God Declares His Glory! [Part One] Psalm 19

We are presently in a series in which I hope to produce a book and a seminar called, “Give Me That Book!” My purpose is both simple and selfish. I want to see and enjoy more of the glory of God. I believe that God wants me to see his glory and enjoy his glory. And because I believe that the place that His glory is most powerfully, and personally and practically revealed is His own written Word, I devote myself to its study. And because my sinful and dull heart is seriously flawed, I join the Psalmist and cry out for help in this adventure. I pray, “Open my eyes that I might see the wonderful things in thy Law” [Psalm 119:18]

However, my purpose for writing is not just about me. I want to draw you, even drag you with me, into a new love and new confidence in God’s written Word. I want you see and savor the glory that He has hidden there. Let me ask you: “Isn’t there more joy when we share the pleasure we have found than when we just keep it to our selves?” I think so. If the Holy Spirit would open the eyes of our hearts as he did the Psalmist, we would not only get into the Book out of duty, we get into the Book out of sheer delight, as he did. We would not only see and discover God; we would savor and delight in His riches that await us there. And if we do that, the sheer joy of it all would transform us into radical missionaries of the wonders we have found there. A whole company of Christ lovers would be set loose upon this land. LFC would become a center for the declaring of the glory of God that is found in His Book.

The underlying assumption in all that we do is that there is a God who is infinitely beautiful and perfect. Out of His love and mercy He has chosen to share His glory with us. He created a world that reflects his beauty and wisdom in nature. But the awesome things is that he has created us in such a way that we are not only are able to see and enjoy the world he crafted, we are able to experience the ultimate pleasure of knowing and enjoying Him, the Artist.

That is the story of the Bible. It is God’s Book. It is about Him. It is about His purpose to reveal and share His glory with His creatures. Even when they turn away from him to glory in things infinitely less valuable than His is, He pursues them. That is the radiant beam that shines out from the Bible. That is what C. S. Lewis meant when he wrote: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it see everything else.”  

The more you read, study, memorize, meditate upon, trust and obey God’s Written Word, the wiser, happier, successful, prosperous, confident and satisfied you will be. The reason I say that is that the One who has all truth and all power is the One who speaks in the Book. When you open the pages and begin to read you are sitting in the throne room of God getting the latest briefing from your Commander in Chief. If we would start out each day in the Book, we would receive the Intel and ammunition and weapons we need to win the battle of the day.

I. God Speaks to Men: The Doctrine of Revelation

The first question I am addressing in the series is: Why should we read or trust the Book? What makes the Bible infinitely more valuable and satisfying than a novel by Grisham or Hemingway or Steinbeck? What is it in this book that was written 2000 years ago that makes it as up-to-date as any newspaper or magazine distributed this morning? Here is my answer. God, the Creator and Lord over the earth speaks in His book, the Bible. If He did not speak we would never discover him or His truth. His choice to reveal himself is called the doctrine of revelation. When he speaks, He not only conveys his thoughts, he conveys him self. When we hear him speak and respond to his voice we are brought into an experimental union with our God and Savior. That is exactly what J. I. Packer meant when he wrote:

“As God’s act, revelation is the personal self-disclosure whereby He brings us actively and experimentally to know Him as our own God and Savior. As God’s gift, revelation is the knowledge about Himself which He gives us as a means to this end.”

So, the first thing we want to convince you of this morning is that the Creator and Savior of this world speaks to men. To see this I would ask you to turn to with me to Psalm 19. In this awesome passage you will see that God speaks all the time and every where through the skies; and speaks most powerfully and personally through the Scriptures that He wrote. This morning we will look at the first seven verse of Psalm 19 where God speaks through the skies. Next Sunday we will hear God speak through the Scriptures. So, let us begin.

II. God Declares His Glory: Psalm 19

A. Part One [Psalm 19:1-7]: God’s Word is Panoramic: His glory fills the skies: Look up!
The Psalmist begins by declaring that God Word is panoramic. “Pan” means all or complete or unobstructed. Horama means to see. So, God’s Word is a clear and unobstructed view of him self. The psalmist declares that is you want to see an awesome, panoramic view of God, all you need to look up!

1. Beautifully: [1]
When you look up at the skies what do you see? Do you only see weather that will allow you to play your round of golf; or weather that will threaten your picnic; or a delay to the completion of your construction project? Here is what the Psalmist saw. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Every time he looked into the heavens and gazed at the panorama of infinite power and matchless beauty, he heard God speak. He didn’t hear a voice or actual words but the communication was clear. It is like walking into an art gallery and observing the handiwork of a master artist.

