Words and Thoughts
I want to look at the last verse in Psalm 19, which is verse 14. Since I learned the critical concept of context, it has become difficult for me to pull a single verse out of a passage without considering the whole passage. So I’m going to trust you the reader to garner context on your own by reading the whole Psalm. Chapter nineteen is only fourteen verses long but it is rich with imagery and content. You will reap greater reward for a prolonged investment in this chapter.
Just a few introductory words about the Psalms in general. The Psalms were composed between 1000 and 400 B.C. Like the rest of the Old Testament scriptures, the book of Psalms was actually composed of scrolls of parchment. The wonderful message of God, in the form of Hebrew poetry, is actually composed of five such scrolls. Many of the Psalms were authored and used by the people before they were added to the official collection. Each of the five books that make up the Psalms spans a particular era in the history of Israel.
|Book I||1-41||Davidic||Assembled before his death|
|Book III||73-89||Time of the Exile|
|Book IV||90-106||Time of the Exile|
|Book V||107-150||Ezra’s time|
The Psalms are not number by when they were penned, nor grouped in any way. They are simply numbered by the order in which they were added to the scrolls of the official collection, which is why you’ll see Psalms penned by David, but added to the collection long after his death.
Each of the Psalms were written in one form of Hebrew poetry or another. Hebrew poetry is very different from poetry in our language. English relies on rhythm and rhyme, where Hebrew poetry is based on a concept called parallelism. There are many forms of Hebrew parallelism, that we won’t discuss here. I’ll mention the applicable form of parallelism when we get to the verse.
Consulting the chart above we discover Psalm 19 was added to book one of the official collection during the life of king David.
As an aside, the heading or titles that appear before verse one of our Bibles are actually included as a part of verse one in the Hebrew language Bibles. As an example, “To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.” (NKJV) in the Hebrew Bible begins Psalm 19:1.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. (NKJV)
This verse is written in the form of Synthetic parallelism. Big word, simple meaning. Synthetic parallelism just means that the introductory phrase is more general, with each subsequent phrase lending more detail.
The introductory phrase in this verse would be, “Let the words of my mouth…”. What would be more detail for the words of my mouth? The next part, …”and the meditation of my heart”. The author knew the very practical truth that thoughts are really the foundation for the words that come out of one’s mouth. David’s prayer is that his words and thoughts would be acceptable in Your sight. Who is your? The synthetic parallelism reveals it to be LORD (Yahweh). What do we know about this person “Lord”? He is my (David’s) strength. Why is “LORD” David’s strength? Because He is my (David’s) Redeemer.
Do you pray along with the psalmist David, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight…”? Is the Lord Jesus Christ your strength and Redeemer?
If we want to change our words, the very thing our hearts dwell on, we must fill up on the Word of God.
When you are angry do you watch what you say?
Proverbs 15:1-2 “A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” (NKJV)
When the stresses of life overwhelm you do you pray?
Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (NKJV)
The skill to master our words and thoughts does not come to us automatically when we become believers, we must work on it.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (NKJV)
I do hope you took time to read all fourteen verses of Psalm nineteen. If you look to see how verse fourteen connects to the rest of the text you will discover some amazing things.
For example, consider verse one. Psalms 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.”
What do you and I declare with the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts? Do we echo the declarations of the Heavens and the Earth in verse one? Do we speak about and meditate on the Glory of God and His handiwork? According to this text it would be pleasing to our Lord.