In the past week I’ve heard two sermons preached on Psalm 19. The third time I came across this passage was during my Bible reading last night in Romans 10. In this chapter, Paul talks about the message of salvation to all people. Here in verse 13 we have the famous promise: “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Paul then changes direction. The two verses that follow ask a series of rhetorical questions:
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
There has never been a greater need for the Gospel than today. You can look at the sidebar and see an unreached people group, those who have never heard the Gospel shared before. Today’s generation is arguably the most biblically illiterate generation in America’s history. And I have to wonder why.
If Paul were to add one more rhetorical question to his list, perhaps it would be this: “And how are they to be sent unless they understand the message themselves?”
We have to know the message.
The message of God – the Gospel – starts with God revealing Himself. This is the truth that David writes about when he opens Psalm 19:
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.
You don’t have to look further than the night sky to see a testimony of God’s glory. For six verses David pours out his marvel at God’s revelation in the world, inescapable glory in the sun and the stars.
God’s revelation doesn’t stop there. On top of nature’s manifest testimony, God gives us His written Law, known better today as the Bible. Even with the limited amount of God’s Word in David’s day, he was able to see a benefit far outshining the sun.
For five more verses David pours out his delight over God’s Word, both their value and the effect. “The Law of the LORD is perfect (value), reviving the soul (effect).”
I’m not a theologian.
The call to understand God’s Word can drive people away from Him. People see the impossible task of knowing God and understand that they’ll never fully comprehend Him. If we can’t know everything about God, why strain to try?
One of my professors brought up this question in a class on Wednesday. There are some things we cannot know about God, he said to the class, but that doesn’t mean we can’t know far more than we do now by studying His Word.
The more I get into the Word, the more I realize how much there is to know about God. But like David, the more I understand God’s Word, the more I’m able to treasure this Book. I know that I’ll never fully understand God – that’d be like trying to hold the ocean in a pitcher.
Instead, we must realize that knowing God isn't first about knowledge but desire – not so much about our location as our trajectory. Our hearts must be like David, who saw his own sin against a holy God and closed his psalm of praise with a prayer:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
How about you? What are some of the benefits and challenges you've noticed as you get into the Word? Feel free to share your thoughts.