Barb and I had the opportunity to browse through an art gallery during the Thanksgiving vacation. This particular artist works with seascapes that convey the unique beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.  When my eye gazed upon his handiwork I was immediately drawn to it. His pictures spoke to me, not with audio words but with paints and hues and rays of light. I was captivated by the scenes. Deep down I felt an appreciation, a sense of wonder rising up within me that culminated in appreciation and a quiet moment of pleasure.

As I continued to take it all in joy came from deep with in. The tranquil scenes were so peaceful and real and life like. I could almost hear the waves break upon those sandy shores in the midst of a warm moonlit night. There was something inside me that brought me into contact with the gifts of this talented craftsman. I am not an artist nor am I the son of an artist, but that work transferred me into a tropical setting of beauty and excellence and wonder.

The second thing that happened as I stood there was that I started thinking about the artist. You see, I knew this did not come into being by chemical processes that accidentally caused this work of beauty to spring forth from millions of years of random chemical reactions. It was too life like; too unique, too beautiful, too moving, to expertly and sensitively designed to be anything but the work of a very talented and gifted artist. There were other works on display but I did not seek out their auto graph. The beauty and talent of this one man dominated the gallery. They were so good I just focused on his works.

a. God’s one purpose is to declare His glory.

That is something of what the psalmist is saying about God’s creation. When you look at the great expanse of the sky; when you see the billions of stars that hang in space, and not one of them is missing; when you observe the awesome power of our sun, which is just a minor star in a universe of billions of suns; when you marvel at the beauty of a Pacific sunset; or the intricate and delicate design of one lily of the valley; you are being spoken to by what you see. There is something inside you that draws you to the beauty of nature just as surely as you are repelled by the sight and smell of a garbage dump. When you look up and take time to peruse though His studio called creation, you are captured by the Artist who can create such an awesome display of beauty and glory.

For six verses the Psalmist declares that when you do look up you should hear a message that touches the deepest longings and desires of your soul. The heavens are speaking-without words. They are speaking to your soul. They are declaring the glory of God. They are revealing an Artist, who is not only powerful but wonderfully talented and sensitive. In the heavens God is speaking, revealing His heart and His purposes through his handiwork.

When God speaks, he always speaks with clear intention. He does not speak like we do; just to hear ourselves speak. He speaks to accomplish His purposes. When his word leaves his mouth it always accomplishes that which he has sent it forth to accomplish [Isaiah 55]. What is God’s purpose in speaking creation? The Psalmist says it like this: “The heavens declare the glory of God.”

Why Does God do this? Is it just because it makes him feel good? Yes, it does please him, but, not like the artist stuck on a deserted island who tries to bring a little pleasure to him self by drawing pictures in the sand. No, God’s purpose was not to create a breath- taking universe for his own pleasure, although it does please him. It was “good”.

But in the mystery of His purposes, God’s pleasure is only fully experienced when his people not only see and enjoy his works but see and enjoy Him. Only when we move beyond the sun and the stars and the heavens to enter into his sanctuary with praise and thankfulness is He satisfied. Only when we are led beyond creation to find Him and worship and thank Him is He satisfied. His joy is only complete when we find our joy, not in Creation, but in Him, the Artist. 

b. All that he has made proclaims His glory.

So the Psalmist declares “The skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Everything God does; everything He has made; has one goal: to declare what an awesome God he is. Now, don’t be miss lead about the Artist. He does not do this because he has low self esteem and needs people to make a big deal about his skills. He is not a pathetic person who goes about making things so that we would give him a little attention. No! That is the marvelous mystery of this whole story. He shares himself with us simply because he is love. Love gives. Love shares. Perfect love shares the most precious and satisfying gift. The most loving thing God could do for us is not just to share His creation with us, but to share himself with us. Don’t ask me to explain it. It is the wonder of wonders that He would choose to do so.

Fortunately, it is not my job to figure out why he would do it. My only job, my only joy, my only mission, is to find my joy in Him. Tuff job, but somebody has to do it.

2. Exhaustively: [2-4]

The second thing the Psalmist shows is just how committed God is to revealing his mind and heart to our minds and hearts. He writes:
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

a. God’s speaks His glory continually.

Through light and color and shapes and sounds and contrasts and movement God speaks in wordless words, speechless speech, voice-less voice. Day after day and night after night God continually “pours forth speech.” The terminology suggests a mighty unrelenting torrent of communication. There is never a moment when the glory of the Creator is not being declared by His wonders for those who will just stop and look; stop and listen.

b. God speaks His glory everywhere.

