The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork…the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:1, 7—NKJV)

There are many arguments bandied about for ceasing church attendance. I have heard everything from “I tried it and I don’t need it” to “it would be alright if the church were not filled up with hypocrites.” Apply the same logic to going to the doctor’s office for your annual checkup and it will some day be bad for your health.

When reminded that there is no better place for hypocrites to be than church, the respondent will often add something like this, “I prefer to spend time in nature and worship the God who made it. That is where I can worship.” If your thoughts tend to travel along this line, then this psalm is for you.

Psalm 19 teaches some great theological truths. God has revealed Himself in two ways, namely, by general revelation in His creation and by special revelation in the Bible. General revelation is what can be observed about God through observing His creative works. These works are imperfect in their instruction as the Bible states that the world is under a curse because of man’s sin (first seen in Adam and passed down to all mankind) and so held in bondage to the perversions and twistings of the god of the age (Satan) as revealed in Romans 8:19–22.

When you go outdoors to worship the God of creation, be aware that God never says He is “in” creation. He is not in a rock, a mountain, a stream, a breeze. Rather He transcends His creation and, of course, is everywhere at once, just not localized in some inanimate object. Do not fall prey to worshipping some majestic place or expansive view. This is not to say you cannot benefit from a study of creation looking for hints of the genius of your Creator. I believe God tells us how to approach His creation so that we may learn of Him.

A full reading of Psalm 19 puts a keen edge on the scalpel of observation so you may look with a discerning eye for the hints God has left in this universe for all men, saved and unsaved alike, to discover, and therefore to submit, to His supremacy. Isn’t it interesting that science describes the goings on in nature as “laws?” Laws imply intelligence, not just intelligence of the observer but the intelligence of the Architect. Intelligence implies personhood. Incidentally, there is a huge difference between “mother nature” in its dependent state subjected to the insulting injuries of puny mankind and the Sovereign Unseen who orchestrates the grand crescendos of the cosmos.

When you are out in natural surroundings, take note of God’s hints. The glories of the heavens revolve declaring God’s glory, and the laws of the earth evince His personal touch (verse 1). Every new day’s study pours out more of the richness of His intelligent workings and every night’s study displays more magnificence of His knowledge (verse 2). Verses 3 through 6 tell you to search for evidence of God’s majesty, wisdom, order, and power in His creation. In His creation God has arranged that you may learn in a very impressive, though a distinctly impersonal way that appeals to the fleshy nature of man.

For His personal communication, which speaks to the heart and soul, one must turn to the special revelation of God’s Word as verses 7 through 14 teach. His works in nature can do none of the things listed in those verses. The Bible converts (verse 7), imparts timeless wisdom (verse 7), dispenses joy (verse 8), gives insight (verse 8), divulges eternal truth (verse 9), holds a treasure for the soul (verse 10), does the soul good (verse 10), warns of dangers both now and in eternity (verse 11), and offers rewards that only a personal God can give (verse 11). This is all freely and directly given by being a student of the Word, not by being a devotee of the serene.

If you would be cleansed from all your sins and guard yourself from future sinning against God, then submit to the special revelation of God’s Word in all its fullness. Only then can your meditations be acceptable in the sight of God, your Strength and your Redeemer (verses 12–14). Trust and obey.