God at Work (2)
His work ishonorable and glorious,
And His righteousness endures forever…
The works of His hands are verity and justice;
All His precepts aresure. Psalm 111.3, 7
One of the reasons it’s so important for us to understand the works of the Lord is because they speak to us about Him. In trying to understand the times and know what we should do, hearing whatever God has to say, from as many sources as we can, is of the utmost importance.
God reveals Himself through three important means of revelation. The primary light of divine revelation is the Bible, the Word of God. We need to dwell always in this light to make sense of the rest of God’s revelation (Ps. 36.9). The secondary light is His work in creation. God speaks through the creation, revealing things about Himself in a manner so plain and self-evident that only those who have hardened their hearts against the knowledge of God can fail to know Him thereby (Rom. 1.18-21). The focusing light of each of these is Jesus Christ, who fulfills the Scriptures (Jn. 5.39) and in whom the whole of creation consists (Col. 1.15-17). Only by looking at the primary and secondary lights of revelation through the light of Jesus Christ can we make sense of them as God intends. This is true for the Word of God, and it is also true for His works.
God is revealing Himself in the works He pursues throughout the field of the world. The heavens and everything in them declare the glory of God (Ps. 19.1-4). Even the most helpless newborn has a message about God so powerful that it can stop the mouths of unbelievers and detractors (Ps. 8.1, 2).
It’s about God
The message of God’s works is a message about Him – His being and character, purpose and will, wisdom and glory.
The Psalms especially bristle with words expressing the message of God’s works concerning Him: “How excellent is Your name in all the earth…” (Ps. 8.1) “The heavens declare the glory of God…” (Ps. 19.1) “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty” (Ps. 29.3, 4). “Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has made desolations in the earth” (Ps. 46.8). “All Your works shall praise You, O LORD, and Your saints shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power, to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom” (Ps. 145.10-12).
Clearly, the message of God’s works, as He pursues them in the field of the world, is a message about Him.
But what does God want us to learn about Him, as we study His works? What can His works tell us about God?
Splendor and majesty
Two words in particular summarize the divine character and purpose revealed in His works – splendor and majesty. Each of these gathers to it a cluster of other modifiers which, together, infuse our imagination with bright images of God’s nature and purpose.
Splendor gets at the idea of extravagance in beauty, goodness, purity, excellence, power, and bounty. God’s works – all the wide and variegated creation and all His redemptive, sanctifying, and reconciling grace – show us a God of abundant energy and lavish goodness, Who calls us to similar extravagance in knowing and serving Him. Here is a God worthy of all thanks and praise, a God to be loved.
Majesty addresses the greatness of God – His incomprehensibility, immensity, infinite power, authority, and glory. In His works of creation, providence, and redemption, we come to know a God of unbounded power, infinite wisdom, unfathomable mystery, and exalted honor and glory. Here is a God to be feared.
The God Who thus reveals Himself provides a stark contrast to the finite, narcissistic minds and projects of our secular age, be they ever so many, ambitious, or successful.
Implied in these two terms is one other important idea, an attribute of God we see revealed in the reliable and regular patterns and laws of the universe: our God is faithful. None of us went to bed last night wondering where the sun went or if we’d see it again the next day. None of us fears that the molecules of our chairs will suddenly decide to fly off into space, leaving us sprawling on the floor. We know that the universe is knowable, regular, reliable, because our splendid and majestic God has made and keeps it this way.
He is faithful; God can be trusted. Regardless of what we see going on around us in the world – the increase of tares and the dismissing of God – our faithful, splendid, and majestic God is still at work according to His plan, and for the purpose of bringing forth fruit unto the harvest. Our secular generation may be pursuing its life under the sun, but the creation and everything in its exists under the heavens, for God is at work in it faithfully, with splendor and majesty.
Understanding this, we know that we must take up our work alongside this splendid, majestic, and faithful Sower, believing that our good works can glorify Him as we sow Kingdom seed in our part of the field of the world.
1. Why does it make sense that God’s works would contain a message about Him?
2. How can you see the splendor of God in His works?
3. How can you see the majesty of god in His works?
Next steps – Preparation: Make a point today to observe something about the splendor, majesty, and faithfulness of God from His works. At the end of the day, use your observations to compose a prayer of thanks to God.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.