How creation and scripture inspire repentance

In Psalm 19 we see the beauty of creation juxtaposed with the truth of God’s law. Having experienced them both, we are meant to turn toward Him in repentance.

What is repentance? Repentance is a turning away from sin and toward God. It is the realization that our way is lacking and His is perfect. The author of Psalm 19 is saying that both creation and the law preach God in different ways and intend on leading us toward himself. Neither voice is superior yet both accomplish His purpose. 

Creation’s Voice

The first four verses show how God’s glory is declared to the earth by simply being itself:

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communication knowledge.

There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard.

Their message has gone out to the whole earth, and their words to the ends of the world.

The heavens declare the glory of God constantly, yet they do not do anything. There are no church services attended, monies given, pamphlets handed out. They are not trying to evangelize the clouds or the stars. They simply exist in the body God made them.

And for us as well! Take the burden off yourself to rush out and do. Try this today: Simply exist as God made you. He made you and me in his own image. The design of our bodies is flawless. Yes, the fallen world and sin cause unwanted and unnatural things to us physically, but underneath that, you are fearfully and wonderfully created to be loved, provided for, and covered with protection (Ps 139:14; Gen 2:7-8). Today, look in the mirror and be kind. Identify your most “unlovable” part and intentionally speak to it Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Scripture’s Voice

Now, there is a part two to this, and a potential to focus too heavily on one or the other. Remember that it wasn’t only the heavens, but also God’s Word that declares his glory. The Word, or scripture, is described using several words surrounding the concept of law.

Verses 7-9 (emphasis mine):

The instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life;

the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.

The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad;

the command of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever;

the ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous.

The bolded words above are all words meaning some sort of rule coming from without, meaning completely outside of ourselves.

Although we may pretend to, the reality is that we humans do not create the instructions, testimony, precepts, command, ordinances, or fear of the Lord. Those things exist completely separate from us. 

In general, if a medically trained doctor gives sound and accurate advice that I, a non-medically-trained person refuse to follow, does that negate the truth of that advice? No. I may twist it up in my head and tell myself I’m right, but really, I’m fooling myself.  It’s what we do when we push God out of the throne and usurp it for ourselves.

We all know the difference between right and wrong, but in sin we lie to ourselves and each other and create our own “gospel”.

Consider Romans 1:18-23 (Emphasis mine):

For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them

For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

Centuries later, the apostle Paul’s inspired writings agree with Psalm 19. God has shown his glory through creation, and people are without excuse who “suppress the truth” by denying his existence and truth. Instead, they decided to make their own truth, and with worthless thinking they declare good evil and evil good. 

But hope!

God does not leave us in our darkness. He knows how we are and has provided the way back to himself by faith in Jesus. By his mercy God gives faith to us in appropriate measure and the chance to respond.

That chance to respond is always before us in what we call repentance. When we perceive that we are not within the good boundaries of his law, our only proper response should be the abandonment of our other “gods”.

Dear friend, I encourage you to meditate on Psalm 19 today. Look around at the landscape and sky; look in the mirror at your wonderfully-crafted self, and join in on the Revelation 4:8 song that is sung continuously before the throne in Heaven:

Holy, holy, holy,

Lord God, the Almighty,

who was, who is, and who is to come. 

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