For the director of music. A psalm of David.
The heavens declare the glory of God;(Ps. 19:1-6 NIV)
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
C.S. Lewis considered Psalm 19 to be the greatest poem in the whole Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world. One commentator says that Psalm 19 combines the most beautiful poetry with some of the most profound biblical theology.
The Psalm celebrates God’s wisdom in His works and His Words. General revelation is what God reveals through creation. Special revelation is what God reveals through His Word. The Psalmist considers the revelation of God in the creation and marvels at the vastness of the heavens and how it preaches without words, the glory of God. The poetry in verse 1 is in the fashion of parallel ideas in the first and second line. The skies preach without words the work of His hands. The glory of the Lord is revealed by the work of His hands in the heavens and in the skies. The revelation without words is a message to every human on earth. Paul takes up this argument in Romans:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.(Rom. 1:18-20 NIV)
The heavens, the skies is the place where God placed the sun, moon and stars. This is not empty space because God has displayed His glory in the brightness of the heavenly bodies, and the order of movement in the heavens displays their consistency. Declare and proclaim are verbs that express a continuing activity. Not something done in the past or intermittently. They continually declare and proclaim the glory of God. Many of our activities on earth often camouflage God’s glory. Vast open-face mines, dust bowls created by over farming and even space is polluted with discarded satellites and debris from space travel. Nonetheless the hand of God is still seen even across this fallen world.
Day and night the creation pours forth speech. The creation reveals an order of day and night, a regularity. The beauty and order of the heavenly bodies reveal the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God put everything in its place.
‘The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,(Prov. 8:22-31 NIV)
before his deeds of old;
I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
when there were no springs overflowing with water;
before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
before he made the world or its fields
or any of the dust of the earth.
I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when he gave the sea its boundary
so that the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was constantly at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in the human race.
General revelation is without words yet speaks to all nations of the world. The paradox of the revelation of creation is that there is no audible noise, no words, no speech, yet there is a voice that penetrates to the ends of the earth.
Life depends upon the sun. The language used to describe the sun and its movement is metaphorical. As the sun appears from earth, the sun rises and the sun sets. The rising of the sun is depicted as a bridegroom or champion coming forth from a tent. The radiance of the bridegroom, the strength of the champion describes the radiance and strength of the sun, the sun that God has put in place. The sun traverses its circuit warming the face of the earth. The sun does not speak words, but no one is hidden from the effects of the sun. Day after day God’s power, wisdom and glory is revealed and proclaimed.
Lord we marvel when we gaze upon the glory that you have displayed in the heavens. It reassures our faith as we view your handiwork. Like the angels we come before you and celebrate the creation. The twenty-four elders gathered around the throne and cried
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”(Rev. 4:11 NIV)
Lord we join in that song. As we view this fallen creation, we can still see Your glory. When this creation has been redeemed and we see it with fully redeemed eyes what will that mean? O Lord our God, you have done all things well. The work of creation is a marvel, but yet how much greater is the work of the new creation. Lord we thank you that we can enjoy both the creation of the heaven and the earth, and the new creation of the heavens and the earth. Receive our praise in Jesus’ name. Amen.