THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD
A. The heavens declare the gospel of Jesus the Messiah. This is the true message of the sun, moon, and stars.
Psalm 19:1-4 (NIV)
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 display knowledge. 3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
Romans 10:16-18 (NIV)
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” (cf. Is. 53:1). 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message (the gospel) is heard through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear (the gospel, cf. v. 16)? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (quoting Ps. 19:4).
B. What are some of the different elements that characterize a good communicator/effective communication?
C. Some dimensions of communication:
1. content of a message – the information you want to convey
2. format of a message – how to convey it (story, lecture, writing, drama, etc)
3. emotion behind a message – passion, conviction, sincerity
4. frequency and repetition – to stress importance, memorability, urgency
5. forms and meaning – choosing forms that communicate our intended meaning
6. elaboration/elucidation – “unpacking” a message
7. intentions/motives – trust
8. goal/end/aim/desired response – a place to which you want to direct hearers
9. written communication – punctuation marks essential
10. impact (high predictability -> low impact; low predictability -> high impact)
D. God is a master communicator. Through His handiwork in the skies, every day His pours out His heart to the nations of the earth.
1 The heavens declare (format -> passion) the glory of God (content); the skies proclaim the work of his hands (they communicate God’s work/His plan). 2 Day after day (repetition and frequency -> urgency to be remembered and heeded) they pour forth speech (God not holding back His message); night after night (urgency) they display knowledge (of God – His ways, His glory, His plans, etc.). 3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. (God’s target audience – the whole earth). 4 Their voice goes out (not passive) into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent (NKJV – “tabernacle”) for the sun, 5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion (ESV, NKJV – “chamber”), like a champion (ESV, NKJV – “strong man”) rejoicing to run his course. 6 It rises at one end of the heavens (the East) and makes its circuit (the ecliptic – the perceived circular path of the sun through the stars) to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat (light drives back the darkness). 7 The law of the Lord is perfect (the Torah and the message of the stars in agreement, same message, God wanting to evoke the same response in the heart through both), reviving 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 ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. 11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults (because in the Day of the Lord they will be exposed by the light, cf. vs. 6, Ecc. 12:14, Rom. 13:12-13, 1 Cor. 4:5, Eph. 4:17ff, Heb. 4:13, etc.). 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart (concerning both the stars and the Torah) be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
E. The sun, moon, and stars function as signs that mark the set times appointed by God. In Scripture, signs are employed for the purpose of communication. In Scripture, we see God using signs of different types to communicate on a number of levels, e.g. to remind, to prophesy, to point backward, to point ahead, to inspire faith, to confirm the certainty of a message, etc. They are often used in context to a covenant.
Genesis 1:14-19 (NIV)
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons (Heb. moed= “appointed time, place, or meeting”; not the four seasons of winter, spring, summer, and winter, which began at the flood when the earth’s axis was tilted from 0degrees to 23.5degrees; cf. Gen. 8:22) and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
Psalm 104:19 (NIV)
The moon marks off the seasons (Heb. moed; appointed times; the moon doesn’t have anything to do with the four seasons, but denotes when the appointed feasts are to begin), and the sun knows when to go down.
Gen. 9:13 (NIV)
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
Genesis 17:11 (NIV)
You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.
Exodus 4:8-9 (NIV)
8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”
Exodus 13:6-10 (NIV)
6 For seven days eat bread made without yeast and on the seventh day hold a festival to the Lord. 7 Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast in it is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen anywhere within your borders. 8 On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. 10 You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time (Heb. moed) year after year.
Exodus 31:16-17 (NIV)
16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. 17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.’ ”
Joshua 4:4-7 (NIV)
4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
Acts 2:22 (NIV)
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you (as the promised Old Testament Messiah through whom God would restore all things) by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
F. The sun, moon, and stars communicate God’s faithfulness to His covenant with creation and His faithfulness to His other covenants with Israel.
Psalm 148:3-6 (NIV)
3 Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. 4 Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. 5 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. 6 He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away.
Jeremiah 33:19-21 (NIV)
19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne.
Psalm 89:35-37 (NIV)
35 Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David— 36 that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; 37 it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.”