Stop and Smell the Roses. Then love their creator. We usually hear “stop and smell the roses”. But there’s so much more to life than “just” doing that. So much we miss out on if that’s “all” we do.
Here’s the long version of stop and smell the roses:
- Go to where the roses are, generally
- See the roses
- Get right up to the roses
- Get a good look at the roses
- Smell the roses
- Think about the beauty and aroma of the roses
- Decide what, if anything, to do as a result of steps 1-6
With that thought, let’s read Psalm 19.
Psalm 19 For the director of music. A psalm of David. Ps 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Ps 19:2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. Ps 19:3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Ps 19:4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, Ps 19:5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. Ps 19:6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. Ps 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Ps 19:8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. Ps 19:9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. Ps 19:10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. Ps 19:11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Ps 19:12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Ps 19:13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. Ps 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Some background on Psalm 19
General revelation is the term theologians most often use to refer to the revelation of God in nature, which is where Psalm 19 begins.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands (v. 1).
Here the psalmist is thinking of the stars, which are visible by night, and the sun, which he will introduce specifically in verses 4b–6. His teaching is that the heavens, which contain these created objects, witness to the existence of their Creator. But more than that, they also witness to his “glory.” The stars and the sun are so glorious that the one who made them must be more glorious still. 1
Yes, it’s a pretty short background. But then, it says what needs to be said. At least for my purposes today. The author of that excerpt actually went on for two entire chapters to discuss this Psalm.
But I’m only looking at the concept of stop and smell the roses. Not a scientific look at all the things that go into growing a rose. Although, I will at least say that the reality is, we don’t exactly know every single little thing required to create a rose. Sure, we can grow one. A really nice one. But can we create one from scratch? No. That’s something we haven’t mastered. Just see the fictional event below.
A scientist told God, “We no longer need you. We have advanced to the point that we can create anything we need with our own ingenuity.”
God said, “You want to put that to a test?”
The scientist said, “Sure. What do you have in mind?”
God said, “Let’s each make a man, just like I did with Adam. I’ll go first.”
Then God created man from the dirt. The scientist leaned down to pick up a handful of dirt, so he could replicate the work of God.
“Wait a minute!” said God. “Go get your own dirt!”
Paul said, “By him [God] all things were created” (Colossians 1:16).
The fact is, you can do a lot of things, but the only resources available to you are really the creation of God. 2
What do we think of when we stop and smell the roses?
Consider the first four verses of Psalm 19.
Ps 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Ps 19:2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
Ps 19:3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Ps 19:4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Think about those verses from the point of view of the roses. Not that they literally see, speak, or anything like that. But the analogy.
Why do we need to stop and smell the roses?
Before we get any further, why do we need to stop and smell the roses, in the context I’m using the phrase? There’s a passage in Romans that shows the stark contrast between giving God credit and choosing to follow Him, versus not acknowledging Him as Creator.
God’s Wrath Against Mankind
Ro 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Ro 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Ro 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Ro 1:26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Ro 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Yeah, that’s pretty bad. And it’s why everything in that initial list of seven things about stopping and smelling the roses is so important.
Back to Psalm 19:1-4
Here’s someone else’s thoughts on the four verses I picked.
19:1 the glory of God Yahweh created the heavens (referred to as shamayim in Hebrew) and the sky, expanse, or firmament (raqia’ in Hebrew) to reveal His glory (see Gen 1:1, 6). People in the ancient Near East often worshiped the sun, moon, and stars as gods—something specifically prohibited by the Law (see Deut 4:19; 17:3)—rather than the Creator whose glory they reflect.
19:2 they tell knowledge Creation reveals the knowledge of God’s supremacy.
Wisdom literature often uses examples from nature to teach (Job 8:11–19; 14:7–12; Prov 6:7–8; 30:18–19, 30:24–31; see note on Eccl 1:5). In Job 38–41, God uses His power over creation to teach Job to trust Him (see note on Job 38:1–41:34).
19:4 in all the world The expanse of the heavens declares God’s glory to the entire earth. Paul may have had this psalm in mind when he spoke of God’s invisible attributes (Rom 1:19–20). 3
In other words, the glory of God is evident. But what do we do about it? Do we even notice?
And if we do notice, then what? Do we just say “huh”, and move on? Maybe even worship the roses, or whatever thing we happen to notice? Or do we realize God is the creator of everything and worship Him?
Conclusion – Psalm 19 – Stop and smell the roses – then love their creator
If we stop, smell the roses, realize God is their creator and ours, then choose to worship and love Him, we’ll eventually reach the point where we also share David’s closing thought for this Psalm.
Ps 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
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