Staring at the sea.
The sea is a recurring image in King David's lyric poetry and songs. Scrolling through the Psalms Sunday afternoon I was taken by the profound ways he was influenced by that singular reference, the sea. His personal ocean going experience was most likely very limited. The King had been an earth bound shepherd boy and soldier throughout his years. What he knew about the sea was most likely learned in the scrolls of ancient Judaism or from the rabbis and colleagues who counseled. Still, his written Psalms resound with sea talk. They were profound elements of his faith, personal growth and development, the lessons of the sea in the epoch of Israel.
Yesterday, Psalm 104 gave me pause as the King extolled the majesty and glory of our Creator God. It is a Psalm about God's greatness, the wonders of his creative hand, the immovable foundations, the waters that stood above the mountains (see verses 5-6), and the limits of the created order. The simple phrase "Here is the sea, great and wide..." (verse 25) registered deeply with me. You see, King David could not explain the physical dimensions of the earth's waters, or define what differentiates an ocean from a sea from a lake, a gulf, sound, or river. He could not have known that 71% of the earth's surface was water or that these waters stretched .3 billion miles, averaged 12,080 feet in depth, or even imagined the 873,000 square miles of the Bering Sea.
What King David did know what that God "...covered it with the deep as with a garment, and waters stood above the mountains" (Psalm 104: 6). He knew that "You make water spring forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field...from your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work" (Psalm 104: 10, 13). King David probably only actually saw three or four of the 77 seas on this earth. But, he knew who created them. His Psalms mention the seas numerous times. But, these Psalms aren't about the seas. They are about the glorious God who created them all.
So, right now I'm staring at the sea. Harriet and I are blessed to be part owners of a beach front condominium in Garden City, South Carolina. We have four weeks each year to stare at the Atlantic Ocean, one of our glorious God's seas. What does the sea say to me right now---
Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things
both small and great. 26 There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in
it. 27 These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. 28 When you give it
to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works, 32 who
looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!
Psalm 104: 25-28, 31-32, ESV
So, that's the deal this week. Old Sonny staring at the Atlantic Ocean and knowing, "Here is the sea, great and wide..." Glory!