What Do They Say? (Psalm 19:2)

Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge. –Psalm 19:2

Although it was before my time, I’ve heard that radio enthusiasts in 1957 could tune their sets to listen in on a mostly meaningless signal from the earth’s first manmade satellite, Sputnik-1. Those unearthly beepings continued for 22 days until the satellite’s radio battery exhausted itself. A couple of months later, Sputnik itself burned up as it re-entered earth’s atmosphere.

Yesterday, I pointed out the continuous nature of the heavens’ declaration of God’s glory. Today, I’d like to consider the nature of that declaration. Think back to the last time you stood outside at night gazing up into the stars. If you listened closely, you might have heard–well, nothing. You might have heard the neighbor’s dog barking or a diesel horn in the distance, but you did not hear the stars.

Yet the Psalm suggests that the heavens speak in a way far more meaningful than the beeps issued from Sputnik. They “pour forth speech” and “reveal knowledge.” For the secular scientist, this verse stands as an inadvertent truth. They would argue that the vast amount of data available from the heavens, properly observed, recorded, and interpreted, can tell us remarkable things. That 13.75 billion year age for the universe came from such data. The confirmation of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity came from the same source.

Years ago, I sat in a hotel in Oxford, England talking with a couple of American scientists working on a space telescope. Their project wound up orbiting earth as the Hubble Space Telescope, a remarkable tool for collecting the knowledge pouring forth from the heavens. Somehow, though, I don’t believe this is the sort of knowledge the Psalmist had in mind.

Instead, the sound  I hear as I walk out into the darkness and look up at the stars is the sound of God’s praise. As the astronomers push back the edges of the universe, exposing it to be larger and more populated than we ever imagined, they do not draw attention to the greatness of Man-Discovering. They draw attention to the greatness of God-Creating. As atomic particles proliferate, growing ever smaller and smaller, they too sing out the glory of the God who could put all things into existence and hold them together by His powerful Word.

Go outside tonight. Look up into the darkness and listen. If you pay attention, you can hear the heavens pouring forth knowledge–knowledge of God.

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