Psalm 19 depicts the sun as a wonderful picture of true masculinity. But for David, the sun doesn’t merely draw our minds to the bridegroom and the strong man, to the lover and the man of war. More than that, the sun draws our minds upward to the splendor and majesty of the Maker. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). The sun both reminds us of the glory of manhood and displays the glory of God.
C.S. Lewis was fond of quoting English writer Samuel Johnson (1709–1784), who once said, “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” Both Lewis and Johnson believed that people often possess the knowledge they need; it simply needs to be brought to mind at the appropriate time.
I’ve found this to be especially true when it comes to godly masculinity. I need timely reminders to help me fulfill my calling as a husband and a father, as a friend and a brother. And thankfully, God’s word directs us to a daily and unavoidable reminder of what it means to be a godly man. We find it in Psalm 19:4–5.
In them [the heavens] he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
With these words, David invites us to sanctify our imaginations by seeing the sun with godly eyes.
Bridegroom and Warrior
The sun, as it moves across the sky, reminds David of something. He’s seen that brightness before. Then he recalls the wedding day of a close friend, and the link is made — the sun is like the bridegroom.
Those of us who attend modern weddings know that, when the wedding march begins, all eyes turn to the back of the room to see the bride, clothed in white and beautiful in her glory. But a wise attendee will also steal a glance toward the altar, where the groom waits with eager anticipation and expectant joy. The beauty of his bride is reflected in the brightness of his face. It’s that look that David remembers when he sees the sun as it rises in the morning.
But David doesn’t stop looking. David considers the sun again and is reminded of Josheb-basshebeth, one of his mighty men, running into battle with spear raised and eyes blazing because he is doing what he was built to do (2 Samuel 23:8). The warrior is intense and joyful because he is protecting his people with the strength and skill he’s developed.
So then, the sun is like the groom, and the sun is like the mighty man. Both are images of godly masculinity — the bridegroom and the warrior, the lover and the man of war. Both images direct us to a man’s calling in relation to his people. One points us inward, as a man delights in his wife (and by extension his children and the rest of his people). The other points us outward, as a man protects his people from external threats.