Some of us may be discovering that we have had a distorted view of the Ten Commandments. So, running alongside Exodus 20:1-17 this summer, we’re going to look at Psalm 19. In this psalm, designed to be sung by a choir, David declares the beauty found in the law of the Lord. We want these verses to restore the beauty of His Word in our minds and hearts that following the law of the Lord may become a joy, not a burden. Let’s take a look by first reading (or listening to) this psalm in the English Standard Version:
The Law of the Lord Is Perfect To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
In my younger years, I would often hurry through my time in God’s Word each morning to say I’d had my quiet time. I was a rule-following, box-checking girl who practiced on-the-go snacking from God’s Word rather than sitting down before a feast and slowly savoring every bite. But over time, I’ve come to love chewing on a section of Scripture — sometimes daily for many weeks — to discover the beauty of God’s law and the promises tucked inside it. I have learned that God’s Word is not an ancient tome of a people long ago but a guide for my life today. I hope the questions in this Process section begin to introduce you to the beauty of savoring God’s Word a little bit at a time.
What words are used in verses 7-9 in place of “law”? Hint: They all end with “of the LORD.” One of them might not seem to be a logical synonym for the word “law,” but don’t gloss over it! Remember this is poetry on which we’re feasting, so evaluate how the words are connected.
Which words are used to describe God’s law? Hint: You’ll find seven of them.
What does the law of the LORD do? Hint: In most translations, these are the –ing statements.
Without restating all three verses, try summarizing this verse in a simple sentence.
Let’s do something rather old-fashioned today as we practice delighting in the beauty of God’s law. This practice is so simple that you can include any children in your life, even the young ones. We’re going to do some copywork and/or rough sketches that will help us memorize and better understand this psalm.
Taking just verses 7-9 this week, copy the sentences in your preferred translation onto a single sheet of paper, into a journal, or other surface such as a chalkboard or whiteboard. We’re modeling this practice prompt with the English Standard Version. You can choose to go simple or take the opportunity to try your hand at calligraphy or another lettering technique. Examples abound online.
Alongside the words or, in the case of the littles ones, instead of the words you could draw simple images or color in words or phrases with colored pencils, crayons, markers, or watercolors. Yes, this seems simple, maybe a little messy, and certainly not perfect, but as we copy out God’s Word, we are sitting just a little bit longer in the beauty of these life-giving words. And as we slow down in this way, prayers will often arise:
Lord, help me understand what I’m copying (or drawing).
Lord, may I not abuse the gift of Your law.
Help me to live a life that reflects the prefect, sure, right, pure, clean, and true nature of Your Word.
May you enjoy processing and practicing delighting in God’s Word today!