Psalm Nineteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork.

glory of God. The “glory of God,” expounded by the heavens, is not only the infinite power, variety and complexity seen in the stars but also the Lord Jesus Christ, “the brightness of His glory” (Hebrews 1:3). The “signs” established in the stars by God (Genesis 1:14) when He arranged the constellations (Job 38:31-33; etc.) originally set forth pictorially the divine plan of redemption through the coming “seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15).

Psalm 19:2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.

sheweth knowledge. The message goes forth through all space (Psalm 19:1) and all time (Psalm 19:2), even though there is no speech or language through which the message is conveyed (the word “where” is not in the original—Psalm 19:3).

Psalm 19:3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Psalm 19:4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Their line. This refers to the surveyor's “line,” that is, the physical creation, which is everything in space and time. God's creation is the standard against which all men are measured. The heavens declare the glory of God, but all come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). See also Romans 1:20, which tells us that if men fail to see the Creator through His creation, they are “without excuse.”

Psalm 19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

Psalm 19:6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

going forth. The Hebrew word does not refer to the sun's daily orbit, but to that which “goes forth” from the sun itself—that is, the “heat thereof” the radiant energy which sustains all life on earth and even energizes the entire solar system.

his circuit. The critical charge that this verse reflects an unscientific geocentric view (the sun orbiting a fixed earth) is puerile. All motion is “relative motion,” since no one knows where a stationary “center of the universe” might be (the sun apparently moves in a gigantic circuit around the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and the galaxy itself moves with respect to other galaxies). The most scientific way of dealing with different motions is to assume a point of zero motion, and measure other motions relative to that. The best point to assume as a point of zero motion is the one for which the equations of motion are simplest. For all surveyors, all navigators, and most astronomers, that reference point is the surface of the earth at the location of the observer. David takes this scientific approach in referring to the sun's motion relative to the earth. At the same time, his statement is also correct for any other assumed fixed point, since the sun and the galaxy do actually move throughout the whole universe.

hid from the heat. The laws of thermodynamics (i.e., “heat power”) are the most important and universal laws of science, and the sun's heat “going forth” from its surface provides the basic energy for all earth's processes. The First Law (conservation of energy in quantity) and Second Law (decay of energy quality) ultimately depend upon the sun's heat for their meaningful existence and operation.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

converting the soul. While the “revelation” in God's creation will condemn the soul, only the written revelation (described in Psalm 19:7-9) can convert or “restore” the soul. Note also the emphasis on the regenerating power of the Scriptures in such verses as 2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Peter 1:23-25, etc.

Psalm 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

statutes of the Lord. While the physical world gives mighty testimony to the existence of God, and His power in creation, only the written Word can give testimony to the power of God in salvation. Note that the Scriptures are “perfect,” “sure,” “right,” “pure,” “forever,” “true,” and “righteous altogether.” In a sense, God does have two books, but His written revelation is superior to His physical creation (note Psalm 138:2), and the latter can only be truly understood as expounded by the former. Many modern evangelicals are making the serious mistake of trying to make Scripture conform to current “science.” It should be the other way around.

Psalm 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

Psalm 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Psalm 19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Psalm 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

not have dominion. Indeed, through the Lord Jesus Christ, “sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

my mouth. Note the frequent New Testament conjoining of what we think with what we say (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 12:34; Colossians 3:16; etc.).