It always looks so calming and restful, the ocean. Maybe it's just the new normal of geezerhood, but staring at the ocean most often ignites a sense of serenity in my brain synapses. People over in the oceanography department affirm that periods of gazing at the sea typically introduce a meditative, reflective state in our usually over-occupied minds. Evidently the human brain can easily process the sound and visible movement of the Atlantic, the ocean that has my attention this week.
Interestingly naval officer Matthew Fontaine Maury (1805-1873) became intrigued by one of the statements King David included in Psalm 8 more than 3,000 years ago. It is an incredible song about the majesty of God and the role of mankind in the work of God's hands. This Psalm is thought to have been written later in his life. Perhaps God inspired the musings of an older, more mature individual, one seasoned in the highs and lows of life. He wrote---
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under
his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and
the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how
majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8: 6-9, ESV
Officer Maury, remembered in history as the father of oceanography, was taken by the phrase "...the paths of the sea". As a result, he rigorously studied navigation, meteorology, waves, currents, and thousands of ships logs and charts to publish the Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic in 1847. This work shortened sailing time for most ocean travel. He established the truth that there are rivers under the sea. What appears so calm and sedate to the human eye is actually hundreds of currents and tides flowing beneath every ocean. The mysteries of the sea inspired King David to write, "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic in your name in all the earth" (Psalm 8:1, 9). If you would like further data about Officer Maury's interesting work, click here.
King David also wrote, "Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me" (Psalm 42:7, ESV). The soothing and reflective movements of the sea invite us to a deeper consideration of our Creator God's majesty and glory. That these rivers under the sea are controlled by the rotation of the earth, the movements of the sun and moon, the gravitational powers of the planet and universe, winds, temperatures, and other natural forces should generate a sense of awe in us. They should make us better stewards of God's assignment to have dominion over them. That the natural phenomenon of creation could be synced so intricately to offer me this relaxing surface view is miraculous in every respect. Under that beautiful surface are the currents that steer everything in ocean water, even the storms that terrify and frighten us during hurricane season.
This week those tranquil moments will remind me of "...the paths of the seas", and draw me to worship, praise, and thanksgiving the one who created them. How majestic is your name in all the earth. In Garden City, South Carolina too.
The paths of the seas.
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