The Heavens Declare God's Glory
The Heavens Declare God's Glory
Have you even been struck with awe and wonder on a clear, starlit night? There is something special about the stars that lift our eyes heavenward and our thoughts beyond every day cares. Somehow, in a very real way, God reveals His Glory in the heavens.
In our modern world of cities, smog, and electric lights, we can often go for weeks without gazing at the stars; but I suspect it wasn’t that way in times past. For settlers scattered on the plains of the American west, sailors on the far reaches of the sea, or shepherds on the hills of Judea, the stars were constant companions and a continual source of comfort, wonder, and awe. Unfortunately, as the hearts of men turned from God, they began to worship the stars rather than their Creator. Yet, God says, the heavens declare His Glory (Ps 19:1)!
The word translated “glory” in this passage comes from a Hebrew word meaning heavy or weighty. It carries with it the sense of numerous, richness, splendor, or honor. Certainly the sheer magnitude of stars in the heavens boggles the imagination. Billions of galaxies each contain billions of individual stars. If even the relatively small number of stars visible to the naked eye caused the psalmist to marvel, how much more should we as modern technology reveals the vastness of the universe! The psalmist seems to be seeing more than just numbers of stars. He says, the heavens declare the glory of God. Yes, there is glory in the heavens – Scripture says that stars differ in glory – but David speaks of the glory of God.
So how do the heavens declare the glory of God? Here are just a few things I thought as I meditated on these words. The magnitude of stars reminds me of the numerous facets of God’s character – His wonderful goodness, abundant kindness, and infinite care for variety and details. The sky full of sparkling jewels reveals His extravagance, His showering of blessings on His beloved children, and the unfathomable richness of His grace. The regularity of the movements of stars in the heavens reveals His wonderful faithfulness and unchanging character. The vastness of the heavens reveals His power and creativity.
Yet despite seeing this glory, Moses wanted to know God in a much deeper way. He begged God, “Show me Thy glory” (Ex 33:18). In reply, God hid him in the cleft of the rock and caused His goodness to pass before him and proclaimed the name of the Lord – “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Moses was allowed to see only God’s back, not His face. What did he see? Was it the stripes He took on our behalf? Was it a vision of the time when, centuries later, God would reveal so much more in the person of His Son? John 1:14 says, “We beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The glory of God – declared by the heavens, but beheld in the Son; Jesus Christ, the glory of God – full of grace and truth; Jesus Christ – the riches of God, the manifold wisdom of God, the fullness of deity in human flesh. What a treasure!
Now we can know the glory of God, not just declared by the heavens, as wonderful as they are, but revealed in the face of Christ Jesus (ll Cor 4:6). May we respond as Moses and worship our great Creator, Redeemer, and Lord.
By Mary Jo Nutting
This was published as an article in the May/June 2001 Think and Believe.
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