1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handywork.
Now glory means brightness, or splendor. And splendor simply means, great brightness.
For example, think of the slender of the sun. The brightness of sun. It is so bright, that you can not look directly at it.
And when you use the word glory, and you apply it on a person, and you talk about the glory of a person, you are talking about
the honor of a person. The praise of a person. Even the fame or the celebrity of a person.
In the olympics, during the medal ceremonies, you can have three amazing athletes standing before you on the podium. And when you look at this picture, it is easy to tell that one athlete has more glory that the other athletes.
And there are certain things we can look at, that reveals to us, or declares to us, their glory.
First, out of all the amazing athletes competing in the Olympic Games, only three athletes can receive a medal. So just the fact that they are standing on the podium, representing the top 3 athletes in their sport, declares to us a certain level of glory that these athletes have.
These athletes have proven themselves to be very talented at their sport, and have earned praise and honor from the crowd. But, even between these three amazing athletes, there is one athlete that has earned more glory than the other two.
And what declares this glory to us is this:
First, the person with the most glory is placed in the center between the two other athletes. Second, he is made to stand on a platform that is raised above the other two. And third, he is given a gold medal to be placed around his neck, instead of the bronze or silver medal.
And these three things, declare to us, that this one particular athlete in the center has more glory that the other two athletes. That this athlete has more honor, and more praise, and more respect, for his performance, over the other athletes.
And so in a similar way, our text here says,
that the heavens declare the glory of God.
The Bible tells us that God has done things in our world, in our universe, that is worthy of honor, and praise, and fame. That the very name of God, his very being, and his works, should cause us to be joyful, and to cheer, and to be proud, of who God is, and what God has done.
And the same way the gold medal declares the glory of the best athlete. The Bible says that the heavens declare the glory of God.
Take for example:
The Mars Rover currently on mars. Now this is a sophisticated robot. This is a motor vehicle that propels itself across the surface of the planet Mars. And this rover, named Curiosity, can even communicate with us back here on earth.
Now, this rover was built by world class NASA engineers.
I do not know who these engineers are, but I know that a team of engineers built them. And these unknown engineers, unknown to me, have a certain amount of glory, and honor, and respect, for their amazing accomplishment.
Even though I do not know who these engineers are, I already praise them, and compliment them, and they have my respect, for building such an amazing piece of technology.
The robot declares to us, the glory of these NASA engineers.
And in the same way, the Bible says:
The heavens declare the glory of God.
The Bible is telling us, that there must be something in the heavens, that can declare to us, the awesome power, and glory, of God.
Our text says:
1 …the firmament shows his handywork.
The firmament means:
the expanse, or the space, that is above the earth.
The Bible speaks of the firmament that is above the earth. And this is understood to be the sky, or the atmosphere.
And there is also the firmament of heaven, which is that part of space past our earth’s atmosphere.
In Genesis, Chapter 1, in the creation story, we read:
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
And so this space. With all their lights. With the greater light, or the sun, ruling the day. And the lesser light, or the moon, shining during the night. And this vast expanse of space, with all its stars, the Bible says, is the handywork of God. The Bible says that this heaven declares to us the glory of God.
Our text reads:
2 Day unto day [they utter] speech, and night unto night [they show] knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
There is no audible speech coming from the heavens. The stars are not opening their mouth, and speaking to us a message in our local language.
Yet, by their magnificence, by their presence, they are communicating to all of us.
Regardless of our language and location, they are communicating, and declaring to us, the glory and majesty of God.
For who else could create such beauty, and such complexity, and such size, but an all powerful, and intelligent God.
What you are seeing here are pictures taken from the Hubble Space Telescope. And you are looking at stars and galaxies.
Astronomers estimate that there are 100 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way. And that there are between 100 to 500 billion galaxies in the Universe.
Now, if you multiply stars by galaxies, at the low end, you get 10 billion billion stars, or 10 sextillion stars in the Universe.
That is a 1 followed by 22 zeros. At the high end, there could be 200 sextillion stars.
These are mind bogglingly huge numbers. We can’t even picture a number that big.
Some mathematicians and astronomers estimate, that there are more stars in the universe, than there are grains of sand in all the world’s beaches, deserts, and seas.
Try and picture how many pieces of sand grains there are on the earth. And then picture that there are more stars in our Universe than grains of sand. And not only that, but these stars, are huge. And they are separated by great distances.
On September 5, 1977, Nasa launched a space probe named Voyager 1 into outer space.
And Voyager 1 has become the first space craft to go past the area of space of our solar system, into interstellar space.
Voyager 1 has been traveling for 41 years, and it only recently just reached interstellar space.
It has not even reached another star yet, let alone, the farthest star in the universe.
Now can you imagine how long it would take for Voyager to reach the farthest star in our universe? It would literally take forever.
So we are starting to get a sense of how big our universe is.
And the size, and the complexity, and the magnificence, of our universe directly reflects the character of God. The God who created this universe, is very big, and very powerful, and very intelligent, and even artistic.
