Revelation in the Sky – Martin Haywood

Revelation in the Sky – Martin Haywood

The ancient Book of Psalms affirms God’s self-
disclosure to the entire human race (Psalm 19:1-4a).
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 reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

The canvas of this disclosure is the night sky with the
vastness of the starry heavens above us. Living in the
‘civilised’ world with its endemic light pollution we
may choose to ignore this. Yet our telescopes show
further amazing detail. The ancients were acute
observers of the night sky and observed the regular
cycle of the constellations, denoted as “the laws or
decrees of the heavens” in the books of Job and
Jeremiah. This was not a ‘one off’, but a continuous
daily proclamation of God’s existence and glory.
Moreover, all understanding we finite earthlings have
of the world about us comes from God giving us the
ability to appreciate it. We recognise the passing of
time and the brevity of human life. Modern science
has now returned to something like the Christian
understanding that the present universe had a
beginning with a gradual development and a certain
and ultimate end. We can now quantify the
enormous lengths of time and scales of energy
observed or inferred from observations. These broad
dimensions of scale speak volumes of the greatness
of God as Creator.

Another dimension of God’s ‘general’ revelation to
humankind is our inbuilt sense of God – as real as our
self-awareness – though we may suppress this
witness, as the apostle Paul declared in the opening
chapters of Romans.

But wonderful as such ‘general’ revelation is, it is
insufficient (being wordless) as a way of communicating
God’s ‘special’ or saving revelation – the message of
Jesus Christ as Saviour of the world. For that, a clearer
and more explicit verbal revelation was both
necessary and provided, culminating in the New
Testament, as the apostle John declared (John 1.1-5; 1
John 1.1-4).

The author of Psalm 19 also went on to rejoice in the
verbal ‘special’ revelation from God that was available
in his day – the written “Law of the Lord” that gives joy
to the heart and light to the eyes (v8). These words
are more precious than gold; they bring great
satisfaction, more than fresh honey and guard the
recipient (v10,11). God is not silent and distant but has
provided for his people instruction and guidance for
a wise, joyful, steadfast community life leading to
great blessing!