Have you ever tried to imagine what Adam and Eve’s first few days on earth were like? Did they gaze at their new surroundings like bright-eyed infants, looking first at their flexible hands and fingers and then their legs, feet, and toes? What did they think when they first saw trees, a bubbling stream, or the vast sky with its radiant sun in the daytime and the moon and twinkling stars at night? How did they react when they first encountered the many animals God created or when they first saw each other?
Actually, we know something about that last question. The Bible tells us in Genesis 2:19-20 that God gave Adam the privilege of naming all the birds and animals. God didn’t do this because He was simply exhausted after creating everything. He wanted human beings to become caretakers of their new home and to honor their Creator by fulfilling its potential. We also know what Adam thought when he first saw Eve. Genesis 2:23 reveals the man’s excited reaction: “This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken from man.” It was love at first sight for the first husband and wife, the kind of bond that, were it not for sin, would provide a perfect environment for their children and the generations to come.
All the things Adam and Eve discovered in their first days on earth surely paled in comparison, however, to their first encounters with the Creator of the universe. How did the couple first learn about God? How did they come to know Him? For that matter, how do any of us come to know our eternal, infinite, all-powerful Maker? I believe this question might have been in King David’s mind when he penned Psalm 19. Moreover, David began his inspired reflection where we all must begin—with the assumption that we can’t know God the same way we discover the beauty of nature or the spouse of our dreams. We come to know God only by revelation. He tells us who He is and what He is like, and He shows us in ways we can understand.
Look up. As a young shepherd, David spent many days and nights in the open air. He had time to contemplate the majesty of God’s creation. He wrote in verse 1: “the heavens declare the glory of God.” Like a masterpiece on canvas, the sky with its brilliant rising and setting sun spoke volumes about its Maker without using a single word. Centuries later, the apostle Paul agreed with the psalmist by stating that God’s “invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made” (Rom. 1:20).
Listen up. In Psalm 19:7-11, David wrote one of the most treasured descriptions of the Holy Scriptures. In the beginning, Adam and Eve heard God’s instructions for life audibly. By the time of Moses, God gave His people commands that were engraved on stone tablets. Later, Moses and subsequent writers of Scripture preserved God’s Word on papyrus paper and parchment. Today most people can either read the Bible or listen to it being read aloud. We learn most about God from the Scriptures, however, when we become “doers of the word and not hearers only” (Jas. 1:22). As David wrote in Psalm 19:11, “In addition, your servant is warned by [God’s scriptural commands], and in keeping them there is an abundant reward.”
Let Him in. In verses 12-14, David wrote about more than he knew. What he understood in his day, however, is as true now as it was then. For human beings to truly know God and relate rightly to Him, our sin problem must be overcome. Our hearts need to be cleansed of self-centeredness and rebellion. We need a Redeemer if we are to have any hope of knowing our Creator. Today the New Testament fills in the word-picture David penned. Jesus Christ came and provided the redemption we need. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). Jesus is the one and only way by which we can come to the Father. To know and believe in Jesus is to truly know God the Father (see John 14:6-7).
David appears to have understood that in nature and in the Scriptures we can learn about God. These are surely important matters. However, our greatest need is to know God so intimately that His Spirit lives in us. This happens when we believe in Jesus Christ. Only then can the Lord cleanse our hidden faults and make our very thoughts acceptable to Him as our rock and Redeemer.
David Briscoe is a content editor at Lifeway for Explore the Bible resources.