Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, February 18, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

Day 29: Morning
Windows into God’s Heart
by David Harwood

The Scriptures connect God’s attributes to the beautiful majesty of creation. Paul elaborated upon this inspired natural theology to the Romans. He wrote:

His invisible attributes—His eternal power and His divine nature—have been clearly seen ever since the creation of the world, being understood through the things that have been made. (Romans 1:20a TLV) 

In our previous meditation we considered the beauty and transcendent nature of the sky. Consider: the whole earth is surrounded by it. The heavens, without a sound, shout about God’s lovingkindness. No matter what goes on in the earth, this intervening love surrounds and transcends all He made, each interaction, all that is righteous, and all that goes wrong.

Try this: when you see the heavens, think “window.” What has He revealed about Himself? What is on display through nature?

I encouraged you to look up. When you do, you’re not just seeing the sky. You’re seeing a window into God’s heart. We’ve considered the beauty of the sky to be a revelation of the glory of God’s lovingkindness.

What else do the heavens reveal? They unveil something similar to the pavement of God’s courts. Let’s briefly examine a few verses from Psalm 89.

The heavens praise Your wonders, Adonai —Your faithfulness, too— in the assembly of the kedoshim

For who in the skies can compare to Adonai

Who is like Adonai among the sons of gods? God is greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all around Him. (Psalm 89:6-8 TLV) 

In this psalm the phrase heavens is another way of describing the assembly of the holy ones. The actual sky is used in this psalm as a representation of multiplied myriads of angelic lovers of the Creator.

This priesthood partakes of the privilege of sharing aspects of God’s governance among nature and the nations. The heavens represent the realm of God’s holy council. When you look up, you’re seeing the loving governance of God and His delegated authorities. He is the Lord of Hosts.

Where else might we look for a revelation of God’s characteristics through creation? How about this? We are all aware of the gap between the ground and the heavens. That distance was beyond anything humans could reach. Let’s quickly reflect upon Psalm 108:4-5 and Psalm 36:5-6.

For Your love (chesed) is higher than the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, let Your glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 108:5-6 TLV) 

Once again, God’s lovingkindness is extolled. In Psalm 108 it is higher than the heavens. Humanity is called to imagine something more beautiful and transcendent than the sky. The immense area between earth and heaven represents His truth, or His reliable faithfulness. Like the sky, this space also surrounds the earth. To the spiritually enlivened imagination the gap also reveals His lovingkindness.

Your love (chesed),  Adonai, is in the heavens, Your faithfulness up to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God. Your judgments are like the great deep. You preserve man and beast, Adonai. (Psalm 36:5-6 TLV) 

The mountains… Those who have seen them in the distance, or stood at their base, marvel at their majesty. His loving integrity revealed in His relationships are high above us and His standards are immovable. From the top of a mountain one’s perspective changes. Things below seem so small, and the view is vast. God is a big-picture God. He sees the whole thing, yet nothing escapes His attention. There is where His righteous perspective is formed.

Let’s now go in the opposite direction. From way above the world to way below sea level. Imagine the ocean’s depths. That’s how deep His judgments are. His deep decrees are determined from the heights of His holy perspective. On the surface of the seas it may seem chaotic. Way beneath the chaos is the place where the waters rest. It’s called a “seabed.” That’s how deep His judgments are. You can’t get any deeper. In Psalm 36:6 His judgments are that which preserves our lives by providing an unshakeable, deep foundation for the order of creation.

Look up? There’s the sky. In the distance there are the mountains. At the seashore we can imagine the ocean floor. These things reveal the glory of God’s governance and His lovingkindness, faithfulness, righteousness and preserving judgments.

We are surrounded by revelation. Try it out. Start by looking at the sky.

What are you really seeing?

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 18-Feb-2023 27th of Sh’vat, 5783 Parashat Mishpatim Shabbat Shekalim
Ex 23:26-24:18; 30:11-16 2 Ki 12:1-16 [17] Mt 17:22-27