Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Revelation of God

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands" (Psalm 19:1).

Psalm 19 is a wisdom psalm. It can also be considered a nature psalm because in its introduction it discusses God’s self-revelation in His creation. The theme of the psalm as a whole is God’s revelation as it comes to us in creation, in God’s Word, and in ourselves.

Verses 1–6 discuss the revelation of God’s glory in creation, especially in the heavens. The Hebrew words for heaven and sky in Genesis 1:1 and 1:8 are the same. Thus, the sky and the things in the sky are said to reveal the heavenly glory of God. The psalmist says that day after day the blue sky, the clouds, and the birds “pour forth speech” about God’s glory, while night after night the stars and the moon “display knowledge.”

In particular, the sun portrays God’s glory. The heavens are like a tent for the sun, analogous to the tabernacle that was the tent for God in Israel. The sun bursts over the horizon. It gives light to all things. It is supreme moving through and governing our solar system. It gives heat to all things. In these ways, the sun pictures the sun of righteousness who arises with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2).

The second part of the psalm, verses 7–11, extols God’s revelation in His Word. The psalmist celebrates God’s laws, statutes, precepts, commands, and ordinances. Notice that all of these are words for commandments. God does not give us mere advice. He tells us and our societies what He demands. Thus, mixed in with these statements about God’s law is the statement that “the fear of the Lord is pure” (v. 9).

The greatness of God’s glory leads us to meditate on the purity of God’s commandments. Now, in turn, we are led to reflect on our own inadequacy. Verses 12–14 point to God’s revelation of His law in our consciences. It is critical that we ask God to use His Word to reveal our hidden faults so that we may live righteously before Him. Such an all encompassing desire is what it means to live life before the living God.

Many Christians are familiar with Psalm 19:1. We do not often take the time to reflect on how the heavens, indeed all of creation, shout out the glory of God. Make time to do so, exploring the stars in the heavens and wonder at the God who created them. Many Christians are also familiar with the psalmist’s concluding remarks (19:14). Remember his prayer. He desired that God would be pleased with all the words spoken from his mouth and with all the thoughts within his hand. Cultivate those same concerns in your personal moments.