Nature's Testimony Is Incomplete

by Wayne Barber

For years I've heard many outdoorsmen say, "there is nothing like being out in the woods on Sunday morning watching the sun come up and the sounds of creation coming alive," or something like that. They say, " I don't need church, I can worship better out in nature."  Well, I've been there and done that and even though that sounds so good, and is highly enjoyable, it is a far cry from what worship is all about. 

To hear someone make that kind of statement simply tells me that the person has no clue about what worship is. 

You see, without the Word of God, there really is no pure worship. Why? Because the Word of God is the only perfect revelation of God. David understood that in Psalm 19. David was a shepherd and speaks of the marvelous creation of God as he had certainly witnessed it morning after morning, as a shepherd boy watching over his sheep on the backside of nowhere. He begins by saying in verse 1, "The heavens are telling of the glory of God." Of all the things that God created, the heavens are the most majestic. The sun, moon, and stars, and the awesome sights they make for us to see every morning and every night are telling of the glory of God.  Then he adds, "And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands."

Everyone on earth is a witness to the mighty expanse of the heavens overhead. They might not be able to witness the sea, but the "heavens" are a sight to behold by everyone. David goes on: "Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge." There is a silent sermon being preached every time the sun comes up in the morning and the moon rises at night. It is in a language all can understand without an interpreter. From one end of the world to the other, all witness the heavens as they declare the work of God's hands. "Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world." Then David says, "In them He has placed a tent for the sun." Of all the wonders of the heavens, the sun is the prince.  It's light and it's heat are felt by everyone. When it goes down in the evening it's like it is going into a tent of darkness. But, in the morning David says it is like a "bridegroom coming out of his chamber."

David is obviously captured by God's creation, especially the heavens.  You would think that he agrees with all those who think that they don't need anything but the enjoyment of being in God's creation.  But he doesn't stop there.

In verses 7-14 he shows us that the Word of God is not there just to inspire us but it is the perfect revelation of God. David is not trying to compare the Word with creation, as if they compete, but showing that God's creation serves as a backdrop for the revelation of Himself in His Word.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple," he says in verse 7. He is, of course, referring to the "Torah"—which simply means God's teaching! God's Word is perfect! If one wants to worship God, the Word must be present.

In verses 12-13 David shows how it, and it alone, brings about conviction of sin: "Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression."

The "heavens" do not convict the heart but God's Word does.  And verse 14 shows how it causes worship to spring forth from the heart as one desires to live a life surrendered to God: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer!" 

We need to be in God's creation to behold His Glory!  But we need to be with others in God's Word so that our lives can forever be changed!  Let the one enhance the other!

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church
in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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