Summary: There are times when God seems distant and hidden to us. The psalmist reminds us of God’s greatness and where we can experience God’s presence in our lives.
Psalm 19:1-14 “An Amazing God”
As a child, I loved to play the game, “Hide and Seek.” I would spend entire summer afternoons hiding and seeking with five or six of the kids in my neighborhood. I gave up the game when I grew older, but I now find myself increasingly occupied with this game. I hide my car keys somewhere and I spend too much time seeking them. I play the same game with my glasses, a grocery list, a file, and a host of other items.
Sometimes I’ve even found myself playing hide and seek with God. There are times when God seems so close—I feel embraced by God’s love and supported by God’s presence. At other times, it seems as if God is hiding and wherever I look I can’t find him.
The person, who wrote Psalm 19, gives us ideas where to find God, and to behold God’s power and love.
THE HEAVENS DECLARE
The psalmist writes, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”
Sunsets, starlit skies, forests, oceans and even deserts proclaim God’s presence and glory. While visiting Sedona last week with friends, we observed a sunset from the airport. High up on that mesa, we had a panoramic view of Sedona and the red mountains. As the sun set, the sky transformed from a blue to a bright yellow, then a blazing orange, a fiery red and then a cool black. The crowd around us oohed and aahed. We had caught a glimpse of God’s magnificence. I can’t prove it, but I swear that I saw at the bottom right hand corner of that sunset the writing, “Love you, God.”
All creation proclaims the greatness and wonder of God. We see God’s transcendence—that God is a bigger God than all of creation, and it takes our breath away. We see a hint of God’s love. Creation can also be harsh, unfair—the survival of the fittest, though. Creation can be ungracious, and because of this God is not totally revealed in his creation.
THE LAW IS GOOD
The psalmist turns his attention from creation to the law. God is not only found in gorgeous sunsets, but also in the do’s and don’ts of life. Like creation, the law is a demonstration of God’s love.
About twenty or thirty years ago, there was a parenting craze that stressed permissiveness. The idea was that parents should never say, “No,” to their children because it stinted their creativity and the discovery of their identity. The result was not pretty. Not only did society have a bunch of unrulely kids on our hands, but we also discovered that they didn’t feel loved. They perceived that their parents did not love them enough to give them rules and guidelines. God’s laws can be expressions of love.
God wants us to experience an abundant life and laws enable us to do this. It is better to express love in a committed relationship than to engage in promiscuous sex. Though it is harder, earning what one has is better than stealing it. Gossip kills, but praise and encouragement give life.
God’s law is good. It doesn’t justify us before God. Keeping the law does not encourage God to answer more of our prayers, or enable us to avoid many of the trials and tribulations of life. The law, however, is a good way to live—it gives life rather than takes it away.
But we fail at keeping the law and what started out to be a gift of grace and love becomes a curse. Because of this, we need something beyond the confines of this psalm. We need Jesus.
God communicates his love for us in creation and in the law, but the clearest demonstration of God’s love for us is in the person of Jesus Christ.
The law becomes an unbearable burden if we try to use it as a way to become perfect and to earn our salvation and God’s pleasure. We sin and we fall short of the laws demands and God’s expectations.
God’s love, which is given to us in the gift of Jesus, gives us the forgiveness of our sins and a new relationship with God—where we are God’s children and God is our father.
We find God in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. If we open our eyes, we can discover God in the struggles, trials and tribulations of life. He is with us. God never left us.
Where’s God? There are those times when God seems so distant, but God hasn’t moved. God hasn’t abandoned us.
We can encounter God in the wonder of creation, in our struggle to live as God’s children, and in the person of Jesus Christ, who is with us to remind us of our forgiveness, and to assure us of God’s presence through the thick and thin of life.