Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV)
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.
Our verse today focuses on God the Father … the Creator … the Source of all life and being. I love this verse because I am a stargazer. On clear nights I study the heavens … tracing star formations and the parade of constellations across the sky. I view the moon and planets … and I think deeply about the vastness and majesty of all God has created. The Psalmist tells us the universe declares the glory of God and the work of His hands. This phrasing conveys the thought of personal and purposeful design. And as I look upon the expanse in awe of the divine power it represents, an inner peace envelopes me, and I feel compelled to thank God in that moment for the privilege of being able to see His handiwork. What an incredible experience God has given us as humans to observe and engage in His creation….
Theologians would describe this phenomenon as “natural revelation.” We have the ability to “know” God and His existence through the lens of the observable, physical creation. Perhaps, Paul was inspired by this verse when he penned the Book of Romans. From the outset of Chapter 1, Paul expresses the same truth that everyone can know something about God from what is clearly visible in front of them. And he upbraids those who do not acknowledge the God of creation … who are not moved to worship the Father based upon what can be readily known of Him:
Romans 1:18-25 (NIV)
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 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. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
That is some very pointed preaching right there! Quite an indictment of our sinful human nature … as we tend to be more enraptured with the world than the One who created it. And therein is the deception that can draw hearts far from God. The Apostle John admonished, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17) So maybe we do need to have more preaching on the topic. What God created for believers to experience and enjoy in Him is quite different from the world unbelievers have created for their own pleasures….
A final thought … when we do take time to marvel at the universe and all of it wonderous beauty, I hope that we will pause to give thanks to God for His love as expressed through creation. And as you look up at the skies, I encourage you to feel a sense of anticipation. For who knows? You might just observe something quite breathtaking when you least expect it … the Lord Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven – with power and great glory! As John wrote: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)
Daniel 7:13-14 (NIV)
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
Matthew 24:29-31 (NIV)
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ (Cf. Isaiah 13:10; 34:4) 30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Mark 14:61-63 (NIV)
Again the high priest asked Him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked.
Luke 21:25-28 (NIV)
25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
Revelation 1:7 (NIV)
7 “Look, He is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of Him.” So shall it be! Amen. (See Daniel 7:13; Zechariah 12:10)