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Book of Psalms Introduction

Psalm 19

The Bible Teaching Commentary

Journeying Closer to God
With a Study in Imagery

Paul J. Bucknell

Psalm 19: Journeying Closer to God With a Study in Imagery is part 1/3 which provides a special view of Psalm 19 with the theme of Journeying Closer to God through the study of imagery.

Psalm 19 Intro/Imagery | Psalm 19:1-6 Works of God | Psalm 19:7-12 Word of God


Looking out curtainDavid uses Psalm 19 to reveal how God has drawn him closer to Himself. The two sections of Psalm 19 (Psalm 19:1-6 and Psalm 19:7-14) are like a path through which the Lord draws His people closer to Him over the ages.

The Lord is the infinite and transcendent God who initiates intimacy with His people (imminence). David was captured by images of the heavens and then drawn deeper into a deeper spiritual search of his soul through a reflection on God's Word. God similarly beckons us to draw closer to Himself.

Think of David the shepherd boy sitting down night after night reflecting under the stars and meditating on the scriptures. He is moved to draw closer to the Creator and Shepherd. One common message in this psalm: God is speaking. What an appropriate psalm for those engaged in busy modern living. The question begs us to ask,

These two sections are like curtains pulled back beckoning us to step forward to explore what is hidden, disguised or just plain ignored. As part of a study, we would like to briefly introduce imagery in the Old Testament so that we can continue on with suggested projects for the study of Psalm 19.

Imagery in the Psalms

Imagery is the use of images and pictures, hopefully drawn from our daily experiences, which enable us to have a deeper connection and understanding of some verse. The meaning is accentuated by the particular picture painted by the words. (We suggest that you first go to section Psalm 19:1-6 and Psalm 19:7-14 and first do the two projects before reading this section).

Many pictures are obvious such as God to be David's rock in Psalm 19:14. The Lord is likened to an unmoving and secure rock. Others might change but not God and His promises.

Others are more subtle such as Psalm 19:1 "The heavens are telling." We know the heavens do not speak and cannot tell as we tell, but the phrase powerfully conveys an image of how God compellingly communicates through His many galaxies to our souls.

It is important to observe these images or pictures that are conveyed to deepen and quicken our understanding of the particular passage. Be alert to them as you read and meditate on on God's Word.

SunriseWritings that impact us often employ various forms of imagery. The Psalms are no different. Read through the Psalms and notice the various images that are brought to your mind. Psalm 19 is no different.

In the first part of Psalm 19 the the sun is used as an image. It clearly stands out and a reference to its rising and setting both are given. On the one hand we have a "bridegroom coming out of his chamber." We think this is the joy and delight of a man who has secured his bride. On the other hand, we find image of a strong runner completing his competition depicting the sun's final setting. What vivid pictures.

The second part of Psalm 19 speaks of the Word of God in similar ways to Psalm 119. Synonym after synonym is used to bring out different aspects of the Word of God. Discover how many there are from Psalm 19:7-9. These synonyms such as 'testimonies' or 'judgments' form much more subtle images or impressions on our mind.

Psalm 19:10 is a well known imagery made into a song.

"They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb." (Psalms 19:10).

Both gold and honey are used. Gold is used as something that a person is willing to trade their possessions and labor for. It is valuable. Perhaps we will think of the gold rush in America's pioneer days. Honey is used to depict the luscious delight it brings to our inner soul.

Psalm 19 closes with the line, "O LORD, my rock and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14). Rock is a common imagery that is used throughout the scriptures (Peter's new name is rock). Redeemer might not convey much to our mind but it did to the Hebrew saint.

Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed is the LORD who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel." (Ruth 4:14).

Psalm 19 enhances its message of glory, communicability and desire through imagery, but all sorts of sadness, defeat, victory and triumph are differently painted on scores of different psalms.

Each image deepens the impact of God's Word on our heart and mind. They reach deep into our soul to call out our experiences of the past so that we can better appreciate the message being conveyed.

Now let's look at the Works (Psalm 19:1-6) and Words of God (Psalm 19:7-14).

Next -> The Works of God (Psalm 19:1-6)