Psalm 19:14, "may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart," reminds us to ponder and praise all the glorious works of God, and seek what he desires.
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14
The Bible teaches that words are generative and they wield power to renew our minds. Science backs this up as we’re always learning more about the plasticity of our brains and how thinking new thoughts can have a positive effect on overall health.
Throughout Scripture we also learn that what we meditate on in our hearts reveals what we treasure. Also, that the “words of my mouth” or what we choose to say, comes from what’s within the heart (Luke 6:45).
The Book of Psalms can be experienced as a literal outpouring of words on the hearts of those seeking and appreciating God. Offering us poetry and songs of praise, lament, and thanksgiving from Moses, David, Solomon, Asaph, Heman, Ethan—and a host of anonymous authors—psalms can feel like a window into our own longings. The words bear witness to the meditations in the hearts of humanity.
What the Psalmist Means by “Words of My Mouth and the Meditation of My Heart”
Psalm 19 is a psalm of praise, for all the glorious works of God in creation, and how they offer a voice we all understand. As it opens, we see a beautiful portrait of the heavens declaring, and day and night pouring forth… refreshing us in the way the Law of the Lord refreshes the soul.
As David wraps in Psalm 19:14, imploring God to make him blameless through searching and forgiving him, he seeks a right relationship with God. As he sings to God “may these words of my mouth and this meditation on my heart be pleasing in your sight,” he is surrendering to God’s guidance, and praising him as his Rock and Redeemer.
The psalm relates the voice of God to a treasure more precious than gold, and sweeter than honey straight from the honeycomb. David is asking in Psalm 19:11-14 for this God of unmatchable worth to warn, search, forgive, and keep him from thoughts and words that lead to sin.
It is passionate confession that he needs his words to come from the Provider who moves the sun and earth...not from the sinful desires of his heart.
This psalm is asking for a power greater than ourselves to cleanse our thoughts, reveal our errors, and hear our prayers. It is an act of relinquishing self-absorption and inviting God to direct us in ways that please and reflect his heart. In Psalm 19 we hear a song of celebration that when we ask God to guide our words and thoughts, there is great reward (Psalm 19:11).
Psalm 19:14 concludes that when we praise and meditate on the wonders of God’s creation and redemption, the gratitude we feel creates words that bring forth joy.
Photo Credit: © Victor Freitas/Pexels
The Context around Psalm 19:14
Having experienced a God who dictated the Law through Moses, David sings in Psalm 19 of how the Law of the Lord revives us. These first five books of the Bible that comprise the Pentateuch would have been well-known to David, as Jewish boys memorized the Torah.
What David knows as he sings this psalm is that God’s Law proves that God is the creator, rescuer, and father who has from the beginning been relational in the trinity and with his creation.
David trusts the Law of the Lord because he has seen his deliverance and the reality of his commandments. David not only desired to be pardoned and cleansed from the sins he had discovered and confessed, but also from any he may have overlooked that only God could see.
One theological resource proposes that Psalm 19 was inserted toward the end of David’s life, as was the beloved Psalm 23. It’s fitting that David surrenders in Psalm 19 wholeheartedly in thought and speech to a God who has seen him through seasons of giant-conquering, adulterous sin, and terrifying persecution. This is a psalm of a man who met God in the wilderness, in a cave, and in victory.
According to David, having our sins exposed revives our souls, and brings sweet joy. And even though Christ would not restore us all on the cross for 1,000 years from the singing of this psalm, we know that every word is God-breathed and points to the restoration of humanity through Jesus.
This means that no matter what state our heart is in, or what words we’ve been spewing that may not be pleasing to God, we lift up our heart and voice to Him...and he restores.
Biblical Versions of Psalm 19:14
It’s interesting to compare biblical translations of Psalm 19:14, and see how words seem to have a voice as we read them. Here are a few of this verse’s versions, all beautifully arranged and expressed as praise...and petition for right relationship with God.
Psalm 19:14 (NIV)
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14 (The Message)
These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray. Accept them when I place them on the morning altar, O God, my Altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar.
Psalm 19:14 (NCV)
I hope my words and thoughts please you. Lord, you are my Rock, the one who saves me.
Psalm 19:14 (Living Bible)
May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.
How to Apply Psalm 19:14 Today
The Bible teaches that our mouths speak of the things that fill our hearts.
...For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. – Matthew 12:34
And when Psalm 19 wraps in verse 14 with “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer,” we sense an openness and selflessness that focuses squarely on God’s sight and might. It acknowledges that our thoughts and words can be renewed in the light and power of the Lord alone, not by our own wayward tendencies.
It admits that we need an unshifting Rock and Redeemer to deliver us from our spoken and secret sins. And as with any and all of God’s word, we can find new life in this song of David.
Here are three ways to apply Psalm 19:14 to your life today:
1. Seek God in his creation.
There’s nothing quite like allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by the glory of God’s creation. Imagine, as the psalm suggests, that the heavens are pitched in the sky by God like a silken tent for the sun. Start with a heart of praise as you invite God into your thoughts and words.
2. Ask God to cleanse your heart.
Because the world is always warring for your attention, and troubles can stir up things in your heart that you wish weren’t there...remember you can always ask God for help. He can find and forgive your “hidden faults” (Psalm 19:12) and keep you from willful sins. Ask God to reveal what needs healing, and to keep you “blameless and innocent of great transgression” (Psalm 19:13).
3. Ask God to give you the words he desires.
Although David emotes so eloquently in Psalm 19, he gives glory to God in Psalm 19:14 for making his thoughts and words pleasing. When you feel imprisoned by your thoughts within, or afraid of what you’ll say, God gives us this example of calling on him in Psalm 19.
God knows we all can misspeak, say hurtful things, or harbor ungratefulness in our hearts. He is showing us in Psalm 19 that he is faithful to save us from these things. And if we want what’s in our hearts to produce pleasing words, we can ask God to give us the words he desires for us to say.
Remember, God has given us his Word. It reveals the goodness of his heart. Let’s meditate on it, and let it purify the words we share...so that they may draw others to the glory of God.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Aaron Amat
Lia Martin loves to inspire others to lean into the Lord daily. She's a writer, editor, marketer, former Crosswalk.com Faith Editor, and author of Wisdom at Wit's End: Abandoning Supermom Myths in Search of Supernatural Peace. When she's not cultivating words, she loves walking in nature, reading, exploring the latest health trends, and laughing with her two wonderful kids. She blogs at liamartinwriting.com.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.
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