What’s the longest sermon you’ve ever heard? According to Psalm 19, God has been preaching from the first moment he created the earth. The heavens declare the glory of God (Ps 19:1). No, there is no speech; there are no words, but God’s message has gone out to the whole earth nonetheless (Ps 19:3, 4).
In Hebrew, in which the Old Testament of the Bible was originally written, the word for heaven and the word for sky were the same. They didn’t distinguish between heaven and sky because they viewed the sky similarly to how we view heaven. We think of heaven as a vast, unreachable place where God dwells. That’s how the ancient Israelites thought of the sky. To them, the sky itself was unreachable. Keep in mind they didn’t have airplanes to carry them 30,000 feet into the air. They didn’t have apps on their phones to predict the weather. They didn’t even have skyscrapers or tall buildings. The sky itself was vast and unreachable. If God is anywhere, they thought, he must be up there among the clouds and the stars.
Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. We’ve lost most of the awe and wonder they must have felt when they stared into the heavens. I’m not sure how often we notice the sky anymore, but when they looked into the heavens above, they could hear God preaching. They could listen to the heavens declare his glory (Ps 19:2). They believed, as Psalm 19 says, day after day the heavens pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge (Ps 19:2).
I didn’t understand this when I was younger, but the older I’ve gotten, the more I realize how often God communicates to us through everyday, ordinary things. Most of the time, we don’t bother to listen. We’re too busy to slow down long enough to listen. We might stop to listen if God audibly speaks from heaven, assuming he speaks loud enough to get our attention, but the thing is, he is speaking to us. We’re just not listening.
The glory of God is like the sun (Ps 19:4). It rises from one end of the heavens and circles to the other end; nothing is hidden from its heat (Ps 19:6). It engulfs us. We are immersed in his glory. It’s all around us if only we’d take notice.
The psalmist says, “The instruction of the LORD is perfect, renewing one’s life” (Ps 19:7). It is more desirable than gold—than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey dripping from a honeycomb (Ps 19:10).
But even the psalmist, who writes these words, realizes how ignorant and blind he can be. “Cleanse me from my hidden faults,” he writes (Ps 19:12). “Moreover, keep your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule me” (Ps 19:13). Finally, he says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps 19:14).
This is a man who hasn’t always seen the truth, but here he does, and he doesn’t want to forget it. He wants to cling to it. He wants to keep the truth of God, not to mention all that that truth encompasses, in his heart and mind, meditating on it and speaking of it. He wants his entire existence to be moved and shaped by the reality of God’s glory.
I pray we want and seek the same.