May 16 2010

Praise Him All the Earth!

flowers 650About every other year I try to read the entire Bible through.  I’m doing it again this year.  Currently I’m in First Chronicles.  A couple of nights ago I was reading the 16th chapter where it says King David “first appointed the singing of praises to the Lord by Asaph and his kindred.”  The verses that follow (vs. 7-36) appear to be a medley from a number of Psalms.  In these verses God is offered praise and thanksgiving for a number of reasons.  Not surprisingly, one of those reasons is He is the Creator.

In v. 30 it says, “Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.”  When all the earth is called to worship God one might think the writer is calling all humans to worship but it truly is “all the earth” that is exhorted to praise God for verse 32 says “Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it.”  Later the writer says “the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord.”

How do you explain this?  I honestly don’t know.  Perhaps the biblical writers were only speaking figuratively and the idea of the sea, field and trees praising God is not to be taken literally.  But then again, who are we to say that all of Creation does not, in fact, join together in offering praise to its Creator?

wave 083Considering the fact that we humans do a pretty lousy job offering God praise I hope that somehow, someway, the Creation does in fact offer continuous praise to God.  There have certainly been times when I have been in the mountains, beside the sea or in the desert and felt that all of Creation was indeed worshiping God.  I’d like to think those moments were not just my imagination getting carried away but were, instead, nature responding to the biblical call to “worship the Lord…all the earth.”   In Colossians 1:16 Paul says concerning Jesus, “all things were created by him and for him.”  That being the case, “all things” should join in offering their Creator praise and that includes us.


(The field of flowers and ocean scene above were taken on my recent trip to California.  I believe in their own way they, too, offer God praise.)

Dec 13 2009

Joy to the World!

Bryce Canyon 802Today is the third Sunday in Advent and the theme for this particular Sunday each year is joy.  If one will pause to reflect on the meaning of this special season he or she cannot help but experience joy.  It truly is amazing that the One who created the world became part of it as a vulnerable little baby.  John 1:14 says “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”  A few verses earlier the Gospel writer says “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (v. 3) 

I think a lot of people fail to understand that at Christmas we celebrate the birth of the Creator of the world.  Speaking of Jesus the apostle Paul said, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created…” (Colossians 1:15-16) 

Bryce Canyon 959I realize that during this season we usually focus on how God sent His Son into the world to provide for our salvation but we should also note the amazing fact that in that Bethlehem stable the Creator became a part of the world He created.  One of the implications of this for me is that because of the Incarnation we stand on “hallowed ground.”  The world is not just “good” as the author of Genesis reminds us; it is holy too.

One of the most popular Christmas carols is “Joy to the World.”  The song indicates that because Jesus came there is cause to rejoice.  In fact, the song exhorts “heaven and nature” to sing for joy at Christ’s coming.  During my trip this past week to southern Utah there were many times I felt like singing God’s praises for the gift of His Son.  There were even times when I looked at the incredible beauty of Christ’s Creation that it seemed like nature was ready to sing too.  And that is only fitting.  When we remember that Jesus is both the world’s Creator and Savior, why shouldn’t “heaven and nature sing”?


(The pictures above were taken this past week at Bryce Canyon National Park.)