The heavens speak without a word
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. – Psalm 19:1
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.
Norman Rockwell was a very popular American painter and illustrator. Born in 1894, in New York City, Norman Rockwell always wanted to be an artist. He enrolled in art classes at the age of 14. He produced over 4000 original works during his lifetime. His illustrations and paintings were very lifelike and reflected the American culture of much of the 20th century.
For almost five decades Rockwell provided cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post magazine. They depicted everyday life. People easily identified with them. He had a 64 year-long relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. Creating paintings illustrations for their Boys’ Life magazine. Some of his more famous paintings and illustrations are Rosie the Riveter, Saying Grace, and The Scoutmaster.
Rockwell was commissioned by more than 150 corporations, including Ford Motor Company, Pan American Airlines, Kellogg’s, Budweiser, Del Monte, Sun-Maid, etc. to sell their products.
Some of his more prolific works were found in leading periodicals of the first half of the 20th century. They were illustrations of edibles. They were designed to appeal to mothers who desired quick nutritious meals for their children.
Rockwell stated, “No matter how beautiful an advertising picture may be, if it does not sell the product which it advertises, it is a failure.”
Down through the ages, great artists through their works of art told stories without uttering a word. The Father has also communicated without uttering a word through the stars painted upon His heavenly canvas. His creation shouts. It declares for all to hear the majesty and intelligent design of their Creator. It speaks of His wisdom and beauty. Its beauty and precision demonstrate His power and greatness.
The heavens speak without sound or word. They are nonverbal declarations of the Father’s existence and reveal what He is like. Their message is “heard” throughout planet Earth. It doesn’t matter what language people speak; everyone can understand wordless speech. No translator is required. The heavens are one colossal marketing campaign created to communicate with the people of planet Earth and attract them to the Father.
REFLECT & PRAY
“Go outside on some clear night and just stare up into the sky for several minutes. Soak in the grandeur and majesty and vastness of the starry host—and then think: my God made all this” (Stanley).
Father thank You that Your magnificent creation shouts without words revealing Your handiwork and beauty. Enable me to listen and hear all that it has to say.
The heavens declare and the skies proclaim. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known (Psalms 19:1-2).
The psalmist chose a very apt word to express the anthropomorphic enthusiasm of the heavens and the skies. The Hebrew word translated continue or pour forth is naba. Naba means to bubble up, to pour out, or gush forth. Naba “suggests the irrepressible bubbling up of a spring” (Kidner).
Visualize for a moment two young children with their mom. They are walking near to one another. The children are never out of their mother’s sight. Suddenly the kids see something that enthralls and captivates them. They want to share it with their mom. They run to her and say, “look, mommy, look at that!” That is what the heavens and the skies are doing for the Father. They shout to us repeatedly, enthusiastically, “look, look at what the Father has made!” The heavens and the skies are so excited about what the Father is done, they cannot keep still.
Yet in fact, the heavens and the skies are mute. Their declaration is wordless. What an oxymoronic paradox: “wordless speech.”
The spacious firmament on high
What though, in solemn Silence, all
Move round the dark terrestrial Ball?
What tho’ nor real Voice nor Sound
Amid their radiant Orbs be found?
In Reason’s Ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious Voice,
For ever singing, as they shine,
The Hand that made us is Divine.
In the ancient world, the most permanent and reliable things known to mankind were found in the signs of heaven. The movement of the sun, the moon, and the stars allowed ancient man to navigate his way through his world. Yet the most stable thing known to man at that time was constantly in flux from an earthly point of view. “The moon has its phases. Sometimes the planets and stars cannot be seen. Even the sun is sometimes eclipsed. By contrast, the Giver of light is not changeable like the gift. God’s goodness always shines on his people” (Holloway).
As magnificent as the heavens and the lights of the skies are, they are not accessible. The lights of the skies are obscured by fog, clouds, and storms. There are of no use whatsoever when they cannot be seen or “heard.” From the vantage point of earth, they seem to move. They are not stable and certain, with the lone exception of the North Star
James 1:17 All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change
Notice that the word lights is plural. A modern translation has, heavenly luminaries. It does not refer to light itself but rather the lights in the sky: the sun, the moon, and stars. The Father is the source and creator of both light and the lights. He is the “Father of lights.”
The Greek word translated as variation or changing is parallage. Parallage meaning change, variableness,or alteration. The Greek expression tropes aposkiasma is frequently translated as shifting shadow or slightest hint of change. It is literally, the dark shadow-mark created by a heavenly body such as the sun, moon, or the earth itself. The moon is eclipsed by the shadow of the earth, and the sun by the shadow of the moon.
“Unlike the ‘shifting shadows’ that are caused by the sun, moon, and stars, God ‘does not change.’ With him, there is no variation at all. The shadows cast by the sun are minimal at noon, but just before sunset, they stretch out for yards across the landscape. God is not like that. He does not change” (Burdick).
The Father Who created it all, is the one constant, the firm foundation, the rock upon which we stand, the infinite reference point. Everything changes except Him. He alone is absolutely trustworthy and dependable.
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