He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it;
he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited…
Isaiah 45:16 (NIV)
Beauty’s rush can leave a person scrambling to appreciate something special. Isn’t this true with most things? Special moments sometimes last seconds. Relationships are sometimes forged in moments of encounter. Natural things that can take one’s breath away are sometimes caught in a glance.
There were 50 or so travelers or local vacationers in this little campground by a river near Luling, Texas. We were on a long mission trip and headed home. We were usually weary from the road by evenings but I needed a walk. There was no one outside except me. No one saw what I saw.
Sunset had already passed as I began my stroll. It was already below the dew point. The grass was wet in the fading evening light. Ground fog was forming. The sky was full of haze. I walked past this old large beautiful oak but turned back after passing it. It was one of those special big oaks with huge limbs. You could see it had withstood some storm damage. I turned back to look at it again. The crescent moon, which was rapidly fading in the evening haze and oncoming clouds, was framed by one of the old oak’s limbs. The scene was beautiful. I took 15 minutes to grab a little binocular, study, and record what I saw. It took the striking contrast of the closest celestial object with the earth at my observing position on the greatest planet in the universe to get my attention. When I was finishing, the moon was gone.
Perfect observing of the heavens is nearly always envisioned from clear skies. It’s like a common view of a good life, which is usually translated as a life with no difficulties, no trials, and all needs met. These are not a realistic views of observing or life. The skies are not always perfect; life is certainly not always pretty. One of the miraculous things about the Bible, God’s word to us, is that it paints a realistic view of man. It deals with evil and good. It shows man for what he is: in dire need of a change from the heart. It takes key figures and shows their faults and frailties. It describes a remarkable planet, created and specifically designed to be inhabited but dramatically affected by the wayward ways of man (sin).
With this in view, observe your surroundings, whether in heaven or on the earth, when you can. The precious planet where we live has a variety of sky conditions. Beauty is always enhanced by contrast. So if a constellation peeks out from clouds, or clouds roll past the moon, or rising and setting of of heavenly things has a terrestrial backdrop, each of these things gives the average observer–one without a telescope or access to media–opportunity to see, study, and even record what is seen…and think about it. That is what God intends.
For this reason, when we teach teachers and children in developing regions, we clearly tell them that their God-created eyes and minds enable them to appreciate the truth of Psalm 19:1, or Isaiah 51:12-13, or Jeremiah 31:35, or dozens of other Old and New Testament scriptures. Appreciation and assessment of what they see is equal to that described by giants like Kepler, who gave God credit for the heavens and was humbled by the power and complexity of their creator, or a believing modern astro-physicist, who believes that God created the heavens and the earth. Of course, like anyone, each person who observes can also choose to ignore God in the matter and willfully conclude that it all happened by itself, but they will not have an excuse, having been taught to see and consider what any man or woman can see numerous times…in the earth, the skies, the heavens, the seas, or right at home.
While the multiplication of data from the heavens is truly remarkable to review and study by experts or backyard observers in rich nations, where getting special equipment is easily in reach, the average person in the world usually does not have a telescope. The scriptural truth about the created heavens is meant to impact the astrophyscist or the backyard astronomer just as easily as the child or teacher in an impoverished nation that has been subject to war, disease, and famine. In some cases, people, families and schools in the richer places are at a disadvantage because distractions are incredibly loud that work agains stopping and considering the wonder of the universe around them.
Take the time to observe the world and heavens around you. Remember, some of the opportunities pass by quickly, like the one we had at this campground. Study what you see. Take the time to record it and think about it. Demand an answer to the resounding question, “How can this be?”, and find the One who created it all. There is no other reasonable answer for the exponentially increasing body of evidence of the complexity, size, and features of the heavens or the special planet on which we live: God is at the center of the matter. Nothing on earth or the heavens is adequate of itself to self generate.