Aug 9 2017

Majestic!

_CES1146Majestic. That’s the word my wife, Bonita, kept using on our recent cruise to Alaska to describe what we were seeing.  This adjective means “having or exhibiting majesty.” The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines majesty as “greatness or splendor of quality or character.” Roget’s Thesaurus offers as synonyms for “majestic” the words “grand” or “exalted.” That being the case, I will concur with Bonita that majestic was indeed the appropriate word to describe what we were seeing.  And just what did we see?  We saw awesome glaciers cutting their way through mountains.  We saw humpback whales feeding in the icy waters around us.  We saw gorgeous sunsets.  We saw sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, grizzly bears and bald eagles.  We saw lovely fjords carved by glaciers.  And, yes, it was all majestic–exalted and grand. This was my eighth trip to Alaska so I wasn’t surprised by what I saw. In fact, I had seen all the things mentioned above before in various places throughout the state.  Still, the sights remained overwhelming. There is just something special, almost holy, about our 49th state. It truly is majestic!

_CES0783Even more worthy of the adjective “majestic” is the One who created all the sights we saw. The Creator of Alaska and the rest of the world deserves the title majestic more than anyone or anything else.  Twice in Psalm 8 David declares, “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (vs. 1, 9)  In Psalm 111 the Psalmist says “Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.  Glorious and majestic are his deeds…” (vs. 2-3)  In the Song of Moses recorded in Exodus 15 the question is raised, “Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you–majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (v. 11)  In 2 Peter 1:17 God’s divine glory is described as being “Majestic.” God’s name, deeds, holiness and glory are all described as majestic.

That God would be associated with the word “majestic” should not surprise anyone. God is, after all, God. If we can use the word majestic to describe what God has made then surely the One who fashioned the natural world deserves to receive the same exaltation.  When we consider all that God has done through Christ, this becomes even more true.

_CES1505I hope as a result of your experiences with God you can say with the Psalmist, “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”  God’s Creation and mighty acts are all meant to lead us to exalt God’s holy name.  They call us to worship the Creator and Redeemer of the world.  May we all heed that call and lift up the majestic name of the Lord.

–Chuck

 


Jan 8 2012

How Great Thou Art

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:1

This morning we sang the wonderful hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” at church.  Last night I pulled out an instrumental version of this same hymn to use in an audio-visual presentation I’ll be making later this week.  It is a song I have heard sung my whole life but it has come to have special meaning to me in recent years because of my growing interest in the connection between nature and spirituality.  The author of the hymn, Stuart K. Hine, does a good job of pointing out how paying attention to God’s Creation can lead us into the worship of God Himself.

In the first verse the writer stands “in awesome wonder” as he considers “all the worlds thy hands have made.”  He speaks of seeing the stars, hearing the rolling thunder, and being amazed at “thy power throughout the universe displayed.”  All of this causes him to break forth in praise, “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, how great thou art!”

More examples of nature’s prompting God’s praise are mentioned in the second verse: “When through the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze; then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee; how great thou art!”

This hymn reminds us that not only are the heavens declaring the glory of God; they are also calling us to do the same.  God created the world not just to provide for our needs but to lead us to worship Him.  Nature is full of prompters calling us to stand in awe of God and to offer Him our praise.  When we pay attention to these prompters we cannot help but declare with the hymn writer, “how great Thou art!”

In the third verse of this hymn the writer goes on to speak of how God giving His Son to die for our sins likewise causes him to sing God’s praises.  In the final verse he points to the triumphant return of Christ and the time we will be taken to our heavenly home.  This, too, causes him to break out in praise of God’s greatness.

In both of God’s books—Creation and the Scriptures—we find plenty of evidence of God’s greatness.  Both books call forth our praise.  And since we were created to offer God praise we would be wise to give careful attention to both books in the days to come.  If you choose to so, don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming or singing “How Great Thou Art.”  It happens to me a lot.

–Chuck

(The top picture was taken not far from my home at Breaks Interstate Park.  I took the middle image last April from the top of a mountain in Hawaii.  I captured the bottom image at Redwood National Park this past summer.)