Enjoying Nature God’s Way


Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?
(Job 38:12-13)

Read: Job 38-39  

Devotion: There are many, many ways to enjoy God’s creation. Spending a day at the beach swimming in the ocean, using a telescope to observe the stars, hiking a challenging trail in a state or national park, or simply sitting on a bench and observing the people and animals that go by.

This planet, with its almost limitless beauty and variety, is a tremendous gift from God. And yet, many take it for granted or enjoy it in ways that limit their enjoyment and satisfaction in it. No, I’m not talking about pollution or littering or if you have a hang-up against hunting. I’m talking about enjoying and using God’s creation in a way that is counter with God’s purpose for creating it.

For example, many people enjoy fishing. But when they catch the fish, they thank the fish! When folks visit the Grand Canyon, and they might discuss with their friends how it took billions of years to form this massive geological feature through random happenstance. When some people drive by a farm, they think it’s an utter travesty that man has exercised his dominion over the animals in such a way way.

The mindset that undergirds each of these responses does not lead one to fully enjoy God’s good creation. God created the universe and everything in it (Gen 1:1-31). God owns the earth and everything in it (Ps 24:1). It is his to do with as he pleases (Ps 135:6). And he has created it and filled it with a tremendous purpose: To declare his glory and extol his attributes (Ps 19:1, 50:6; Rom 1:19-20).

This is how God answers Job at the end of Job’s discourse with his friends. God purposed and allowed Job’s suffering that Job might better know him. Although Job was the Lord’s faithful servant who walked blamelessly before his Maker, it became clear as he argued with his friends that he was deficient in his knowledge of God, in both his character and governance of the creation. All throughout Job’s speeches he constantly asks, “I wish God were here so that I could know why he’s done this to me,” (Job 9:32-33; 13:3, 15, 18; etc.). Yet when God does come and speak with Job, he doesn’t reveal why Job suffered. Instead of answering Job’s questions, God asks Job questions of his own.

Every question is about the creation, and every question question is rhetorical. The answer to each is obvious. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (v. 4). The answer, of course, was, “I wasn’t there.” Only God and the angels were there, and the angels were there just to marvel at God’s handiwork (v. 7).

Who placed the seas and created all of the wonderful beaches that dot the shoreline (vv. 8-11)? God. Who sends lightning bolts and determines where the rain is going to fall, thus establishing the boundless variety of environments that man can explore (v. 25)? God. Who feeds the lions so that they grow big and strong and majestic and cause us to awe and fear (v. 39)? God. Who designed the hawk to fly, sparking our imagination of what it would be like if we could fly (39:26)? God.

What is God doing with these questions? He’s showing Job just how little he knows about God, even though that knowledge is so evident in the creation that surrounds Job. Natural revelation cannot save a man—we need God’s special revelation in the gospel message (Rom 1:16)—but nature is a tremendous repository of God’s revelation to mankind. It is a revelation that can be twisted by our own subjective feelings and thoughts and so must be reined in and seen through the lens of God’s objective revelation in his Word, but it is a part of his revelation to mankind nonetheless.

Therefore, when we go out into nature and enjoy it in the variety of ways that God has given us the freedom and ability to enjoy it, and we spend hours and days in God’s creation without thinking about him and his character and his works or reflecting on his will and purposes as revealed in the Scriptures and any sort of thankfulness in our hearts for and toward the One who created and sustains it, we severely hamper our joy and pleasure in it. To truly enjoy nature, we must enjoy it God’s way.

Let us go out with hearts full of gratitude toward God. Let us go out with his Word which helps us to interpret natural revelation. Let us go out looking to be astounded, not just by the beauty of creation, but by the beauty of God that creation reflects.  

Ponder and Pray: Consider favorite memories in nature (family camping trips, beach trips, hikes, etc.) that God has given you. Take time to praise God for his creation and thanking him for it.

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