The Sky is Not Empty

Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain. ~ Psalm 104:2

Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain. ~ Psalm 104:2

God is in Heaven, and that’s good for us.

Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God thou art very great; thou are clothed with honour and majesty.
– Psalm 104:1

Like the Bible in Genesis 1, Psalm 104 starts with the reality of God. There is no proof, defense, explanation, or justification–God is. He revealed himself to Moses as the “I am” (Exodus 3:14). He explained himself as “I am that I am”–unlike any other. He is self-existent, uncreated, and unending.

He revealed himself to the prophet Isaiah as unlike any other (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11). The Book of Isaiah reveals a God of majesty and power. He is the one who stretched out the heavens like a curtain and measured the oceans in His hand. His judgments are fierce and His wisdom silences all. Though He thunders, He also gathers His people as little lambs and carries them in His arms. He comforts them as a mother comforts her small child. He also atones for the sins of His people through the offering of His suffering servant and He pardons and washes as white as snow.

God is revealing himself and inviting us to know Him. God is there and He is not silent.

How does God reveal himself?

He reveals himself in His creation (Psalm 19:1-6) and in His word (Psalm 19:7-11). Psalm 104:1-35 shows how the order and constancy of life and the world testify of God. All of His works reflect His glory. He reveals himself specially in His word and in His Son (Hebrews 1:1-3; John 1:1-18). Only through His Son, Jesus, can we know God savingly (Matthew 11:27).

What is revealed of God?

God reveals himself to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. He reveals that He is the creator and sustainer of the universe. He is supremely sovereign. He is supremely holy. He is supremely knowing and wise. He is supremely righteous. He is supremely just. He is supremely true. He is supremely loving.

God is God. He is self-existent. He is alone worthy of praise and worship. He is greater and higher than all His creation.

How do we get it wrong?

God is the greatest reality. He is ultimate reality. He has revealed himself but we fail when we don’t acknowledge Him or we distort His reality. The Bible identifies at least six worldviews that fail because they are wrong about God.

  1. The fool thinks there is no God (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). He makes man the highest being and survival-of-the-fittest is his ethos. The fool thinks that whatever he has the power to do, he can do. There is no fearful looking for judgment with him, because there is no one to judge.
  2. The rich, worldly man doesn’t think of God (James 4:13-17). God may be there, or He may not be there to the worldly minded. It doesn’t matter to him, because he takes no account of God in his daily life.
  3. Pharaoh thinks God has no right or authority over him (Exodus 5:2). He judges the truth of God’s claims and can receive or refuse at his own discretion. He is deluded into thinking he can mediate his own reality. He was postmodern before it was cool. The man-on-the-street way of saying it is, “That may be true or right for you, but it is not true for me.”
  4. The wicked think that God is like them or like a man (Psalm 50:16-23). God may object to their thoughts and ways, but He can do nothing but thunder in the distance. If He objected to them, He should have spoken or forever hold His peace.
  5. Nebuchadnezzar thought that God was beside him (Daniel 4:29-37). He thought he could make his own way and maybe even that God owed him prosperity. He was an early prosperity preacher who made God a means to an end in order to get a little more comfort during his vaporous appearance on earth.
  6. False professors think God is their imaginary god (Matthew 7:21-23). They live their lives using God’s name, but they have actually put God’s name on the craft of their own minds and ultimately do not know Him at all.

We don’t overstate the case to say that knowing God is a life-and-death reality. God’s existence is the greatest truth, greatest reality there is. We come now to our last question.

How is God’s existence good for us?

If God is who He says He is and who He shows himself to be, how is that good for us? Or, what are we profited by it? God’s existence is good for believers and unbelievers. Let me explain.

Good for believers

God being there for believers means that daily you have answers to the questions of life. It doesn’t mean that you know everything, but you can know some things for certain. Being a believer means that God has specially revealed himself to you and you know truth that the greatest human mind cannot find out on its own.

God’s existence means you have purpose and meaning to life. You’re not left to drift and wander aimlessly. You have no need to question why you exist or futilely pursue fulfillment.You are set to pursue His righteousness and His kingdom. You have a purpose.

You can make some sense of suffering because God is there. You don’t know how it all works together or why one thing comes to one and not another. You know suffering isn’t pointless.

You have comfort for the sorrow of death. Death is a painful separation and a reminder of frailty. In death, you do have hope, though it is washed with tears.

You have forgiveness and cleansing from sin. Apart from God there is no atonement and no covering righteousness. Though you fail everyday, the blood of Jesus Christ washes your sins white as snow.

You have help. You are not alone, though there be no human beside you. You do not have to live and do of your own strength or wisdom.

You have guidance. Life can be a confusing maze at times and our way is one of the easiest things to lose. You have sure counsel from God.

You have hope. Everyday you live a life filled with hope. You have something to live for and something to die for. You have something to look forward to that outweighs all grief and pain now.

Good for unbelievers

It might seem odd to suggest that God’s existence is good for unbelievers because that means their condemnation is sure. Many deny His existence rather than face such reality. However, if you are not a believer, I’m glad you are reading this and I assure you God’s existence is good for you.

