Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord.
Renew them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.
One of the gifts that God has given to us as human beings is the gift of awe and wonder. We have the ability to be amazed by the world that God has created. A beautiful sunset can take our breath away. The view from a high vista looking down into a green, lust valley can be inspiring. The sight and sound of waves crashing on the shore can thrill us. We were created to stand in awe of all that God has done.
David expressed this poetically in Psalm 19.
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.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, (Psalm 19:1-4)
Paul David Tripp has called this signpost beauty. All of creation was created to be a signpost pointing toward God. God placed the capacity for awe and wonder in us as a means of drawing us to Himself. When we see the beauty of our world, we should ask, where did this all come from? Who is the artist? Who is the architect? Who is the creator? The created world declares the glory of God.
This past week, I had the chance to travel to the North Shore of Lake Superior for a couple of days. My wife and I took a couple of international students with us, to expose them to the beauty of Minnesota’s north woods. It was a great experience. As we shared some of our favorite spots with them, we got to see them in a new way, as if we were seeing them for the first time. In fact, we discovered a couple of gems that we had somehow missed in our many trips up north.
As followers of Christ, we can clearly see the hand of God in all of the natural beauty that is around us. For those who do not believe in God, they stop short of the goal. They are genuinely in awe of the created world, but make its beauty the end goal. Instead of turning in praise to God, they focus only on His creation.
Paul captured the world in which we live with his words in Romans 1:21-23,25. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
Although people in our part of the world may not actually make idols and bow down to them, they have made idols of the created world in many ways. Instead of recognizing the hand of God, they try to explain our world through their own wisdom and observations. It is not that these are necessarily wrong or bad. It is that they fall far short of the truth. They see themselves as the masters of the world, instead of God’s stewards of His world.
As followers of Christ, we should be the first to point out the beauty and wonder of our world. We should be at the forefront of exploring all that God has created. And as we do this, we can point past the signpost toward the one who made it all happen. We live in an amazing world that should regularly take our breath away. We should tap into the awe and wonder that God has implanted within our hearts. As we do that, we can give praise and glory to God. We can and should stand in awe of the one who made all of this a reality.