This week's thought is a Thanksgiving Meditation. It was written by John Piper. I once used it in a message I preached on worship, and how we are called to "magnify" God's name. To "magnify" means to make bigger, or to increase in size. And please don't hear me wrong: I'm not at all suggesting that we can ever make the infinite God "larger" than He actually is! God is greater and more majestic than our minds will ever be able to comprehend, and nothing we do can change Him in the least.
Yet, as Donald McCullough rightly pointed out in his book, "The Trivialization of God," humanity does have a nearly unstoppable tendency to shrink or trivialize God -- in our understanding -- since the thought of His granduer, majesty, might and immensity tends to make us feel insignificant, trivial and powerless by comparison.
I share his meditation with you because it does (in my estimation) "magnify" the Lord. In fact, my initial impulse after reading it for the first time was to bend the knee in heartfelt worship. It does make one feel humbled. It spawns a sense of awe. What he says is truly amazing when you think of it -- and its only one of God's many, many, common, but truly great works. Enjoy.
The Great Work of God - Rain
"But as for me, I would seek God, and place my cause before Him who does great and unsearchable things; wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth, and sends water on the fields."Job 5:8-10------------------------------
If you said to someone: "My God does great and unsearchable things; He does wonders without number," and they responded, "Really? Like what?" Would you say, "Rain"?...
"God does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth." In Job's mind, rain really is one of the great, unsearchable wonders that God does. But is rain a great and unsearchable wonder wrought by God?
Picture yourself as a farmer in the Near East, far from any lake or stream. A few wells keep the family and animals supplied with water. But if the crops are to grow and the family is to be fed from month to month, water has to come on the fields from another source. From where? Well, the sky. The sky? Water will come out of the clear blue sky? Well, not exactly.
Water will have to be carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea, over several hundred miles and then be poured out from the sky onto the fields. Carried? How much does it weigh? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that would be 27,878,400 cubic feet of water, which is 206,300,160 gallons, which is 1,650,501,280 pounds of water.
That's heavy. So how does it get up in the sky and stay up there if it's so heavy? Well, it gets up there by evaporation. Really? That's a nice word. What's it mean? It means that the water sort of stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. I see. Then how does it get down? Well, condensation happens. What's that? The water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That's small.
What about the salt? Salt? Yes, the Mediterranean Sea is salt water. That would kill the crops. What about the salt? Well, the salt has to be taken out. Oh. So the sky picks up a billion pounds of water from the sea and takes out the salt and then carries it for three hundred miles and then dumps it on the farm?
Well it doesn't dump it. If it dumped a billion pounds of water on the farm, the wheat would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the billion pounds water down in little drops. And they have to be big enough to fall for one mile or so without evaporating, and small enough to keep from crushing the wheat stalks.
How do all these microscopic specks of water that weigh a billion pounds get heavy enough to fall (if that's the way to ask the question)? Well, it's called coalescence. What's that? It means the specks of water start bumping into each other and join up and get bigger. And when they are big enough, they fall. Just like that? Well, not exactly, because they would just bounce off each other instead of joining up, if there were no electric field present. What? Never mind. Take my word for it.
I think, instead, I will just take Job's word for it. I still don't see why drops ever get to the ground, because if they start falling as soon as they are heavier than air, they would be too small not to evaporate on the way down, but if they wait to come down, what holds them up till they are big enough not to evaporate? Yes, I am sure there is a name for that too. But I am satisfied now that, by any name, this is a great and unsearchable thing that God has done. I think I should be thankful - lots more thankful than I am.
Grateful to God for the wonder of rain,
How anyone can hear that and NOT want to worship is beyond me! And that doesn't include what I would call the even greater works of God -- such as the creation of the earth, or the universe, with its many stars and galaxies. The most current estimates guess that there are 100 to 200 billion galaxies in the universe, each of which has hundreds of billions of stars. A recent German super-computer simulation puts that number even higher: 500 billion. That would mean one galaxy for every star in the Milky Way!
Or consider our sun. It's 870,000 miles in diameter. You could fit one million planet earths inside the sun. It has flames that have shot out 250,000 miles from its surface! Those are such huge numbers that it’s hard for us to even get a sense of the scale. Yet our sun is a dwarf in comparison to the gargantuan star, Eta Carinae, located approximately 7,500 light years away from us. It has a diameter 800 times the size of our sun or 696,000,000 miles in diameter! It is 4 million times as bright as our own sun, and so large that it casts off 500 times the mass of the earth every year!
Again, what does one do when they consider such things? The best thing to do is remember what Paul tells us in Romans 1:20: "God's invisible qualities -- His eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen and understood by what He has made..." Considering all these facts about the creation tells us something about God's immensity, power, knowledge and wisdom.
And even more humbling than all that is the thought that God, as Creator, exceeds in power, breadth, might and majesty, all that He has made. He is, as one has put it, greater than the sum total of everything He has made.
Wow! How can one not be moved to worship?
In the hopes that you are, Pastor Jeff