"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands" Psalm 19:1. As a mathematician I am continuously amazed at our universe which for centuries has continued to operate with precision on a perfect schedule. Because of the order in which it moves it is possible to accurately predict where stars and planets will be at any time in the future. Low and high tides can be perfectly predicted. Incredible! The moon moves around the earth every 27.3 days, The moon orbits quite fast, 0.5 degrees per hour in the sky. In 24 hours it moves 13 degrees. The average distance between earth and the sun is 149.60 million km (92.96 million mi), and one complete orbit takes 365.256 days during which time earth has traveled 940 million km (584 million mi). There are about 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe! The number of stars in a galaxy varies, but assuming an average of 100 billion stars per galaxy means that there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's 1 billion trillion) stars in the observable universe! It is hard to even comprehend the size of the universe and how it moves. But this we know - all of this spacious firmament was created and controlled by a God who also loves us and cares for us. And that, too, is incredible. A hymn which points out the need to be conscious of God as the one whose glory is declared by the heavens and the earth which He created is "The Spacious Firmament on High." The text was written by Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719). This great hymn, based on Ps. 19:1-6, appeared in The Spectator, a weekly paper edited by the author. It was appended to an article he wrote called "An Essay on the Proper Means of Strengthening and Confirming Faith in the Mind of Man." There, he said, "Faith and devotion naturally grow in the mind of every reasonable man, who sees the impression of divine power and wisdom in every object on which he casts his eye. The Supreme Being has made the best arguments for His own existence in the formation of the heavens and the earth. Appropriately, the tune used for the hymn, called Creation, is adapted from "The Heavens Are Telling," a chorus in the 1798 oratorio The Creation, by Franz Josef Haydn (1732 - 1809). In Addison's hymn stanza 1 describes the day time sky. Stanza 2 describes the night time sky and stanza 3 describes the silence of the celestial objects. Let's make it a point this week to view and consider the spacious firmament created by our Father. Then bow in worship and adoration to the Great Creator who also loved us enough to provide a way in which we can come into His presence. May we never lose the awe of this truth.
1. The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame
Their great Original proclaim.
Th'unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his creator's powers display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an almighty hand.
2. Soon as the evening shades prevail
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
While all the stars that round her burn
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.
3. What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid the radiant orbs be found?
In reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine,
The hand that made us is divine.
Listen to it here FIRMAMENT
Here you can also see and hear one of my favorite musicians, George Beverly Shea, sing this hymn. SHEA