In Psalm 8, David extols the glory of Jehovah, and he marvels that God has been so mindful of man as to place the creation under his dominion. The context stresses man’s responsibility over the earth.
In discussing some of earth’s creatures, of which man is in charge, the writer mentions, ‘whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas’ (Psalm 8:8). This expression is interesting because the phrase contains a precise fact about the seas that David, whose experience was limited to a tiny country on the Mediterranean coast, could never have known from firsthand information.
It was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the discovery was made regarding currents (literally ‘paths’) in the sea. In 1860, a pioneer in oceanography, Matthew Fontaine Maury, was the first to suggest that the ocean was a circulating system. His book on physical oceanography is still a highly regarded source of information on this science.
Consider, for example, the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream flows from the east coast of North America toward Europe. It is about 50 miles wide and 3,000 feet deep. Its rate of flow, measured in volume per second, is about 1,000 times greater than the Mississippi River. At some places, it moves at almost 140 miles per hour. Many ocean vessels ‘ride’ this current in order to save valuable shipping time.
According to Charles L. Lewis, in his book, Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Seas (1927), once when Maury was ill and confined to bed, his son was reading to him the Scriptures-Psalm 8. When mention was made of the ‘paths of the sea,’ Maury declared: ‘If God said there are paths in the sea, I will find them…’ The rest is history. There is a monument in Richmond, Virginia, erected as a tribute to Matthew Maury. In part it reads: ‘Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the seas, the genius who first snatched from the ocean and atmosphere the secret of their laws … His inspiration Holy Writ …’ God’s Word is accurate!
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