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The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
(From the Westminister Catechism) Based on several scriptures, I want to share briefly a mixture of thoughts based on this statement – some my own, and some from the writings of the John Fisher, Steve Troxel, Ric Ergenbright and several poets and other writers. Do we realize that if we stop right now and worship God — think about Him, marvel at His attributes, call His name holy, let our hearts burst into song, lift our hands, dance… whatever we want, in whatever way we are comfortable — we will be fulfilling the prime reason for our existence? What could be better (or easier)? And on top of that, we have the assurance that our offering is joyfully received by the One we worship. We were created to worship — to notice the song of the birds, to catch the shape of the clouds, to feel the penetrating heat of the day, to observe the twist of the lips that makes one smile different from another, to catch a drop of rain on the tongue, to hear a humming bird hum, to taste the sweetness of an orange and notice its color — these are far and away the most important observations we can make. And look at how accessible these are! From John Fischer: “Outside my window right now is a tree unlike any I have ever seen. It grows out as much as it grows up. Its branches defy gravity, growing horizontally for 20 feet or more before shooting up with heavy branches, as if held up by an invisible hand. This one tree provides shade for five houses. Cut it back and it keeps growing. New shoots are everywhere. What is this tree doing right now? Praising God. It can’t help it. It is old and wise and sturdy, yet still putting out new life. It is a living monument to its Creator. God thought this tree into existence and put it here, years ago, for his pleasure and mine. He and I share this tree together. And when it flowers, the buzzing of a thousand bees can be heard in the early morning quietness. It’s our tree throbbing with audible praise.” The point he is making here is that this tree is glorifying God because it is doing what it was created to do – and we were created to do the same – each of us with our individual gifts and talents, are unique strings in the harp of God’s Church – the body of Christ – all of us have notes to play in the grand symphony of heaven and earth. When an eagle soars, or a mountain rises majestically to touch the blue sky – they bring glory to God, even if we don’t recognize that. In Isaiah 55:12 we read about the mountains and the hills breaking forth into singing and all of the trees of the fields clapping their hands. And in Psalm 19:1-4 we read “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Recall also how the children naturally praised the Son of God as He entered Jerusalem, and how Jesus said that if they were somehow hindered,
the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:40)… For us not to praise Him would be the ultimate arrogance. In light of what I’ve just said, another quote from John Fischer is appropriate here: “… Light in the sky was made to twinkle the way it does. Sheaves of wheat were made to wave in the wind. Trees were made with leaves that brush together and arms that naturally go up. If we are His offspring, then we praise Him for no other reason than He is our creator. Quite simply, the truth about our relationship requires it. When we praise we are merely — and in some cases finally — fitting into things as they really are. We are not adding anything to our life or to God when we praise as much as we are aligning ourselves correctly with the universe and our place in it.” Think of the traditional hymn, “This Is My Father’s World.” It has a line in it: “This is my Father’s world; He shines in all that’s fair. In the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.” Now think about it: this guy is either a nut case (according to Fischer), or he is so aware of God that he hears him everywhere—even in the wind that ripples through the grass. Think of all that electromagnetic radiation put out by the stars; not just in the visible spectrum, but radio waves, infra-red, ultra-violet, and even X-rays. That’s a lot of information, but unless we have the eyes to see it or ears to hear it, we will be unaware of it all. In Psalm 19, David “is deafened by the sound of God speaking in the heavens—through space and time, past stars and worlds beyond. What he’s hearing is a display of God’s creative handiwork that pours out continual truth about the presence and the nature of the God who created it. And if we could hear or see all that all at once, we would be overwhelmed. So we can’t. Our hearing and seeing is limited to a very narrow frequency band so as to allow us to function day by day in the world.” So too do we need to have our spiritual eyes and ears unblocked to the glory of God all around us – and more than that – we need to listen for Him and hear what He is saying to us (see Philip Keller handout). But how do we do this? That’s where worship comes in. Worship is tuning into the sounds and sights of God all around us, to remind us of His presence and power. They are everywhere. Listen to what the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Steve Troxel says “There are signs of God all around. Yet sadly, our senses are too often closed. We cry out for evidence, yet we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste evidence every day - He is here with us in infinite detail. It's not surprising that the world fails to recognize the evidence; "the sinful mind is hostile to God" (Romans 8:7). The world lives in darkness and is blind to Heavenly wonders, but we no longer belong to the world; "He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness" (Colossians 1:13). We now must walk in the Light and "see" according to what the Light reveals. God is calling us into a life of continual and passionate devotion. Let's begin to worship Him every moment of every day as we see His glory in the flowers, trees, and stars; as we
hear His beauty in the songs of a bird and the cry of a baby. We're surrounded by an abundance of Spiritual signs - confirming signs that He is real! Let's step through the gate with full commitment and continue our walk in humble submission. Let's live to glorify His name and open our senses to the true evidence of God. Let’s see what some other people have said: God’s Grandeur The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining shook from foil; ...(Gerard Manley Hopkins)
Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries, And daub their natural faces unaware…
Art’s the witness of what Is Behind this show. If this world’s show were all, Then imitation would be all in Art;…
If genuine artists, witnessing for God’s Complete, consummate, undivided work: -That not a natural flower can grow on earth, Without a flower upon the spiritual side,… --- Extracts from Aurora Leigh, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. …by using the visible and temporal things of the earth to describe the invisible and eternal truths of His Kingdom, God has graciously enabled us to know Him better, and to see and understand our world and ourselves through new eyes.
To see and experience the beauty of nature is a wonderful thing. But to see and experience the beauty of God through nature is infinitely more wonderful. The former is His good and gracious gift to all people, but the latter is reserved for those who seek Him and faithfully study His Word. Ric Ergenbright -- THE ART OF GOD The Heavens & The Earth
In summary, I believe that the created realm in which we live is, in part, a model or pattern for the spiritual realm. Hebrews 10:1 says that the law is only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves, and broadening this theme, 2 Corinthians 4:18 reminds us that what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. I believe, therefore that the Lord uses things like trees, rocks, water, light, wind and storms, all mentioned many times in Scripture, to help us see spiritual realities, and recognize spiritual truth. Furthermore, as part of His creation, they reveal His glory to those with eyes to see it. The following lines are from a hymn written by Horatius Bonar: “Ocean and mountain, stream, forest and flower, echo His praises and tell of his power.” Amen!
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