The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.
I type all of my Prayer Team messages on a computer that I bought, that was built by people. I either type at home, or at the office, both of which were built by people. My computer sits on a desk, built by people. I sit on a chair built by people, wearing clothes made by people purchased at a store run by people, paid for with a credit card, administered by people. Nearby is the phone, also bought with money I have earned by working for people. I get to and from the office in a car built by people.
It is easy to see how we can put ourselves at the center of the universe, when our world only consists of man-made things, if we only look down and never look up. Just the process of the sun rising and setting is amazing. It is so dark before the dawn and slowly shades of color start to appear in faint light. The stars disappear. The horizon brightens and eventually the sun appears. We’ve all seen a beautiful sunrise. We’ve seen them depicted in pictures and paintings but nothing can do justice to the real thing. At the end of the day, the same process happens in reverse—the sun sets, the sky darkens and the stars appear, giving some light to the night. The process occurs the next day. In different seasons of the year, the days or nights are longer. On the poles of the earth, there are prolonged periods of only light or only darkness. The moon has its own cycle. And even the stars appear differently in certain seasons.
Sometimes it is hard to see the stars in brightly lit cities, which is why we need to take time to get away from the cities and appreciate the stars in all their glory. Each year when I go to camp in summer, I make sure that I take time to appreciate the stars. Staring up at them always makes me feel insignificant. They are without number. I am just one person. They have been there since Creation. I will come and go. Explorers used these same stars hundreds of years ago to navigate. The same stars will guide people thousands of years into the future.
Today’s verse is Psalm 19:1: The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. For most of us, this verse goes like this—My environment is telling of the glory of man’s achievements and my accomplishments proclaim my handiwork. In other words, we are surrounded by things that speak of human achievement, whether it is something acquired from someone else, or something done ourselves, for our own benefit. As I sit in my office, it is like my personal laboratory, which I don’t keep as clean as I should, and I am like the mad scientist scurrying around from task to task. It is very easy for God’s glory and His handiwork to get lost in here.
I have quoted James 1:17 in this unit already but it bears quoting again: Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from Above, coming down from the Father of lights. Ideally I should see my office as God’s handiwork, done through human hands with minds that God has graced with talents to build—the office, the shelves, the computers, to write the books, to put together the phone system. If every good thing has its genesis with God, then ideally I do see my office as God’s handiwork. And in the office, as I write, counsel, read, research and everything I do in here, ideally I see this also as God’s handiwork, working through me, and this gives me pause to give glory to God and to work on my own humility.
It is important to take time to admire God’s handiwork—the sunrise, the sunset, the stars—and to recognize that these things were made by HIM and Him only. No way can a human being make these wonders. We can’t just focus our gaze to manmade things. However, we do need to take time to look at the God-made things. That being said, since we are surrounded by manmade inventions, and we are constantly making our own things, it is important also to reflect the source of all the good things made by others and by ourselves is from God, and to allow His glory and His handiwork to shine in our efforts, and to be at the front of our minds as we appreciate the efforts of others.
Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth. Let the foundations be shaken, and let trembling seize the netherworld. For God the Creator has entered the physical world; He who created creation with His mighty hand is a fetus of His own creature. O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, how unsearchable His ways! (Idiomelon, 6th Hour, Royal Hours of the Nativity, Trans. by Fr. Seraphim Dedes)
Personal Reflection Point: Think of a beautiful sunrise or sunset and describe “God’s handiwork.”