Wednesday night our pastor's text was Psalms 19, and the first scripture that came to my mind was:
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. [Proverbs 22:6 KJV]
Why? Well, the answer goes more than half a century back to where I was a teenager at Immanuel Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. R. Paul Green was our Music Director and he believed the teens in Junior Choir could sing the following hymn:
Joseph Addison's "The Spacious Firmament On High"
The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame
Their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's powers display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty Hand.
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.
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."
He was right. Along with the lilting music and powerful lyrics, we learned the scripture reference was Psalm 19, which begins:
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."
Reading Psalm 19 calls attention to how God's glory appears in His creation and we learn of His character in verses 7-12. His law, testimony, statutes, commandment, fear, judgment -- all are listed with their attributes. Truly they are more to be desired than fine gold!
On Wednesday night, the lyrics from the first verse came flooding back into my heart, along with the memories of learning the verses of the song and the Psalm, and I gave thanks for being in that church as a child, with the ministries that provided memorization, training that would return its investment of time as confirmation of faith.
A big thanks to Joseph Addison for the beauty of his poetry.
The 19th Psalm closes in a prayer very close to the heart of all who trust in the Lord, our God.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalms 19:14 KJV]
May mine be so.