It is a wonderful thing to delight in the glory of Natural Revelation, and to linger on the sweetness of Special Revelation – however, to know we have gained the intended spiritual benefit from a sermon, reading or mediation on truth, it is vital that we ask ‘Has there been something of this inward, transforming, spiritual work?’ Have I been awestruck by God’s goodness and greatness until it casts me down to dust? Have I been awakened to my sin until my heart is broken and contrite?
There are few psalms in the Psalter that muse so loudly on the Bible (not forgetting Psalm 1 and 119) – yet there are parts of this hymn which are quite hard to pin down. My aim in this blog is to set the main parts out, then apply it to our minds, that it might set our souls on fire. Various suggestions have been made for section divisions and headings – to me it makes good sense to suck out marrow with three points.
The Light of the Word in Nature – Verses 1-6
Verse 1 lays out the premise and verses 2-6 flesh out the details: David makes it plain creation is God’s ‘Pop-Up Picture Book.’ The verbs in the original signify non-stop, unceasing, on-going, continual declaration and proclaiming. This atmospheric ‘motor-mouth’ reveals the almighty Creator’s handiwork.
The heavens are declaring the glory of God and the works of his hands the firmament is proclaiming – my translation
The middle section of the verse, which I highlight in bold, centralizes the thought of that ‘the Glory of God is seen through what His hands have made’. The bookends of the verse, the start and end, complete the proposition, ‘this is what the cosmos says!’
It seems clear enough that Paul is thinking of this text when the apostle expounds his ‘general revelation thesis’ in Romans 1:19-20, and later explicitly cites and applies Psalm 19 to the Gospel in Romans 10:18.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
David then reflects further on the scope of general revelation: 24/7/365, both before and after the Flood, all mankind is splashed by words of divine knowledge, which gush forth like millions of gallons of the Falls at Niagara (85,000 cubic ft/sec or 2,400 cubic m/sec), verse 2.
Day to day pours out speech, and night to night makes-known knowledge.
Both verbs here are in the continual tense – a steady, all-season, stream of words like water floods the world.
Esperanto was invented and intended to be an international language. Today Spanish, at 420 million, is the 4th most commonly spoken language. Arabic comes 3rd at 560 million speakers. 890 million speak English, putting it in 2nd place. Mandarin, Chinese, takes top spot – at 1,030 million speakers it is the lingua franca for most people on the planet. Yet there are many, many, nations where none can understand it – that is not so, for general revelation. Every continent, nation and island can grasp the basic facts about God – their glorious Maker, good Provider and righteous Judge, to whom all will give account, as verses 3-4 make clear.