Psalm 19 is the go-to passage for the witness of the heavens to the glory of God. But, in fact, it is only one of a number of scriptures that explore what the starry skies reveal about the nature, will and purpose of God.
Gen 1:2 famously says that ‘in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ In fact, the first two chapters of Genesis witness of the creative power of God in creating the cosmos and everything in it.
Psa 8:3 contemplates ‘the heavens, which your fingers made, and see the moon and the stars, which you set in place.’
Psa 113:4 declare that ‘the LORD is exalted over all the nations; his splendor reaches beyond the sky.’
Again, Psa 148:13 praises the Lord, whose ‘majesty extends over the earth and sky.’
The last five psalms reach their crescendo with an appeal for all creation to praise its Maker, including ‘the sky, which testifies to his strength!’ (Psa 150:1).
In Gen 49:24f Jacob invokes the sovereign God ‘who will bless you with blessings from the sky above.’
According to Deut 11:16f it is a great blessing for ‘the LORD [to] open for you his good treasure house, the heavens, to give you rain for the land in its season and to bless all you do.’
Our Lord himself witnesses to the goodness of God, who ’causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.’
The rain which pours down from heaven can be a judgement, as well as a blessing (Gen 7:11f).
At Sodom and Gomorrah ‘the LORD rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the LORD’ (Gen 19:24).
In Deut 11:17 the Lord in his anger is able to ‘close up the sky so that it does not rain.’
The foolish imagine that ‘Thick clouds are a veil for him, so he does not see us, as he goes back and forth in the vault of heaven’ (Job 22:14). But, in truth, ‘the LORD watches from heaven; he sees all people’ (Psa 33:13).
Of David, God promises: ‘I will give him an eternal dynasty, and make his throne as enduring as the skies above’ (Psa 89:29)
Psa 119:89 ‘O LORD, your instructions endure; they stand secure in heaven.’
In Psa 8:3 the psalmist looks up at ‘the heavens, which your fingers made,’ and sees ‘the moon and the stars, which you set in place.’ The heavenly bodies are not deities themselves, but rather the work of God’s ‘fingers’.
When Psa 19:1 asserts that ‘the heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork’, there is a clear indication that God is separate from the heavenly bodies. They are not divine beings themselves, but rather witness to the handiwork of their sovereign Creator.
Enduring though they are, the heavens are unstable, compared with the stability of their Creator.
Isa 51:6 ‘Look up at the sky! Look at the earth below! For the sky will dissipate like smoke, and the earth will wear out like clothes; its residents will die like gnats. But the deliverance I give is permanent; the vindication I provide will not disappear.’
2 Pet 3:12f compares the instability of the present cosmos with the permanence of the new cosmos: ‘the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze! But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides.’
The heavens, then, testify by their own impermanence to the eternality of the God who made them and continues to exist forever. As a result, those who fear Yahweh and trust in him need not fear “though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Ps. 46:2–3).
Those who trust in God need not fear ‘when the earth shakes, and the mountains tumble into the depths of the sea, 46:3 when its waves crash and foam, and the mountains shake before the surging sea’ (Psa 46:2).
(Based on Wilson, NIV Application Commentary, Psalms, Vol 1, p373-376)