Psalm 19 celebrates the power of Scripture, especially the transforming power of God’s Word to those who respond to it. The message of the second half of Psalm 19 can be summarized in this way: Scripture alone is God’s perfect, complete, and transforming revelation of Himself. In this part of Psalm 19, David expounds on the special revelation of God found in His Word, by emphasizing its amazing nature. So in verses 7–9, David attempts to spell out in a comprehensive way what God’s Word is and what it accomplishes in our lives. In other words, David shows us the unique character of God’s Word and its profound benefits.
Notice that each half of verses 7–9 have the same basic structure. First, you will find a title for Scripture that identifies something about its nature or character. The six titles David lists in verses 7–9 are as follows:
Although these titles are essentially synonymous, at the same time each has its own unique nuance that adds to our understanding of the nature of Scripture. Each highlights different facets of God’s revelation. But as we work our way through these six titles for Scripture, I want you to notice something else. In the first six verses of Psalm 19, there is only one reference to God: “the glory of God.” The Hebrew word for God there is a general word that highlights God’s power, identifying Him as the almighty and powerful One. As Paul reminds us in Romans 1:18–22, creation tells us about God’s deity and eternal power. The first half of Psalm 19 is making that same point.
When we come to the second half of Psalm 19, we learn clearly about who this God is. In fact, David transitions from using a general name for God only once (19:1), to using His personal name, YHWH, seven times in this section! This name simply means He is. When God says it about Himself, He says “I AM.”
Exodus 3:14-15 says, “Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
He is simply the One who is. His name underscores the fact that God is self-existent. He depends on nothing. He depends on no one. He just is!
So why does David use God’s personal name in the final half of Psalm 19? To remind us that we learn so much more about who God is from Scripture. It also shows us that He alone is the source of this revelation. How could David have possibly punctuated this more? It’s the law of YHWH; it is the testimony of YHWH; these are the precepts of YHWH; this is the commandment of YHWH, and so forth.
Brothers and sisters, this is the point: God is the only source of the special revelation we have in Holy Scripture. And it is this Word that is filled with such life-transforming power!