Fall is perhaps my favorite time of year – the air gets crisp and dry, the temperature drops, and the trees burst forth into glorious color. Last week we took our annual trip to the mountains of Virginia to enjoy the season. While there we stayed with some friends who used to live here in Greenville but moved to Virginia after they completed graduate school. We also traveled up into Shenandoah National Park to do a little bit of hiking, drive the Skyline Drive, have a picnic with the girls, and just enjoy being outside in God’s creation. Anyone who has spent any time with me at all quickly realizes I’m one who loves the outdoors, and last week was a perfect example of that.
Read Psalm 19 as translated in The Message:
God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.
Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.
God makes a huge dome
for the sun—a superdome!
The morning sun’s a new husband
leaping from his honeymoon bed,
The daybreaking sun an athlete
racing to the tape.
That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts,
warming hearts to faith.
The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear
and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain
and easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate
down to the nth degree.
God’s Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.
There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
I can’t tell you how many times those verses have come to my mind lately – as I was hiking through the mountains last week, or as I drive past the changing trees in my own neighborhood. God is certainly a God of beauty, glory, and creativity. Yesterday I watched a show in TV that about the great white shark and the ecosystem in the ocean that sustains the sharks (and other ocean animals). We haven’t even scratched the surface of understanding his creation – there is so much to marvel at and understand.
Worship, remember, is our response to God as he reveals himself to us. And how does he reveal himself to us? Primarily through Scripture, his Word, but there are other ways as well: He speaks directly to us by his Spirit (see 1 Cor 2:11-16), and, I believe, he speaks to us through Creation (see the previous Psalm for evidence of that). This raises two questions for us:
1) Are we listening?
2) How do we respond when we hear him?
And the answer to that determines how (and if) we worship.
This week take a few minutes, go for a walk or a drive through the country, and read Psalm 19 aloud and reflect on God’s creation and his wonderful character as you see it through what he reveals about himself in creation.
And then respond to him.