PSALM 19: HIDDEN MESSAGES IN THE COSMOS
While scientists are searching for any sound at all from any remote corner of the universe that could give us a clue at all that we aren’t alone, an ex-shepherd boy who became king of one of the smallest nations on earth cracked the code. 3,500 years ago, it was already clear that this universe doesn’t just have hidden messages, it’s shouting information to us from the cosmos. Although today’s Psalm is a spiritual song or poem set to music, it would have been originally created to pass on information and it’s broken up into three parts:
- what the created order is saying about the Creator;
- what the Creator has said about Himself and therefore what’s said about us as living images of Him (humans are mortal-finite image-bearers of the Living God); and
- what the Psalmist (the guy writing the song) says about the Creator.
So, beginning first with the first six verses in this song, what can we know about the One who Made us by looking at what He has made? Well, if an artist, musician or sculptor can be known by their creations, as each product reflects the ability and perspective of its personal source, we can actually know our Maker, the Creator God, by His creation. King David shows how the heavens declare God’s glory day after day[v1-2], even to the ends of the earth. [v3-4] This is what we call God’s “General Revelation” about Himself. If you add this to the Creator’s speech about Himself in the Book of Job (click on my Breadcrumbs 2-3 days ago), we can be sure that “…since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen” and we can understand our Maker from what has been made, “so that all people everywhere are without excuse.”[a]
As expected, King David of Israel sings about the glory of God and the works of His hands. But what is completely unexpected in the ancient world, where an over-emphasis on the sun and stars would have opened the door to sun and star worship – a thing that Father God’s people were rescue away from in Ancient Egypt – the lyrics in this Psalm (song) swiftly turn to the sun [v4b-v6] and not a lot of description is given to Father God Himself.
Very early on, Father God is weaving Himself into His own storyline in HIStory, even now in these prophetic songs. Using the analogy of the sun for example, there will come a day when HisSon will come from His ‘tent’ (His dwelling place in the heavens) radiant like a bridegroom rejoicing as a strong man to run His course, and He will shine (reveal – speak of – demonstrate) Father God’s Glory and the works of His Hand from one end of the earth to the other. Nothing will be hidden from the effect of His radiance. That so, then this here is another gemstone woven into the fabric of HIStory that should be pocketed away in your thoughts for later. When other things in my Daily Breadcrumbs are unfolding between now and the end of this year, you’ll remember this fleeting image that have been flashed up onto the stage screens during this song, ready for explaining later.[b]
But if you are still confused about which god is the Supreme God or God Most High, the second thing our Father God gave to us was His “Specific Revelation” in His Word. So then, using as much creativity as he can muster, King David sings about this. [v7-v13] If yesterday’s Psalm brought up the topic of sitting, walking and standing in the way of the wicked, then today’s Psalm shows us a three-part progression towards our Maker: we can know what He’s like through His creation; we can know how to follow our Father God through His Guide; and we can be informed and warned by His specific revelation, His Handboook for LIFE. [v7:11]
However, this isn’t so much a rule book as it is a manufacturer’s handbook for operation. If we are made in the image of our Father God, then He knows how the ‘machine of me’ works best, to function correctly, and last into Eternity just as I was originally designed to. And here we’re introduced to something more: In keeping to the instructions in our Maker’s Handbook, there is actually great reward. [v11] Through my Maker’s Handbook, my soul will be restored and, if ‘simple’, I’ll be made wise. [v7] I’ll be given a rejoicing heart and enlightened eyes. [v8] And then through following the manufacturer’s guidelines, I’ll be acquitted of hidden faults [v12] and will be declared blameless. [v13]
Even with all this, there’s still one more thing that stood out for me today. Just like Job, who featured in my Breadcrumbs a couple of days ago, who said: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will take His stand on the earth…”[c], King David now calls Father God his rock and his “redeemer”. [v14] Outside of Job, this is the first time in this epic play that the Creator God is called someone’s personal “redeemer”. This word redeemer was used centuries earlier for a kinsman-redeemer or guardian-redeemer – for example in the days of the Book of Judges or in the Book of Ruth. It’s about someone who wasn’t part of the family being brought into full status within the family through an exchange agreement – just as the Creator God did for the entire people group of Israelites when He brought out their entire population out of Ancient Egypt.[d]
So then, the Creator God hasn’t stopped at hidden messages in the cosmos and an artistic impression of Himself. We can know the Creator God through His general revelation in creation, and through His specific revelation to us through His Word. But there is now a third way of knowing how to become one of those people from yesterday’s Breadcrumb – a group who are called “righteous”, and who are described like being a tree planted by streams of water, yielding fruit in season with the Lord watching over your way.[e]
Through His creation, through His Word, and through His careful planning while showing Himself to be our Rock and Redeemer, our Maker, the One who made you in His own image to live in His likeness.[f] The idea of Him being our rock and our redeemer isn’t just a nice way of ending this ancient song from 3+ millenniums ago. [v14] HIStory has shown how Father God paid a heavy price in full in order to redeem our lives. So what’s that mean? Well, at the time when this song was composed, sheep could be redeemed. It was the difference between being bought for slaughter or bought to be kept in the flock. A slave being redeemed or bought for a price to be set free – usually to be a son – was said to be redeemed.
But what has this to do with you today?
As you progress with me on through these Breadcrumbs in the coming weeks, you’ll see how your Father God’s epic storyline picks up on the word redeemer as a name for Himself. First we take comfort in the songs through the Psalms just as Moses said we could when this story and this ancient journey of discovery first begun. This word becomes a time-transcendent cross-generational promise that is used 13 times through the Book of Isaiah coming up next month. [g] But for now I can leave you with this thought as you leave this day: “In Him (the God of the Universe who flung stars into space and left hidden messages in the cosmos, yet revealed His plan clearly to us all) we now have redemption and forgiveness of wrong-doing, according to the riches (and power) of His grace.”[h]
CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”
[a] Romans 1:20
[b] Isaiah 62:5; Matthew 25:6; Matthew 24:27; Revelation 19:11
[c] Job 19:25
[d] Exodus 15:13
[e] Psalm 1:3,6
[f] Genesis 1:26-28
[g] Isaiah 41:14; 43:14; 44:6&24; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7&26; 54:5&8; 59:20; 60:16 and 63:16 (See also Jeremiah 50:34)
[h] Ephesians 1:7