Summer of Psalms: Ministry of the Sky

BIG IDEA: Every time you see the brilliance of a sunrise, or the lavender hues of a sunset, or sneak a peak at the stars, or feel the comfort of the moon’s company, God is gushing forth speech to you. It is his ministry to his people. Are you listening?

SERIES: Summer of Psalms – In many ways, the Psalms are at the heart of Scripture, but we often disregard them. Let’s reclaim the wonder of the Psalms! Let’s reclaim this God breathed collection of 150 poems of the people of God sung aloud for thousands of years by the Hebrew people, inspiring and teaching generation after generation of Jewish children to communicate with Yahweh the one true God. Written prophets, poets, reflecting upon life with God between the Time of King David and the exile to Babylon, collected and organized for us by Spirit led scribes so that all people might have access to them, memorized and used for God’s people, including Jesus and his followers as “THE” vital connecting point for the hurting, praising, suffering, confused, joyful considerers. We must reclaim the Psalms if we want to learn to pray, to live, to connect with God.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 19

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

KEY CONSIDERATIONS

  • Outdoor Culture: We love the outdoors, but our posture towards nature is perhaps a little bit off, and we’re missing out on some of what God is trying to communicate to us.
  • Four Observations:
    • We’re called to look up: The Lord God has a ministry through the sky. That doesn’t mean that the nature found on Earth has no place, it does, but it starts with the sky. It’s no coincidence that we stand erect instead of on all fours. When was the last time you looked up in wonder at the moon or the stars?
    • “Day to day it pours out speech”: God is speaking through his creation. It’s a pouring out, a gushing forth, of unending speech. The ministry of creation is overflowing with communication from God. It’s general revelation clarified by the Word of God.
      • God has written two books:
        • The Book of Nature (v.1-6): wordless revelation.
        • The Good Book: the written revelation.
      • The Worshippers Response (v.11-13): When we respond to God’s two books, we get very personal with God, and we communicate with him on a deeper level.
    • “Declare”: The Heavens don’t just hint at the glory of God, they declare God is not silent. He is declaring his majesty through his creation, and though it may be a wordless communication, it is not quiet; it is loud. And it is endless. If we listen, we can know something of who God is.
      • He is consistent: The sun always rises and sets, the moon shines down on every inch of the Earth. Nature is trans-geographical, trans-temporal, trans-lingual, and because of this all of humanity can know that there is a God. No one can hide behind the excuse of ignorance because the very skies cry out, “There is a God!”
    • The Glory of God: They don’t just declare, “glory!” They declare the glory of We love his creation, but we rob God of his authorship. We revel in the glory of nature, but forget that it’s the glory of God we’re looking at.
  • Three postures we take towards nature:
    • Exploitive Posture: We use nature for our own glory. We exploit it to make money. We exploit it to make ourselves look good by taking pictures of ourselves with nature in the background.
    • Posture of Enchantment: We see the beauty of nature, and we’re enchanted, making it an idol. As Christians, sometimes we worship nature as if nature and God are one in the same. They’re not the same thing, so we have to be careful for that subtle distinction. The moon is beautiful, but the moon is not God. Yes, nature is filled with the Divine, but it is not the Divine. The same thing can happen with the Bible. God is the creator and author of the Bible, but the Bible is not God.
    • Revelatory Posture (the correct posture): When we see nature as a revelation to us from God and about God, then we start to see nature correctly, and we learn. God never speaks in vain, and he is speaking all of the time through the world around us. We need to learn to interpret the messages he’s giving us through nature. We’re a visual culture, so we must be great at this! But we’re not.
      • Two kinds of seeing:
        • Active seeing: you are working on what you see, searching for the meaning in what you see.
        • Passive seeing: just receiving whatever is being thrown at you without considering it. We are a generation who grew up learning the art of passive seeing through television.
      • How do we learn to actively listen to God’s communication to us through nature and through his Word?
        • Realize that we’re starting from behind: we have not been trained to actively listen.
          • History: nature has historically been a place for living and sustenance. Nature was not a place to go and visit or just beauty to be appreciated or novelty. The Israelites understood nature as provision. They saw the beauty in it, certainly, but part of that beauty was the provision of God.
          • Beauty and Need: we miss out on the beauty of provision because beauty and need have been so separated in our Western culture because we think we have everything. We think we don’t need nature because we can just go to the store or something. Which is more beautiful, the palm tree in Palm Springs or the palm tree in the middle of the desert? We need to reattach beauty and provision.
        • We cannot have one without the other:
          • If you don’t learn to see your dependency on God, you will never see the beauty he’s trying to communicate in both nature and his Word.
          • If you don’t see the desert of your life of sin, then you will never see the beauty of God’s Word. You will live in the illusion of the abundance of the material world.
          • We need God’s revelation in order to see the delusion of living in a spring in the middle of a desert. We need the spirit of God to reveal to us our sin through his Word, through nature.
        • God is speaking through the ministry of the sky, and he’s saying,
          • “I made this, and I’m here.”
          • “You need me.”
          • “I am for you. I am not against you.”
          • “I’m not going anywhere.”
          • “Enjoy me.”
          • “My ways are higher than your ways.”
          • “I am the author of life, not death.”

OUR RESPONSE:

  • Ask God to remove the veil: We’re sinful, and we need God to open our eyes to the reality of the desert of our sin and the reality of his wellspring of life.
  • Acceptable Sacrifice: Let the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart be acceptable to God.
  • Proper Praise: This is an acceptable response, and it should be seasoned with the revelation that God is the author of creation, the author of provision, the author of salvation. Our praise must also be in full recognition of our own created nature and our own fallen flesh, leading us to confession and repentance. When we do all of these things, it puts us back in alignment with God, and leaves us in awe of God, our God.
  • Prayer begins and ends with praise: Psalm 150
  • Praise him with everything you have: praise him with all that God has given you.
  • Redeem your exploitive posture to nature: next time you see something beautiful in nature, go ahead and take a picture, and put yourself in it if you want. But in the caption, tell us what God is speaking to you through nature in that moment. Hashtag it #considerproject and once a year, we’ll do a montage at the next Consider Project concert and rejoice in a year of considering well.

Want to study this topic more?
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