Although I grew up attending church, I didn’t really know God’s Word. I knew a lot of Bible stories and I was familiar with various disjointed passages of scripture, but I had never read the Bible all the way through or been encouraged to memorize scripture. I accepted Christ as a teenager, but did not pursue scriptural knowledge. My husband, Bob, and I also attended church as young marrieds and then with our little girls. I believed the salvation message, but still did not really know God’s Word. Maybe you understand what I mean.
When we moved to Arizona, we began attending a church that had an AWANA program for children. This program focuses on scripture memory. Memorizing scripture leads children to salvation and shores up their faith with a strong knowledge of God’s Word. Being a leader in AWANA helped me acquire a deeper knowledge of and respect for scripture. I am so thankful that my girls grew up hiding God’s word in their hearts. His Word surfaces from memory as reminders, warnings, and affirmations.
I chose to reflect on Psalm 19 because my girls and I memorized it when I was homeschooling them. It is a beautiful, descriptive poem that displays deep love and respect for God. The first part reminds us that God is far bigger than we are. Our heavenly Father does not need us to proclaim his glory; his entire creation announces his majesty and testifies to his presence. He reveals himself to humanity on a daily basis. God chooses us. He wants us; he does not need us. He deserves our awe and respect.
The next part of this Psalm reminds us to cherish the law of the Lord. In this world, law is often seen as restricting, but this passage reminds us that God’s law is freeing – it is flawless, understandable, fulfilling, illuminating, honorable, priceless, and nourishing. God did not give us his law to imprison us – he gave it to advise us and draw us into a rewarding relationship with him.
The last few verses of the Psalm are a prayer. I’m so grateful for these words; I silently recite them on occasion when I need God’s help dealing with my own human-ness. It’s a very simple prayer, but it helps me remember what is important in my relationship with God. Below is a paraphrased version of the psalmist’s prayer.
Lord God, please forgive me for my hidden sins, protect me from willful sin, and keep me from making huge mistakes that break my relationship with you. Don’t let me say things I might regret; stop my words before I hurt someone, intentionally or unintentionally. Even more important, keep my heart aligned with you, Lord. None of the rest of this will be a problem if I allow you to fill my heart instead of renting out space in it to worldliness, selfishness, sin, or anger. Continually remind me of who you are; you are the solid, trustworthy foundation on which I can build my life and withstand any storms that might blow in from time to time. You loved me enough to sacrifice your own life to save mine, even though I did not deserve it. Help me live my life on purpose for you. Help me be the person you created me to be. Amen.
Contributed by Dee Allomong