Friday, May 11, 2018

May Devotional: "But to David the earth looked very different..."

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills;
 they give drink to every beast of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
they sing among the branches.
 From Your lofty abode You water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your work.

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
 and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs;
You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.

You visit the earth and cause it to overflow;
You greatly enrich it;
The stream of God is full of water;
You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth.

 The pastures of the wilderness drip,
And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing.
The meadows are clothed with flocks
And the valleys are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

Psalm 104: 10-17, 65:8-9, 12-13

The Lord of all, Himself through all diffused,
Sustains and is the life of all that lives.
Nature is but a name for an effect,
Whose cause is God…
One spirit, His
Who wore the platted thorns with bleeding brows,
Rules universal nature. Not a flower
But shows some touch, in freckle, streak, or stain,
Of His unrivall'd pencil.  He inspires
Their balmy odours, and imparts their hues,
And bathes their eyes with nectar, and includes,
In grains as countless as the seaside sands,
The forms with which He sprinkles all the earth.
Happy who walks with Him! whom what he finds
Of flavor or of scent in fruit or flower,
Or what he views of beautiful or grand
In nature, from the broad majestic oak
To the green blade that twinkles in the sun,
Prompts with remembrance of a present God.
His presence, Who made all so fair, perceived,
Makes all still fairer.  As with Him no scene
Is dreary, so with Him all seasons please.
William Cowper
The Task

         David looked at the earth as God’s earth: we look on it as man’s earth, or nobody’s earth. We know that we are here, with trees and grass, and beasts and birds round us. And we know that we did not put them here; and that, after we are dead and gone, they will go on just as they went on before we were born. The earth is here, and we on it: but who put it there, and why it is there, and why we are on it, instead of being anywhere else, few ever think. But to David the earth looked very different: it had quite another meaning: it spoke to him of God who made it. By seeing what this earth is like, he saw what God, who made it, is like: and we see no such thing. The earth? —we can eat the corn and cattle on it, we can earn money by farming it, and ploughing and digging it; and that is all most men know about it. But David knew something more—something which made him feel himself very weak, and yet very safe; very ignorant and stupid, and yet honored with glorious knowledge from God,—something which made him feel that he belonged to this world, and must not forget it or neglect it; namely, that this earth was his lesson-book—this earth was his work-field; and yet those same thoughts which showed him how he was made for the land round him, and the land round him was made for him, showed him also that he belonged to another world—a spirit world; showed him that when this world passed away, he should live forever; showed him that while he had a mortal body, he had an immortal soul too; showed him that though his home and  business were here on earth, yet that, for that very reason, his home and business were in heaven, with God who made the earth—with that blessed One of whom he said, “Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure: they all shall fade as a garment, and like a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed; but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.”—“As a garment shalt Thou change them”—ay, there was David’s secret! He saw that this earth and skies are God’s garment—the garment by which we see God; and that is what our forefathers saw too, and just what we have forgotten; but David had not forgotten it.

Village Sermons, I


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