Summary: In the beauty of every season we can see glimpses of what God has in store for us. We can also see see the imperfection of the fall.
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost 2006
Dr. Paul G. Humphrey
PS 104:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
PS 104:2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
PS 104:3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.
PS 104:4 He makes winds his messengers,
flames of fire his servants.
PS 104:5 He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.
PS 104:6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
PS 104:7 But at your rebuke the waters fled,
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
PS 104:8 they flowed over the mountains,
they went down into the valleys,
to the place you assigned for them.
PS 104:9 You set a boundary they cannot cross;
never again will they cover the earth.
PS 104:10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.
PS 104:11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
PS 104:12 The birds of the air nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
PS 104:13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
What do these verses say to us?
I. These verses are about God’s power.
God is in control in matters that are as vast as the universe.
We have had some clear cold nights this past week, and it amazes me to think that here we are in the vastness of cold dark space. There is something foreboding about looking into the distance of space. As far as science has been able to probe into the deep, they have found no life.
And yet, life abounds all around us here on this planet that is unlike all other planets that we know.
What a miracle it is that we even exist. As we look around us we see God’s signature on all things. The Bible tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork.
God’s signature is all around us.
And, as we look at the wonder of creation we also see that in the midst of all the beauty around us there is still imperfection. There is death, disease and thorns.
As we look around it is built into our hearts that this is not all that there is. And, what we see is only a glimpse of how it is supposed to be.
Back in Genesis we find a picture of perfection. There was no death, suffering, disease. And, then as sin entered into the world came the curse. It is hard for us to imagine Eden. Maybe it was a different realm of existence, maybe a different dimension. We can’t imagine a place in which we couldn’t even die? Could we? It is outside of our experience.
One day Adam and his boys were out for a walk and happened upon the Garden of Eden. One of the boys said, “Dad, what is that place?” Adam responded, “Guys, that’s where your mother ate us out of house and home.”
I remember hearing an old preacher once saying that had we been in Eden we would have eaten from the forbidden fruit as well. I think he was right, and we have eaten from it with every sin that we have ever committed.
Our removal from Eden came with a curse. This curse was not just upon humankind, but upon the entire creation, which still groans, as the New Testament tells us for an expected redemption.
Here and now we see thorns, and thistles. Ever notice how easily weeds grow?
You don’t have to plant crab-grass.
You will never hear of anyone being plagued by watermelons and corn and tomatoes sprouting up in their yard. The curse is evident.
Saturday we spent the day cutting Locust trees here at the church. If you are familiar with them, they have thorns on them. My leg is real familiar with them. Isn’t it funny how quickly something with thorns on it will grow. We just cut them down a couple of years ago and they are once again big trees.
Just as the curse is evident, it is also evident that this is not the way it is supposed to be forever. In our heart of hearts, we know that God has something better in store.
No civilization has ever been entirely able to delete rumors of land beyond. These rumors of a lost Eden come to us in stories, poetry, flashes of joy, aching desire which are, as CSL recognized: “the sent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard” (Weight of Glory)