And the things God creates reflects His own character and abilities.
When a little kid builds a tall block structure, it reflects the current abilities, and limitations, of that kid.
When grown men, and specially selected world class engineers, work together to build the world’s tallest building, then that building reflects the best work that mankind can currently produce.
And when God creates a universe that is seemingly limitless. With an innumerable number of stars. So big, that we can not even send a space probe to another star, let alone to the farthest star.
We can safely observe that we are dealing with a very powerful God. A God, who is a master engineer and architect. Who seems to have no limits in His abilities.
We humans can not even grasp the number of stars in the universe, but the Bible says that God:
4 He determines the number of the stars; [and] he calls them all by their names.
Not only does God determine the number of stars, which we humans can not even estimate. But God calls all the stars by their names. We humans have a hard enough time remembering all the names of people we meet throughout the year. Yet God both numbers the stars, and call them by their names.
Now, we, as humans, also seem to be very impressed by size. And since the beginning of our history, we humans have had an interest in building
the tallest buildings possible. And each building, that is the tallest for its time, has glory, and praise, and respect, associated with it.
Just looking back at the last 150 years. In the U.S, we started out with the Equitable Life Building in New York.
And then in 1901, We have Philadelphia City Hall.
Then, In 1930, The Chysler Building was built.
Then a year later, in 1931, The Empire State Building was completed.
Then in 1973, The twin towers were the tallest buildings in the world.
Then the Sears tower in Chicago. And after that, other nations around the world started building even taller skyscrapers. And currently, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest building in the world, standing at 2,717 ft.
We humans are impressed when a team of engineers builds a new skyscraper that is taller that the previous tallest building. And these skyscrapers declare to us the glory of the engineers who made the building. If you were to meet the engineers, you would say, wow, that is very impressive.
And so also, do the heavens declare the glory of God, by its size.
This is the Earth where you and I live. Pretty big as it is.
Now here is our earth compared to the planet Neptune.
And here is planet Neptune compared to Saturn.
And here is Saturn, compared to Jupiter. Now Jupiter is a big planet. But compare that to the size of our sun.
But even our sun is small when compared to other stars in the solar system. Here is our sun compared to star Sirius A.
But this star is small when compared to another star named Pollux.
But for as big as this star is, look at the curve on this next star.
This star, which is in the class of Red Giant stars, is huge.
And look at the start after that.
And then we have a Blue Supergiant.
Now this is a giant star, but look at the curve at the top right. This next star:
is a Blue Hypergiant. Now you have to wonder, when does this end. How much bigger can stars get. This next star, Antares A, is a Red Supergiant.
But it is outdone, by VY Canis Majoris.
This is the largest known star.
Our earth, can not even be seen in this scale. Our own sun, would be a tiny dot. A tiny pixel. When compared to the largest known star.
And the size of these stars, the size of the universe, reflects the size and power of God.
Now, it is easy to feel very small in this great, and grand, and seemingly infinite universe. Does it even have an end?
But I believe God in his wisdom, made the universe so big, and so amazing, and so complex, all so that we can be amazed by his awesome power, and his amazing creative abilities.
If someone came to you, and they showed you a tepee.
You would think, ok, that’s nice. It is a simple structure. Some sticks and animal skin. It will protect you from the rain. And look, it’s designed in such a way where you can have a fire inside, and have the smoke go through the top.
That’s a nice feature.
But if someone showed you this:
Some of the tallest buildings in the world.
Well, now, you are a lot more impressed.
You can not even begin to imagine all the details, and features, and capabilities, inside these buildings.
You would need to go to college, and become an engineer, just so that you can begin to understand the complexity of these tall buildings.
Now all these structures are made my men. Made by humans. We as humans have the ability to make things very simple, and also, to make things very complex.
And there is something about these tall buildings, that leaves us awestruck, that leaves us, impressed.
And for these architects and engineers, there is joy for them to see the works of their hands on display for the whole world to see. There is joy for them that people come, and take pictures of their buildings, and talk about their buildings, and look at their buildings.
And so is it also the same with God.
God could have created the world in a very simple way, without complexity. He could have made our bodies to function, with only two or three moving parts. He could have created only 12 animals. He could have created a flat earth, with no stars, no galaxies, and without the vastness of space.
Now imagine this:
If God did make a simple world, would we humans not be even more tempted to say, “oh, our bodies, and our universe, evolved from nothing. That we are, simply made creatures. That it is easy for us to be accidentally made.”
We would be all the more tempted to say:
“There is no God. God didn’t create us.”.
Yet one of the strongest defenses for the existence of God that troubles many scientists: is the size, and the complexity, and the magnificence, of our universe.
You can look at this tepee, and it would be easier to deceive yourself, and to tell yourself, that this tepee came together by chance. That maybe given enough time, nature could produce this.
But when you look at these megatall skyscrapers, with all its precision design, there is no way you could convince yourself that these buildings happen to come together by chance. Instead, you are forced to assume that a creative, and thoughtful, and intelligent person, was behind the planning and construction of these megatall buildings.
