Several weeks ago I taught on learning songs from the Bible. Then I began to teach the “songs” in the context in which they were written. This week I am teaching on Psalm 19, 125, and 122. Please join us as we learn more about God’s word.
Revelation in creation (1-6)
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
“Be Exultant (Psalm 90-150), Repackaged”, written by Warren Wiersbe, helps us to understand these verses.
The Worlds around Us–God the Creator (1-6).
David focused on the heavens above him, especially the circuit of the sun; but there are many worlds in God’s creation. They include the earth beneath our feet; the plant and animal worlds on earth, in the skies, and in the waters; the human world; the world of rocks and crystals; worlds visible to the human eye; and worlds so small we need special equipment to see them. World-famous biologist Edward O. Wilson claims there may be as many as 1.6 million species of fungi in the world today, 10,000 species of ants, 300,000 species of flowering plants, between 4,000 and 5,000 species of mammals, and approximately 10,000 species of birds. But these large numbers pale into insignificance when you start examining the heavens, as David did, and begin to calculate distances in light-years. David knew none of this modern scientific data, and yet when he pondered the heavens, he was overwhelmed by the glory of the Lord.
The Jewish people were forbidden to worship the objects in the heavens (Ex. 20:4-5; Deut. 4:14-19; 5:8-9), nor were they allowed to practice astrology (Isa. 47:13-14; Jer. 10:1-5). They worshiped the Creator, not the creation (Rom. 1:25). The existence of creation implied the existence of a Creator, and the nature of the creation implied that He was wise enough to plan it and powerful enough to execute His plan and maintain what He had made. So complex a universe demands a Creator who can do anything, who knows everything, and who is present everywhere. But even more, David knew that God was speaking to the inhabitants of the earth by means of His creation. Creation is a “wordless book” that everybody can read because it needs no translation. God speaks through creation day after day and night after night; His speech “pours out” silently, abundantly, universally.
In Romans 10:18, Paul quoted verse 4 as part of his explanation of why Israel rejected the gospel and what this rejection did to the nation. The Jewish people could never say that they had not heard God’s message, because Psalm 19:4 says that the whole world has heard. Therefore, both Gentiles and Jews stand guilty before God and need to be saved through faith in Jesus Christ, and we must take the salvation message to them (Rom. 10:1-15). Paul quoted from the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, which uses “sound” (voice) instead of “line,” but the sense is the same. Some translators use “influence” instead of “line.” God’s voice of power in creation prepares the way for His voice of grace in the gospel. When Paul preached to Gentiles, he started with creation and then moved into the gospel message (Acts 14:14-18; 17:22-31). Phillips Brooks gave the first instructions about God to Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf, and she replied that she had always known there was a God but didn’t know what His name was. Our task is to tell the world that His name is Jesus (Acts 4:12).
David was an outdoorsman and often watched the sunrise and sunset, and what he saw day after day reminded him of a bridegroom leaving the marriage pavilion to claim his bride, and a vigorous athlete running a race. The first image speaks of glory (the groom was richly attired), love, and anticipation, while the second speaks of power and determination.
But despite this universal message that pours out day and night to the entire world, most people ignore it and reject God because they want to live as they please (Rom. 1:18-23). The repeated question “Are people lost who have never heard about Jesus?” has two answers: (1) Yes, they are lost, because God speaks to them all day long, and they refuse to listen; (2) What are you doing about getting the message to these people?
Therein lies the challenge. Will you go and tell someone about our Savior, Jesus Christ?
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001