Let the Seas Roar

One of the absolute joys of living on the Outer Banks is the constant presence of water. Canals, inlets, sounds, bays, creeks, and of course the magnificent ocean surround us with beauty and song. As I was driving to my office last week, I glanced in my rear view mirror and there it was…I could see the dunes, the sea oats, and the ocean itself as I headed west to my church. Sheer glory! Water, water, everywhere.

I remember standing out in the church parking lot after an evening worship service when I first moved here and hearing an unusual sound. It was a kind of dull roar or constant wooooshing sound that I couldn’t quite place. It was the ocean. A storm was coming in and we could hear it from a mile away. I had never heard the ocean at the church before and I was struck by the beauty of the sound that evening. The noisy bypass that lies between the church and the beach usually obliterates the sound of the crashing waves, but not that night.

When all of creation sings of the majesty and the power of God, we need to listen.

Psalm 98 (New King James Version)

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

God is worthy of our songs and shouts of joy! He is the giver of every marvelous thing and has brought salvation by his holy arm. His faithfulness to his people is an opera of his great works on our behalf. We owe him our rejoicing and our praise songs.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.

So bring out the trumpets, the harps, and the horns! The Lord reigns, and his kingdom lasts forever. Even the sea roars in anticipation of his coming. The rivers clap their hands and the hills dance in his presence. Praise the Lord!

Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills be joyful together
    before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
With righteousness He shall judge the world,
And the peoples with equity.

Sing joyfully to the Lord, all the earth! Let us praise the Lord.

The Seas Roar by Michelle Robertson

Known By Name

Have you ever been in a place where the overwhelming majesty of God’s creation caught your breath in your throat and rendered you speechless in awe? Was it something as major as the Grand Canyon or the Mediterranean Sea, or something as small as a perfect sand dollar washing up on shore, or a newborn‘s first smile?

God’s majesty is all around, yet our busy, self-interested lives often prevent us from observing it. I have a challenge for you. Read this, then read it again. Then make a PLAN to go somewhere this week with the sole intention of observation. Even if you simply go out your front door tonight and look up, you are guaranteed to see God’s wondrous works.

Isaiah chastises us when we go for days or weeks without one simple moment of awe. I feel this rebuke sharply when I realize that I live minutes from the ocean and I haven’t set foot on the beach or even parked someplace where I can watch the ocean for many, many months. I am indeed a grasshopper.

Isaiah 40 (New Revised Standard Version)

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them like a tent to live in;
23 who brings princes to naught,
    and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
    scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
    and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

He brings princes and rulers of the earth to nothing. How much time we have wasted by passionately following earthly leaders as though they had the power to save us! Not a one of them has the power to save us. Only God does…and he blows on them and they are carried off like the stubble that they are.

The image of God sitting about the circle of the earth and stretching out the heavens like a curtain is glorious. Ponder that for a moment and then read on…

25 To whom then will you compare me,
    or who is my equal? says the Holy One.

The final image that Isaiah paints is of a God who numbers all the planets, nebula, and stars in the sky and instructs the universe where and how to spin. And he knows the names of the stars. HE KNOWS THE NAMES OF THE STARS. How could you possibly think that he doesn’t know yours? How could you possibly think that your troubles are too much to share with him, your sin too deep to be forgiven, or your circumstance too complicated to be fixed?

Lift up your eyes on high…and see.

26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them,
    calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength,
    mighty in power,
    not one is missing.

Not even the tiniest star goes missing from his sight. Neither do you.

Known by Name by Matt Seals

Crowned with Glory

Most of us are familiar with the beautiful images of the earth from the photographs taken on the various Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space missions of the 1960’s and ‘70’s. To see our beautiful blue planet from such a perspective is breathtaking. Oh, how I envy the angels their view!

The first photo of the earth was actually taken many years earlier.

On Oct. 24, 1946, soldiers and scientists at White Sands Missile Range launched a V-2 missile carrying a 35-millimeter motion picture camera which took the first shots of Earth from space. These images were taken at an altitude of 65 miles, just above the accepted beginning of outer space. The film survived the crash landing because it was encased in a steel cassette. (Spacecenter.org)

Seriously, thank God somebody thought about a steel cassette.

In Psalm 8, we get a word-picture of the majesty of the earth from the Psalmist’s perspective. Imagine how he stood on the desert sands of Israel and looked up at the sky every night, contemplating the nature of God. This is what he was inspired to write:

Psalm 8 (Common English Bible)

Lord, our Lord, how majestic
    is your name throughout the earth!
    You made your glory higher than heaven!
From the mouths of nursing babies
    you have laid a strong foundation
    because of your foes,
    in order to stop vengeful enemies.
When I look up at your skies,
    at what your fingers made—
    the moon and the stars
    that you set firmly in place—
        what are human beings
            that you think about them;
        what are human beings
            that you pay attention to them?

Ah, the question. With all that you have created, what are we, that you would even pay attention to us? With all the violence and hatred in the world today, how have you not given up on us?

God’s love for humanity in that regard is nothing less than stunning. That God could spin all the universes into place and still care about where you left your car keys is nothing short of unfathomable.

You’ve made them only slightly less than divine,
    crowning them with glory and grandeur.
You’ve let them rule over your handiwork,
    putting everything under their feet—
        all sheep and all cattle,
        the wild animals too,
        the birds in the sky,
        the fish of the ocean,
        everything that travels the pathways of the sea.

So the next time you are feeling down about yourself, having a rough day, and questioning your self-worth, consider with what high regard God holds YOU. You are his beloved! He crowns you with glory and grandeur. He imparts his majesty to you, and thinks about you all the time. Someone once said that if God had a refrigerator, your school picture would be on it. Imagine that!

Ponder all this next time you look up at the stars.

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!

Photo Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory