Songs of Worship

Southeast Christian Church
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The Book of Psalm was written by David, who went from being a lowly shepherd boy who defeated the giant Goliath to being king. We're not told the time in his life that he wrote Psalm 19 or what he may have been experiencing or going through, but we can almost imagine that David is sitting and watching the sun rise over the horizon when he wrote this Psalm. In the first six verses of this Psalm, David spends time simply talking about the beauty of God's natural creation and how God reveals himself through his creation. Starting at verse seven, he pivots, and he begins to talk about how God reveals his power and his beauty through the Scriptures.

In verses seven through nine, David uses six different words to describe God's Word in the Bible: law, statutes, precepts, commands, fear, and decrees. At first glance, some of these words can seem a little redundant or even a little repetitive. But when you take the time to study and get into the original Hebrew language, you see the full scope of what's being communicated by David here.

Law is the Hebrew word for Torah, which are the 613 commands that we see from Exodus to Deuteronomy. However, over time, Torah became a way to refer to Genesis through Deuteronomy, and then the whole of the Old Testament story of God raising up Israel as he begins to unfold this rescue mission for all of creation that culminates in Jesus. The word for statutes is similar to the Hebrew word for testimony. We might think of a court of law, but this could just be someone's insight or opinion on the validity of something. Precepts are general rules intended to regulate behaviors. The Hebrew word in this case means signpost, so it’s the idea of signs pointing the way in which to walk. Fear means having a reverence, awe, or attention to someone's power. Finally, decree is the Hebrew word that means justice. All six are important ways for God to communicate to his people.

Reflection/Discussion Question: What do these very specific six different words communicate to you about Scripture?

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