January 15, 2012 – January 21, 2012
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3.
Study Help: Child Guidance, 53–60.
“There are lessons to be learned in God’s book of nature.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 307.
1 AWE-INSPIRING THOUGHTS
- What was the prophet Nehemiah inspired to say about nature? Nehemiah 9:6.
Note: “There is beauty in the valley’s awful grandeur, in the solemn, massive, cleft rocks; there is majesty in the towering mountains that look as if they touched the heavens. There are the lofty trees with their delicately formed leaves; the spires of grass, the opening bud and blossoming flower, the forest trees, and every living thing. They all point the mind to the great and living God. Every faculty of our being testifies that there is a living God, and we may learn from the open book of nature the most precious lessons in regard to the Lord of heaven.
“In this study the mind expands, is elevated and uplifted, and becomes hungry to know more of God and His majesty. We have awakened in our hearts feelings not only of reverence and awe but of love, of faith, of trust and entire dependence upon One who is the giver of all good. And as I look at His marvelous works and see the evidences of His power I instinctively inquire, ‘What is man that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?’ Psalm 8:4. …
“Why should we not converse more earnestly, and in a heavenly frame of mind, in regard to God’s gifts in nature? He has made all these things, and designs that we shall see God in His created works. These things are to keep God in our remembrance and to lift our hearts from sensual things and bind them in bonds of love and gratitude to our Creator.” Our High Calling, 250.
2 PONDERING THE PINNACLES
- With what thoughts should we let nature inspire us? Psalms 19:1–3; 143:5, 6.
Note: “The great Architect has formed and fashioned the scenes of nature that they may have an important bearing upon man’s intellectual and moral character. These are to be God’s school to educate the mind and morals. Here the mind may have a vast field for study in the display of the majestic works of the Infinite One.” Our High Calling, 252.
“We have looked upon the lofty, terraced mountains in their majestic beauty, with their rocky battlements resembling grand old castles. These mountains speak to us of the desolating wrath of God in vindication of His broken law; for they were heaved up by the stormy convulsions of the flood. They are like mighty waves that at the voice of God stood still—stiffened billows, arrested in their proudest swell. These towering mountains belong to God; He presides over their rocky fastnesses. The wealth of their mines is His also, and so are the deep places of the earth.
“If you would see the evidences that there is a God, look around you wherever your lot may be cast. He is speaking to your senses and impressing your soul through His created works. Let your heart receive these impressions, and nature will be to you an open book, and will teach you divine truth through familiar things. The lofty trees will not be regarded with indifference. Every opening flower, every leaf with its delicate veins, will testify of the infinite skill of the great Master Artist. The massive rocks and towering mountains that rise in the distance are not the result of chance. They speak in silent eloquence of One who sits upon the throne of the universe, high and lifted up. ‘Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world’ [Acts 15:18.] All His plans are perfect. What awe and reverence should His name inspire!” Ibid., 251.
- What message is written in every element of God’s creation? Psalm 121:1, 2.
Note: “The hand that sustains the worlds in space, the hand that holds in their orderly arrangement and tireless activity all things throughout the universe of God, is the hand that was nailed to the cross for us.” Education, 132.
3 BASIC YET SUBLIME
- Name two elements in nature that serve as object lessons of faith. I Samuel 2:2; Psalms 36:6; 125:1, 2.
Note: “God is Himself the Rock of Ages, a refuge for His people, a covert from the storm, a shadow from the burning heat. He has given us His promises, which are more firm and immovable than the rocky heights, the everlasting hills. The mountains shall depart, and the hills shall be removed; but His kindness shall not depart, nor His covenant of peace be removed from those who by faith make Him their trust. If we would look to God for help as steadfastly as these rocky, barren mountains point to the heavens above them, we should never be moved from our faith in Him and our allegiance to His holy law.” Our High Calling, 251.
- What can we learn from the rocks?
Note: “The rocks are among the precious things of earth, containing treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In the rocks and mountains are registered the fact that God did destroy the wicked from off the earth by a flood.” Our High Calling, 252.
- What question posed to Job humbles even the most self-confident? Job 38:16–18. What should God’s creatures as well as the sights and sounds of nature make us realize? Job 12:7–10.
