Getting ready to set out on several miles of hiking. 70 degrees Fahrenheit currently and partly cloudy. A slight breeze. The above picture is from a friend of mine from Sunday school class. The others on this blog are from him, too. (He gave me permission to share his pictures.) We both love unaltered pictures of creation. He traveled to Florida with his family recently and these pictures are from that trip.
In Psalm 8, David wrote, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (Ps 8:1). I have read this psalm many, many times but it is interesting how David accomplishes several things in just this one verse. First, he heralds that God is the Author of creation. He calls Him, “O LORD, our Lord” (Ps 8:1a) in his opening poetic salvo of praise. It is God’s majesty being declared in the earth by way of creation. In other words, God is not hiding. God has painted the world in explosions of poetic color to say, “I am the Artist. This spectacular creation reflects aspects of Me. Worship Me. Seek Me. Find Me.” And David rightly addresses Him as the Lord. The posture is of David’s humility and God’s exaltation. And God was going to take the humble shepherd-boy and raise him to be a king, a foreshadowing of the God-man Himself, Christ the Lord.
Second, David says in the second section of verse one, “You have set your glory above the heavens” (Ps 8:1b). In other words, God is not the creation. His glory is “above the heavens.” It’s a poetic way of saying God is transcendent. He is separate from it and more glorious than what He has made. Creation is good but is not to be worshiped. Worship is for the Creator. That is the designed order of things.
The second picture reminds me of how our days are numbered. It appears to be of the sun setting. Children, too, in the bottom right of the photo seem to know, too, that God speaks through His creation. This is not a random, accidental universe where all is material. Poetry exists because writers recognize that beauty exists. Beauty exists because God, the Beautiful One, exists, and He is calling creatures He loves to simply recognize these obvious truths and to worship Him properly. The sun is setting on our days, though.
As I depart for the creeks and hills and valleys in a few moments, the leaves on the hardwood trees here are already changing colors and falling. The floors of the forests are filled with leaves from oaks and hickories and maples. The colors range from yellow and gold to bronze, burgundy, red, violet, maroon, and more. They never get old to me. They fall, decay, replenish the soil. The deer stick their black nostrils into the leaves, scrape back leaves and limbs, and munch acorns and briers that lurk below–all in poetic design. I simply watch and recognize and record what the Author has written in His world. And it leads to praise.
Darkness falls now. Clouds roll over the sea. The winds toss the waves. The smell of salt and brine. The sounds of the night creatures begin their thrum. And I know that the canvas is not an accident, that we are beloved and created to worship the Author of the canvas, the One who said, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Gen 8:22). And I know it is again time to lace up the boots, pack the water bottles, put on the rucksack, have my camera and pencil and paper. So that I don’t forget. So that I remember why David’s poetic posture was what it was, why David wrote, and why he was so moved.