This Psalm is one of six Psalms written by King David known as the “Creation Psalms,” because they focus on what God has created and what this reveals about its creator. Psalms like this are beautiful to read and meditate on.
But some have read Psalms like this with their statements like, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork,” and think that if creation declares who God is, then evangelism and missions are irrelevant. At its best this heresy (and that is what it is) says that people can come to know the living God solely through His creation. At its worst it teaches a doctrine of “universalism” which says that everyone will be saved in the end.
It is tempting to believe this, especially for people like me who are surrounded by millions upon millions of people who don’t know Christ. I want to believe that there is some other way that they can come to know the grace and forgiveness of Christ without being told. I want to believe that there is some hope for my friends who have died in their sins. But I cannot because that is not what this Psalm says, nor is such a doctrine supported any place else in the Bible.
Truly “the heavens declare the glory of God” but not His forgiveness. They demonstrate that there is in fact a Creator – it is undeniable. But to know who that creator is takes more than that. Because “the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” and by the decrees of the Lord, we are warned.
Salvation takes an active voice. It takes a witness to the grace of God. Because “how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14). Yes, it is tempting to look at this beautiful Psalm of praise to the Lord and somehow try to change its meaning to something that removes my responsibility to open my mouth and be a witness. But it cannot. What I am left with instead is, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord.”