a reliable source of wisdom

right – establish a right direction, teaching the right way to live

pure/clear – makes things easy to see, provides clarity

clean – without any impurity (Psalm 12:6) “like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times”

true – truth for all circumstances in all generations, not requiring editing or reinterpretation, not benefitting from “modern” understanding

benefits

converts – transforming the entire person

makes wise – power to bring to full spiritual maturity regardless of “starting place”

instills joy – happiness, satisfaction from right living, fellowship with God

enlightens – cuts through fog of sin-clouded thinking

endures – always relevant, never needs updating; never need to question its validity for our situation

produces righteousness – gives right understanding of everything because it is true

reaches every part of a person

soul – 7a mind – 7b heart – 8a sight – 8b spirit – 9 emotions/desires – 10

a priceless treasure – God’s Word intended to be treasured interactively

gold is priceless but cannot be enjoyed experientially; remains external to possessor

honey must be tasted in order to enjoy, must be experienced internally

both aspects equally true of Bible – can recognize its value intellectually, only fully realized when internalized, becoming part of who we are

our greatest possession and greatest pleasure

as applied by Holy Spirit, effects changes in places and ways no other agent can

we can’t change our own soul much less someone else’s

God’s Word has necessary characteristics and power by design to achieve his purpose

intended to be far more than just “a good read”, history from particular perspective, treatise on morality

expected result of studying God’s two books: radical life-altering change

C. personal application v.11-14

heed the warning – 11

“No User Serviceable parts Inside — Will void warranty if removed” – how many people have ignored?

God does not expect us to treat Biblical warnings that way – intends us to read and heed, follow path laid out

promises rich reward for doing so – begins in this life, experienced in fullness in next life

deal with hidden sin – 12

in view here: sin that is “hidden” from individual, those things not immediately recognized as sinful

become apparent when study God’s Word, seek God’s help to apply, illumination from Holy Spirit

avoid presumptuous sin – 13

instruction by both precept and example – power of giving in to willful sin

should incite in us prayer for God’s help again: to have proper attitude toward sin, not minimizing, rationalizing, ignoring

summarize v.11-13: living in conscious purposeful dependence on God by his Word and Spirit to be pleasing to Him

worship acceptably – 14

whether corporate (public) worship or closet devotions, heart and lips must go together

expressed desire to keep “first commandment” – love God

spoken in context of trust: “O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer”

implies desire for forgiveness

Christian knows that child is acceptable to the Father in Christ

Rom. 5:1 “since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”

Rom. 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

the one in Christ desires to “not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:4) and continually depends on God for strength and guidance to do so

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