It’s important to be well-informed. These days especially, misinformation can be dangerous, and we owe it to ourselves and those around us to know what’s real.
For Christians, part of being well-informed is turning to the Bible – not as some sort of refuge from real life, but as a resource in facing it.
In that spirit, as we face COVID-19, let’s turn to Psalm 19. It begins with this heading: “To the leader. A Psalm of David.” Those two leaders – the one leading a song, and the King of Israel, who has composed it – both stand under the authority of God:
The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
God’s leadership begins with sharing knowledge. A gifted wordsmith, David recognizes that God speaks with far greater eloquence than he does, and does so through ordinary sunrise and sunset.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the earth.
David admits that when he speaks, his word carries only so much weight – perhaps to his country’s borders, and sometimes not even that far. But when God says something, it goes to the very ends of the earth. God’s commands get carried out.
The good word of the Lord, says David, is as sure as the sun moving across the sky: it runs its course with joy, and nothing is hid from its heat. Moreover, unlike the edicts of an ordinary king,
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord, are right, rejoicing the heart…
Not only that, but God’s laws are so good that his people really want them:
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
Psalm 19 is King David’s song of humility. Here is a leader acknowledging the supreme leader of the earth. And he concludes with some of humblest words ever to come from the lips of someone in power:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
As I say, Psalm 19 has a lot to say to all of us just now as we look for good leadership and direction. We can trust someone with this kind of humility.
And as a congregational leader, I am mindful that this chastening Psalm 19 is addressed to me, too. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.