May 21 2023 Appreciating God's Creation
21st May 2023
3 Creation Psalms – I might not be the best person to do this – but it is very important.
So, in order to, before we look at these Creation Psalms, let’s go to the very beginning.
In Genesis, there are 2 Creation accounts – and there are numerous more in the Psalms, Prophets, Job, etc. – we don’t think about it much – but these 2 accounts have some differences! There are a lot of explanations for that – and we won’t talk about that today. When you see different accounts in the Bible – it should make you say – OH! What do I have to learn from this? There must be something to learn – not to try to figure out – but to learn.
It is a positive thing. Some people get concerned over differences – but I feel this is very helpful!
Genesis 1: 3 Then God (Elohim) said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Back to last week’s discussion on Sabbath!)
First – Elohim – kind of the generic way to say God – a basic term, meaning God.
The point – we are looking at this – the focus is on the distinction between God and Creation – He is Other and Above Creation. That is the focus of this first Creation story.
Then God said (10X) – He speaks creation into existence – showing the power of His word.
In chapter 1 – we have this picture of this great sovereign God creator – we see His bigness! We should feel a sense of AWE – that is what God is trying to do.
The second account – (and this comes up 10x through chapters 1-11)
Genesis 2: 4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.
LORD God – Yahweh – God – Yahweh is His Name! So we have this transcendent awesome God – and then we have this personal God who is involved with His creation. Earth and Heaven…
7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Chapter 1 – He spoke. Chapter 2 – He gets His hands dirty – He forms Man – and it shows God’s involvement with His Creation.
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
This is very intimate! It shows this intimate involvement in Creation.
8 The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.
God has human traits – He is gardening! And that is speaking of something that is to come, right?
And then, there is a bunch of stuff about rivers (which I find fascinating!)
Gen. 2:17 – Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
Took the man – the verb is Noah – which means to rest – forever he was to have this work of rest!
Genesis 2: 18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.“
God knows – He cares – He understands. He sees a problem – understands what is going on – and He cares and provides
21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs (not really rib, but a part/a hunk of Adam) and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
Here is God’s involvement again – placing, putting, resting – personally involved in meeting our needs.
In Genesis 3 – it speaks of God walking in the Garden with Man.
Paul has some insights into creation:
Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Creation reveals God’s character and attributes – Omnipotent, Omniscient, omnipresent – Speaks of God’s love and faithfulness.
We should be able to look at Creation and understand Who God is because He is clearly seen through creation.
Let’s look at a practice that will help us grow in our understanding and experience of God. Each of us wants to grow in our understanding of God. This is a simple practice that people have been doing for millennia – and I think we have forgotten it a bit.
I’m going to call the practice Creation Appreciation – because it rhymes – you might consider it New Age-ish – but it is really the opposite – in all those idolatrous faiths – it was connected to Creation – and Romans and Corinthians are teaching those coming out of those cultures that they had it backwards. Biblical worship is wholly different – but that does not lower the value of appreciating Creation.
Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays His handiwork. 2 Day after day it speaks out; night after night it reveals His greatness.
Creation reveals God’s glory and majesty! When we look up at the stars – we say, Wow! (And that is why you need to go to the mountains or places far from human lights).
Day after day, they speak out.
3 There is no actual speech or word, nor is its voice literally heard. 4 Yet its voice echoes throughout the earth; its words carry to the distant horizon. In the sky He has pitched a tent for the sun.
God spoke creation into existence – and then creation turns around and speaks of the glory of God.
Anyone can appreciate creation. An atheist can appreciate creation. But God wants us to appreciate the Creator as we look at His creation.
Appreciating leads to worship – not of Creation, but of the Creator. The problem – humans have always worshiped the creation.
We might say – yeah, we don’t do that – but that is not true – we do that all the time in our celebrity culture.
Abundance and Materialism – That was the function of the god – to provide abundance. Sex – many of the gods were sex gods. We do this also – worship creation.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple…
Perfect = complete
What we see – Creation’s voice is valuable and important as we seek to know God – but it is limited. But Torah – the Bible – is complete, where we gain this deep understanding of Who God is – and it transforms our soul. It makes wise the simple!
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Creation is valuable, but God’s word is greater – it is priceless!
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
The Scripture – which is complete and perfect – tells us to appreciate Creation. IT is throughout scripture. Don’t write it off. Don’t think of it as unimportant.
Psalm 8: 1 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!...
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; 4 What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?
When we get a proper view of Creation, seeing it as that which reveals God – that gives us a proper view of ourselves. We look, we see His glory – and we say – boy, am I small!
But God puts all things under our feet. We are the climax of creation.
Genesis talks about exercising dominion – that does not mean to profit and use – but to be servant caretakers. To receive it as a gift from God.
Psalm 104: Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty…
The Psalmist has thought about God…
5 He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever. 6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;… 8 The mountains rose; the valleys sank down To the place which You established for them. 9 You set a boundary that they may not pass over, So that they will not return to cover the earth.
And he has contemplated all of this and all he can say is ‘bless the Lord’ – if you are struggling – say Bless the Lord! You need Creation Appreciation!
10 He sends forth springs in the valleys; They flow between the mountains; 11 They give drink to every beast of the field; The wild donkeys quench their thirst… 13 He waters the mountains from His upper chambers; The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works. 14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle…
You know, when we think of all the stuff – stuff just works the way it does because the Sovereign God created it that way.
I was in charge of watering church plants – and most of them die! Cindy will never put me in charge of watering house plants.
God made all of this stuff to work – and it works! Except Sin came around and some things don’t work.
24 O LORD, how many are Your works! (Not a question mark, but an exclamation point!) In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions.
He has taken the time to appreciate Creation. When he looks – WOW! The works of God are everywhere. In wisdom you have done this!
Everything is His possession – not ours!
Our 2 grandsons are into Teslas – It will take a lot of lithium! That lithium is God’s possession – not Elon’s – but the things we use – are not ours! They belong to God and not us.
Here is the practical practice – how do you become a Creation Appreciation-er? Get outside! However you can!
Cindy and I love hiking – even at the beach! But find ways – Gardening! Part of gardening is connecting with God – connecting with what God has created.
A gardener is someone who appreciates… tomatoes!
Our garden has been over-run by tree frogs! You can hear them every evening!
Cindy planted this plant – and it is a home for tree frogs. An hour earlier it was gray – and now it was green – very cool.
Find a way to get outside! If you can’t get out of your house – watch nature shows!
33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 34 Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD.
This is a Creation Psalm – and it ends with singing praise to God. There are so many psalms that are creation psalms. Sing them – even the newer songs.
This is probably different for some of us.
When you think of Christian practices – you probably think of praying, reading, listening to Christian radio, etc. but creation appreciation needs to be a practice