Labor Day in the United States is an opportunity to take a brief respite from work and enjoy a rare weekday off. It signals the end of the summer rush here on the Outer Banks, and when the weather cooperates with a lessening of the humidity and heat, the tangible promise of fall is nothing short of glorious. We are having that kind of weather right now, and our minds have turned to college football, fall festivals, and all things pumpkin spice-flavored. Forget about Christmas! This, right here, is the most wonderful time of the year.
Psalm 19 is the perfect reading for today. David draws us into a vibrant and lyrical praise song of all of God’s creation. He begins by directing our attention to our surroundings. He invites us to see what the heavens are doing. What does the night say? Can anything compare to the glory of the rising sun?
The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hid from its heat.
You probably have noticed that I post a lot of sunrise pictures. I have friends who have practically made it their life’s work to be up at dawn with cameras and cell phones ready. I have another friend who sends me sunset pictures almost every night from her deck overlooking the sound. We are blessed to live on an island that affords both east and west views of the sun’s activity in the sky. “Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them” perfectly describes the sun moving from rising over Atlantic Ocean to setting into the Albemarle Sound. David unknowingly captured Outer Banks living at its best.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure,
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
In addition to his affection for creation, David also loved the law. He understood that the clear and unadulterated precepts of the Lord are right, sure, perfect, and true. As a king, he appreciated the structure that the law provides for society. As an individual, he was less successful in keeping the law, and it brought him great pain.
11 Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
The challenge for us today is to spend a moment reflecting on the beauty of all these things. Take a walk if you are able and dwell in the glory of what God created for you. Search your heart and see if there is any “hidden fault” that is causing you to stumble in your walk. Where is God trying to correct or even rebuke you for departing from the law…and from him?
May we rest today, knowing that when sins are revealed and confessed, we can offer our repentance and know that we are heard, loved, and made new.
Go and make it a great day!
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Heavenly Sunrise by Michelle Robertson