“How Great Thou Art”
“Oh Lord My God when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands have made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder thy power throughout the universe displayed.”
That is what the psalmist is talking about. He said, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.” Just look at the night sky. God’s glory is revealed in the stars.
I know I have shared with you before my interest in astronomy and science. I am personally one of those people who have never felt a conflict between science and religion. I believe that science glorifies God. By studying and trying to understand the world around us we can know God. We can see God’s fingerprints on all that God created.
The psalmist said, “Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.” From the most distant quasar to the deepest trench under the ocean, all of creation glorifies God. Through creation God is speaking to us. “When through the woods and forest glades I wander and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees, When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze,” Through all these things God is speaking to us.
God is speaking, but are people listening? The psalmist recognized the root of the problem. The heavens are telling to glory of God but not in human words. The stars have no voice in the literal sense. Yet their proclamation goes out through the universe.
My friend’s daughter Mary in always asking questions. One day she asked me how do we know that God exists. I could have said a million things, but instead I held up my hand. And I told her to consider the human hand. It is perfectly engineered for the needs of humans. That doesn’t just happen! Someone designed it.
That truth and all the other questions and answers that follow from that are declared every day. Even something as ordinary and mundane as the rising and the setting of the sun glorify God. Yet there are many who don’t hear the voice of creation. They see the beauty of the earth but don’t see the beauty of the creator behind it.
God didn’t stop with declaring his truth through creation. God sent his prophets to put God’s truth in human terms. Psalm 19 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” The law that the psalm refers to here is of course the books of Moses. Through them God gives us guidance and keeps us safe.
It is understandable that some people might not know God’s will from the glory proclaimed through the creation. In fact through history many have mistaken creation for the creator. They have seen the glory of the Sun and stars and instead of glorifying God for these things they worshiped the sun and stars and moon. But there is not excuse for this mistake now. God has made it plain in the Bible. God is on the record as saying, “I am the creator and this is my creation.”
So many people are seeking answers to life’s questions. But God has provided those answers in his word. Some complain that the Bible is hard to understand. And it is sometimes, but life is hard to understand. There are no easy answers to the difficult questions of life.
God has spoken through creation and through the Bible, but God didn’t stop there. It was not enough to put His Word in human terms. God also put his word in human form. As the hymn says, “And when I think that God his son not sparing sent him to die a I scarce can take it in. That on the cross my burden gladly bearing he bled and died to take away my sin.”
Some people read the Bible and they think that God is a mean and vengeful God. They even point to natural disasters and argue that God is either insensitive to human suffering or indifferent or even mean. But you can’t look at Jesus and come away with that conclusion. In him we see the grace and love of God laid open for all to see.
He bled and died for sinners. Even though he was sinless, he chose to take our sin on himself. He even prayed for the forgiveness of those who were crucifying him. You want to know what God is like? Look at Jesus and you will have your answer.
God has spoken to us through creation revealing his glory. And through the Bible God has spoken to us in human terms to give us knowledge and guidance. And God even sent his sun to be the Word in human form to reveal his love and grace in a personal way. God has done all this for us; for me and you! What should we do in response?
We should seek to glorify God like the stars in the heavens. We should seek to follow God’s word in our lives. To know it and live it. And we should seek to know Jesus and live by his example.
Psalm 19 put it this way:
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
But I also like the way the hymn puts it:
“Then sings my soul my saviour God to thee. How great thou art How great thou art” Like the hymn, the refrain of our lives should be to glorify God and declare “How Great Thou Art!”