The Grace to Read God’s Book of Creation

While most are quite familiar with the hymn Amazing Grace by John Newton, many are less aware of his many other hymns. Below is one that has blessed my heart today and made me so thankful, once again, for God's abundant grace toward those who are His.

The Book of Creation (Hymn 81)

The book of nature open lies, With much instruction stor’d;
But till the Lord anoints our eyes, We cannot read a word.

Philosophers have por’d in vain, And guess’d from age to age:
For reason’s eye could ne’er attain To understand a page.

Though to each star they give a name, Its size and motions teach;
The truths which all the stars proclaim, Their wisdom cannot reach.

With skill to measure earth and sea, And weigh the subtile air;
They cannot, Lord, discover thee, though present ev’rywhere.

The knowledge of the saints excels The wisdom of the schools;
To them his secrets God reveals, Though men account them fools.

To them the sun and stars on high, The flowers that paint the field,
And all the artless birds that fly, Divine instruction yield.

The creatures in their senses press, As witnesses to prove
Their Saviour’s power and faithfulness, His providence and love.

Thus may we study nature’s book, To make us wise indeed!
And pity those who only look At what they cannot read.

A Worship Lesson from Toddlers

O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.  Let the glory of the LORD endure forever;
Let the LORD be glad in His works. 
-Psalm 104:24, 31, 34

As a mommy of three, I have been recently amazed at the raw joy, hearts of worship and innocent awe toddlers can have about creation.  This weekend we went to the beach and I watched as they ran down the beach with unbridled glee, splashing, looking amazed at the waves, as they collected treasures. 

“OOOH!  Look at this Momma!”  My Elijah who’s almost four says to me repeatedly, followed quickly by, “What ‘dis?”  He has no idea what it is - he’s never encountered anything like it before, but somehow it’s awe-inspiring to him (to us it’s a wet yucky piece of driftwood or a squishy sea cucumber.)

When did I get too old to gasp in wonder at what God does?  

Lord, teach me to notice Your greatness, change my rituals to worship, and teach my heart to stand again in awe of all You are and all You do.

Accustomed to Greatness?

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For those of us who have grown up in strong Christian homes, or who have been believers for many years, the greatness, majesty and unsearchableness of God can come to be almost as commonplace as chocolate chip cookies and a hug from mom. We serve a great God. We know it. We tell others.

However, just as easily as we can tell of His greatness, we can cease to wonder at it. We take for granted the power God displays in creation. We tell the stories of the battle of Jericho or the raising of Lazarus but too easily tell them with the same admiration we might display for a beautiful new building. It’s not that we aren’t impressed by God, it’s just that we have allowed His greatness to become common place.

One of my sister, Connie’s, photos (taken at dawn from the top of a mountain) reminds me how easily we can cease to wonder at things that are “wonder” full: things like the sun and clouds…and the God who made them.

Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
That an abundance of water may cover you?. . .
Who can number the clouds by wisdom?. . .
Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
And spread its wings toward the south?
Does the eagle mount up at your command,
And make its nest on high? . . .
Have you an arm like God?
Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor,
And array yourself with glory and beauty.
[Selected verses from Job 38-40]

May we never cease to wonder at the greatness of our God!