Psalm 19, 5 October 2014

Psalm 19 declares the glory of the divine as seen in the creation, then moves to the importance of divine revelation (‘the law’). However, there are so many familiar yet dense phrases in this broad-ranging and interesting psalm that it’s not quite fair to pick just a couple of central themes. Read the text here >>

Their sound is gone out -- technology old or new is not required
Their sound is gone out — technology old or new is not required

The heavens

From the very first verse (‘The heavens declare the glory of God’) we read phrases that resonate in our experience and memories.

Then, anyone who has sung Handel’s The Messiah will certainly recognise ‘Their sound is gone out’ and have the tune of that chorus in mind (an exciting sing — even if it sometimes feels a little like practising your scales and arps. It works.)

Rathaus Augsburg
‘Much fine gold’ — too much here perhaps? Rathaus, Augsburg

The words

From verse 7 on we are reminded by this ‘Psalm of David’ how valuable in the search for an upright yet humble life is the divine guidance in the word, which is:

More to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (v. 10)

These references to God’s law and commands might be taken as a nod to the ten commandments which appear in the associated reading from Exodus for the week. However, in the light of all the subsequent guidance and New Testament teaching, that’s like harking back to the technology of that phonograph or to black and white silent movies. We have been moving from a few strict rules to a river of gracious wisdom.

A bible printed in Nurnberg in 1708
A bible printed in Nuremberg in 1708


My most-used reference books sit conveniently on my desk by the window, close at hand. Fine, but I happen to be on the other side of the world and, perhaps to your relief, I shall thus refrain from extensive comment on the options. Here are some brief notes:

  • Songs no. 7 and 8 in TiS refer to this psalm, although neither covers the full lectionary reading.
  • Isaac Everett draws on verse 1 in an easy, singable refrain. As usual, he assumes the verses will be spoken rather than sung to a background vamp.
  • PFAS presents a whole six options; 19E is of particular interest since it reminds me that:
  • Last time we sang this (January 2013) we used ‘By the rivers of Babylon’ which picks up another much-quoted verse (the last): ‘Let the words of my mouth…’ Children will enjoy this little chorus and perhaps even remember it. The text is on the SWUC Music Dropbox.


After excellent family times nearer the Pole Star than the Southern Cross, all of which I understand to declare the glory of God, Hon. Webmaster hopes to be home with gyros partially upright this Sunday to enjoy whatever is arranged.

You may notice that you have been automatically transferred to — hopefully without annoying advertisements !! This is now the correct URL for bookmarking or reference purposes. 

Plaque on the rebuilt Damenhof where Luther advocated the centrality of justification by faith.
Plaque on the rebuilt Damenhof where Luther advocated the centrality of justification by faith.

The pic from Augsburg above reminds me that this was the city where in 1518 Martin Luther was interrogated on the ’95 Theses’, and subsequently excommunicated.


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