Fairmeadow Community Church of The Nazarene
July 17, 2022 THIS ONE
  • Psalm 19 NIV
    For the director of music. A psalm of David. 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. 11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
    Well unless you live under a rock, don’t have the internet and don’t watch TV you’ve noticed some pictures of space that are creating quite a buzz.
    NASA has released the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope or JWST for short. It is the firstfruits of a project more than 20 years in the making. JWST is a very large telescope that has been launched into space. It all happened with great cooperation between NASA and their Canadian counterparts and it was launched on a very reliable French rocket from French Guiana around Christmastime.
    It then flew about 1million miles from earth where it now sits in a special orbit where the earth’s gravity helps and the earth helps block some of the sun’s light.
    Some of the unique features of this telescope are its wings. It looks like a giant gold sail as many panels form a large array that can gather light from deep space. It has 4 cameras or instruments if you will. These measure infrared photographs at various lengths and distances, the light spectrum represented in those photos, and a fine guidance system. All the data is brought together so very detailed photographs can be produced with accurate colors added back in.
    In one sense this telescope is a time machine. When we look up on a clear night we are looking back. We are seeing shiny objects as they appeared anywhere from a few minutes ago to thousands to millions of years ago. This telescope is powerful enough to see at least some objects from the early ages just after the moment of creation. Scientists are so thrilled they can hardly contain themselves as they finally get to study stars, galaxies, gas and dust nebulas, black holes, and so much more. Nebulas are basically giant star making factories with perfect conditions for stars to be born as others collapse.
    Here is an example of one of the photos you may have seen already. It’s a stunning rather close range photo that hints of all that is to come. You will notice the very bright lights that have this distinctive star pattern. Those are actually nearby stars close enough to give off so much light it bleeds between the panels on the telescope. So it makes this beautiful star pattern. This also helps scientist identify those stars quickly and look beyond them to see the distant galaxies. I’ll have more to say in Sunday School about his. But we are seeing things no human has likely ever seen so clearly before.
    Psalm 19:2 (NRSV)
    Psalm 19:2 NIV
    2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
    Somehow the Psalmist knew that the heavens were laying out so much before us. So much we could learn about creation and our creator.
    3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
    4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
    The whole world is looking at these images and losing their breath in the wonder of it all.
    Our creator works on a grand scale. But he also works quietly. These essential forces have been in motion for eons of time we can’t even comprehend. Even Job realized this so long ago.
    Job 9:4–10 NIV
    4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? 5 He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. 6 He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. 7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. 8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. 9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. 10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.
    Job 38:31–35 NIV
    31 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt? 32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? 33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth? 34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? 35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
    Our creator operates on a scale that is vast and incredible. Now we are able to see it even more clearly. But people have seen it and known about it from ancient times. Don’t think people were primitive and stupid back then. They saw the same things in the sky and it launched a million questions. For the wisest among them it revealed God’s presence.
    I love looking up at night. During the early days of the pandemic images came back from Mars and I wrote these words:
    These images from Mars are simply astounding. I was so intrigued last summer having such a clear view of Mars from my back yard. It was so bright and red and just seemed to point beyond the crisis we are facing on our planet. It seemed like a reason to look up every night.
    Will humans live there some day? What are the theological implications of human life extended in our galaxy?
    Questions rolling around in my mind tonight as I watch some footage.
    The wonders of creation are front and center. God has made so many wonders we have yet to behold. Across eons of time, work done by forces set in motion before we drew breath has come to fruition. Thanks, Lord. It’s a challenging but amazing time to be drawing breath.
    “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
    Psalms 19:1 NIV
    I wrote that in a note to myself...
    Observatory
    And this goes back to a summer during college. I was back home in Iowa and the university has an excellent astronomy department, so I took it as a summer class to meet a science requirement. The professor said he didn’t understand why Christians objected to the big bang theory. He said it’s very similar to the biblical account of let there be light and there was light. He had arranged for the class to go to the observatory south of town. No street lights are allowed for mile around this building. It had a couple of huge telescopes and a large flat observatory where the whole class mingled while waiting to see the telescope. The telescope was cool but my eyes feasted more on what we could see with the naked eye on the platform. I had never seen so many stars. I grew up in a town and was going to school in a large metro area. To see the night sky in all its glory was just incredible. I got a little dizzy and my neck hurt but I could not stop looking up. If I looked and held my eyes open without letting them blink more and more and more stars became visible. It was just overwhelming and beautiful and peaceful.
    Later I would remember Abram’s moment under the stars.
    Genesis 15:5–6 NIV
    5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
    This was Abram’s moment of faith and trust in God. Maybe it helped him imagine eternal life. And this passage brought my experience back to me. It helped me understand that my experiences of God in nature need to be rooted and grounded in Scripture lest I misunderstand the experience. The Psalmist understood this also. In the midst of describing the wonders of the heavens and the knowledge they pour forth, he suddenly breaks out is praise of God’s word:
    Psalm 19:7–10 NIV
    7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
    The heavens are general revelation. But the Bible is special revelation, giving us a compass to make sense of all that we see.
    So look up! See! Be amazed! See what science can learn and discover about what God has done and how he has set it all up. It is amazing and worth celebrating! An exciting time to be alive. But also look into the Scriptures. It tells us more specifically about God. True science won’t venture over into trying to tell us God doesn’t exist or tell us moral guidelines aren’t important. But we also don’t need to fear or question true science. God left these fingerprints and wonders for us to find. Even the Bible tells us so. Yet we need the moral teaching and guidance the Bible gives to take us to the next level.
    Psalm 19:11–14 NIV
    11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
    The psalmist wants to truly know the creator who made these wonders in the sky. When he sees God’s incredible works he becomes aware of how much he falls short in obedience and in wisdom and knowledge. So he humbles himself and reaches out for what only such an incredible creator could give. Salvation, life, even transformation.
    Paul writes that the heavens reveal not only God’s glory and power and beauty. But point to his holiness as well. We have an obligation to respond and repent.
    Romans 1:20 NIV
    20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
    The psalmist sees this clearly and wants his whole life even the meditation of his heart to be blameless before such a holy and amazing God.
    Verse 14 captured my heart as a teenager.
    Psalm 19:14 NRSV
    14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
    The psalmist knows its easy to fool yourself, but God sees things as they are. Let the wonders of creation take you to the deepest place in your heart possible: the place of surrender and obedience and trust. Living transformed by God’s holy love. Knowing that you are forgiven and restored and in fellowship with one so powerful is deeply reassuring.
    There is so much more to say about these images and I’ll have a bit more to say in days ahead. But Psalm 19 captures so much of what we learn from both of God’s books. The book of creation and the Bible. I have always found that reading both keeps my heart full and my life on track. I am one of those people very inspired. I have been known to sit out on the back patio with the lights off looking up. Taking long exposure photos or timelapse videos of the clouds going by. Or just thinking and praying. But even more like those days back in college when I connected what I was reading in the Word with what I was seeing with my eyes has connected deep dots within my heart and mind. The heavens declare his wonders. The law of the Lord is perfect. Renewing the soul. Please, please do try this at home...
    Shall we pray?
      • Psalm 19NIV2011

      • Psalm 19:2NIV2011

      • Job 9:4–10NIV2011

      • Job 38:31–35NIV2011

      • Genesis 15:5–6NIV2011

      • Psalm 19:7–10NIV2011

      • Psalm 19:11–14NIV2011

      • Romans 1:20NIV2011

      • Psalm 19:14NIV2011

Let us get to know you!

Please take a moment to send us your information so that we may stay connected with you. Your information is carefully managed and protected.
I am a:
Age:
How did you hear about us?