Our world is a beautiful, complex, and amazing place through which God speaks to us. The Psalmist recognized this when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Psalms 19:1. This message is repeated and amplified in other Biblical texts. We also express this idea whenever we sing in part some of the thoughts of Psalm 148. Even entertainers like Louis Armstrong recognize this truth at some level when he sings “I see skies of blue…and I say to myself, what a wonderful world.”
But we allow ourselves to be distracted from God’s work as we turn our attention from his creation to the inventions of mankind. They have a tendency to crowd out and obscure our opportunities to discover and appreciate the messages that we can learn from God’s natural world.
Solomon used the natural world to gather insights into behavior and conduct. For example, he writes in Proverbs 6:6, “Go to the ant thou sluggard consider her ways, and be wise; which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her meat in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” Unlike Solomon we are not as likely to use ants as opportunities for insight. Rather, they are usually providing an occasion to call Bob Pitman or Larry Ratliff for their extermination services. Solomon goes to write about the wisdom of the “conies, locust, and spiders” Proverbs 30:24-29.
Think about this. Can we, do we see the heavens as the Psalmist described them, are they declaring the “glory of God” to our generation? Or are the stars of night and their constellations hidden to us by haze, pollution, or the glare of urban lights? Can we or do we ever enjoy a chorus of tree frogs or crickets? Can we follow the seemingly aimless flight of the swallowtail butterfly or the whirring wings of a hummingbird. Have we become indifferent to sunrises and sunsets? Can we appreciate their complexity or the mind of the Grand Designer who put them in place?
Perhaps not. Perhaps we are busy enjoying the great indoors and relaxing before today’s secular altar, “The Home Entertainment Center.” If that or some other distraction is keeping us from appreciating the grandeur that is God’s creation, then we are headed for an impoverishment of the soul. This is so because we are shutting out a means in which God speaks to us.
Perhaps in some ways our increased isolation and indifference to God’s natural works have contributed to the secularization not only to our culture but to the church as well. God speaks to us through his word and he also speaks to us in his creation.
Let us remember the Psalmist who wrote “the heavens DECLARE the Glory of God.” A thoughtful William Penn, writing about the works of God made this observation, “God’s works declare his power, wisdom, and goodness.” Let us then take these reminders and insights into this new year and as opportunity presents itself let us give the works of God our thoughtful consideration that we may render to our Maker the awe and wonder that is due him.