Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It’s Old Stuff

Sunday morning Pastor’s scripture took me right back to my junior choir days at Immanuel Baptist Church in Tulsa, where Mercer Shaw was our Music Director. He had us singing “The Spacious Firmament on High.” I looked it up.  In London, back in August of 1712, Joseph Addison published an essay in The Spectator - followed by a poem that was later put to music by Franz Haydn.
The Supreme Being has made the best arguments for his own existence in the formation of the heavens and the earth, and these are arguments which a man of sense cannot forbear attending to who is out of the noise and hurry of human affairs…The Psalmist has very beautiful strokes of poetry to this purpose in that exalted strain (Psalm xix). As such a bold and sublime manner of Thinking furnished out very noble Matter for an Ode, the Reader may see it wrought into the following one.

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.

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."

Yes, Pastor’s scripture was Psalm XIX – ooops, 19. But he didn’t stop at the first six verses this poem covers – he continued to talk about conversion:

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. (Psalms 19:7 KJV)

You thought that was some new-fangled idea that came up in the New Testament. Sorry about that, converting the soul is old stuff.

There are other words in the following verses that we need to heed besides law – statutes, commandment, fear judgment. Why? David answered that question, too:

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (Psalms 19:11 KJV)

The Psalm ends with a verse that should be very familiar, and would be well for us to pray – often – for the Lord’s help to achieve the right attitude toward Him:

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 all that I say and do be acceptable to the Lord, my God, my redeemer.

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