Have you ever considered why, when God began to call things into existence using nothing more than the words of his mouth, that he chose to make so much of his creation something very beautiful for our eyes to behold? Have we simply learned on our own to see things as beautiful or does God, perhaps, have a purpose in the beauty that surrounds us in this world?
Well, Psalm 19 has something to say about all of this, specifically in the first 6 verses. This psalm is is classified as a descriptive praise psalm because it describes the nature of God and how he has wonderfully revealed himself to us both through his creation and through his written word. In today’s devotion we will focus our time on verses 1-6 which deal specifically with God’s revelation of himself through his creation.
Let’s begin by reading these six verses.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them 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.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
(Psalms 19:1–6 ESV)
In the first verse of this psalm we are told that everything in the heavens declares the glory of God. The sun, the moon, the planets, the stars, and the clouds all proclaim the glory of the One who created them. But how do they do this without being able to speak to us audibly? Though the heavens are very marvelous, and though we gaze in wonder at the heavenly bodies God has suspended in space, they are not capable of “telling” things in the way humans “tell” things. So just how is it that they declare to us the glory of God?
Well the heavens and all their vastness declare the glory of God to all who gaze upon the heavenly bodies God has created and then set in their proper places. They communicate to us that there is a creator and we are staring at his handiwork, the very work of God’s hands. But the heavens do not communicate with audible speech or words. They communicate with their beauty. One commentator describes it well. He says: “They have a voice, but one that speaks not to the ear, but to the devout and understanding heart.”1 The psalmist is convinced that during every time slot in a twenty-four hour period, all the day long, the glory and knowledge of God is being communicated by the heavens. That is what he means in verse 2 when he says “day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge.” And we see in verse 4 that there is no one on earth who is able to escape from or ignore the voice of the heavens pointing us to our God. This “voice” and its “words” goes through all the earth and to the end of the world.
The sun rises and moves across the sky, like a young bridegroom full of vigor and strength, enthusiastically coming out of his house on his wedding day, ready to go and claim his bride. It joyfully sets out, in all its God-bestowed glory, on its course, like an athlete competing for a prize. And as it moves from one end of the sky to the other, nothing can hide from the scorching declaration that the God who created all of this is glorious and deserves our worship.
Some, having been compelled by the sun to worship, have made the mistake of merely worshipping the sun or some other part of God’s creation. But the Bible makes very clear that we are not to worship any part of creation, but only its Creator. Romans 1:25 tells us that those who have mistakenly or intentionally done this have “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” (Romans 1:25 ESV). God never intended for us to worship what he created, but instead to worship him as his creation declares to us the glory of God through words we hear with our eyes and process in our hearts.
And so the next time you find yourself staring at the sky in wonder, don’t praise what has been created, but praise the One who created it! The beauty of this world is intended by God to communicate something to us about his glory. Be careful that you are not missing it!
- J.J. Stewart Perowne, The Book of Psalms, Fifth Edition (London: George Bell and Sons, 1883), 231. ↩