THE SPACIOUS FIRMAMENT
Joseph Addison, 1672–1719
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. (Psalm 19:1)
The month of May is generally regarded as the most beautiful month of the year. March winds and April showers have done their work, and now the earth is attired in all of its God-given beauty. Of all people, Christians should be the most appreciative of God’s created world. Although we may never be able to understand fully and explain adequately all of the scientific details about creation, we can say with certainty, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth” (Apostles’ Creed); and with the writer of Hebrews, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command” (Hebrews 11:3). The wonder of God’s spacious firmament should cause a flow of endless praise to our great Creator.
The Bible teaches that man is without excuse for not knowing God. The Creator has revealed Himself at least partially in nature (Romans 1:19–21) as well as internally in the human conscience (Romans 1:32; 2:14, 15). The full revelation of God, however, is only realized in the person and work of Jesus Christ—“the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3).
“The Spacious Firmament” was written by Joseph Addison—one of England’s outstanding writers. These verses were part of a larger essay titled “An Essay on the Proper Means of Strengthening and Confirming Faith in the Mind of Man.” Addison prefaced his work with the words: “The Supreme Being has made the best arguments for His own existence in the formation of the heavens and earth.” Addison’s poem first appeared in The Spectator newspaper in 1712.
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 pow’r display; and publishes to ev’ry land the work of an almighty hand.
What though in solemn silence, all move round this dark terrestrial ball? What though no real voice nor sound amid their 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.”
For Today: Genesis 1:1–19; Psalm 19:1–6; Isaiah 40:26; Romans 1:20; Hebrews 11:1–4
Reflect again on the Genesis account of creation. Reaffirm your faith and confidence in God as the creator of this vast firmament. Determine to be more aware and appreciative of the many splendors of nature that we often take for granted. Consider this musical truth as you go—