The heavens declare the glory of God - Literally, The heavens number out the glory of the strong God. A first view of the starry heavens strikes every beholder with astonishment at the power by which they were made, and by which they are supported. To find out the wisdom and skill displayed in their contrivance requires a measure of science: but when the vast magnitude of the celestial bodies is considered, we feel increasing astonishment at these works of the strong God.
The firmament - The whole visible expanse; not only containing the celestial bodies above referred to, but also the atr, light, rains, dews, etc., etc. And when the composition of these principles is examined, and their great utility to the earth and its inhabitants properly understood, they afford matter of astonishment to the wisest mind, and of adoration and gratitude even to the most unfeeling heart.
The heavens declare the glory of God - They announce, proclaim, make known his glory. The word heavens here refers to the material heavens as they appear to the eye - the region of the sun, moon, and stars. The Hebrew word is used in the Scriptures uniformly in the plural number, though in our common translation the singular number is often used. Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:8-9, Genesis 1:14, Genesis 1:17, Genesis 1:20; Genesis 6:17; Genesis 7:11, Genesis 7:19, Genesis 7:23; et soepe. The plural, however, is often retained, but without any special reason why it should be retained in one place rather than in another. Genesis 2:1, Genesis 2:4; Deuteronomy 10:14; Ezra 9:6; Psalm 2:4; Psalm 8:1, Psalm 8:3; Psalm 18:13. The original idea may have been that there was one heaven above another - one in which the sun was placed, another in which the moon was placed, then the planets, the fixed stars, etc. Above all was supposed to be the place where God dwells. The word glory here means that which constitutes the glory or honor of God - his wisdom, power, skill, faithfulness, benevolence, as seen in the starry worlds above us, the silent, but solemn movements by day and by night. The idea is, that these convey to the mind a true impression of the greatness and majesty of God. The reference here is to these heavens as they appear to the naked eye, and as they are observed by all men. It may be added that the impression is far more solemn and grand when we take into the estimate the disclosures of the modern astronomy, and when we look at the heavens, not merely by the naked eye, but through the revelations of the telescope.
And the firmament - See the note at Daniel 12:3. The word rendered firmament - רקיע râqı̂ya‛ means properly “an expanse” - that which is spread out - and is applied to the heavens as they appear to be spread out or expanded above us. The word occurs elsewhere in the following places, and is always rendered “firmament” in our common version, Genesis 1:6, Genesis 1:7 (twice), Genesis 1:8, Genesis 1:14, Genesis 1:15, Genesis 1:17, Genesis 1:20; Psalm 150:1; Ezekiel 1:22-23, Ezekiel 1:25-26; Ezekiel 10:1; Daniel 12:3. The word “firmament” - that which is firm or fixed - is taken from the word used by the translators of the Septuagint, στερέωμα stereōma from the idea that the heavens above us are a solid concave. In the Scriptures the stars are represented as placed in that expanse, so that if it should be rolled together as a tent is rolled up, they would fall down to the earth. See the note at Isaiah 34:4. The reference in the passage before us is to the heavens as they appear to be spread out over our heads, and in which the stars are fixed.
Showeth his handywork - The heavens make known the work of his hands. The idea is that God had made those heavens by his own hands, and that the firmament, thus adorned with sun, and moon, and stars, showed the wisdom and skill with which it was done. Compare Psalm 8:3.
Inspiration is revealed in this record of Christ's work. These closing chapters of the book of Isaiah should be diligently studied; for they are full of the gospel of Christ. They reveal to us that Israel was fully instructed in regard to the coming Saviour (Manuscript 151, 1899). 4BC 1145.1
10. Our Daily Reward—Whenever He comes to us, His reward is with Him. He does not leave it in heaven, but gives it to us every day. Daily He gives us confidence and light and blessing. Daily our hearts beat in unison with His great heart of infinite love (Manuscript 116, 1902). 4BC 1145.2
12-14. Man Can Teach God Nothing—[Isaiah 40:12-14 quoted.] Men sometimes suppose that they discover new scientific truths; but they cannot teach God anything. Our God is a God of infinite knowledge (Manuscript 116, 1902). 4BC 1145.3Read in context »
The struggle that David went through, every other follower of Christ must go through. Satan has come down with great power, knowing that his time is short. The controversy is being waged in full view of the heavenly universe, and angels stand ready to lift up for God's hard pressed soldiers a standard against the enemy, and to put into their lips songs of victory and rejoicing (Manuscript 38, 1905). 3BC 1143.1
5. All Paths Are Beset With Peril—You need not be surprised if everything in the journey heavenward is not pleasant. There is no use in looking to our own defects. Looking unto Jesus, the darkness passes away, and the true light shineth. Go forth daily, expressing the prayer of David, “Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” All the paths of life are beset with peril, but we are safe if we follow where the Master leads the way, trusting the One whose voice we hear saying, “Follow Me.” “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Let your heart repose in His love. We need sanctification, soul, body, and spirit. This we must seek for (NL No. 11, p. 2). 3BC 1143.2Read in context »
In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation. It was Christ that spread the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. It was His hand that hung the worlds in space, and fashioned the flowers of the field. “His strength setteth fast the mountains.” “The sea is His, and He made it.” Psalm 65:6; 95:5. It was He that filled the earth with beauty, and the air with song. And upon all things in earth, and air, and sky, He wrote the message of the Father's love. DA 20.1
Now sin has marred God's perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds. The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud. DA 20.2
The angels of glory find their joy in giving,—giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know. DA 21.1Read in context »
God, who made the Eden home of our first parents so surpassingly lovely, has also given the noble trees, the beautiful flowers, and everything lovely in nature for our happiness. ML 175.2
Wherever we turn are traces of primal loveliness. Wherever we may turn we hear the voice of God and behold His handiwork.... ML 175.3
Nature's ten thousand voices speak His praise. In earth, and air, and sky, with their marvelous tint and color, varying in gorgeous contrast or softly blended in harmony, we behold His glory. The everlasting hills tell us of His power. The trees wave their green banners in the sunlight, and point us upward to their Creator. The flowers that gem the earth with their beauty whisper to us of Eden and fill us with longings for its unfading loveliness. The living green that carpets the brown earth tells us of God's care for the humblest of His creatures. The caves of the sea and the depths of the earth reveal His treasures. He who placed the pearls in the ocean and the amethyst and the chrysolite among the rocks is a lover of the beautiful. The sun rising in the heavens is the representative of Him who is the light and life of all that He has made. All the brightness and beauty that adorn the earth and light up the heavens speak of God. ML 175.4
Shall we, in the enjoyment of the gifts, forget the Giver? Let them rather lead us to contemplate His goodness and His love. Let all that is beautiful in our earthly home remind us of the crystal river and green fields, the waving trees and the living fountains, the shining city and the white-robed singers, of our heavenly home—that world of beauty that no artist can picture and no mortal tongue describe. ML 175.5Read in context »