NATURE’S MOST POWERFUL SERMON
Psalm 19:1-4. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
“None are so blind as those who will not see.” Such are the fools who say in their heart: “there is no God.” (Psalm 14) The enlightened child of God however reads nature like a book, a kind of primer in which nature’s God reveals his power and wisdom to man. And every page reveals new wonders, for nature teaches many lessons.
The birds should remind us not to worry about our daily bread, for the same Lord who cares for the birds will certainly provide for all our needs, Matt.6:26.
The lilies of the field should serve as an example of God’s concern for us; He who clothed the flowers so beautifully will surely furnish us with sufficient clothing, Matt.6:28.
The ant is held up to us as a model of industry and labor, especially to those who are too lazy to work for their daily bread, Proverbs 6:6-8.
A good tree produces good fruits and a corrupt tree has evil fruits. This is given to us as a good test for the false prophets, Matt.7:15-20.
However, Nature has another lesson so powerful that it overshadows all other lessons and examples. Our text speaks of that.
NATURE’S MOST POWERFUL SERMON
- IT IS A CONTINUOUS SERMON
“Day unto day uttereth speech.” All day long the sun preaches this powerful sermon with its dazzling light and with its heat, the source of all life on earth. “Night unto night showeth knowledge.” When the mighty sun goes down, the moon and stars and planets take their turn to preach. There is no interruption in the sermon, not a moment is lost.
This is the longest sermon in the world, beginning at creation and ending only on Judgment Day when “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise,” 2 Peter 3:10. Other preachers may come and go; death stops them all, but Nature continues to preach throughout all generations. There is no sign of weariness or tiring in this sermon, it is ever fresh and full of power day by day.
- IT IS A UNIVERSAL SERMON.
“There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” Nature’s sermon is a silent sermon. You may strain your ears but no sound or language can be heard. A strange sermon indeed with no flowery language, no beautiful phrases, and no eloquent delivery. Yet it is full of power and beauty.
This sermon is understood by all people, of all ages, of every language and tongue, a universal sermon with no possibility of a misunderstanding. The unlearned can grasp the meaning of the sermon as well as the educated; children can understand its simple speech as well as the grown-ups. Nature talks with a universal language and meaning, silently, but more powerful in its way than any human speech.
- IT IS A REVEALING SERMON.
“The heavens declare the glory of God.” What is the unmistakable theme and thought of Nature’s sermon? Nature is constantly crying out, “All ye nations and people, behold the majesty and power and glory of the God who made all things. We can only reflect a little of the might and magnificent glory of our Maker. Search for Him, seek Him, learn more of Him, for He is marvelous.” Nature is actually singing a constant doxology to the eternal power, might and wisdom of the Godhead.
“And the firmament showeth his handywork.” An examination and careful study of an automobile reveals the intelligence and skill of the manufacturer. We are often amazed with a simple little gadget on a car which does so much to make it safe and easy to operate.
The firmament of the heavens, the air, the sky, and the starry dome all reveal, in a limited way, the heart and mind of the Creator. God did not try to hide Himself from us in His creation, on the contrary, He wished to give us some picture of Himself and leave us with a very definite impression. And the picture we have of Him simply takes away our breath, we become speechless, our minds become numb.
The power locked in Nature is awesome. The atomic bomb, the violent storms, the quaking earth, the turbulent sun, the exploding stars remind us forcefully of the incomprehensible power and might of the Creator of these things.
To disregard and reject this sermon of Nature is utter folly. Rom 1:20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse.” Nature especially warns the atheist and idolater to turn from their wicked ways and seek the true God of creation.
Nature’s powerful sermon has its limitations, however, and it cannot tell us the full story of God. Nature does not proclaim the holy Gospel which tells us of the amazing love of God who gave His Son to die on the cross for us poor sinners. The Gospel must be proclaimed to become known to man. Pastors need not be concerned too much about preaching on the omnipotence and omniscience of God. Nature can do that, and with for more eloquent words than any human being can muster. A preacher is called to do what Nature cannot do—“preach the gospel to every creature.”
Jesus revealed Himself, as the Epiphany season reminds us, as the Lord and Master of Nature when He rebuked the winds and the sea and there was an immediate calm, Matt.8:23-27. This miracle had the desired effect upon the disciples and they cried out in amazement, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” St. John says of Jesus, “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made,” (1:3). In the Nicene Creed we confess, “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made, Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made.” Jesus is not only the Creator of heaven and earth, but He is also the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,” who came into the world “to seek and save that which was lost.” All who believe and trust in Him as the Redeemer are saved.
As the star led the wise men of the east to the cradle of the Christ-child whom they accepted by faith as their Savior, so may the stars of heaven awaken in us a desire to learn more about the wonderful Maker from the Holy Scriptures. For in that Book we shall learn that the same Mighty God who created all things is also the God of love who came to die for us poor sinners, that “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Yes, God so loved the world.
Some day, when we are in heaven we shall not need the heavens to declare unto us the glory of God, for then we shall see His real, full glory, face to face. AMEN.
PRAYER. We thank Thee, dear Lord, that Thou hast not hidden Thyself from our eyes, but hast revealed Thyself to us in Nature and in the Holy Scriptures. We marvel at Thy power and majesty in creation, and especially are we amazed at Thy love to us in Christ which Thou hast revealed in Thy Holy Book. We confess unto Thee all our sins and throw ourselves entirely on Thy mercy, which Thou hast in Christ our Lord and Savior, and ask Thee for forgiveness for His sake. Eternal glory be unto Thee, O Father, Son, and Spirit, ever one God, world without end. AMEN.