Friday, August 30, 2013

Everything We Need

Scriptural Reading: Psalm 104:5-9, 24-30
Devotional Reading: Matthew 6:25-34

After I read the Scriptural and devotional reading, I meditated as to what to write. I was so inspired that when I awoke in the middle of the night I was singing this song of praise. “How great is our God! Sing with me. How great is our God! All will see. How great, how great, is our God. You’re the name above all names. You are worthy of all praises – and my heart will sing…How Great is Our God”. My heart is full when I think of God’s creation and ability to provide for each and every creature that He created. My heart is full when I think of God the Father as the Author of the Plan of Salvation. He provided us a way to escape the sin of the world through His only begotten Son, Jesus. My heart is full when I think of Christ who took the form of man and obediently carried out His Father’s Plan on our behalf. And He didn’t have to do it! In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus taught the multitude that worrying was not necessary because God knows and will provide everything they need just as He provides for the birds and the lilies of the field. Jesus declares at verses 33-34, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”. (NKJV)

This quarter of study is entitled “First Things”. We are in Unit I – “First Days” of the three units of the quarter. This is the first lesson of a four-lesson study. It is a creation hymn that affirms God’s creation of the world.

When we turn on the television and see the many people in various locations, we are sometimes in awe due to the magnitude of the many people and the human management over them. When we look at the greatest wonders of the world, we are sometimes in awe due to the magnificence of the structures or the work of the artists. We are also awe-struck when we see how man attempts to manage the animal kingdom. But no one can match the awe-inspiring magnificence of God the Creator and Sustainer of the entire world. You witness His magnificence if you ever see the world’s highest water falls (Angel Falls, Venezuela) which is located in a jungle, or the sandstone sculpture forming The Wave located near the Arizona-Utah border in the USA which was created by wind and rain erosion over millions of years. No human can begin to understand in his/her finite mind the infinite wisdom behind the creation and provision for each of the created beings throughout the universe, some yet to be discovered. The psalmist declared at Ps 104:1, 35b, “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” (NKJV) All the praise belongs to God. All verses between these verses give praise for the creation and provision for the creation. The entire psalm is a beautiful picture of praise to the Almighty Creator. It should be read in conjunction with Genesis 1-2. However, only a few verses have been selected for this lesson.

Our lesson begins on the third day of creation with a poetic description of God forming the land from the water as the psalmist declares at verses 5-6, “You who laid the foundations of the earth, so that it should not be moved forever, you covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains”. (NKJV) This refers to the creation of the earth. The idea is that God founded the earth upon a basis or foundation with something placed under it for support. Ps 24:2 states, “For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters”. (NKJV) The earth may be shaken by earthquakes, but it will not be removed until the end of time when it will give way to the new earth. Until then, it is the most fixed and stable object of which we have knowledge. The entire earth was blanketed by waters in the beginning of the creation. The waters even covered the highest mountains. No dry land had appeared as of yet. In Gen 1:9-10 Moses recorded as part of the third day of the creation the following, “Then God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear’, and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good”. (NKJV)

The psalmist then uses poetic phrases to describe God’s creative power in commanding the dry land to appear and the waters to obediently flee into preset boundaries as he declares at Ps 104:7-9, “At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains: they went down into the valleys, to the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth”. (NKJV) At the command of God’s thunderous voice the waters obeyed, flowed down the mountains into valleys, and retreated to the boundaries of the earth He had preset for them. The mountains and valleys of the earth became visible. The waters are forbidden to go beyond the boundaries preset by God. He allowed them to flood the earth once during the days of Noah (Gen 7) greatly increasing for one hundred fifty days. Gen 8:4-5 indicates, “Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen”. (NKJV) God then set a rainbow in the cloud as a sign of His covenant that He would not drown the world again (Gen 9:12-17). In response to the many inquiries of Job, God’s response was to advise him he was not present when the foundations of earth were laid. He stated in His magnificence at Job 38:8, 11, “who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; when I fixed My limit for it, and set bars and doors; When I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!’” (NKJV) This is the Lord’s wondrous handiwork indeed!

There are an endless number and variety of works of God on both the earth and the sea as the poet artistically exclaims at verses 24-26, “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions. This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great. There the ships sail about; there is that Leviathan which You have made to play there”. (NKJV) There is no tongue that can express or mind that can comprehend the magnitude of the creation. We have no idea as to how many varieties there are of any one class God created, not to mention that we are without the knowledge as to how many classes that are truly in existence. We can not divide these varieties and classes with certainty by number as to how many are on the earth living in trees or grass, living in caves or cliffs or brush, in the seas, in the oceans, etc. We have no idea where these creatures live, but God in His infinite wisdom designed each of them and will care for them with all of His attention. So therefore, we know He will take care of us. The poet seemed to connect with the sea in particular. He describes the activity of ships sailing to and fro on the sea. While sailing in the deep water the crew find themselves engaged with a playful leviathan (large sea animal). In Gen 1:20-21 Moses recorded as part of the fifth day of the creation the following, “Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures…So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind…And God saw that it was good”. (NKJV) The leviathan in this passage may have referred to whales or to dolphins who like to follow ships. Recently a 40 ft., 80,000 lb, whale rose out of the water in Monterey Bay in California on a couple of kayakers. The whale gave them a very close encounter with one of God’s large sea creatures, almost close enough to touch. It was an experience of a lifetime.

Although all things were created in a unique way, every created thing has something in common as the psalmist poetically declared in verses 27-30. The verses read, “These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season. What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good. You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth”. (NKJV) All created beings depend on God. From humans to the animals in the wilds, to the birds of the air, to the creatures of the water, etc. all living things depend on God for their provision whether they are able to consciously recognize Him or not. He provides the abundance of their provision, but the created beings must gather their food. They are filled with the good provisions of the Lord. All creatures have a specific diet designed by God for their systems to be eaten in a proper amount at a proper time. For example, a polar bear could live off a seal weighing 121 lbs for eight days to keep his energy level high. However, when he is hibernating he does not eat. I am sure the seals are happy at that point. If it should appear there is trouble because God has turned His face and decided He would not provide for all of the created beings, there would be complete terror. Hunger is a horrible thought-provoking message. We have no where else to turn but to the Lord. Without God’s provision and economy, death will strike down a generation that will return to the dust as promised by Him when He cursed man due to their sin in the Garden of Eden. It is recorded by Moses at Gen 3:19, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you, and to dust you shall return”. (NKJV) All of creation still suffers the curse of this bondage to sin (Rom 8:21-22) and awaits deliverance in the day of glory when there will be a new earth. Until then all living creatures expect death to occur. However, God replenishes His earth with creatures as they multiply in accordance with His plan to continue to re-create after their own kind and renew the face of the earth while it is yet in existence.

Our God is awesome! Why is it that church folks feel slighted by God when they “only” have shelter, food, and clothing and not the extras they so desire? We as church folks are not slighted if we do not receive our desires. We simply must remember “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”. (Matt 5:45 NKJV) If we were to require God to provide our desires, would we be better than our Creator? Or if we believed we must have our desires to keep up with our neighbors, would there not be an issue of covetousness instead of love? Remember all that we have comes from the Lord, but it can be so easily taken away from us if God allows. Who knows if that is what happened with Hurricane Katrina? On August 29, 2005 the hurricane struck the central Gulf Coast of the United States causing the death of more than 1,800 people and billions of dollars in damage. Eight years later many people are still displaced from their homes. Yet some of our church folks who have the necessities remain upset when we do not get the desires of our hearts. Perhaps we need to pray and praise more often to remember that God provides everything we need.

Written by Deborah C Davis

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