Last Thursday I was listening to the news on the radio on my way to work. These were the stories that I heard: ebola devastating West Africa; the beheading of journalist James Foley; the return of violence between Israel and Hamas after ceasefire and peace talks fell apart; Israeli airstrikes on a house in Gaza, killing three high-ranking leaders; the continuing saga from Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of unarmed Michael Brown by a police officer—protests, tear gas, gunshots, school closings; the death of a 21 year old football player from Kent State University; Russia sends 227 trucks into Ukraine, drawing the suspicion of an invasion.
A typical Thursday morning in our world feels like the world of Psalm 18, though I really want to talk to you about Psalm 19. But to understand the context of Psalm 19, we need to get a feel for the content of Psalm 18. Psalm 18 portrays a life and a world in conflict. There are enemies (18:3); distress (6); calamity (18); torrents of destruction (4); snares of death (4); shaking foundations (7); cries for help (6); thick darkness (9); battles (39); and prayers for deliverance (48).
We live in the world of Psalm 18. And that’s why we need Psalm 19.
You look at everything that’s going on in this world, just on your average Thursday, and you think, “God, where are you?”
“God, why are you so seemingly hidden in all of this?”
“God, what are you doing about it?”
“God, why are you silent?”
It often feels like all hell is breaking loose here: rioting, bombing, protests, disease, invasions…
And I haven’t even included personal struggles, private addictions, family strongholds, MRI’s, cancer, finances, relocation, job loss, loneliness, surgeries…
Does God have anything to say to us?
Now we’re ready for Psalm 19.
In all of the chaos and violence of this world, there is an unrelenting voice that’s fighting back. Psalm 19:1 states, “The heavens declare the glory of God. And the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” The Psalm goes on to describe how nature speaks to us about God. The apostle Paul wrote the same thing in Romans, “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, so they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20).
We will have many days in our lives when it feels like all hell is breaking loose. But every single day of our lives, all heaven is breaking loose.
I’m suggesting that God’s creation is one of the weapons we have to fight against despair. It’s not the only weapon, but it’s one of the most consistent and available.
In Psalm 19:5, the sun is portrayed as a strong man: “Like a strong man runs its course with joy.” This paints the picture of a military situation. Imagine two armies lining up for battle, when suddenly, one brave soldier breaks ranks and rushes toward the enemy. He is the strong man, running bravely out into battle. Every eye is on him. His courage takes your breath away. He is on a mission and he doesn’t hold anything back. He’s the first out to fight against the opposing force.
Creation is the strong man. Every day, it runs out bravely to the frontline of this battle against evil and suffering. Creation is the first warrior out to fight against despair.
Our lives will be filled with many Thursday mornings. But every day of the week, creation holds a protest. “The heavens declare the glory of God.”
Nature lets us know every moment that there is a King who cares for us. I urge you to take to heart the message about God that his creation is sending to you.
He is not silent.