+ PRAY for open hearts and minds, especially yours.
+ READ Psalm 19 (ESV)
One of the best ways to get into a story is to sing about it. And when it comes to the Big Picture of the Bible, the song that comes to my mind is Psalm 19. It was written about 3,000 years ago by a guy named David. Throughout his life, David did a little bit of everything. He was a shepherd, a songwriter, a giant-slayer, a soldier, and the one God handpicked to become Israel’s second king. And so his songs reflect the full range of human emotions; everything from worship and wonder, to doubt and despair. The scribes called this particular song a mizmor or “song of praise,” and in it David does three simple things…
Look up. Look down. Look within.
It’s not hard to imagine David as a stargazer. Shepherding was a 24-hour job. And though I’m sure he got plenty of rest along the way, it also seems he watched more than sheep. So he begins his song: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). When David looked up to the vast expanse above him he saw more than light; he saw the splendor of Someone greater than himself. And that Someone has a voice, a voice the stars themselves echo; inaudible, and yet flowing forth to the ends of the earth, renewing its intensity with every sunrise and softening its tones as the day wanes.
But the stars can only get us so far. Space is cold. But since the one who stretched it out has broken into that space with his Word, we find a place we can call home. So David talks more about that Word; the very voice speaking through him at that moment: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul” (Psalm 19:7). When we look down into the Bible we discover not man’s witness but the Lord’s, not man’s ways but the Way of Christ, and not man’s words but the words of the Spirit. And for that reason—and only that reason—we find in the world joy despite sorrow, light despite the darkness, and justice despite all the wrongs around us.
And yet those wrongs remain. Not only around us, but inside us. And by trying to separate those wrongs within from the wrongs without, we humans get confused on who’s really to blame for the breakdown of our world. You see, in some fundamental way, each of us shares in that brokenness. And so David sings, “Who can discern his errors?” (Psalm 19:12). The answer? No one. When we look within we find not only brokenness, but blindness to just how broken we really are—our wounds run deep. And this means we need help that no mere human can give. We need to be clean, forgiven, freed, pardoned. No word we speak or thought we think can do it. We depend on Someone Else’s strength. Someone Else must pay the price.
As we work through the Big Picture of the Bible, try not to get too distracted by the details. Take a step back from the story to see how it all fits together, and why it all matters. In each lesson, try to think about these Three Big Questions: How is God revealing himself? How does this make sense of us? Where do I stand in this story? And remember David: Look up. Look down. Look within. So let’s start with this: why this story, why this book?
+ DIG DEEPER with slides for group discussion.