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 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. The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:1-14 NIV)
Psalm 19 does two very awesome things. 1) It proclaims to us that creation declares the greatness of God. 2) It reveals to us the greatness of God in His word and ways. Let’s look at creation.
THE GREATNESS OF GOD IN CREATION
David tells us something that many of us can dramatically affirm, that the existence of God, the creativity of God, the glory of God can be seen in nature. How many of us chase the sunsets from beach to beach, seeing each one anew, and going back time and time again to gaze at the great fiery ball in the sky as it dips down into its watery home?! Which of you have had the pleasure of being dwarfed by the mighty Redwood trees, stared down the infinity of the Grand Canyon, or watched the stars stream across the sky from the ancient Appalachians? God is the mighty in the Redwood, the infinity in the canyon, the ancient in the mountains. He is Creator and Father of it all.
The fingerprints of God are everywhere. Whether its the veins on the underside of Spring leaves or the tiny hands of a newborn child, we see design, purpose, and imprint everywhere. Like us, King David saw it and couldn’t help but hear all these things being proclaimed in a language of its own. He heard nature crying out, “How Great is Our God!” Nature’s language is a universal one, requiring only a beating heart to understand its joy. If we will look around us and listen with a heart of faith, we will see the greatness of God in everything from mouse to mountain.
St. Paul reminds us in Romans 1.20, “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” (Romans 1:20 NIV). The basics of God are there around us, as we see the design in creation, as we experience the basics of good and bad, right and wrong. Both design and morality are obvious through what has been made. Therefore, it is no little thing to say that creation speaks of the glory of God. The wise person will use nature as a reminder of who God is. They will look around and be thankful; and they will remain in awe if they will let creation speak the greatness of God into their hearts.
THE GREATNESS OF GOD IN HIS WORD
As we turn to God’s word, we begin to see what life with God looks like from a man who has put his trust in God and His ways. David followed after God and experienced great things when he made God a priority. When David failed at various times, he repented of his actions and was able to still praise God because of the life-giving relationship he had with God; a relationship that sustained him through every up and down in life.
Through David’s religious faith and experience, he was able to see that God’s law renewed his spirit. He knew that the principles of God brought joy; that God’s commands enlighten our eyes; that reverence for God brought long lasting faith; and that the decisions of God are holy and righteous. David found all these things to be true because He learned them and then lived them.
The worldwide Church today has experienced great loss and confusion as a result of straying from the word of God. When we turn away from what God has said, revealed, and taught we find ourselves at odds ends with each other and even with God because we’ve mixed up our priorities. But if we had both the humility and the trust to confess our sin, repent and return to God (as David does in Psalm 51) we would find our loving God waiting with compassionate arms, ready to receive us and start again.
The Bible doesn’t reveal an angry God who squashes people for either no reason or too many reasons. The Bible doesn’t reveal a mushy, hippie God who just covers up all the bad that’s been done with some watered down super-love, telling everybody, “Well, it’s okay.” The holy scriptures reveal to us a God of great balance and justice. We learn in the scriptures of a God who is a Father like no other father, having a love like no other; a love that forgives but expects repentance; a love that that calls out to everyone but has standards and expectations for everyone. God is a God of discipline and holiness, filled with compassion and mercy.
This is the God David knows through the scriptures, the God that creation knows through the seasons. This is the God that is truly great because of His power to create and because of His willingness to humbly walk among us through Jesus.
I invite you today to better know the greatness of God, whether through the blooming of the daffodils in the cold before the Spring or through the life changing experience of walking with God in His word and His ways. Amen.