Day 10 Psalm 19 .. Outdoor Lessons

David lived much of his life outdoors, beginning first with his years as a shepherd and continuing on through his time of running from Saul and armies on a battlefield. Not surprisingly a great love, even reverence, for the natural world shows through in many of his psalms.

These psalms present a world that fits together as a whole. At night wild animals hunt; at daybreak humans go out to work. As rain falls, nourishing crops for people and grass for cattle, it also waters the forest where wild animals live. yet the psalmist doesn't just marvel over the complexity and beauty of nature; behind everything he sees the hand of God. The world works because an intimate, personal God watches over it. Every breath of life depends on his will. So do the weather, the winds and clouds, the very stability of the earth.

Psalm 19 brings together two of David's favorite themes: God's care for the earth, and his care for the chosen people of Israel. He begins with the natural world, marveling at the mantle of stars that covers the whole earth-stars he often slept under at night. Yet, David and the Israelites, unlike their neighbors, did not worship the sun and stars as gods, but rather saw them as the workmanship of a great God who oversees all creation.

In the middle of the psalm, the author turns his attention from nature to the "law of the LORD," which formed the heart of God's covenant with his people. To reflect that change, the poem in Hebrew uses a different, more personal name for God. The first six verses refer to God with a general name that anyone, of any religion, might use, much like our English word God. But from verse seven onward, God is called Yahweh, the personal name revealed to Moses from the burning bush. The heavens declare the glory of God, but God's law reveals even more-his personal voice to his chosen people.

David wrote some of the psalms as a fugitive, while fleeing the wrath of King Saul. Even though God had promised him the throne of Israel, David had to run for his life. He had many nights of fear and many doubts, but his bedrock trust held firm. He believed that the God who had demonstrated his faithfulness to the natural world, and to the nation David would one day govern, would show that same faithfulness in fulfilling promises to David himself.

Point to Ponder: : : Does nature reveal "the glory of God" to you?