Articles & News

The Song of the Universe

August 29, 2018 organ-player_small ​By Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Attempting to define worship is, for us, much the same problem as that of the soldier stationed on the west coast when his mother, a native of Kansas, wrote saying: “When you come home, please bring a souvenir that will tell me something of the Pacific Ocean about which I have heard so much.” And he took her a bottle of sea water.

Now that bottle of sea water may have said something about the ocean, but it told nothing of its vastness, of the breakers along the shore, nothing of the beauty of the sunlight on the whitecaps. It told nothing of the things of the deep, of the breeze that gently hovers. Such are the limits of a definition of worship when we try to describe what it means to honor God.

We know the root of the word worship goes back to an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “worth.” That is what worship is—paying respect for what is worthy.

Today you and I are living in a created universe that is actually singing worship to a worthy God. But man is out of tune, and God’s great purpose is to bring man back into the harmony of heaven.

I don’t know much about the realm of music but have made careful inquiry. And I am reliably informed that on every good organ there are four principal stops. The main stop is known as “diapason,” then the “flute” stop, the “string” stop, and then the “vox humana”—the human voice. I am told that that stop is very seldom in tune. If you put it in tune while the auditorium is cold, it would be out of tune when the auditorium is heated. And if you put it in tune when the auditorium is heated, it would be out of tune when the auditorium got cold. My beloved, it is hard to keep “vox humana” in tune.

This great universe of God is a mighty instrument, and one day Jesus Christ went to the console of God’s great organ—His creation—and He pulled out the stop known as “diapason” and the solar and stellar spaces broke into a mighty song. Then He reached down and pulled out the “flute” stop, and these little feathered friends—the birds—began to sing. Then He reached in and pulled the “string” stop, and light went humming across God’s universe and the angels lifted their voices in praise. Then He reached down and pulled out “vox humana,” but it was out of tune.

Now the great Organist was not only a musician, but He knew how to repair the organ. So He left the console of the organ yonder in heaven and came down to this earth, that through redemption—the giving of His own life—He might bring man back into harmony with God’s tremendous creation. And, my beloved, the redeemed are the ones today who are to lift their voices in praise. They are the only ones who can. The psalmist says “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Psalm 107:2). And, brother, if we don’t say so, no one will! Oh, to be in tune with heaven!

Today sin has intruded into this world and has taken man out of God’s choir, but he can come back in, and many have, through Jesus Christ, the Creator and Redeemer of the universe. The Lord Jesus has brought man back into a redemptive and right relationship with God that he might lift his voice in praise to Him.

As I look about me in this world, I see every man playing his own little tune. One of these days out from the wings will step the Conductor, the Lord Jesus Christ. And when He lifts His baton, from the ends of God’s universe those galactic systems will join in and every bird, every angel, and then man will join the heavenly chorus. In the meantime, you can bow before Him and bring your own soul and your own heart into the harmony of heaven and worship Him, the One worthy of all praise.

Psalms: A H-I-M Book

To compare the Psalms with a hymnbook is helpful. Many modern hymns arose as a result of a specific event in the life of a hymn writer, but the event remains hidden from those who sing the song today. The hymn was written in such a way that it allows all who sing it to identify with it. The Psalms have more to say about Christ than they have to say about any other person. It is a H-I-M book—it was a hymn book of the temple, but it is all about Him; it is praise to Him.

My Turn

Worship God through His Word

The longest chapter in the Psalms is Psalm 119—and every verse offers a way to worship God through His Word. In our study of Psalm 119 this month, Dr. McGee offers these principles to take to heart:

  • God’s Word will bring life, liberty, and joy to you … and blessing.
  • Seek God with a whole heart.
  • Memorize Scripture and also obey it.
  • If we study the Word constantly, it will keep us from sin.
  • God’s mercy is channeled to us through the Word.
  • A diet of God’s Word will keep our hearts healthy.
  • God made us and knows exactly what we need.
  • Use God’s Word as a light to guide us through this dark world.
  • Those who know the Word best, wonder at it the most.
  • The only thing that can revive a broken spirit is God’s Word.

Read Psalm 119 this week and star the verses that God uses to stir your heart to worship Him.

For more from Dr. McGee on Psalm 119, be sure not to miss the Thursday, October 4 TTB program. Find a radio station near you or listen online here.