Note: “From the solemn roll of the deep-toned thunder and old ocean’s ceaseless roar, to the glad songs that make the forests vocal with melody, nature’s ten thousand voices speak His praise. In earth and sea and sky, with their marvelous tint and color, varying in gorgeous contrast or blended in harmony, we behold His glory. The everlasting hills tell us of His power. The trees that wave their green banners in the sunlight, and the flowers in their delicate beauty, point to their Creator. The living green that carpets the brown earth tells of God’s care for the humblest of His creatures. The caves of the sea and the depths of the earth reveal His treasures. He who placed the pearls in the ocean and the amethyst and chrysolite among the rocks, is a lover of the beautiful. The sun rising in the heavens is a representative of Him who is the life and light of all that He has made. All the brightness and beauty that adorn the earth and light up the heavens, speak of God.” The Ministry of Healing, 411, 412.
4 THE PURPOSE OF MOUNTAINS
- When contemplating the grandeur of the mountains, what should we ever keep in mind? Psalms 65:5, 6; 90:2; Hebrews 11:3.
Note: “The varied scenery in the towering mountains and rocky heights, the deep mountain gorges with their rapid, noisy streams of water coming from the mountains above, the many cataracts that come tumbling down from the tops of the mountains, the waters breaking as they strike the rocks, and scattering into spray like a veil, render this scenery altogether one of surpassing beauty and grandeur.
“Mountains contain God’s blessings. I have seen men and women look upon the majesty of mountains as though they were really a deformity of nature. They would sigh and say, ‘How needless! Let me have the level plain, the broad prairies, and I should be happy.’ The mountains contain treasures of blessings which the Creator bestows upon the inhabitants of the earth. It is the diversity in the surface of the earth, in mountains, plains, and valleys, which reveals the wisdom and the power of the great Master Worker. And those who would banish from our earth the rocks and mountains, the wild gorges and the noisy, rushing streams, and the precipices, as unsightly deformities in nature, and would have a smooth level—their senses are too limited to comprehend the majesty of God. Their minds are bound about with narrow ideas.
“God, the great Architect, has built these lofty mountains, and their influence upon climate is a blessing to our world. They draw from the clouds enriching moisture. Mountain chains are God’s great reservoirs, to supply the ocean with its water. These are the sources of the springs, rills, and brooks, as well as the rivers. They receive in the form of rain and snow, the vapors with which the atmosphere is charged, and communicate them to the parched plains below. We should look upon the irregular mountains of the earth as God’s fountains of blessings from which flow forth the waters to supply all the living creatures. Every time I look upon the mountains I feel gratitude to God. My heart is lifted up in praise to Him who knows the wants and needs of man. If the earth had been a uniform level there would be stagnant marshes.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 306, 307.
- How can “mountains” of difficulties be removed? Matthew 17:20, 21.
5 MINDFUL OF THE DELICATE
- Just as the Lord bids us contemplate the majesty of the mountains and oceans, to what else does He point us? Matthew 6:28, 29.
Note: “The great Master Artist calls our attention to the soulless flowers of the field, pointing out the beautiful tints and the wonderful variety of shades one flower may possess. …
“The Lord our Creator expends as much care, wisdom, and time upon the tiny flower as upon the great things He creates. In the tiniest flowers are seen a beauty and perfection that no human art can copy. The delicate tracery of the tinted rose, as well as the stars in the heavens, shows the penciling of the great Master Artist.” Our High Calling, 254.
- What lesson can we learn from the variety of plants and flowers? Romans 12:4–6; I Corinthians 12:14–18, 22.
Note: “From the endless variety of plants and flowers, we may learn an important lesson. All blossoms are not the same in form or color. Some possess healing virtues. Some are always fragrant. There are professing Christians who think it their duty to make every other Christian like themselves. This is man’s plan, not the plan of God. In the church of God there is room for characters as varied as are the flowers in a garden.” Our High Calling, 254.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Why is it important for our spirituality to spend much time outdoors?
2 What can we learn from the hills and mountains?
3 Name some interesting lessons we can learn from the rocks.
4 What environmental benefits stem from God’s design in making mountains?
5 What understanding does God want us to gain from the variety of flowers?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.