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Nov 22

Sermon Follow-up: “A Picture Worth a Thousand Words”

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

In Sunday’s sermon, “A Picture Worth a Thousand Words,” Ryan unpacked the first six verses of Psalm 19 for us. As Ryan said, Psalm 19 as a whole reflects on God’s communication through both “stars and Scripture,” or, “world and Word.” In verses 1-6, David reflects on that first way that God talks: through what He has made. The opening line is a nice summary for the section: “The heavens declare the glory of God.” In other words, “everything God made declares the glory of God.”

To be sure, creation isn’t all we need. As we will find out next week, God has also spoken specially and specifically with words, and we need those words to know Him, and not because His speech in creation is deficient, but because we’re deficient to receive it as we ought.

As those who have received the Word, who have traded the glory of creation back for the glory of the Creator, we can actually glory in God more fully for a right enjoyment of what He has made. And so we should.

Two resources can help us to this end. First, Old Testament scholar, Mark Futato, has written a helpful reflection on and exposition of the significance of creation, in, Creation: A Witness to the Wonder of God.

Second, in his book, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, John Piper writes a chapter on, “How to Wield the World in the Fight for Joy.” Considering Psalm 19:1-6, Piper writes,

Clearly this poet wants us to see and to feel that when the sun pours forth speech about the glory of God, the message is that the glory of God is an overwhelmingly happy thing. Why else would he say it is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber? The point here is not merely that the bridegroom is decked out in the finest clothes and surrounded by his noble groomsmen. The point is that this is the happiest day of his life. This is the fulfillment of dreams. This is the beginning of a whole new kind of joy. That’s what the glory of God is like. That’s the message we should hear when we see the sun rise with lavish red and gold and lavender in the eastern sky. God’s glory is a happy thing—like the happiness of a bridegroom on his wedding day. (190)

The joy poured forth by the sun is the same joy emitted by every good physical thing in this world. Piper sums this up well in his conclusion: “Joy in God is not the same as joy in sex or a sizzling steak or deep ravines or powerful music. But God’s will is that all these—and every part of his good creation—declare the glory of God. All the world, and even the imperfect representations of it in human art, is a witness to the glory of God. That glory is the ultimate ground of all human gladness. Therefore, the created world is a holy weapon in the fight for joy” (206).

This chapter and Piper’s whole book is available for free from Desiring God. This book is also available on Amazon and at the Resource Center on Sundays.

As Christians, we have a high view of the goodness of the physical world, because we believe that it was made to reflect and direct us to the One who made it. And as Ryan reminded us on Sunday, where things are not right in this present order, we are reminded that the world itself is “groaning” with us for the day when Christ will make all things new (Romans 8:18-8:23; Revelation 21-22).