Summary: Matthew 5: 13-16
Thankful for God’s Handiwork
Psalm 104, passim
1. Some of you might want to add variety to your Thanksgiving dinner conversation for those of you who are mischievous:
• During the middle of the meal, turn to mom and say, "See mom, I told you they wouldn't notice that the turkey was four months past its expiration date. You were worried for nothing."
• Bring a date that only talks about the tragic and abusive conditions known to exist at turkey farms. Request that she bring photos.
• Bring a recorded football game from years ago, when no one is looking, put it on and see if anyone notices
2. Fortunately, Thanksgiving is about being Thankful and gathering with our families or friends, some of the most precious gifts we have in this life.
3. The Jews were a thankful people; some of the Feasts in the Old Testament were Thanksgiving-like. First fruits, Pentecost, and Tabernacles were all celebrations of the various crop harvests. Firstfruits (barley), Pentecost (wheat) Tabernacles (fruit and olives). In a sense, they enjoyed three Thanksgivings, but Tabernacles the biggy.
5. Psalm 104 was probably read then. It is now read every full moon. In this Psalm probably written after the exile, the Psalmist is celebrating the wonder of life and God’s creation.
6.The Psalms are poetry, and the language of poetry, while beautiful, is intended to be picturesque and emotional. “O Worship the King” is based on this Psalm
Main Idea: The universe clothes God with splendor and majesty. The earth is his workshop.
I. What We Learn About GOD
A. God is SEPARATE from his creation
Pantheism vs. Theism: In Pantheism, God is the sum total of the universe. In Jewish-Christian belief, the universe is compared to God’s wardrobe and footstool, not God himself.
B. God is INVOLVED with natural processes
Wayne Grudem refers to this concept as concurrence:
God cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do…God directs and works through the distinctive properties of each created thing, so that these things themselves bring about the results we see… [Grudem, Wayne, Systematic Theology, pp. 317, 319].
Hebrews 1:3, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…”
C. Creation May HINT at the Trinity
The Trinity, the idea that the Creator is 3 Persons is evidenced by creation itself; there are three domains, heaven, earth, and the waters.
D. God is greater than the SUM TOTAL of his creation
The universe clothes God with splendor and majesty. The earth is his workshop.
II. What We Learn About NATURE
A. Nature is one CO-ORDINATED wonder after another
A symphony is amazing; a symphonic orchestra must co-ordinate for it to work
B. Nature exists to glorify God, is for man, but not ONLY for man
1. Has it every occurred to you that God enjoys beauty and variety?
2. Sometimes the most intense Christians enjoy the beauty of life least
C. Nature is VULNERABLE
1. Probably a reference to both creation and the Flood
2. God destroyed the world with water, but he promised not to again
3. Some of the mountains were lifted up during the flood
4. Continents cannot drift…if long again, shapes would not match
Earth's size and position
Another condition that makes the earth hospitable for life is its size, which determines its gravity and in turn affects its atmosphere. if earth were only a little larger, making its gravity slightly stronger, hydrogen, a light gas, would be unable to escape earth's gravity and would collect in our atmosphere, making it inhospitable to life. Yet, if earth were only slightly smaller, oxygen-necessary for life-would escape, and water would evaporate. Thus, if earth were slightly larger or smaller, human life could not have existed on earth.
The earth travels through space at 66,600 miles an hour as it orbits the sun. That speed perfectly offsets the sun's gravitational pull and keeps earth's orbit the proper distance from the sun. If earth's speed were less, it would be gradually pulled toward the sun, eventually scorching and extinguishing life. Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, has a daytime temperature of about 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
On the other hand, if earth's speed were greater, it would in time move farther away from the sun to become a frozen wasteland like Pluto, with a temperature of about minus- 300 degrees, also eliminating all life.
As earth rotates in its orbit, it is tilted at a 23.5-degree angle relative to the sun. Although not a direct factor in whether life is possible, the angle creates the change of seasons we are able to enjoy. Were the earth not tilted, our climate would always be the same, with no change of seasons. If the tilt were greater, summers would be considerably hotter and winters much colder, wreaking havoc on plant cycles and agriculture.