A five-part process of clarifying my perspective.
1. Reflect on God’s work in and of creation. (19:1-6)
I suppose that we can think of the heavens as messages to us, but as I was reflecting I realized that they are more like messages about God that we observe. The writer is being poetic, the heavens don’t actually say anything. But from my background in rhetoric that looks at everything as discourse, these words resonate. After all, I talk about choices of room color and furniture arrangements telling us something about the person who did it. So couldn’t stars talk, too?
2. Reflect on God’s actual words. (19:7-9)
The writer talks about the words of God using six different labels. Again, it’s poetry. And again, we talk in similar terms about the written work of people we admire. (Read Amazon reviews to see what I mean).
3. Affirm the nature and character of those words. (19:7-11)
The writer talks about the purity and truth of God’s teachings. They are nourishing, they bring value and order to life.
4. Invite God’s soul-searching. (19:12-13)
The writer now turns from talking about God to talking to God. And asking for insight about two difficult things. First, to get help seeing into our hidden errors, and not just seeing them, but being forgiven for them. We are fully aware of our choices to do wrong. But we often are unaware of thoughtless wrong. And second, we don’t want choosing wrong to become habitual.
5. Invoke God’s corrective blessing. (19:14)
“I want to say the right thing” is different than “please make what I say pleasing to you.” One’s about measuring up. One’s about being guided. And the writer does the latter.