Not only does God speak all of the time he speaks everywhere. Go to Switzerland and enjoy the awesome peaks of the Alps or the beautiful valleys carved out by the slow and relentless movements of massive glaziers; God is there, speaking. Travel to the Mari plains of Kenya in the shadow of Kilimanjaro; God is there, speaking. Travel to South Africa and make your way up to the expansive Krueger national park and look up into the vastness of a southern mid-night sky and see so many stars that it looks like a billion Christmas trees; God is there, speaking. Travel to the Eastern slopes of the Sierras and stand in awe at the lakes, mountains, and waterfalls that make up the beauty of the June Lake Loop; God is there, speaking. God is speaking, if you will stop, look, and listen.

3. Joyfully: [4-5]

What would possibly cause you to set down your remote and go out on to your deck and just look at the stars. Why would you turn off MTV and its gaudy images and raunchy pictures? What would cause you to forsake the bright likes of Vegas for the dark nights of the Sierras? See if you can figure out the answer by listening to the Psalmist:
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, 5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

a. God’s Word brings the joy of a new beginning.

What is it about seeing the sun in the heavens that is like a bridegroom coming out of his pavilion and a champion getting ready to run a his race? It is the joy! For the bridegroom it is the first day of his new life. It is the sun rising on his dream. It is the start of something wonderful. That is what hearing God speak and seeing His glory is all about. The pains and struggles and waiting and disappointments and hurts of the past are gone. He always brings a new day. That is what every sun rise signals to all who have the faith to look up. The Sun still shines! All is well. Light rules and darkness must always depart when the sun rises. Beauty beats ugly! Every day the Grand Artist sets out his handiwork for his creatures to enjoy for another day.

b. God’s Word brings the Rejoicing of a new adventure.

Then, what is it about a champion about to run his race that is like seeing and hearing the glory of God in nature? Is it not the inward joy that comes from the possibility of a new and awesome adventure? Is it not the pure excitement that grips the heart of one who knows a God who delights in revealing the infinite riches of his grace to his people? A champion does not fear. A champion is confident. A champion does not shy away from a challenge. He celebrates it. He was born to run. He was born to win. Each viewing of The Champion gives him new joy at the possibilities that are out there with such an awesome and glorious God. The invitation is to run and trust and leave all for the delight and joy that such a great God pours forth. For the champion who trusts in God, the end is never defeat but victory; never decay but beauty; never disappointment but glory.

That is what I think Eric Liddell meant when he answered the complaint of his sister when she confronted him about his long hours running through the hills of Scotland. He said, “But Jennie, when I run, I feel his pleasure.” That is what a champion feels when he is able to look at the skies and see beyond them to her Creator. If God would put on such a beautifully assembled world for our enjoyment, would He not pour out his pleasure on the race that we run, for Him? Whatever he has given us a heart for, that can be devoted to his pleasure, will surely give us pleasure in doing it. Surely we will let nothing stop us from giving everything we have for the chance to spread his glory. Seeing the greatness and the goodness in His creation should make radical missionaries of us all. Glory moves us! Glory draws us! Glory transforms us!

Remember? That is exactly what drove Liddell. Turning his back on the fame and wealth of the world he went to China as a missionary. He died in a Japanese prison camp still feeling the pleasure of His God, knowing nothing he did or tried or sacrificed would ever be lost or wasted.

Not even death could stop the voice of God speaking through his life. The fact that we are talking about him this morning is proof of that. The God who would create such a universe and pour forth such love would never let his servant’s desire to find his joy in him end in disappointment.

4. Warmly: [6]

Finally the Psalmist writes concerning the sun:
 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat. Ps 19:1-6

a. God’s Word rises everyday to fill the earth.

Just like the sun, you can count on God speaking everyday. It starts at one end of the earth and makes its circuit to the other. Every day God is speaking to you of His glory. If you do not see it or hear it, pray. Ask God to open the eyes of your heart so that you can see the wonderful things in his Word. A God who would create such an awesome world has also created just as awesome written Word. Pick up the Bible and walk through Genesis and read to Revelation. If your ears have been opened, you will hear God speak and see His awesome beauty shine in your soul.

b. God’s Word brings healing rays to every man.

That is what the Psalmist means when he says “nothing is hidden from its heat.” Just as the sun brings life giving warmth to all points on the earth, so the words of God shower warmth on all peoples; giving hope and joy, and adventure and pleasure and new starts and fruitfulness.

The creation speaks so that we will enjoy and be blessed by the warmth that is found radiating there. But, if we stop there we are no different than the pagans Paul describes in Rom 1:20-23:

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 men are without excuse. 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. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Don’t be a fool. Don’t let your thinking be futile. Don’t exchange the priceless God for the passing things of this life. Don’t pursue images and shadows when you can have the Light and ultimate Reality. Don’t settle for the passing pleasures of this world when you can have the glory of the infinite Creator and Redeemer of your soul.

