Approach ten people randomly on the street and ask them, “What is your chief pursuit in life?” A wide variety of responses will probably follow –
- Peace, and
- Happiness would top the list.
But there is only one primary purpose for which man was created – and that is for the glory of God. And this is God’s chief pursuit in all he does – the magnification of his glory. So this must be every believer’s quest.
What is God’s glory? A distinction must be made between his intrinsic glory and his ascribed glory. God’s intrinsic glory is the sum total of all his divine attributes –
- His Holiness,
- Omnipotence and more.
All these divine perfections constitute his intrinsic glory, and it is this that God desires to display in all his creation and works. Then, as God unveils this glory to man, man is to give him glory, which is ascribed glory, or the glory due to his name. And this is man’s chief purpose in life. He is to live to make God’s glory known in the world and to ascribe glory to him.
Psalm 19 is a great psalm declaring that God’s intrinsic glory is unveiled to man through two primary means:
- General revelation (vv. 1-6) and
- Special revelation (vv. 7-14).
General revelation is God’s self-disclosure through creation. This revelation is available to all people, and it provides basic, foundational truths about God’s existence and attributes.
On the other hand, special revelation is God’s manifested greatness to people through his inspired Word, the Bible. This revelation is special because it goes beyond the elementary truths of general revelation and testifies to how a person may know this great God and how he or she may live in a manner pleasing to him.
Psalm 19 records these two distinct means of divine revelation, both general and special. In this hymn of praise, “a psalm of David,” the psalmist testifies that God has revealed himself to mankind through these two avenues – his world and his Word. David reflects on the glory of God in natural revelation and the glory God in special revelation, which alone can save and sanctify.
In my next blog post, we will continue to study this beautiful Psalm, on the perfect revelation of the Lord.
Holman Old Testament Commentary