A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Psalm 19 is one of the best daily prayers I’ve ever found. Commit it to memory and use it in your prayers each morning. Just like your daily bath or shower makes you physically clean, praying Psalm 19 makes you spiritually clean. It’s a great way to fulfill 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Let’s go through Psalm 19 and I’ll show you why I believe it’s such a good one to know by heart.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)
These verses refer to the Hebrew Mazzaroth, later corrupted into Babylonian Astrology. Hebrew tradition holds that Adam, Seth, and Enoch picked 12 constellations of stars, each with a major star and 3 minor ones (called decans) and named them in such a way as to tell the gospel story. Being a nomadic people who slept in the open with their flocks, generations of fathers could point out these constellations to their sons at night and use them to teach the redemption story. This was to give hope to the sons, who had heard stories of the Fall, and our expulsion from the Garden. It taught them that one day God would send His Son to redeem them. Their faith in God’s promise, written in the stars, is what saved them from their sins.
Evidence shows that the Sphinx in Egypt is a monument to the Mazzaroth with the head of a woman (Virgo) and the body of a lion (Leo) combining the 1st and 12th signs and completing the circle of redemption. Some experts contend that the particular kind of erosion the sphinx has experienced could only have occurred if it had spent a period of time underwater. If so, it’s a pre-flood memorial to the Gospel in the Stars.
In ancient Babylon, the 12 constellations were given different names, most of which bore no resemblance to the original Hebrew, and the 12 signs of the Zodiac were born taking God completely out of the picture. The Babylonian names survive to this day and are the basis for the false religion we call astrology. This was one of the enemy’s early attempts to deprive mankind of the Gospel story. There is speculation among archeologists and astrologers alike that the Tower of Babel may have been dedicated to the study of astrology. Signs of the Zodiac have been found in the ruins of similar ancient towers. In Israel, the study of Astrology was a sin punishable by death (Deut. 18:9-12 KJV).
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. (Psalm 19:5-6)
The rising and setting of the Sun each day also give evidence of God’s creative powers in providing the light and warmth necessary to sustain our lives day in and day out. How could this happen by chance?
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward (Psalm 19:7-11)
God’s Laws, while impossible to keep in their entirety, are the standard for behavior that He requires of us. Neither arbitrary nor oppressive, they are perfect as He is perfect, and making them part of your life is the sure path to prosperity and success (Joshua 1:8). Even people who don’t believe in the Creator who ordained them are blessed by incorporating His laws into their lifestyle.
Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. (Psalm 19:12-13)
But even the best of us falls pitifully short of achieving the standards God’s law sets forth. Our behavior is so contaminated by our sin nature we don’t even realize the extent to which we violate them. So David’s prayer was not just for God’s help in preventing him from consciously sinning, but also for forgiveness for the sins he wasn’t even aware of committing.
In Old Testament times, the evening and morning burnt offerings temporarily set aside the unintentional sins of the nation. From the time of the Exodus to the coming of the Messiah these offerings were part of their daily lives. The evening offering was kept burning all night to atone for the sins they committed during the night and the morning offering covered them all through the day. Two lambs gave their life every day to show the people the extent to which sin had permeated their lives, literally causing them to violate God’s laws day and night.
As the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), Jesus replaced these twice daily burnt offerings with His once-for-all-time sacrifice (Hebrews 10:11-14). And it covered conscious as well as unconscious sin. Since He has already paid the penalty due us, we need only confess to be forgiven. Some dispute this, arguing that our original confession should be sufficient for life. However John the Apostle reminded us that if we think we’re without sin we’re liars, fooling ourselves. But if we confess our sins, as David did, including even those that are so much a part of our behavior that we’re not even aware of them, God Who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-10) Our original confession saved us forever, but maintaining an intimate relationship with God in the here and now requires confession whenever we sin.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
God, Who judges the motives of our heart knows the difference between the sincere confession of a humble and contrite sinner and the mindless mouthing of words we’ve learned to say without feeling. David closed his prayer with the hope that God would count him sincere as he offered his confession, and judge his motives favorably. Good advice for us too.
Today, when there’s so much emphasis on self, it’s easy to forget that we’re created beings who’ve been given incredible talent and ability to use as we see fit, and a guide to living that will assure success beyond our wildest imagination. Beginning each day by declaring the glory of our Creator, acknowledging and confessing our sins, and protecting our relationship with the One who is the author of all our victories is a great antidote for the self-centeredness that can so easily overtake us.
In the days ahead our way of life will be challenged in ways we would never have imagined just a few years ago. It’s more important now than ever before that we stay close to our Lord and Savior, to avail ourselves of His blessing and His protection. Knowing and praying Psalm 19 will help us do that. Selah