The Bible is full of literal truth. I am one who believes the Bible should be taken literally. So if the Bible says Jonah survived three days in the belly of a giant fish, that means he did. And if the Bible says Noah built an ark to save his family and either two of every species of animal (or seven of every species of animal in some cases), he did. And if the Bible says the Children of Israel escaped the pursuing armies of Egypt by walking across the Red Sea on dry ground, it happend.
The Bible often uses metaphorical language to represent truth, though. So sometimes you have to wrap your head around the metaphor to understand what’s really going on. The amazing thing about Scripture is most verses have levels of understanding–and the more you study a verse, the better you understand the culture it was written in, the better you understand the culture it was written to, and the deeper you understand the language it was written in, you reach new levels of depth. And it doesn’t matter what verse you’re talking about. This is true with every verse in the Bible.
I got to thinking about this when I read today’s verse, Psalm 119: 64.
64 O Lord, your unfailing love fills the earth;
teach me your decrees.
It’s a beautiful statement. But there are a lot of different ways of looking at what it means for God’s unfailing love to fill the earth. What does that mean literally? Well . . . if you think about it . . . those of us who believe in Christ have the Holy Spirit in us, the evidence of God’s love in our lives. And you could say there’s enough of us that we fill the earth. So that’s a literal way of looking at it.
But the concept with this verse that hit me this morning is how God’s love for us is reflected in everything He has created.
God created the Earth for us. He made it to be our home. He made it perfect–and we broke it. So He’s doing the best He can now with the world–the universe–that we threw away. But even broken and falling apart, this world is beautiful.
There’s nothing quite like a Kansas sunrise if you haven’t seen one. Kansas is 90 percent sky anyway, so when the sun is coming up in the morning, it paints everything fluorescent red-gold and turns the clouds into streaks of fire.
Birds in the air. Even ants skittering along the ground. And grasshoppers–I have a ton of them out here. The sound of the wind that blows across the fields, whether hot or cold. The smell of a freshly cut alfalfa field. The taste of mulberries freshly plucked off a tree. The dirty old Arkansas river, rushing along through Wichita. The rain, the lightning, the storms that blow through Kansas on a regular (though not so regular this year) basis.
The heat of summer. The refreshing awesomeness of autumn with all its colors and its cool weather. The chill of winter with snowflakes that are never alike. The greeness of spring that renews the world.
Mountains. Beaches. Plains. Hills. Lakes. Valleys. Creeks. God made all of it. He carved the world out with His fingers. The Earth is a masterpiece, a labor of love by a Creator who wanted to make a beautiful place for His children to live. And every time I see something beautiful in the world, I remember how much God loves me.
After all, if He draped the night sky with stars just for me, how can I argue that He doesn’t?
So this Labor Day weekend, if you’re feeling like God is distant and uncaring, sloe down and watch the sun rise or set . . . or look at stars . . . or if the weather is cooler wherever you are, eat your lunch outside . . . watch the ants, the birds, the squirrels . . . and remember that God made everything.
We should take joy in the things He made for us. Because every part of nature reminds us how much He loves us.
PS: I just had to share this for all you Wichita-types who have been surviving the hottest summer since 1930 (we broke the record yesterday with our 51st day of temperatures over 100 with a temp of 108 or something like that). Relief is on the way!!!