Psalm 19 (NRSV)
Verse 1The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Verse 2Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
Verse 3There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
Verse 4yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
Verse 5which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Verse 6Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.
Verse 7The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;
Verse 8the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes;
Verse 9the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
Verse 10More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
Verse 11Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Verse 12But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.
Verse 13Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Verse 14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
God's law is a gift, the psalmist asserts, though some of my Lutheran friends might get nervous affirming that, lest we get accused of works righteousness. I used to start every sermon with the prayer in this psalm's last verse: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." But there's another verse that helps this whole psalm come to life for me. I use it to teach and convince my Sunday school kids and middle school confirmation students that laws and rules are actually good for them.
Besides "reviving the soul" and "rejoicing the heart," the psalmist says about God's laws: "More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb." I give my kids sticks of honey and then we pray this psalm. Try it!
May the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock, and our redeemer. Amen.