Psalm 19: A Creation Psalm
The Creation stories are found in various different places in the Bible. One of the accounts is the poetic tales that are found throughout the Psalms. In Psalm 19 we hear David sing of his understanding of the creation story. While we see elements that are present within the first two, the understanding this psalm gives us helps us to understand how the people viewed creation and its relationship to life in general. Most people do not know Psalm 19, though every Sunday morning before I begin the sermon I repeat the last verse, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Some scholars, even translations, break the psalm into two parts, the first being the creation story and the second, the law. Breaking it up may make it easier to read and understand since the two are seemingly disparate thoughts, though in our understanding of creation, especially how we understand it, there is a trust and relationship that is supposed to happen within it.
This poetic tale establishes an understanding of the law that links the perfection of the law to the perfection of creation. Moreover, the deliberate way in which God creates, is also the deliberate call to how we are supposed to live our lives.
The psalmist, in this case ascribed to David, establishes that the following of the law will bring one to the riches of God, and the rejection will equal abandonment. Though, interestingly, as glorified as the psalmist makes creation and the law, the writer also admits to the reality that he has fallen, is tempted and has sinned in ways that he knows and some that he does not.
This ends the passage with the prayer at the creation of the new day which is a simple prayer asking to be kept pure for just one day, allowing the reader a moment to be perfect in God’s sight.
Interestingly, this morning instead of hitting snooze, I turned off the alarm. Waking up 10 minutes late took away all of my buffer time making me rushed and not really “on my game.” Interesting how that happens. A simple mistake just seems to throw everything off. Conversely, when I get to start the day off right, have my moments with God, respect myself in time to get ready and out I find the whole day works better and I do not find myself frustrated or forlorn. I feel right and ready; most importantly I am able to have perspective and understanding.
This creation poem is not like two found in genesis. It is not trying to tell us what our role is within creation, but it is witnessing to the power and glory that came from creation. Moreover, it is showing us that there is more to the creation than what we see, there is the law that governs our community and there is the individual commitment, which calls us to be a new creation every day.
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Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen