The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

Psalm 19 is one of my favorite Psalms. It speaks of the glory of God that is made evident by the vastness, perfection and majesty of the world he has made. It begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork…Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (v. 1, 4a). This Psalm has been brought to my mind today as the solar eclipse will occur this afternoon, and I look forward to getting outside to see it, with my special glasses of course. The Psalmist continues, “in [the heavens God] has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them” (v. 4b-6). David was amazed by what he could perceive of the heavens. He perceived the course of the sun to traverse the heavens from one end to the other, and the entire spectacle of the daily circuit of the sun filled him with awe at God’s majesty. The technology of our day has allowed us to understand the vastness of the sun in a way that David could not possibly have imagined. We now know that 1.3 million earths could fit within the sun. In Troy, we are not in the “path of totality” of the eclipse, but even with 99 percent of its light blocked by the moon, the remaining 1 percent will still be 4000 times the brightness of the moon.

What amazes me even more is that our sun is really quite small compared to other stars, which David perceived only as points of light in the night sky but we now know are actually billions and billions of suns, scattered across a universe which, the more we discover about it the more vast it becomes. The largest star that has been discovered thus far is named UY Scuti, and its radius is 1700 times that of the radius of our sun, meaning that 5 billion of our suns could fit within it! The farthest star that has been discovered is 27 billion light years away from earth. At 186,000 miles per second, you do the math. When David looked up in wonder at the vastness of the heavens, he had no idea the full extent of what he saw and, even with all our high-tech equipment, we still have no idea of how truly vast the heavens are.

No doubt as David looked into the sky he observed the order displayed by the stars, which enable humans and animals alike to navigate here on earth. He was also no doubt struck by the reliability of the sun, rising each morning, making possible each new day. This led David to turn his thoughts from the majesty of the heavens to the goodness and wisdom of their creator. Meditating on these things he said, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (v. 7-8). What David recognized was that if the vast heavens are ordered by the authority of their creator, how much more are we, as human beings, dependent on his good and wise authority to order our lives. In the face of such majesty, what folly it is for human beings to presume that they are their own authority, or to fail to see how utterly dependent we are on our creator, who holds this vast universe in place, sustaining this speck of a planet on which we ourselves are only “specks!” So, David’s meditation, which began with the vastness of the universe, as far as he could see, ends in the quietness of his own heart before his God: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (v. 14).

Our God is an awesome God. Our smallness in this vast universe ought to humble us before his incomprehensible bigness; and yet, he loves us individually so much that he sent his only Son to our planet to redeem us! He who holds the universe in his hands also has said to us, “I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you’” (Isaiah 41:13). Let us bow the knee of our hearts in reverent awe before him!

Pastor Jon Enright

May 1, 2024

Troy Christian Chapel
400 E. Long Lake Road
Troy, MI 48085
Map

Phone: (248) 689-2046
Email: staff@troychapel.org

Sundays
Sunday School - 9:00 a.m.
Worship Service - 10:30 a.m.

Wednesdays
Worship & Bible Study - 7:00 p.m.