Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, February 11, 2023
Day 29: Evening
That Which Displays the Glory of the Lord
by David Harwood
We’re surrounded with revelation. His creation provides windows into how we are to view the Creator. Look up and consider the heavens. Rather, look through what we see and consider what we can perceive about our God. Or, perhaps, we can listen to what we can only see. After all, it is written that the skies speak.
Father, what can I see through creation that will stir my heart to love You more?
Psalm 19:1-4 is a good place to begin to renew our minds as we consider creation.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky shows His handiwork.
The heavens speak of His glory. They declare the work of His hands.
Day to day they speak, night to night they reveal knowledge.
The heavens constantly communicate. They reveal knowledge.
There is no speech, no words, where their voice goes unheard. Their voice has gone out to all the earth and their words to the end of the world (Psalm 19:2-5a TLV)
This is something the entire world sees—or, as David wrote, hears.
What do childlike faith–filled people see when they look up? They see beauty and awe-provoking splendor. We need to be reminded that God is revealing Himself through the heavens. Psalm 19 says the sky specifically reveals His glory because of the awesome nature of the work of His hands.
The heavens are like old silent moving pictures with the script written at the bottom of the screen. Note what comes later in Psalm 19. It’s the script. It’s the interpretation of what is displayed. Here’s what we’re supposed to understand the heavens are saying.
The Torah of Adonai is perfect, restoring the soul. The testimony of Adonai is trustworthy, making the simple wise. The precepts of Adonai are right, giving joy to the heart. The mitzvot of Adonai are pure, giving light to the eyes. The fear of Adonai is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of Adonai are true and altogether righteous. They are more desirable than gold, yes, more than much pure gold They are sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:7-10 TLV)
The splendor of sky, clouds, sunrise and sunset, sun, moon, and stars are advertisements of the Creator’s excellencies. Like the heavens’ perfection, so is His Law. The expanse is a majestic metaphor of the holy heart of God more perfectly revealed to His people in His precepts. The loveliness revealed as we look up is intended to attract us to the purity and enduring nature of the fear of the LORD. The delight we take in beholding that which is above is a hint to the sweetness we can experience as we embrace obedience to His righteous ways. In fact, that experience provides a similar revelation to those who observe the ones who are guided by His statutes.
Psalm 19 is not the only place where it says that the heavens are windows of revelation. Where else is it written that the heavens communicate the beauty of His righteousness? Here are a few examples.
The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples have seen His glory. (Psalm 97:6 TLV)
The heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge. Selah. (Psalm 50:6 TLV)
For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to high heaven, You have done great things — O God, who is like You? (Psalm 71:19 TLV)
The heavens are a hint of His vantage point. The righteous One, revealed in splendor, looks down upon us.
Truth will spring up from the earth, and justice will look down from heaven. (Psalm 85:12 TLV)
His righteousness is not mere rigorous ethical purity. It is affectionate, generous, and revealed in loving intervention (chesed). Lovingkindness (chesed) is closely connected to righteousness. David prayed:
Continue Your lovingkindness (chesed) to those who know You, and Your justice to the upright in heart. (Psalm 36:11 TLV)
This lovingkindness is connected to God’s reliability and is visually displayed above.
Your love (chesed), Adonai, is in the heavens, Your faithfulness up to the skies. (Psalm 36:5 TLV)
For Your loyal love (chesed) extends beyond the sky, and your faithfulness reaches the clouds. (Psalm 57:10 NET)
For I said, “Let your lovingkindness (chesed) be built up forever! The heavens—let Your faithfulness be made firm there (Psalm 89:2 TLV)
May your view of the heavens whet your appetite to know God’s righteousness more. May the awe inspired by the skies increase your confidence in His faithful love. May what you see strengthen your love for the Creator.
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Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 11-Feb-2023 20th of Sh’vat, 5783 Parashat Yitro
Ex 20:18-26(15-23) Isa 6:1-7:6; 9:6-7(5-6) Matt 5:13-20