God’s existence means there is ultimate meaning to life. If there is no God, then all is random, chaotic, and meaningless. I know you are taught that continually but no one lives their life consistently with that view. You probably show kindness to others and care deeply about social justice. You likely want to help the hurting and relieve as much suffering as you can. If life was truly random and meaningless, why would you do any of those things? God’s existence is the foundation for all good things and makes life meaningful.

God’s existence assures you of personal worth and dignity because you are created in the image of God. The questions: Who am I? Why am I here?, have answers because God exists. You are a living soul worth more than the whole world (Matthew 16:26). You are not a waste nor an accident. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made by a wise and loving creator.

God’s existence means that God himself and truth can be known. You are not left to wander in a void. You are not left to doubt and fear with no comfort or sure knowledge. God can be known because He has given you witness of himself.

God’s existence means you can have eternal life. You can live forever in a new heaven and a new earth where sin will never enter and all is true, good, and beautiful.

God is there. God is not silent. God is good for us. Look to His creation. Look to His word. Look to His Son.

Psalm 119:161

Princes have persecuted me without a cause:
but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

~ Psalm 119:161

Happy is the servant that can find blessings in the midst of trials. We are instructed, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2). David was suffering diverse temptations. Princes were his persecutors. These were men of high station and were supposed to be men of judgment and justice. However, they were persecuting David without a just cause. Where can one turn when the upholders of the law are the very violators of the law? Nevertheless, David found cause of rejoicing.

David’s trials had particular sharpness because of his persecutors. They were princes, men of high position. Yet, these were David’s peers. They gave him no respect, only reviling. “Princes also did sit and speak against me” (Psalm 119:23). Those of his own stripe, physically speaking, afflicted him. Perhaps, he sought understanding from those of similar standing. However, he found no comfort among them. Often those that are closest to us and those that we believe should understand are the ones that smite us the worst. Let some worldly unknown speak against us and we hardly pay attention, but let one that is close speak ill words and we are cut to the heart.

He suffered grievous trials being put to it without a just cause. He was walking in the right way and his enemies were multiplied. “Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:157). An honest man is ashamed when his accusers speak the truth, but when they accuse him falsely he is grieved. David had not solicited his present abuse. His enemies were malicious. Yet there is joy for David, even in the time of trial.

David found joy in the fact that his detractors were wrong. They had not anything true to say. They were reduced to make themselves liars. Jesus said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matthew 5:11). David was blessed in the false accusations of others. He had no reason to be himself ashamed. He was suffering for righteousness’ sake. “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14). “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 4:16). In the midst of cruel mocking, David had reason to glorify God.

David was also blessed because his faith was increased. Though his enemies were multiplied, he said, “Yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.” He was persecuted without reason and said, “But my heart standeth in awe of thy word.” He was resolved to hold to the Word of Life, regardless of his enemies. They may delight themselves in worldly endeavors, “but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.” He had looked into the face of afflictions and could say like Paul, “But none of these things move me” (Acts 20:24). He would not allow himself to be drawn off course by these distractions.

David found greater satisfaction in the meditation of the Word than in the strife of the world. Many are sidetracked by debates and arguments. Some lose their way through needless self-defense, becoming obsessed with turning everyone’s opinion. The scriptures prophesied of Christ, “He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.” (Matthew 12:19). He did not occupy His time with politics, trying to make everyone like Him and agree with Him. The blessed man of God finds “his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). His friends may speak vain things and engage in unprofitable debates, but he declares of God’s Word, “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors” (Psalm 119:24). David had joy because he believed, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Lastly, David said, “But my heart standeth in awe of thy word.” He had a very high opinion of God’s book. He delighted in its precepts and feared its judgments. The opinions of worldly-wise men did not shake his faith in the right statutes and pure commandments of God. The Bible has many detractors and opponents today. Some, having become wise in the eyes of men, lead others astray through their criticisms of the Scriptures. Others pervert the Scriptures to conform to their determined doctrinal bent. The man of God approaches His Holy Word with awe. He prays, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalm 119:18). Let us remain in awe of God’s Word and hold to His unchanging testimony.

Paying Attention

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed. . .” (He 2:1). Essentially, the writer tells us we ought to pay careful attention. If there is one thing that seems near impossible in our day, it is paying careful attention. Our attention spans grow ever shorter in the hastening technological media-fest that is the day we live in. We do not have time to do anything, always buzzing about.

Pastors are often asked deep, complex questions that have major life implications only to find the questioner wants a complete answer in 60 seconds or less. Are our souls worth only 60 seconds of our time, while the rest is spent on the body—eating, drinking, recreation, etc. Able men may have searched the Scriptures for years and written volumes covering the question, but today we want the Reader’s Digest version because we do not have time for the heavy thinking required.

In an interesting irony of our day, folks who can hardly sit through a 30-minute sermon can sit motionless for 2 or 3 hours and watch the latest movie. Children who cannot make it through a service can sit with rapt attention watching a computer or video screen for hours.

Are we paying attention? Are we giving careful consideration to matters of eternal consequence? Or, are we hypnotized by the techno-media world with little time for God’s Word? “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (He 2:1).

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