The Glory of God in Creation
Every day we are immersed in the glory of God because we live every day surrounded by His creation. As we go about the business of living, the heavenly bodies are dancing all around us in an incomprehensibly vast and complex choreography. The same glory is manifest in the most common elements. It is in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and even the soil we walk on.
Romans 1:20-21 tells us that God intends His creation to reveal and display His identity and power, that He means to be glorified because of it, and that this is so obvious only a willful fool could miss the point. In Revelation 4 we find that the perpetual song of praise at the throne of God is “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power.” Why is he worthy? “For thou hast created all things.”
The Master Artist
A few years ago we attended an exhibit featuring original works of the great painter Claude Monet. As I stood within arm’s reach of one painting, separated only by a loose rope barrier, mesmerized by its beauty, I remember feeling sudden chills at the realization that I was standing exactly where the master had stood. I was close enough to reach out and touch the deep textures of paint he had applied with his own hand.
I felt that sense of awe over one inanimate painting by a mortal man. I was only allowed to look at it and I had to pay for the privilege. We are surrounded every day by the living masterwork of the divine Creator, and we are not only allowed to look to our heart’s content but even encouraged to hear, smell, touch, and taste the glory of God in it.
Listen to the music all around you in the songbirds backed by wind in the trees, the night symphony of crickets, cicadas and frogs, water rippling in a brook, lapping the shore of a lake, crashing in waves on the ocean, the earth-shaking bass of the thunder and the percussive pattern of rain on your roof. Breathe deeply of the air after the rain, a mesquite campfire, fresh baked bread, a deep pine forest, the rose, your infant’s head. Move your hands through the grass, brush the rose petal and the soft skin of that baby. Kiss the ones that you love. Taste that the Lord is gracious in the perfect watermelon, a fresh garden tomato, your morning coffee. All of these and so many more are the works of the Creator. They declare His glory, and we glorify Him when we take pleasure in them as He does.
God Revealed in Creation
The book of Job is 42 chapters long. For the first 37 chapters, God is silent while Job wrestles with his situation. Finally, in chapter 38, God opens with these dramatic words: "Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.” The spine tingles in anticipation; God is about to put Job in his place and show him “who the boss is.” And for the next four chapters – 129 verses – God tells Job all about His natural creation. He clearly enjoys doing it. I especially enjoy the deep satisfaction in His voice as He describes the horse. (39:19-25)
Job gets the point – he is awed by God’s glory. “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth… I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.”
God consistently directs our attention to His creation to better understand Him. Jesus Christ is bread, water, wine, lion, lamb, rock, seed, vine, and more. His second coming will be like lightning. We are told to consider light and dark, heat and cold, the birds of the air and lilies of the field, roots, trees, leaves and branches, grass, flowers, and vapor, sheep, goats, eagles, serpents, and doves, the soil, the human body, even the dust, the sand, and the lowly ant, to name only a few.
When the sun comes up, remember the Sun of Righteousness Jesus Christ – the source of life, rising in glory, always faithful, lighting the world even when hidden by the clouds. The moon reminds us of His bride the church – revolving around the sun, sometimes nearer, sometimes farther, at times waxing or waning but perpetually bound, profoundly influencing the world and beautiful because clothed in His light. The stars are like His people – each unique, countless in number, shining brighter as the night gets darker.
Even death and resurrection are woven into the pattern of nature. Life on our planet comes from death – the life in our soil is sustained by dead organic matter. When you see the leaves die and fall to the ground to nourish new life, remember that our spiritual life comes from and is sustained by the death of Jesus Christ.
Joining the Song
In today’s culture it is easy to feel like we are alone, or at best cornered with our backs against the wall. Nothing could be further from the truth. The enemy is vastly outnumbered. All of creation is on your side – all of creation is declaring God’s glory. You are simply joining the song that began when “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” (Job 38:7) The artist is alive, the I AM who was, and is, and is to come. He is intimately involved in His creation, even actively creating (Psalm 104, Rev. 4:11). We are living in the living work of a living Master, and every detail sings of his glory. "That thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.” (Psalm 75:1)
Dan Beauchamp is pastor of Meadlan Chapel Primitive Baptist Church, Graham, Texas.