More Precious Than Gold

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I recently watched a documentary highlighting a city in India at the edge of the Himalayas. For decades, air pollution completely obscured the mountains to anyone living in the city. During the COVID-19 pandemic, with no cars on the road and industry shut down, the glorious mountain tops were visible for the first time in nearly 40 years, moving many people to tears.


I feel that way sometimes, having lived most of my life in a big city. I love getting out to the country where there is little to no light, and suddenly, the stars above, once hidden by the city lights, are so vivid and dramatic that they often leave me speechless.


King David, in writing Psalm 19, is deeply moved by the sight of the night sky above him. Can you imagine how dark the nights were in David’s time? Once the sun went down, there were only small candles and lanterns in the city and countryside, which were no match for the skies above. David looks upon the creation shining above him and, in it, sees the work of the Creator God. He writes as a man stunned at what He is beholding.


In certain Psalms, David cries out to God for help (Psalm 77). In other Psalms, he is repentant and humbled (Psalm 51). But here, in Psalm 19, David is stirred in the deepest part of his being to pen poetry, expressing his worship of the God who placed each star in its place. We don’t know if David penned Psalm 19 before the sun rose, but I like to imagine him sitting alone before dawn with a poem stirring in his heart that he just had to get out and put the pen to the scroll. And what a poem it became!


The 19th Psalm is arguably the most beautiful of all the Psalms. Scholars such as VanGemeren have said that “more than any other, Psalm 19 reflects the beauty and splendor of the Hebrew poetry found in the Psalter’. C.S. Lewis said, ‘Psalm 19 is the greatest poem in the Psalter and perhaps the greatest lyric in the world.’


David declares the greatness of a God who could create the vast night sky with the simple word from His mouth and reminds us that all of God’s creation is speaking specifically of the overwhelming glory of God. Spurgeon equates it to a nightly sermon being preached over us time and time again:


“Though all preachers on earth should grow silent, and every human mouth cease from publishing the glory of god, the heavens above will never cease to declare and proclaim his majesty and glory…their message is delivered from day to day and from night to night.”


While the message of God’s glory delivered through his creation is powerful, David shifts gears entirely in verse 7 to declare that God speaks even louder through His word.

“It’s as if David is saying that though creation tells us much about God, His word tells us much more, “ says David Guzik.


The Word of God is the authority that tells us who God is. It reveals more of God than creation can on its own, not only who He is but how He is: the God who has a steadfast, patient, enduring, never-ceasing love for his people. In the first part of the Psalm, David refers to God as El, a general Hebrew title for God. But starting in verse 7, corresponding to God revealing himself in His word, God is now called Yahweh (Lord), a specific and more profound name for God. This is no accident. David is highlighting just how important the word of God is in revealing God to us.


This poetic masterpiece leads us to see God in creation and even more so in His Word–given to all of us to know more of Him in every encounter. Spurgeon puts it this way, “He is wisest who reads both the world-book and the Word-book as two volumes of the same work, and feels concerning them, ‘My Father wrote them both.”


David expounds on the Word and uses new descriptives to communicate the power of the Word - using new titles like law, testimony, statutes, commandments, fear, judgments, etc. Ultimately, David compares the value of the word of God to gold and the taste of His word to the sweetness of honey.


As you listen to ‘More Precious Than Gold (Psalm 19)’, our prayer is simple––that you would encounter the creator God as you look around at all he has created. Enjoy seeing God in the night sky, the mountain tops, or the crashing waves onto the shore. But even more importantly, you would encounter God as Father in the pages of His word in the 19th Psalm. Each encounter with this Psalm is more valuable than anything the world could offer, and each taste of Psalm 19 is sweeter than any honey that could ever be upon your lips.


David ends this Psalm with a simple prayer in verse 14 that we can now voice together today to God our creator and Father — who is Lord of all, our Yahweh —


“Let the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”