CREATION AS AN EXPRESSION OF A LOVING GOD

When the dark days of late autumn and winter arrive, it is hard to find color in the world.  It seems that everything comes in shades of gray.  So I like to remember the beauty of the flowers of the summer and early autumn.

Jefferson vineyard and gardens grounds Charlottesville VA
Jefferson Vineyard and Gardens, Charlottesville, Virginia

Scripture tells us of the creation story, specifically on the third day God created the plants and vegetation of our earth.

“And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.  The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.”  

Genesis 1:11-13 ESV

God saw the vegetation, flowers, plants and trees and saw that “it was good”! 

Gardens at Jefferson Vineyards, Charlottesville VA 2
Gardens at Jefferson Vineyards, Charlottesville, Virginia

In fact, God was so pleased with His created nature that when He gave the directions for construction of the tabernacle by His people in the wilderness, He specifically included flowers to be depicted in the furnishings. 

“You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand shall be made of hammered work: its base, its stem, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it.”

Exodus 25:31 ESV

Blenheim gardens around tasting room 2
Gardens at Blenheim Vineyards, Charlottesville, Virginia

Can you imagine the beauty of the golden lampstand shaped as flowers for the use in the tabernacle?  Can you imagine what it looked like when the sun shined and the gold reflected light as it glittered in the stark contrast to the wilderness surrounding the people? 

This same motif was to be followed in the house of the Lord that King Solomon was instructed to build.

The cedar within the house was carved in the form of gourds and open flowers. All was cedar; no stone was seen. … Around all the walls of the house he carved engraved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, in the inner and outer rooms.”  

1 Kings 6:18, 29 ESV

Can you imagine the beauty of trees and flowers carved into the cedar?

Jefferson garden giant sunflowers
Giant Sunflowers in Jefferson Vineyard and Gardens, Charlottesville, Virginia

“Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!  Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.  Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!  For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.”  

Psalm 96:1-6 ESV

Our God is the One who created the universe and He included in our world the beauty of a wide diversity of flowers and vegetation of all kinds.  Praise His holy name for the beauty of His creation for the children of men.

Father, I praise Your name for Your marvelous work in creation.  Thank You for the beauty around us.  May I give You honor and glory for this is due You because You and You alone are God.

GOD’S ARTISTRY – A TESTIMONY TO HIS CHARACTER

 

Throughout the Southeast United States we have been experiencing record-breaking heat at a time where the calendar would suggest that we should be having much cooler temperatures.  And we need rain!  

fall-colors-in-east-tennessee
Fall colors in the mountains of East Tennessee.

However, while the need for rain is certainly significant, there is a blessing side of the situation.  The leaf-bearing shrubs, trees and vegetation are so colorful that they create a scene that exceeds any picture that an artist’s pallet would create.  Because we have not had rain or wind, the leaves have remained on the trees and the colors have retained their brilliance much longer than in recent years.

east-tennessee-vista-with-colorful-leaves
Fall colors along the roadway.

East Tennessee is always beautiful with the mountains and the gentle rolling hills … the majority of which are covered in a wide variety of trees.  Now, however, God’s pallet of colors is on vivid display in the hills and valleys of the area.

neighborhood-fall-leaves
Neighborhood trees on colorful display.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 1:20

Paul in Romans is noting that the human race has no excuse for denying God’s power because it is so clearly on display in His creation.  Simply put, creation evidences God’s attributes that are invisible to us, His eternal power and His divine nature, His goodness and His beauty. 

In fact, Scripture has much to say about the beauty of God and we find that beauty is one of His attributes, an attribute that is evidenced not only by His creation but also by His directives regarding worship due to Him.

When God’s people were in the wilderness, we read that God directed the design of the tabernacle, the place where He was going to be with His people.  It was to be made with gold, with purple cloth, with all assortments of gems, jewels and craftsmanship.  It would be dazzling in the sun and would reflect God’s beauty and glory to all who looked at it.  In fact, God directed that this beauty extended even to the clothing that the priests were to wear:

And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. …  “For Aaron’s sons you shall make coats and sashes and caps. You shall make them for glory and beauty.

Exodus 28:2, 40.

David, in the Psalms, speaks of the “beauty of the Lord” in a number of places, but here are two examples:

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:4

Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Psalm 96:6

But there is beauty in God’s creation not only on a panoramic scale but on a small scale as well, and not just when the leaves turn colors.  Think about the the beauty and variety of apples.

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A bushel of apples from the orchard.

Consider too the variety of winged gourds.

carvers-orchard-10-2016-winged-gourds
Winged gourds directly from the farm!

We won’t even begin to think about the variety of flowers, trees, animals, fish … people!

 For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty!

Zechariah 9:17a.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love [goodness] endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble … Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love [goodness], for his wondrous works to the children of man!

Psalm 107:1-2, 8

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”   Tell others of your relationship with this wonderful, loving, God of creation Who is the very definition of goodness and Who has extended His unspeakable grace and love in sending Jesus Christ, His only Son, to be our Savior and Lord. 

When you look at the beauty of creation this autumn, let it remind you of the glory of our God and of our Lord Jesus. 

Let it remind you of the beauty of our omniscient and omnipresent God who love you and who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the atoning sacrificial Lamb so we could have life eternal through His name.  John 20:31.

Let it speak to your heart and soul and mind, and let your mouth sing praise to Him for His goodness to the children of men.  

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!

Here is John Rutter’s beautiful arrangement of the hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth” as sung by The Cambridge Singers.  

 

 

 

Father, forgive me when I get so focused on the issues in the news, the distress of others, the materialistic culture around me … that I forget that You are my Father and I have no reason to quake.  Forgive me when I look at the beautiful colors in your creation and only see dead leaves on the walkway.  Forgive me when I see only sinful people when I should be looking at people with your eyes of love and compassion.  Forgive me when I fail to tell others of your steadfast love and wondrous works to the children of men.  Give me strength, dear Father, to following your commands through my Lord and Savior, your Son, Jesus Christ.