Awe and Delight
Do you ever just drive to the lakeshore to see the sunset? Or climb a mountain to enjoy the view? Or look at the starry sky and gaze in wonder? Or watch a storm roll in? God’s creation invites us into communion with him. The psalmists saw that, too.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? – Psalm 8:2-4
Creation is meant to reveal the majesty, artistry, and glory of God. As this psalm indicates, the vastness of the known universe fills us with awe and helps us realize the huge gulf between us, finite and weak humans, and our Creator who is infinite in scope, power, and creative ability. This realization calls us to worship.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. – Psalm 19:1-4
This psalm also points us to the sky – the sun, planets, stars, moons, comets, asteroids, and galaxies. Instead of just looking, though, the writer invites us to listen, saying the day sky and the night sky are speaking to us and not just to us, but to the entire world. Creation is a universal language everyone can understand. No translator needed, just eyes to see and ears that are willing to hear. God is speaking all the time and everywhere. We need to learn to tune in, to give him our attention.
It seems that God wants us not only to appreciate the awesomeness of creation, but also to delight in it. Delight means to take pleasure in, appreciate, relish, enjoy, savor, and bask in. That’s how God wants us to react to creation and to relationship with him.
How can we express delight in all that God has created? Study is one way:
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.- Psalm 111:2
This says that if we delight in the works of God, we will be interested enough to study them. This means science: geology, meteorology, astronomy, agriculture, environmental care, horticulture, biology, zoology, and so on. God has given us more than a garden. He has given us an endless textbook of his creation which, as we delight in it and study it, will reveal his character.
There’s still more to delight: Here we see Wisdom’s reaction as she is witness to the creation of the earth:
. . . when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always,
rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man. – Proverbs 8:29b-31
In his teaching on Proverbs, Dr. Bruce Waltke pictures Wisdom as a little child showing awe, amazement, joy, in witnessing God’s creation. And Wisdom’s reaction was a delight to God (v. 30).
Delight just seems to come naturally to small children as Wisdom personifies above, but those of us who’ve lived awhile may have to rediscover that art. How?
Mostly by paying attention, just noticing. By not so quickly moving past the truly wonderful all around us. And if we are going to delight ourselves in the Lord (Delight yourself in the Lord. - Psalm 37:4a), then we should give the most attention to the things God has made, done, and said.
So, here’s the list of things I suggest we take time to notice:
• Creation • People • God’s Word • His involvement in our lives
God seems always to be looking for special ways to please us - in bugs, stars, rivers, flowers, mountains, and seas. In children and friends and feisty old people. In the Bible which still gives old messages with fresh insight. In food, clothing, warm blankets - blessings beyond measure. Let's not miss any of it! The Giver is delighted when we are!
“Those who are ‘beloved of the Lord’ must be the most happy and joyful people to be found anywhere upon the face of the earth.” - Charles Spurgeon