Joseph Addison, 1672-1719

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
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 Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth"; and with the writer of Hebrews, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God...." (Hebrews 11:3). The wonder of God's spacious firmament should cause a flow of endless praise to our great Creator God.

The Bible teaches that man is without excuse for not knowing God. The Creator has revealed Himself at least partially in His beautiful creation (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 brightness of his 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 on God's general revelation of Creation 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 its 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 its birth;
While all the stars that round it 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.”

*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.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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