Ahh. This psalm is one I truly love. It's an encouraging meditation on the nature of God. I can't always connect with the war-torn battle psalms, but there's a very clear place in my heart marked out for the praise psalms.
Verse 1 says that the heavens, meaning the sky, proclaim God's glory; the very sky itself is his artwork. It's so strange that even as a Christian, I think of the sky as this beautiful thing that is just there, without remembering that all the varieties of dawns, sunsets, and clouds are part of God's own artistic work. Nature is the ultimate example of form meeting function!
Verses 2-4 talk about how the glory of God is like a language that is spoken by the day, the night, and the entire world. Verses 5-6 personify the sun, talking about the sun's omnipresence and how nothing is hidden from its heat.
Verses 7-9 talk about God's laws. I think this is partly talking about the Jewish law system set up in Leviticus, partly about the Ten Commandments, and partly about the rest of the Bible, where God's laws and standards are made clear. We are told that God's laws are perfect, and that following them purifies us and makes us wise, and well as bringing joy to our hearts!
Verses 10-11 get more personal, talking about how the speaker in particular views God's laws as something wonderful, even comparing the laws to awesome things like gold and honey. God's laws prevent the speaker from going awry. Verses 12-14 ask God to protect the speaker from more insidious mistakes like hidden sins or presumptuous sins. The chapter ends on one of my favorite verses ever, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." It's a verse I catch myself repeating pretty often in daily life. :-)
1The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.