Here in Wisconsin it seems that summer has finally arrived…just in time for the July 4th weekend. The sun’s brilliance floods the earth, the skies are etched with lazy clouds, and the temperatures bring more than a little warmth to our bodies.
Periodically in Scripture we are reminded of the truth that all of creation praises its Creator, the Lord:
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech…Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-2, 4)
Let all creation rejoice before the LORD (Psalm 96:13).
Psalm 148 puts this in interesting terms, describing how two spheres of creation declare God’s praise. The first sphere is the ‘heavens’, or that which is above the earth. The angels, heavenly hosts, stars, moon, sun, and the blue depths of the skies (‘the waters above the skies’) all declare praise of God. The second sphere of praise is ‘the earth’, including sea creatures, the depths of the seas, the weather, mountains, trees, wild animals, birds, and all sorts human beings, from rulers to children.
The writer of the psalm is telling us two different things. First, the writer is saying that everything we can see, whether far or near, whether human being or not, reverberates in praise of God. By its very nature, all of creation – every facet – reflects the glory of God who has created all things for His own glory and as an overflow of His divine nature. It all exists to display – and speak of – the goodness and greatness of God, including us. That’s why Psalm 19, mentioned above, says: “Day to day pours out speech…Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (19:2,4). It is just the way that things are. We all see it when we look around, especially on a glorious day in Milwaukee like today.
Secondly, the psalmist tells us, all of creation – even non-human creation – has the opportunity to praise the Lord: “Let them praise the name of the Lord” (148:5). Even though by our very nature we reflect the glory of God, every human being has received an opportunity to declare, or not declare, the glory of God in our lives. So it is with creation, it has been invited into the chorus of praise to God day after day. Paul tells us that the created world “has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:22) because of the grip of evil and sin. But, this psalm reminds us, it is invited into praise of the Creator.
This weekend, as you likely will enjoy many wonderful days over the holiday weekend, take time to revel in God’s goodness and greatness pouring from you and all creation. At the same time, choose to accept the invitation and willfully express praise to God for all His grace and truth spoken into your life.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for His name alone is exalted;
His splendor is above the earth and the heavens. (Psalm 148:13)