How Great Is Our God

We often think of the Bible as a kind of “how to” to live our life. After all, Scripture is full of statements like “obey thy father and mother,” “pray without ceasing,” and so many other directions. Our devotions can become centered on this aspect of God’s word as well – often consisting of reading a passage and meditating on how we are called to live based on that passage. None of those things are wrong. We do find valuable instruction on how to live our lives in the Scripture, and we should read the Bible from that perspective and think about it often. However, something we can tend to miss with that focus is what Scripture reveals about the greatness of God.

Isaiah 40 lays out the greatness of God using many beautiful metaphors. Isaiah begins in this chapter comforting the people of Israel, telling of the deliverance God will give them from captivity. He then describes the greatness of the God who will deliver them. Reading this chapter puts awe in the heart of the child of God – our God is so great, so all-knowing, that He knows exactly how many specks of dust there are in the earth, and knows the exact measure of the heavens. Nothing man has calculated, no scientific or mathematical theorem can come close to determining those numbers. As far as our finite minds can see, the universe never ends – but God knows its exact bounds.

Verse 15 describes the magnitude of every powerful and great nation in the world to God – a drop in a bucket, or “less than nothing” in verse 17. The governments on this earth seem so sovereign and have so much authority in our eyes – laws are passed that have great effect on our daily lives, wars are declared, and taxes are required – but all their might is puny compared to the might of our God. Even the most powerful of men is as only as strong as a grasshopper in comparison to Him.

His glory is seen even more clearly when we look at creation in the proper perspective. When we realize that God is the one who “stretched out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell there in”, we can examine every aspect of creation and see His amazing design – from the inner workings of our own body, to the fish in the deepest parts of the sea, and the weather patterns that stretch across the entire globe. Wherever men stand in awe at nature, make sure you “lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things.”

And now remember how Isaiah started this chapter – this is the God who will deliver His church Israel. This strong and powerful God who Isaiah has described is not some abstract higher being who really has nothing to do with us. He is our God. He is our strength when we are weary, or when we are struggling with sin. God chose His people out of all the insignificant nations of the earth, loved them with His powerful love, and used that power to deliver us from our sins through His Son. How great is our God!

Kenzie Kuiper

 

Why Do the Birds Sing?

Psalm 148

“Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights.Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: 10 Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: 11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: 12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: 13 Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. 14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the Lord.”

All of creation praises God together in Psalm 148. This is more than just God’s children singing to Him. It includes the weather, mountains, trees, and animals. Each element of creation uniquely gives praise to God. Verse 13 gives the reason: “Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.” God alone deserves all the praise of each part of creation.

In my travels recently, I had the amazing opportunity to go paragliding. We had some promotional material from the company, and I was looking at it afterwards. The phrase “Discover why the birds sing” caught my eye. When flying through the air, we had a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and lakes; I understood why they would use such a phrase for marketing.

Later, though, I had some time to reflect on the day and the place we were in. I looked around me at the snow-capped mountains, the massive trees that seemed so small from a distance, the river nearby, and all the singing birds, and I was amazed by God’s intricate handiwork in this little piece of the world. In that day, I took some time to think about why the birds sang. I pondered why the water sparkled and why the trees grew tall and then turned beautiful colors in autumn. I considered why the lion roared and why the snow fell and why the sun set and rose each day in all its glorious splendor. I thought about why the stars shone and why the flowers bloomed.

Romans 11:36 reads, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Our God is amazing, and He created all things for the purpose of showing His splendor in so many different ways. It’s easy to imagine how the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains exist for the glory of God, but I so often forget to see Him in the normal, everyday things. Romans says “all things,” though. The birds singing, the sun shining, and the tree growing – each does this to glorify its Maker.

When I remember this, it’s a humbling reminder to me of my lack of praise. I am created in God’s image as a rational, moral creature, but I think the flowers praise God better than I do sometimes. As part of creation, God created me so that I could glorify Him. I forget, I’m distracted, and I’m busy, but sometimes creation reminds me of a better life – one in which my walk gives constant praise to my King.

Kelsey Kuiper

 

Living to Glorify God

It is so easy to forget why God put us on this earth sometimes. Why, God? we ask. Some days I even find myself thinking I have the right purpose—serving others. I love to help others and often use it to justify that of course I’m being godly in what I’m doing. But a lot of times that service ends up being my god, and instead of aiming to glorify God in that service, I am doing it for lots of other reasons. Then I sing a Psalter number or read a Psalm and am once again struck how very wrong I am. We are reminded by so many of the Psalms that our sole purpose is to praise our Father and give Him all honor and glory. Below is a poem I put together, weaving lines of many Psalter numbers throughout—God gave us these songs so we can remember our calling!

Why am I here, on this earth?

Why did my mother give me birth?

Each day will I give thanks to Thee

And all Thy praise proclaim!

 

What is my purpose in this life?

What can I do amidst the strife?

Sing a new song to Jehovah

For the wonders He hath wrought!

 

But I am tired, weak, and weary—

How can I be anything but teary?

Sons of men, awake to praise

God the Lord who reigns above!

 

This life is hard and full of woes—

I have trouble just fighting my foes.

We on Thy lovingkindness dwell,

The wonders of Thy grace!

 

How can I, a poor and little child—

Speak to the Creator of the wild?

Say ye to God, How terrible

In all thy works art Thou!

 

But all I can do is so small

Compared to the God who made us all.

All glory, might, and honor

Ascribe to God on high!

 

_________________________________

 

Blest be the Lord, our fathers’ God,

Eternal King of kings,

Who only is omnipotent,

Performing wondrous things!

Blest be His great and glorious Name

For evermore, Amen,

And let His glory fill the earth

From shore to shore. Amen.

 

Psalter numbers in the order they appear in poem: 399:1, 261:1, 295:4, 134:1, 173:2, 183:4, 196

Grace Medema