And so. in summary, the psalmist considers two ways that God communicates with us. Firstly, he says that it is through the wonder of his “heavens” which declare his glory (including his attributes, his character, his works, his ways), even, remarkably, despite the fact that “They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Then secondly, he moves on to something where God does use words to communicate with us and that is the Bible. And these words, when read with an open heart and mind are transformative and life giving. So we now come to the conclusion of this “memorable” psalm and in these last verses it is the psalmist who is communicating with God and he asks:
12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from wilful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
It seems sad that after considering the “heavens” and the word of God that he needs to then move to his ‘errors…faults…wilful sins…great transgression’. But just as Peter experienced when he first met Jesus, this is a natural progression. This story is found in Luke 5:1-11 when we are informed that Jesus needed to borrow Peter’s boat near the shore because the crowds were large who had come to listen “to the word of God” spoken by Jesus. Following this he (a carpenter) suggested to Peter (an experienced fisherman) that he “put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch”. Initially Peter was reluctant and he said, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” But then something happened that changed his mind, maybe the smile on Jesus’ face, and so he replied, “but because you say so, I will…” Well, you know the story, they were overwhelmed by the number of fish caught and needed two boats to put them all in. Then we see Peter’s reaction, similar to the psalmist’s: “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go way from me, Lord, I am a sinful man!’”
Considering who God is as revealed in his incredible creation and as revealed in his word, the psalmist (like Peter) recognized his sinfulness and complete unworthiness to receive anything from God. We all need to come to that place, and having arrived there, then allow God to have mercy, show grace and pour out his compassion on us. All this possible only because of the life, death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus the Christ.
Then only will we be confident enough to pray, ‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer’.
A closing prayer based on the words of the psalmists who wrote Psalms 19 and 119:
Father God, thank you for the wonderful privilege of being your child; thank you Jesus, Word of God for setting me free to love you, and thank you Holy Spirit for your presence with me at all times and for guiding me into all truth.
Thank you for your truth, that is revealed in the ‘heavens’ and in your word, the Bible.
But sometimes I read your word and my experience is not like the Psalmist who speaks of your word as, “more precious [to him] than gold, than much pure gold…sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.”
I really want to be able to say this and mean it, and also, that “I delight in your commands because I love them…Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long…I love your statutes…I stand in awe of your laws…Your promises…your servant loves them…I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.”
He is so passionate, when it comes to his relationship with you, and how he loves your word. Change me, teach me, so that I too can say, “I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, Lord…I run in the path of your commands…for I delight in your commands.”
I praise you, my Father, my God, because your word “is perfect, refreshing the soul” – Lord, refresh my soul; “trustworthy, making wise the simple” – Lord, give me wisdom; “right, giving joy to the heart” – Lord, fill me with your joy; “radiant, giving light to the eyes” – Lord, open my eyes, so that when I read your word, I will see you in all your beauty and wonder.
“May the words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”