Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Heavens Declare

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Psalm 19:1

My kids and I got to see something very cool this morning on the way to the bus stop. It was several shooting stars, one of which was very bright. I’ve never seen a shooting star before today, and we all stood there in amazement, shouting, “That is SO cool!” as we watched the sky this morning before the sun came up. One of the few things that makes walking to the bus stop not so bad in the dark morning hour is how bright the stars are here. We live in a place where you can actually see lots of stars, and I love it.

Turns out, as a friend let me know, what we were seeing was the Geminid meteor shower, which is supposed to peak tonight. I’m thinking I’d like to try to see it. 

Anyway, walking home from the bus stop, scanning the starry sky, I got to pondering about creation and how beautiful and somewhat terrifying it is. When I was in college, I took an astronomy class for one of my science credits, along with the required lab class. During lab, we had several nighttime exercises when we were required to trek out to the dark part of campus where the telescopes were, and we had to find certain things and view them. I still get eery chills remembering how I felt looking at Saturn through the telescope and seeing its rings. It’s one thing to look at a picture, but to look through the telescope and know that you’re actually looking at the real thing hanging way out there in the silence of space is somehow overwhelming and just a bit frightening to me. I think I felt that way because space, the universe, is just so vast and mysterious and huge and OUT THERE, and when I get to thinking about how huge it all is, it is almost more than I can comprehend and I don’t know the word for the kind of uncomfortably awestruck feeling it gives me. Then I start pondering God and the fact that He spoke all of that into existence from nothing. How vast, how measureless, how awesome must our God truly be. 

And when you ponder that for a bit, and then you start thinking about His eternality, that He has always been with no beginning or end, if that doesn’t start making your mind spin and make you feel a sense of awe like you’ve never known, then think about this: That God, who is so immense and awesome and, let’s face it, terrifying, had the compassion to send His Son, to put on human flesh and walk among us, and to rescue us from our helpless state of sin and rescue us from our terror and enable us to love and worship Him. 

He knows our frame, and He remembers that we are dust. 

He is God With Us - Immanuel - and the angels spoke of His glory to the shepherds in the fields on the night when Jesus was born as Immanuel, Redeemer, the God who saves men from their sin. And then He grew, He lived as fully God and fully man, no sin, perfectly in submission to the will of the Father, perfectly fulfilling the Law of righteousness that every single one of us has broken in a vast number of ways, and He preached the good news of the Kingdom that He had come to seek and to save that which was lost. 

And when His creation, His people to whom He came but who knew Him not, crucified Him, Jesus, the glorious, perfect Lamb of God, He cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!” Have you ever pondered the riches and immensity of that? The One who holds all things together, through whom and for whom all things were created, and He hung on a cross, put there by the very people  whose breath depends upon Him, and He cried out, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Deep, and rich, and amazing grace, almost more than I can comprehend. (Read Colossians 1:15-23!!!)

He knows our frame, and He remembers that we are dust. 

His immense love, mercy, and grace are amazing. He died, taking the wrath and shame that are rightfully ours, we wandering sheep who every one has gone its own way and been the enemy of God, and He purchased redemption for those who would place their trust in Him alone.  He rose again, the veil of the temple having been torn in two from top to bottom, His sacrifice the final and perfect and only effective sacrifice for sin, and He is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for those who belong to Him in repentant, trusting faith.

And we know all of this because, not only did He give us the heavens, which declare His glory, testifying in terrible beauty to the evidence of an all-powerful Creator, but even more, He gave us His Word. Jesus is the Word made flesh, and in His mercy and grace, He gave us the Scripture so that we could know Him, love Him, repent before Him and worship Him, because that truly is what is best for us. 

He knows our frame, and He remembers that we are dust.

Why would we neglect to read and ponder and search the scriptures which make us wise unto salvation? He is not silent, and He speaks to us through His word. The heavens declare His glory, and His word reveals His story to us, His will for us, and His love for us. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

What an awesome God. How deep, how vast, how measureless are the depths of His love toward His people. How deep and vast and measureless is the gospel when we begin to peer into its glorious depths. 

How thankful I am for the chance glimpse of a meteor shower this morning, which turned my attention to the glory of the One who created that meteor shower and who is giving me life everlasting through His Son. 

You can see information about the meteor shower at this link.

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