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  • Daniel Botkin

Psalm 19: A Two-Fold Revelation of God


“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He hath set a tabernacle for the sun... and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”

(Psalm 19:1-6)


The creation bears witness to the existence of a Creator, as the opening words of Psalm 19 so eloquently state. Therefore those who deny the existence of God are without excuse, as Romans 1:20 also states.

Jews and Christians throughout history have found it inspiring and uplifting to meditate on the things of nature that God has created. St. Francis of Assisi regarded everything in nature as his brother or sister. In “The Canticle of Brother Sun,” he thanks God for Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Wind, etc. Rabbis point out that the Hebrew word for nature, ha-teva, has the same numerical value as Elohim, the word for God, thus affirming the fact that God reveals Himself through nature.

Nature declares God’s glory, it shows His handiwork, and it reveals His power. However, a revelation of God that comes only through nature is an imperfect and incomplete revelation, because such a revelation does not tell us how God wants us to live, or how we can be justified and made clean in His sight.

“How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” asked Bildad the Shuhite. “Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea the stars are not pure in His sight; how much less man, that is a worm, and the son of man, which is a worm?” (Job 25:4-6). Thus did Bildad express nature’s inability to tell man what God wants.

Nature can inspire us but it cannot inform us of God’s will. For that information, we must look to another source of revelation, and that source is God’s Torah. This same Psalm that begins by telling us about God’s revelation in nature continues by telling us about God’s revelation in the Torah:


“The law of Yahweh is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of Yahweh is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of Yahweh are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of Yahweh is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of Yahweh are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Ps. 19:7-11).


Writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, David begins this Psalm by proclaiming the revelation of God that exists in nature, and then he suddenly starts writing about the revelation of God in the Torah. Why this sudden switch of topics in mid-psalm from nature to Torah? It teaches us that there are two aspects to God’s revelation of Himself. God reveals His awesome power, glory, splendor, etc. through His creation. We need to see this because it can inspire us, humble us, motivate us, and uplift us. God’s will for His people, however, is not revealed in nature. It is revealed in His Torah. We need to see this so that we will know how to live in harmony with nature and with nature’s God.

When Yeshua of Nazareth came to earth, both aspects of God’s revelation were manifested. Certainly God’s power, glory, and splendor were manifested on earth as never before, in the short life of this humble Rabbi from Galilee. The radiance of that glory still continues to shine today, nearly 2,000 years later, in the hearts of those who love Him. The revelation of God’s Torah was likewise manifested in Yeshua. He not only taught His disciples to obey the Torah, He also gave a living demonstration of how to live within the boundaries of God’s commandments -- boundaries set for us for our own good by a wise and loving Heavenly Father.

Yeshua was the Word made flesh, the Living Torah. After His Ascension He sent the Holy Spirit to write the Torah on the tablets of our hearts (the same Torah that was written first on tablets of stone), so that we might obey the Torah from an inward desire to obey (“the newness of the spirit”), rather than from fear or peer pressure (“the oldness of the letter”). By looking to the glory of God that was in Yeshua, we can be inspired, humbled, motivated, and uplifted. By looking to Yeshua as our Torah teacher, we can learn how the Father wants us to live a life of blessing within the framework and boundaries of the Torah.


| DB

 

Image: Psalm 19 by Daniel Botkin from his Psurrealistic Psalms Pseries. Learn more about this unique art project of Daniel “painting the Psalms” at his Psurrealistic Psalms Gallery. See all of Daniel’s art pieces at DanielBotkin.com.

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