B. God’s Word is Powerful [19:7-9]: He speaks powerfully in the Scriptures-open up!

C. God’s Word is Precious [19:10-11]: He speaks treasure that satisfies- dig up!

D. God’s Word is Practical [19:12-13]: He speaks truth that meets are most basic need-Give up!

E. God’s Word is Personal [Psalm 19:14]: He speaks personal joy and delight-Reach up!

III. Conclusions and Applications: How can the glory of God in the skies speak joy and satisfaction to our lives?

“Why has God spoken? The truly staggering answer which the Bible gives to this question is that God’s purpose in revelation is to make friends with us. It was to this end that he created us rational beings, bearing his image, able to think and hear and speak and love; he wanted there to be genuine personal affections and friendship, two sided, between himself and us- a relation, not like that between a man and his dog, but like that of a father to his son, or a husband to his wife. Loving friendship between two persons has no ulterior motive; it is an end in itself. And this is God’s end in revelation. He speaks to us simply to fulfill the purpose for which we were made; that is, to bring into being a relationship in which He is friend to us, and we to him, His finding joy in giving us gifts and we finding ours in giving thanks.” J. I. Packer

A. If your life is darkened and depressed, look up and enjoy the awesome beauty of the glory of God.

My dad’s favorite line “Why live in God’s world without God?” Good question? How wasted is the life that was created to see and savor God but instead suppresses that knowledge by choosing wickedness over worship. Bertrand Russell was such a person. At one point in his life, in a moment of honesty, he told why he rejoiced at the thought that there was no God. He said it freed him to pursue his erotic desires. On one occasion he produced a play where God was bored by angelic worship, so for amusement he created the world and humans, made life a difficult as possible, and watched to see what they would do. When humans bravely but stupidly try to make sense of it all, and even give thanks to God for his goodness, God, who has seen enough, sends a sun to smash the earth, ending it all. “Yes, it was a good play, God murmurs: “I will have it performed again.”

Russell went on to say:

“Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief….man is the product of causes which has no provision of the end they were achieving…his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms…no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave;…all the labor of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and…the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins….Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built….Brief and powerless is Man’s life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls its relentless way.”

 If you think you are all alone and helpless, listen up to God’s voice that powerfully surrounds you everywhere you go.

25 “To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. Isa 40:25-31

B. If your life is bound and bored, lighten up and rejoice in the awesome plans he has in store for you if you will trust Him.

“Above all things, God is the God of the gallant adventurer, God loves the man who is ready to venture for His Name. The prudent, cautious, comfort loving man is the very opposite of God. The man who goes out into the unknown and who keeps going on will in the end arrive at God.”   William Barklay

C. If your heart is cold and lifeless, loosen up and let the warm rays of God’s love penetrate the soil of your heart to bring forth fruit and freedom to your life.

Winifred Holtby: Brilliant scholar and atheist who died tragically at the age of 37: Here is what she wrote to a friend after being present at a dedication service for a fellow student who was going to China as a missionary:

“It must be nice to decide to dedicate oneself to one particular form of service as she did when she was twelve, and then train, prepare, and go and do it. And on your going, to have eight hundred people pray over you and say that you are right.”

Then she added wistfully:

“The difficulty is to what one can dedicate oneself. I am blown about by a wandering wind of great pity and sorrow and desire, while my weakness and self-indulgence and timidity keep me tied to earth.”

If she had only looked up and seen and heard the words of God in the skies proclaiming that there is nothing more sure, right, good, meaningful and satisfying, then giving oneself to knowing and sharing the awesome glory that is God’s. Sadly, she left this world with her gifts unfulfilled. She never knew how beautiful and majestic is the God of Creation. She never discovered how wonderful it is to join Him in making His glory known through out the universe.

Don’t be like Holtby. Be like Liddell. Get your devotion set early. Don’t waste your time or your life. Don’t be like everybody else. You are a child of God! He has called you and gifted you to participate in his glory. Don’t wait till your life is filled with regrets. Fill it with fruit bow now and for eternity. Don’t waste your life like Russell. He died a pitiful, bitter old man. Free love did not bring him joy. His intellect and writings and philosophizing did not save him. His life is ashes.

Be like C. S. Lewis, who devoted his mind and his heart to God. God used him to proclaim his glory to countless pilgrims through his writings. Go for the gold. Go for the riches. Go for the treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot corrupt. God for eternal pleasures at His right hand for ever more. Don’t waste your life! Why live in God’s world with out God?