The “Nature” of God: A Meditation on Psalm 19 (Excerpt from “God’s Creative Gift”)

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An excerpt from “God’s Creative Gift–Unleashing the Artist in You: Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within.”

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. (Psalm 19:1-4a)

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Photo by Gayle Martin

If you will take the time to read Psalm 19 in its entirety, you’ll see it is broken into two parts: the first praises God as revealed through nature; and the second praises God as revealed in the Torah (His law). We see God speaking through both His creation and His word, and the psalmist is in wonder of them both. In the end, our biblical poet is brought to confession and prayer: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (vs. 14).

For many of us, God often speaks through nature. Several years ago my husband, children and I were driving along Interstate 70 in Colorado. The road cuts right through the mountains and the drive between Vail and Glenwood Springs is incredible. On our left was the Eagle River—winding, wide, sparkling and beautiful—with the Denver/Rio Grand Western railway just beyond it. On our right were the mountains with their colorful striations. The whole drive was spectacular to me. I kept pointing out sights as we drove: “Look kids! Look at how big that rock is!” And as we drove through a rock formation: “Kids, check this out—we’re driving through a rock!”

“Yes, mother,” came the patronizing tone of my children’s voices from the back seat of the car. They were not nearly as amazed as I.

I have always been awed by nature. I have learned many of God’s truths through creation. When I witness something in nature I want everyone else to see and to know the wonder-making, breath-taking, spirit-waking God of my soul. Biblical scholar Peter Craigie notes that the reflection of God in nature “is perceptible only to those already sensitive to God’s revelation and purpose.” It pains me when others cannot see. How can you witness the awesome wonder of it all and not be changed? I am definitely a “stop-and-smell-the-roses kinda gal.” The beauty of creation was placed there for me to see and enjoy by the Maker of the Universe, and darn if I won’t stop and take advantage of it!

One time my son and I were listening to “Open the Eyes of My Heart” by singer and worship leader Paul Baloche on the radio in the car. “I want to see you. I want to see you,” rang out the last lines of the song as we got out of the car to run our errand. He asked me a question that tore at my heart: “Mom, can we really see God?” I was in one of those seasons of my life when God was both silent and unseen. As I paused to gather myself, I prayed: “Good question, God. Now, how do I answer my child when I’m not even sure you exist sometimes?” From somewhere beyond me the answer spilled from my lips, “Well son, we see God all around us—in nature, in people . . .”

Quick on the wonderment of it all, he replied, “Yeah, Mom! You’re right! Look! We can see Him here in this flower and in this spider-ant!” The flower was a dandelion weed and the “spider-ant” was really just a creepy spider. But even in the things of creation that some would find troublesome or annoying, my son saw God.

“Yeah, buddy, and I see God in you,” came my shaky voice as I choked back tears. Out of the mouths of babes.

Can we look at both the rose and the dandelion and see God?

Can we admire a regal praying mantis or a creepy “spider-ant” and see God’s hand in both?

Can we see God in those we love and in those “extra-grace-required” people in our lives?

Our prayer: Lord, grant us eyes to see and ears to hear. When it seems You are far off and nowhere to be found, reveal Yourself to us in new ways. Open the eyes of our hearts so that we may see you. Reveal Yourself to us in not just the holy, sacred things, but in the simple things, as well. Do not let creation cry out while we are silent. Let us sing of the beauty of Your majesty, grace, and love. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

Peter C. Craigie, Word Biblical Commentary: Psalm 1-50, Volume 19, 2nd Ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004), 181.

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Jody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift–Unleashing the Artist in You: Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit WithinFor more Bible studies like this, you can purchase a copy of her book at: Wipf & Stock PublishersAmazon and Barnes &Noble. It is also available in Kindle Format.

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