Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Did David really think that it was possible for the words of his mouth and the meditation of his heart to be acceptable in God's sight? We're talking about Yahweh here, the one and only almighty God who lives in the eternal present, the Holy One of Israel, who was so pure that before he could descend and dwell among his covenant people, he had to institute laws of sacrifice to deal with the people's impurity, and even then, his presence only resided behind a thick veil in the Holy of Holies.
Did David really think that things he said and thoughts he had could please God? What about Psalm 14:2–3? Had David forgotten his own words there: "The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one"?
Is David being inconsistent? Or worse, on the occasion of writing Psalm 19, had he become so swollen with pride that he actually thought there was something within him capable of pleasing God?
Understanding the answers to these questions is vital to properly understanding the gospel message, and to the extent that the way that Psalm 14:2–3 and Psalm 19:14 fit together remains obscure to the modern reader, so too do some of the most beautiful truths at the very center of the good news of Jesus Christ remain obscure.
It can't be helped that the bad news comes first. We as a human race are in a bad way. The bad news is Psalm 14:2–3. When God looks down on every last man, woman, and child on planet earth "to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God," God's findings are always the same: There is no such person. "[A]ll have turned aside." All have raised their first in rebellion against the true King of creation. All have desired to depose him as their sovereign and take his seat on the throne of their lives. "They have all become corrupt." What else could one expect but corruption when one separates himself from the only source of good and life in existence? And in mankind's corruption, not even a single person actually does good.
So we're doomed to the frown of God for eternity, right? Yet David has the audacity to pray, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight." How can that be?
Now comes the good news. Hebrews 11:6 says it in its negative form: "And without faith it is impossible to please him." But don't you see what that implies? That implies that with faith it is possible to please him! There is something that we can offer up to God that, despite the muck on the face of the one making the offering, brings a great big beaming smile to the face of God, and that is our faith in him.
When a person comes to God believing that he exists and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him, God is pleased with that person. When a person offers a word to God in faith, God finds that word not only acceptable but pleasing. When a person's thoughts have as their foundation a firm confidence that God is faithful to do exactly as he promised he would do—that is, reward those who seek him—those thoughts appear to him as very beautiful things, and he accepts them. He delights in them. He is pleased with people filled with such faith. And what is said of Abraham in Genesis 15:6 can be said of us: "And [Abraham] believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness," righteousness that is most certainly acceptable and pleasing to God.
So yes, no one is righteous. Not a single person. And at the very same time, without sacrificing an ounce of his righteous character, God is able to accept the faith-filled words and thoughts and actions of his faith-filled children with great joy. I don't think I could imagine anything greater than knowing that when God looks down at me, he smiles. My words, my thoughts, and the work of my hands—while nothing in and of themselves, as if God needed anything from me—nevertheless fill God with warm feelings. And that's possible only when all that I say, think, and do are rooted in faith in him and his steadfast promises.
So take heart. God accepts your faith-filled words! God is pleased by your faith-filled thoughts! He delights in the hands that work when those hands do so with confidence in his faithfulness.
Pleasing God by faith,