1, The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
2, Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
3, There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
4, Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
5, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
6, Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The beginning of Psalm 19 is one of the classic examples of what theologians call “general revelation,” that is, God’s fundamental revealing of himself to all people in the world by creation and by conscience (cf. Rom 1:19, 21; 2:14-16; Acts 14:16-17). In Psalm 19:1-6, the focus is on God’s creation in the heavens: the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds, the weather, etc.
The sky has always provoked wonder in humanity, and many throughout the millennia have even worshipped the heavenly bodies. We moderns, too, often find ourselves marveling at a starry night, a sunny day, a powerful storm, or a pleasant sunset. The effect of the heavens on us is only magnified when we gain a deeper view into them, even into outer space, where we behold serene planets, colorful nebulae, and massive galaxies. What awesome and beautiful creations! Where did they all come from? Why are they there? Well, Psalm 19 declares that the heavens are not there by chance or designed merely for our pleasure; they are a testimony of the existence, power, and glory of God. Sky and space are constantly telling—constantly speaking without words—the message that God is there and God is great.
But has man gotten the message? Have all indeed received this revelation about God, which makes them accountable to God? The beginning of verse 4 says that the message has gone throughout the whole world and is still reaching the very ends of the earth. And then the last part of verse 4 and the whole of verses 5-6 underline this truth in a picturesque way.
At first glance, Psalm 19:4c-6 may seem like a sudden shift in subject. The author was just talking about the testimony of creation but then starts talking about the mighty sun cheerfully doing his daily work. Why? We might think that the psalmist is just providing a specific illustration of something glorious in the sky. True, but there is more. You see, Hebrew poetry is all about parallelism, a kind of rhyming of ideas more than a rhyming of sounds. Often this parallelism represents a repetition or contrast between two lines together, but the parallelism can extend farther across multiple lines, which is the case here. The author sets up a parallel between creation in general and the sun in particular: just as the sky’s testimony about God extends throughout the whole world, so does the light from the sun extend from one end of the earth to the other. And just as no one can truly deny the sun’s heat and warming effect, so, too, no one can truly deny the testimony of God visible in creation.
As Pastor Babij preached on Sunday, we all know that there is a God, just as we all can see and feel the sun. Such knowledge is basic and obvious to everyone. The problem in unbelief, therefore, is not a lack of information, but a proud heart that does not want to admit the truth and give up its own sinful way. Yet the call of God in the Bible is to do exactly that and not only gain rescue from wrath but also an eternal inheritance with God himself. For in a cosmic way, the simple statement of James 4:6 is profoundly true: “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Questions to Consider:
1. Study the rest of Psalm 19. Why does the psalm conclude with humility?
2. Where else have you seen God’s glory in creation? How do you respond to it?
3. If someone says to you that he does not believe that God exists, how should you reply?