Friday, 15 October 2010
Psalm 19 Study: How Do I Hear God’s Voice?
Why pick Psalm 19 for this week’s study? Because every one of us wants to hear from God at some time in our lives.
You don’t have to be devout or even religious to want God to speak. You could be overwhelmed and needing help. You could be upset and needing answers. You could be alone and needing to know that someone is there. In those times everyone of us prays, even the least likely of us.
But do we hear back? It’s hard to tell if I’m hearing God or just my innermost thoughts. How can I distinguish God’s voice from all the others in my head? How can I know for sure that he’s speaking to me, that I’m not just imagining it?
Psalm 19 has some answers for us.
A Pregnant Psalm
This Psalm is like a seed. It seems small at first. Straightforward. Not very relevant to my immediate crisis. But if we “take and eat” it, chew slowly and swallow, we will find it begins to fill us with certainty. God does speak to us. He is not silent. This Psalm doesn’t tell us everything, it points ahead to the full answer to our question.
Bruce Waltke, co-author of The Psalms as Christian Worship, writes, “This Psalm is pregnant with the gospel.” What lies in seed form in these fourteen verses is fully birthed in the New Testament. Dig into the questions below and follow the trail with me this week. Let’s hear the answer to the question we brought with us.
But then let it bring us to a second question. What do I do once I’ve heard God’s voice? How do I respond?
This week’s study questions
This week we will study the Psalm in 4 sections. We are still going to listen for the “three voices” (David’s, Jesus’, and mine), but there’s one more voice we need to hear, the Apostle Paul’s.
Day 1 — Psalm 19:1-6
- David’s voice: The message of this section is “creation speaks!” Describe what it says, how it says it, and to whom it speaks.
- Jesus’ voice: How does Jesus mine creation’s speech in his parables? List some of the analogies he employs as a master teacher to communicate the glory of God.
- Paul’s voice: Paul quotes Psalm 19:4 in Romans 10:18. Read also Romans 1:19-20. If David says, “creation speaks,” what does Paul say is its message? How has mankind responded to that message?
- Your voice: Meditate on creation today as you go about your day. What do you hear of God in it? Praise him for the glory you see!
Day 2 — Psalm 19:7-9
- David’s voice: Why does David change the name by which he addresses God in these verses? What does the LORD say? Dig for detail by listing all the nouns, verbs, and adjectives that describe the law and its effect.
- Jesus’ voice: What did Jesus think of God’s law? See Matthew 5:17-20, and 7:12
- Paul’s voice: What did Paul teach about God’s law? See Romans 3:31 and 7:12
- My voice: What would the world look like if everyone obeyed even one of God’s laws perfectly? For example, take the ninth commandment, “You shall not steal.” How many things about my life, my family, my city would be different if that were perfectly obeyed. Rejoice in the beauty of the law as an expression of God’s goodness and holiness.
Day 3 –Psalm 19:10-11
- David’s voice: What does David compare the law to? Why is it desirable? Restate these 2 verses in your own words.
- Jesus’ voice: How did Jesus take the warnings of the law seriously? See Matthew 5:27-30. What “great reward” did he receive for keeping the law? See Matthew 16:21
- Paul’s voice: What did Christ accomplish for us by keeping the law? See Romans 7:22, 8:1-4 and 10:4.
- My voice: How does the work of Christ allow me to delight in the law instead of being crushed by it? Praise him for keeping the law for you, especially in an area where you struggle with temptation and sin.
Day 4 — Psalm 19:12-14
- David’s voice: How does David respond to the law of God? Contrast it to the Israelite’s response in Exodus 24:3. What does he ask? (For the difference between secret sin and high handed sin see Psalm 90:8 and Numbers 15:30-31.) What name does he call God now?
- Jesus’ voice: When did Jesus show us that no sins were hidden from him? See John 4:16-18. How did Jesus deal with the sin and the sinner? See John 8:10-11 and John 5:14.
- Paul’s voice: How does Jesus save us from besetting sins and free us to live a holy life? See Romans 6:12-14 and 12:1
- My voice: Pray to your Redeemer today, asking him to free you from the sins that hound you. Praise your Rock, who gives you a firm standing before your God until you are fully sanctified!
God is speaking. Listen with me.