I am rapidly learning how difficult it is to fully articulate a biblical teaching or even the gospel message in a concise blog. I often feel ill-equipped as I face the blank page. Writer’s block sets in. Insecurities take over. There is so much to learn, and it will be a lifelong pursuit and practice. I want to grow in my credibility as a writer, but alas, grammar and proper spelling sometimes escape.
On a side note, my thanks to the reader who recently emailed to let me know that the word “millennia” was misspelled in one of my posts (see original blog post here with corrected spelling). Granted, it is not a word I use often when I write, but nevertheless I value the importance of correct grammar and spelling, almost as much as I seek to present right thinking about (1) God, (2) who we are because of who He is, and what He has done, and (3) how we ought to respond.
How we say what we say is as important as what we say.
On another note, I’m super excited! This is the first reader who has contacted me via email. How awesome is that??
This brings me to a clarification I want to make about how we can experience and see God. I have written recently about having faith in the existence of God, especially when we can’t see or feel His presence. This is often due to our own sin; perhaps we’ve stopped listening to or seeking God. It could also be a season of testing. The truth is God wants us to find Him. This may sound like a cosmic game of divine hide-and-seek, but it is most definitely not. God has revealed Himself in the Bible. God promises He will be found when we seek Him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13).
He makes Himself known to the world through the praises of His goodness by His children. In their silence (or their absence), Jesus declared that even “the very stones would cry out” in praise (Luke 19:40b, ESV).
Firstly, Jesus’ words were spoken in rebuke to the religious leaders of the day who demanded that He silence His disciples who were rejoicing and praising God and declaring Jesus as “the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:37-38, ESV). His point was that if His disciples were silenced, the creation itself would cry out in praise of Him.
Even the very stones would cry out. Does this mean the rocks would literally call aloud?
Yes, as one argument in defense of God’s omnipotence would go, He could. As the Author of creation, God could command the stones to literally cry out His praises. He is God, and He can do miracles. He is all powerful and has authority over all of creation, but some might argue limitations of logic. Making an inanimate object such as a rock, which has no vocal cords, mouth or even breath within, cry out is much like saying God can make a square circle. “Inconceivable!” declares this second group.
There is another way of looking at this verse. When we look at the wonders of nature, we can be overcome with awe and wonder by its beauty, intricacy, and the breathtaking attention to detail within nature. We gaze at the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. We listen to the thundering water of Niagara Falls. We walk in the stillness and grandeur of the coastal redwoods of Muir Woods outside San Francisco. Here on Long Island, we might nap on the beach as the waters gently lap the shoreline on the north side of the Island or admire the energy and power of the waves crashing on the South shore. The wonders of creation may become commonplace, but occasionally, we pause. Our souls take notice, and we look and listen, resting in God’s presence.
When we appreciate these things, we are presented with a choice. We can choose to glorify the wonders of nature and simply stop there. Or we can seek, and choose to glorify, the Creator God who spoke the universe into existence. God is not the universe (this is a form of pantheism); God is the Creator of the universe. He is eternal and pre-exists all that we can observe in this world. This is an important distinction. To miss this is to miss God’s authority over everything we can sense with our five senses. There is divine beauty in nature, but this is simply God’s fingerprint on His handiwork. The Christian knows God is not in these things (1 Kings 19:11-13), but he or she acknowledges God’s power, presence, and love for the world by praising God and enjoying the splendor of His creation.
And God’s creation includes mankind. We were designed to be image bearers of God (Genesis 1:26), to be stewards over His creation (Genesis 2:15), and to have dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth (Genesis 1:28). The Bible also teaches that Jesus, the “firstborn of creation” is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15, ESV). When the believer becomes indwelt by the Holy Spirit, he or she is charged to think and act in a way to become more Christ-like in character. This is no easy task but is one that is empowered by the Spirit’s work in him or her. The Christian seeks to faithfully reflect God to a broken and hurting world. In following in Jesus’ footsteps and drawing closer to God through relationship with Jesus Christ, the Christian can also make the unseen God visible to others. But only God is God. We have limitations, but God is faithful in His work in us (Philippians 1:6).
So, the question I want to put before you tonight is one a dear friend once mentioned she often asked of her kids as they were growing up. Each day, we have a choice before us. We can choose to be a blessing to others, or we can choose otherwise.
How will you choose today, tomorrow and all the tomorrows after that? What would it look like for you to choose to be a blessing to your family or closest friends? To your community? To someone you have not yet even met?
“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being” (Psalm 140:33, ESV).