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Psalm 8:8

The Naval Officer

“Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee” (Job 12:8).

Matthew Maury served as a U.S. naval officer before suffering an injury which forced his retirement. He was then placed in charge of the Depot of Charts and Instruments of the Hydrographic Office of the Navy from 1841 to 1861. He was a Christian who loved the Word of God. One day, reading Psalm 8, he was struck by an important truth in the 8th verse. There he read that God had given man dominion over “the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” He immediately saw the great practical significance of that verse, recognizing that there must be currents of waster in the oceans, just like vast rivers, as well as in the atmosphere (Ecclesiastes 1:6).

Maury, with confidence in the accuracy of the Bible, determined to discover the paths in the seas and the wind circuits, utilizing the charts and log books he had at his disposal. He did discover and plot many of the wind circuits and currents, such as the great Gulf Current, 40 miles wide and 2,000 feet deep that comes out of the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic; the Japanese Current, the California Current, and others. Utilizing this information, the sailing ships of his day plied these currents and wind circuits, reducing by as much as three weeks, the time required to cross some oceans.

On a monument erected by the state of Virginia to his memory is found a plaque that reads as follows: “Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Seas, the genius who first snatched from the oceans and atmosphere the secret of their laws. His inspiration, Holy Writ, Psalm 8:8, Ecclesiastes 1:6.” A genius? No. Just a simple Bible-believing Christian who trusted the inerrancy of the Word of God. - DTG.

Our Daily Bread, September 14, 1987.

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