Scripture Reading: Psalm 19: 1-6: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.
I have been working in my yard a lot this week and it reminded me of my grandfather, Paul, who was always out working in his yard or in his garden. Paul lived in Banks County about a mile from where I grew up. I vividly remember Paul and the beautiful flowers that he grew and the impressive garden that he had every year. Paul loved the earth, the soil and the beautiful plants and vegetation that it produced. He believed it to be a blessing from God, a gift spoken from God. Paul also believed that it was our duty to take good care of the earth and to also share in its abundance, as he often did with everyone in the community from his garden.
Paul was a “character,” he had a witty sense of humor and he was a very friendly man. I remember him sitting in his usual pew on the left side of Harmony Baptist Church beside one of the windows. Paul always arrived about thirty minutes early to church, driving his powder blue Ford Fairlane. Many times Paul would be sitting under a shade tree at the edge of the parking lot where it was cooler. That was his time to sit outside and have a conversation with God before the service began. Paul, I believe, felt closer to God when he was outside.
When Paul passed away, the preacher at his funeral told the story of a time when he went to visit Paul and saw him down in the garden. The preacher said that he heard Paul talking but he didn’t see anyone else around. As he approached Paul, he saw him holding up a big, fine potato in one hand and he realized that Paul was talking to the other potatoes that were still in the ground. He was holding up this big, healthy looking potato and saying to the other ones, “now boys, this is what you all are supposed to look like.”
This psalm was written as a hymn that praised the majestic “glory of God” as displayed in the heavens, especially in the brilliant summer sun as it moves across a cloudless sky from east to west. [i]
How often do we take the time to stop and look at the beauty of God’s creation that is all around us? Whether we are gazing at the big, white, fluffy clouds that have been so beautiful this week, or the clear skies that have made the bright stars look magnificent these past few nights, we should be in awe of this beautiful earth that God has created. And we should also give thanks to God for all that we have been so richly blessed with.
[i] Zondervan NIV Study Bible, 2002 Edition