There are very few greater things that can hinder one’s confidence in a relationship than the feeling of not being accepted. It is an element of doubt that erodes trust and safety, restricting open and authentic communication. One operates in fear of another, always striving to better themselves in vain to earn the other’s approval. However, earning another’s acceptance, like golf, is a game one can never win.1 This practice only deludes one into believing that some act (or non-act) can eventually end this pursuit and satisfy this insatiable craving of the heart. In one’s pursuit of God and his acceptance, this cannot be any truer.

Concluding Psalm 19, which is considered the second Torah Psalm, we see David pen one of the more popular prayers of scripture. The prayer follows David detailing the benefits of God’s Law, and he offers it from that perspective. As we explore the prayer, we will discover some critical ingredients to finding God’s acceptance in our pursuit of him.

The Heartbeat

The meditation of one’s heart is the repeated utterance of the current “truth” one believes. It is the constant muttering—a reading of the words written upon one’s soul—and it arrives in a low-sounding hum likened to the moaning or cooing of a dove. Most importantly, meditation works as a proclamation unto oneself.2 It is no wonder that God commands Joshua to meditate day and night on his Law to prosper and be successful (Joshua 1:8). Notice that God’s repeated charge to be strong and courageous bookends this command (Joshua 1:6-7, 9). Given as such, the resulting benefits of righteous meditation are clear.

These collective concepts are the communicated idea behind the Hebrew word that is translated for us as meditation.3 Meditation is worship in the form of repetitive, spoken words, and its benefits are revealed in a life of righteousness. David understood this and, therefore, made the practice of Lawful meditation a regular occurrence throughout his life.

Believers must understand that rightful meditation on God includes meditation on his Law. Furthermore, like what we see exemplified by Joshua, David, and Jesus (see Matthew 26:36-45; Mark 1:35; Mark 6:46; Luke 4:42; Luke 6:12; Luke 9:18, 28; Luke 11:1; Luke 22:39-46), the believer too should meditate without ceasing, almost as if forgoing any breath between phrasings. As it is vital that the heart should never miss a beat to maintain one’s physical life, so is it that one’s meditation should never end to preserve their spiritual well-being.

The Heart’s Expression

Through the Torah lens, David recognizes his natural tendency of presumptuous sin—his willful transgression of God’s Law.4 That fact never escapes his knowledge. However, there is something that we see still troubling this man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Something continues to resonate across the strings of David’s soul.

Where visible sin affords an opportunity for deliberate confession and repentance, incomprehension of internal sin often does not. This lack of awareness in violating the Torah leads David to a stinging recognition of his unrighteousness.5 First, David understands that any sin hidden within these uncovered, dark crevices of his heart will eat away at him like an all-consuming disease—an infectious rot of his innermost being. If left unaddressed, his sin would, for David, possibly result in his most extreme agony—separation from the God he loves. Second, such sin yields its fruit through the utterances of one’s mouth and the activities of one’s hands, and any careless words resulting from one’s unconfessed sin will fall under God’s eventual judgment (Matthew 12:33-34, 36).

David acknowledges that an acceptable offering is not one presented by just clean hands or a confession of one’s external, visible transgressions. After all, it does little good to confess something that is already blatantly obvious. Instead, an offering that God will not deny is one in which the bearer also comes with a clean and righteous heart. We see this evidenced throughout the five kingship Psalms immediately following Psalm 19 (see Psalm 24:3-4).

An Offering

Approaching the throne of God with the right words and proper heart condition leads to an acceptable offering. This concept that David offers is an allusion to the acceptance of a presented sacrifice, and, in this acceptance, David places his hope.6 However, David’s hope does not rest solely in God receiving his offering. David recognizes that he needs much more and, therefore, presses further to seek mercy. For David, all hope is in vain without an acceptable sacrifice, and the sacrifice means very little if God’s mercy is not received.

For the (would-be) believer, this is still the case. An atoning sacrifice has already been made through the blood of Jesus Christ, and that sacrifice serves as a propitiation for one’s sin (Romans 3:25). However, while the sacrifice has been accepted on their behalf, one must still confess their sin to receive God’s mercy, for it is only upon admission of one’s guilt and the forsaking of their sin that one can obtain mercy (Proverbs 28:13).