And so God created for us a magnificent, and a giant, and a complex, and a beautiful universe. And God has given humans the ability to create tools, and instruments, so that we can observe, and explore, this amazing world we live in. And so our text tells us:
That these heavens declare the glory of God. That they show God’s handywork.
Yet, even with this amazing creation, we humans still find ways to convince ourselves that there is no God.
And God understands this. God, knows this.
God, being our Creator, understands that we are like sheep, ready to follow another blind sheep off of a cliff. And fall off to our own ruin.
There is an interesting account in the book of Judges, which demonstrates how well God knows his people.
In the book of Judges, God raises up a man named Gideon to defeat the enemies of Israel.
And Gideon was able to gather an army of men that numbered 32,000.
Now, 32,000 is a good size army. But the Bible tells us:
that the numbers of the enemies of Israel were as “thick as locusts” with “camels as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore”.
So Israel was at a disadvantage in numbers for this battle.
But God tells Gideon, you have too many people. Reduce the size of your army.
So Gideon reduces the size of his army to 10,000 men.
But God again tells Gideon to reduce the size of his army.
And so Gideon reduces the size of his army. And he reduces his army all the way down to 300 men.
Gideon is looking at 300 men vs tens of thousands of men. However, God assures Gideon that with these 300 men, God will defeat the enemies of Israel.
And God also told Gideon why he needed to reduce his army to 300 men. In Judges, Chapter 7, we read:
2 The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many people for Me to deliver Midian into their hands, lest Israel glorify themselves over Me, saying, ‘My own hand has delivered me.’
And so in like manner, God made his world, his universe, so big, and so complex, and so beautiful, and so magnificent, because God knew we humans would be tempted to attribute the glory of God’s creation over to something else.
And right now, many students and teachers all over the world are giving the glory of the universe, and giving the glory of creation, to the process of time and chance.
Instead of giving God the glory for his amazing creation. Many students and teachers are believing that this amazing Universe we live in, came from nothing. And so ultimately, we are giving the glory of creation, and giving it, to nothing. Because ultimately, people are believing, that nothing, created everything.
But Paul says in Romans Chapter 1:
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
“we are without excuse.”
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handywork.
And most important of all, the Bible speaks about the brightness of His glory. In other words, there are different levels of glory.
In 1 Corinthians 15:41, Paul writes:
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory.
And we see this also in sports.
The glory of these three men is different based on their placement and rank. And we ascribe the highest level of glory to the athlete who wins the gold medal.
And so in a similar way:
The Bible says, speaking of God, that Jesus Christ is the brightness of His glory.
In Hebrews, Chapter 1, verse 3, we read:
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,…
So Jesus Christ is the brightness of God’s glory. The Bible even says that Jesus is the first-born, or the first in rank, of all creation. So the same way a gold medal athlete is first in rank, Jesus Christ is also first in rank. Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory.
In John, chapter 1, the Bible says about Jesus, that:
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Again, in Colossians, chapter 1, it says of Jesus:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
All the pictures that you just saw. The stars, the sun, and the earth. Everything that is in heaven, the Bible says, that Jesus created them all.
And the Bible tells us, that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. That God’s very Spirit was in the person of Jesus Christ. And in the book of Genesis, when God spoke, it says, the heavens were created, and the earth was created.
And so also, when Jesus walked on the earth, and when Jesus spoke, the Bible says, that the blind could see, the lame could walk, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf could hear, and the dead were raised to life.
In Psalms 33, it says:
6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
9 “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.”
And along with God creating the heavens and the earth. God also created man in his own image. In the image of God, God created us.
The Bible tells us, that God created all things for his own pleasure. For his own pleasure, He created you and created me. And God wants you to have a right relationship with Him. God wants to reveal himself to you. God wants to live inside of you.
David writes in Psalms 139:
17 How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
God has so many thoughts about you, even right now. And God wants to have a personal relationship with you. He wants to live inside of you. He wants to reveal Himself to you.
But the Bible says:
We have a sin problem. And that this sin problem in our lives has caused us to be separated from having a right relationship with God. The Bible tells us, that we like Sheep, have gone astray. That we have each turned to our own way. And again the Bible tells us, that the soul who sins will die.
But Jesus says:
that He came to the earth to seek and save that which was lost. Jesus came to save you, and to save me, from the consequences of our sins.
And all you have to do to be saved, is to repent of your sins, and turn away from them. And when you turn away from your sins, you need to turn towards Jesus. You need to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. And you need to trust in Jesus alone for the salvation of your soul.
And when you do this, the Bible promises to give you the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the very Spirit of God living inside of you. Only then will you really begin to experience life as God intended.
Jesus said in John Chapter 10:
10 I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
So I encourage you today, choose life. Humble yourself before God, repent of your sins, and trust in Jesus alone. And Jesus promises, that He will give you a life that is more abundant.