"The Heavens Declare - Part 1"
I have always been in awe of the world around us and, especially, the universe beyond. I remember from my youth when my grandfather took my brother and me to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. What a museum! And what a planetarium! Amazing things. And, of course, I am of the generation that watched in complete awe and amazement as man first traveled into space and set foot on the moon. Every new scientific finding about outer space was (and is) thrilling.
For the Christian, though, every new scientific discovery on Earth or beyond is just one more mystery of God's creation. And it's simply more evidence of His mighty power.
David was a shepherd boy who undoubtedly spent a lot of time out there on Judean hillsides with his flock at night. He had plenty of time to study the heavens, to look on in amazement as the planets, stars and constellations moved through the night sky. And surely he witnessed the occasional comet or "shooting star."
Such things were undoubtedly going through his mind when he wrote Psalm 19:1: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."
What do you see when you look into the clear night sky?
The scientist sees a universe estimated to be 20 billion light years across. Our galaxy alone (the Milky Way) includes about 100 billion stars, most so far away that they are invisible to the unaided eye. Nevertheless, the Yale Bright Star Catalog estimates there are 9,110 stars of magnitude 6.5 or brighter which the unaided eye can see. Interestingly, the largest known star is the red hypergiant V-Y Canis Majoris, about 4,900 light years from Earth. It's 2,100 times the size of the sun and would take 7 quadrillion earths to fill it.
One of the greatest scientists ever was Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727). He discovered the laws of gravitation, the basic laws of motion, developed calculus and much more. But he was convinced that the universe was created by God with a precise mathematical structure. He wrote, "I must confess to a feeling of profound humility in the presence of a universe which transcends us at almost every point. I feel like a child who, while playing by the seashore, has found a few bright colored shells and a few pebbles while the whole vast ocean of truth stretches out almost untouched and unruffled before my eager fingers..."
Of course, that reflects Scripture: "Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5). "He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heaven by His understanding" (Jeremiah 51:15).
Why isn't this evident to everyone? Psalm 19:3-4 makes it clear that God's creation should make quite clear the fact that there was (and is) a Creator: "There is no speech or language where their voice [the testimony of what is seen] is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."
Have you ever wondered why God put stars in the sky? The sun and moon would have been entirely sufficient for heat and light. On a moonless night, the stars provide very little useful light. There must be another reason. Genesis 1:14 provides a clue: "Then God said, Let there by lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years...."
That may all be pretty obvious, except for the "signs" part. What's that mean? The ancient Hebrews had what they called the Mazzeroth. It's mentioned in Job 38:31. The dictionary calls it the Hebrew Zodiac, but it is more than that and it certainly is not astrology (which Scripture condemns). It's the belief that God placed His entire plan of redemption in the stars and explained it all to Adam. Virgo symbolizes the virgin birth. In Scorpio we see the "sting of death." Aquarius (the water-bearer) is seen as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And there's the final triumph, still future, of Leo the Lion of Judah, whom we know as the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Gordon Mote sings a song called "Don't Let Me Miss The Glory." As he told me in an interview, "God's awesomeness is all around us and we miss it. We just totally miss it, because we're doing our day-to-day things and are so caught up in what we've gotta get accomplished. God's glory is all around us. We don't have to go anywhere to see it..."
Have you taken a good look at the world around you? You can see God there. He designed and created it. He's holding it all together. And if His creation is so magnificently awesome, can you even begin to imagine how awesome and powerful HE is! "For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised" (1 Chron.16:25). Praise Him today!
[Next week: more from Psalm 19.]
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