Unseen Glory

Psalm 148:7-13 “Praise the LORD from the earth, all great sea creatures and ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, powerful wind fulfilling His word, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, crawling creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth, young men and maidens, old and young together. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens.”

“Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”
——Thomas Gray

Thomas Gray must have been moved by the thought of how on the ocean floor there were beautiful gems that no human eye would ever see, how in distant deserts millions of flowers would blossom and blush with vivid colors, giving off sweet fragrance and never be touched, seen, or smelled by anybody but God.
God , it seems wanted Job to think about this very thing. He asked him, “Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep?…Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain, and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert which there is no man….Do you know when the mountain goats bring forth? Do you observe the calving of the hinds? (Job 38:16,25-26; 39:1). In other words, God was claiming that he alone sees the depths of the ocean and brings rain in the desert where no man is and He watches, like a midwife, at the birth of every mountain goat and wild deer.
This is what moves the psalmist in Psalm 148:7, “Praise the Lord you sea monsters and all deeps!” He doesn’t even know what is in all the deeps of the sea! So the praise of the deeps is not merely what they can testify to man. Creation praises God by simply being what it was created to be in all its incredible variety. And since most of the creation is beyond the awareness of mankind (in the reaches of space, and in the heights of mountains and at the bottom of the sea) it wasn’t created merely to serve purposes that have to do with us. It was created for the pleasures of God.
John Piper–The Pleasures of God

What can we observe in the world and universe around us?

If your just the average person, you can only perceive what you have access to. A beautiful sunset may be obscured by a city landscape, or a snow capped mountain may be hidden by a stand of trees or thick clouds. The ability to recognize the intricacies of all that God has made are virtually impossible, even the most astute observers can only see a fraction of what is available.

The incredible beauty of God’s Creation can only be fully appreciated by Himself.

What else is there about God’s handiwork that we cannot fully appreciate?

Isaiah 45:5-7 “I am the Lord, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the Lord, do all these things.’

The magnitude of God’s majesty cannot be contained by our earthly imagination. We see hints of God’s glory in nature, we hear of His unceasing love that staggers the mind, and we witness the transforming power of His Spirit in believers lives. We have hints of God’s glory but we cannot fully appreciate the depth of His majesty. Not only can we not observe all that He does most of the time, we cannot appreciate the complexity by which He does it. There is simply nothing in all of Creation by which we can compare to God’s glory.

Our inability to fully understand God’s magnificence is to be expected.

Isaiah 43:11-13 “I, even I, am the Lord,
And besides Me there is no savior.
I have declared and saved,
I have proclaimed,
And there was no foreign god among you;
Therefore you are My witnesses,”
Says the Lord, “that I am God.
Indeed before the day was, I am He;
And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand;
I work, and who will reverse it?”

Think about all of the complexities in your life or in those you know. Where do most of our difficulties come from? Why is it with even the best of intentions, we continue to fall short on so many levels?

We are fallible.

In our current condition, our minds can only conceive of that which we know or understand. Our imagination is limited by the principles of this world, the laws that govern it, and by the limitation of our intellects. We cannot fathom the scope of the universe or the depths of the sea. There is so much that escapes our ability to understand and perceive. Do you think that just maybe this world is under God’s control more than we might think?

Finances are a source of anxiety in a world that is increasingly unstable. In societies that live hand to mouth, pandemics bring commerce to its knees and reduces the ability for some people to even sustain a consistent food source.

Matthew 6:31-34 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Worry often comes from a mind that thinks our circumstances are only random.

Food, water, and clothing…these are all essentials for living. To assume our Creator doesn’t understand what is necessary in our lives is absolutely preposterous. Of course He understands what we need, He formed the world around us. We often inhibit our ability to see God’s glory just by attempting to fulfill by ourselves what He planned to provide.

Fear dominates the lives of people who believe everything in life falls on their ability to be successful.

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear you not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Whether it is fear or some other form of anxiety, when we allow our circumstances to become bigger than our God, we diminish our image of God. If I am anxious for my next meal, I have to believe that God knows my needs. If I worry about an upcoming medical procedure, I must ask myself if I am placing my life into the God’s care?

Whether a medical procedure goes well or it doesn’t, I would do well to recognize how fine of a line there is between the perceptions we have in this world and the reality of all that is going on around us. We elevate our health to such a priority but that isn’t always God’s plan for us to be perfectly healthy.

I read a book called “90 minutes in Heaven”, by Don Piper and Cecil Murphy. It tells the story of a man who was in a catastrophic car accident and died. A believer who lived nearby came and prayed over the confirmed dead man’s body and the Lord revived him. It was during this time of death that God gave Mr. Piper a glimpse of Heaven and the glory to come. The reason I mention this event was of what followed after God revived him. Don Piper may have been revived from death but his injuries persisted, matter of fact, a majority of the book is a detailed account of the pain he endured during his recovery.

God intended for Don to return to earth for a purpose. Encouraging others that Heaven was indeed real and waiting for His faithful ones was clear, but the other reasons are more numerous than can be fully appreciated. We have all kinds of ways we assume God acts, we have conclusions we draw based off what we observe and we assume things by our imaginations but in reality, we simply have very little clue as to what God is fully doing.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”

To be led by God requires us to fully trust Him with our lives. If we doubt God’s providence in our lives, we hinder our ability to see the greater work of God. When something we have been praying about doesn’t go as we had hoped, we only have ourselves to blame. When God works, He works in perfection. When God acts, He acts according to His will and His will cannot be dissuaded by any outside force.

There is so much we don’t understand, there are so many facets of God’s beauty, creativity, and power that go beyond our ability to see. When we gain even a glimpse of His glory, we fall on our knees and praise Him. Imagine how magnificent it will be when we see Him in full?

1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I have been known.”

The glory of God, His faithfulness, and His goodness, are unchanging. The more we trust Him, the less we will have fear.

One day, all who trust in the Lord will enjoy the fullness of His presence in the knowledge of Him, that day approaches quickly and will not delay. Until that day comes, we must be diligent in following His lead and calling as many out of darkness as we can.

We have been given a purpose—His purpose, and His glory will be revealed as we trust in Him.

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