Psalm 19 ~ The Heavens Declare

Like many places on earth, Denver is geographically blessed to enjoy one of the gifts that God has provided in the sunrise and sunset. To the east, the Great Plains of the United States unroll in mile after mile of broad, flat country. To look to the east in the morning is to see the straight line of the distant horizon and the Sun gradually rising a slice at a time. On cloudy mornings we are treated to a magnificent show as the sky lights up from black to violet to a blazing pink and orange in the briefest of moments. The the immediate west rise the 14,000 foot peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The sun disappears in the evening much quicker behind these imposing monuments but again, if the clouds are present, we are treated to another visual feast as the filtered sunlight plays off the bottoms of the thunderheads. To the beauty of the sunrise, the course of the sun, the careful ordering of the stars and the phases of the moon the psalmist expresses his praise.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. (vv 1-2)

There is no divinity in the skies or the celestial objects and yet, they speak. They speak not in themselves but in our souls. Our appreciation for the beauty before us comes from a divine source. Without that presence, the prismatic effects that we look at would be nothing more than atmospheric coincidence and the refraction of light. With the Spirit, we see God and the immense complexity in the interplay between weather, astronomy, the incredible human eye and the emotions of the heart that reacts to the visual message it receives.

The same beauty if found in the Law of the Lord. The Law is often misunderstood as a constraint to freedom. Instead, as we understand God and his provision of the Law, it is actually the definition of true freedom. The Law provides the boundaries which our broken hearts are tempted to test. It is meant to increase our enjoyment of life, not diminish it.

The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. (vv 9b-10)

In the glory of the heavens we begin to see our purpose, to glorify God as they do.

Psalm 8 – What is Man

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (v1)

This statement of effusive praise brackets both ends of the psalm. The verses sandwiched between offer some of the most overlooked words of encouragement. The psalmist poses and answers the question that elicits the praise:

what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. (vv 4 – 5)

Humankind is not some kind of nuisance creation, destined to corruption and rebellion against their creator. No! Humankind was created specifically to be close to God, dependent on His presence for their security, perseverance, and satisfaction. Men and women were created with purpose, not to merely live out their days in empty pursuit of experience. David looks to the immeasurable complexity and glory of the heavens and compares the insignificant speck that is humankind. The Lord reveals to him that as much care went into the creation of man as in the laying out of the stars. The heavens look in on humans with envy because the people are much, much closer to God than the sky.

The joy of God’s eyes, the creatures that he will one day sacrifice His Son for, cry out,

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (v9)