The obtaining of God’s mercy is good news to the sinner. It reveals to us something about God and his character. The process by which one receives mercy and mercy itself exhibit the same results; both demonstrate the greatness of God’s glory. Right worship should always reflect God’s glory. Psalm 19 begins with how the heavens declare the glory of the Lord, but it ends with how the believer declares his glory—through their acceptable sacrifice and obtaining his mercy.7


In obtaining his mercy, David ascribes two traits to God—a rock and a redeemer. The recognition of God as a “rock” did not originate with David. Jacob referenced God as the “Rock” or “Stone” of Israel when he made his prophetic announcement over his son Joseph (Genesis 49:24). Moses continues this motif in his final song when declaring the faithfulness and justice of the “Rock” (Deuteronomy 32:4). This theme of God being the “Rock” of Israel is common in the nation’s story (see Deuteronomy 32:15, 18, 30-31; 1 Samuel 2:2). Therefore, it should be appropriate that David declares God in the preceding Psalm (Psalm 18:2) to be his rock and continues to do so after having his sacrifice accepted. For David, it is God’s unfailing love that establishes a firm foundation upon which to find confidence in receiving mercy. David, therefore, relies on a proven depiction of God’s unwavering faithfulness to his people.8

God extends this faithfulness to all who would trust in his mercy, and God’s faithfulness creates a foundation for the believer on which to stand. There is, therefore, confidence that believers possess before God, not because of their merit but because of God’s richness in mercy (Hebrews 4:16). Jeremiah understood and celebrated God’s faithfulness to grant mercy because of his steadfast love (Lamentations 3:22-23). The boldness of the believer before God rests solely in God’s uninterrupted, inexhaustible mercy.

Not only does a believer experience God’s faithfulness in the granting of mercy, but they also observe his faithfulness in their life experiences. The “Rock” of Israel becomes the unshakeable foundation of a believer’s life regardless of circumstances. God’s faithfulness establishes simultaneous sure-footedness and consolation during times of anxiety and despair (Psalm 94:18-19). In declaring God his rock, David highlights God’s provided stability and protection no matter the situation.9 Therefore, the believer can not only build upon the solid foundation of God’s faithfulness despite their depravity due to sin but also rest upon it in times of trouble and heartache.


David ends his prayer with a request for redemption. While the “rock” and “redeemer” metaphors both speak to an element of protection, the latter, in the context of this Psalm, does so in the light of God’s care and defense during one’s divine deliverance from evil and injustice. Though it is typical for the term “redeemer” to refer to a kinsman redeemer who protects and provides for the family, in its usage here, again, David refers to God’s protection and deliverance of his covenant people.10

In both usages of “redeemer,” however, one still finds the connotation of intimacy.11 While David seeks mercy from a divine judge and protection from a divine savior, he also seeks restoration from someone he considers an intimate, divine friend. Because of God’s faithfulness and goodness, David is sure that God will execute justice. David is confident that God, and he alone, is the one who will make things right.12


In this short prayer, David presents a complete outline of the Gospel message presented by Christ and his apostles in the New Testament. Its message is that a sacrifice is required, along with a confession of sin and admission of guilt, for one to receive God’s mercy (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Furthermore, the believer experiences the benefits of salvation in both the life to come and in their present life.

In Psalm 145:13-14 (NIV84), David offers the following praise:

One can rest in knowing that God’s kingdom is everlasting and his dominion endures. For if either of these were not the case, then one could not count on God’s ability to be faithful. If either were untrue, then there exists the possibility of God’s promises being thwarted. However, God’s kingdom will always remain, and his dominion will continue to stand. One, therefore, can possess confidence in God’s faithfulness, mercy, and strength if one exhibits the posture of humility.

Like David, the believer can take comfort in God’s faithfulness to grant mercy in their confession of sin, provide rest and protection in times of trouble, execute justice when wronged, and offer unwavering intimacy through it all.


  1. While I myself do not play golf, I assume this to be true about the game as I hear this expression often from people who do.
  2. Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press, 1999.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Maclaren, Alexander. “The Psalms.” In The Expositor’s Bible: Psalms to Isaiah, edited by W. Robertson Nicoll. Vol. 3. Expositor’s Bible. Hartford, CT: S.S. Scranton Co., 1903.
  5. Futato, Mark D. “The Book of Psalms.” In Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 7: The Book of Psalms, The Book of Proverbs. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2009.
  6. Maclaren, Alexander. “The Psalms.” In The Expositor’s Bible: Psalms to Isaiah, edited by W. Robertson Nicoll. Vol. 3. Expositor’s Bible. Hartford, CT: S.S. Scranton Co., 1903.

    Hengstenberg, E. W. Commentary on the Psalms. Vol. 1. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1869.
  7. Neale, J. M. A Commentary on the Psalms from Primitive and Mediæval Writers: Psalm 1 to Psalm 38. Second Edition. Vol. 1. London; New York: Joseph Masters; Pott and Amery, 1869.
  8. Robertson, O. Palmer. The Flow of the Psalms: Discovering Their Structure and Theology. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2015.
  9. Barry, John D., Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, Michael S. Heiser, Miles Custis, Elliot Ritzema, Matthew M. Whitehead, Michael R. Grigoni, and David Bomar. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016.
  10. Ross, Allen P. A Commentary on the Psalms 1–89: Commentary. Vol. 1 & 2. Kregel Exegetical Library. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2011–2013.
  11. Futato, Mark D. “The Book of Psalms.” In Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 7: The Book of Psalms, The Book of Proverbs. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2009.
  12. Ross, Allen P. A Commentary on the Psalms 1–89: Commentary. Vol. 1 & 2. Kregel Exegetical Library. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2011–2013.