The Mountains Speak
Jordan Mountain and the Bubbles at Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine
Whether we realize or believe it, creation’s grandeur, vastness, complexity and beauty manifest God’s nature to us. (Romans1:20) In Scripture, mountain imagery frequently expresses His greatness, majesty, eternality, power, and His faithful, protective presence with us.
“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”(Psalm 90:2)“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you you,” (Isaiah 54:10) “Come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too. Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!”(Psalm 95:1-7 (NLT2)
In Psalm 95, the Psalmist interrupts his soaring thoughts and emotional praise of omnipotent God with a startling, plaintive comment :”If only you would listen to his voice today!” He seems to suddenly remember the devastation that Israel has suffered because they did not listen to God despite the ways He had manifested Himself to them. (Psalm 95:8-11)
The Psalmist’s song raises profound questions. Who or what speaks to us when we look around our magnificent world? Do we appreciate the reality lying beyond our perceptions? Does a rainbow or a brilliantly colored Brazilian parrot or a wide and beautiful, mountain range or the thundering, crashing surf or a tiny, intricately formed “for-get-me not” or a busy little honey bee cross pollinating a beautiful flower make us think beyond the marvels of nature to the very nature of God? Have we become desensitized to the Wonder behind the wonders that we see and hear every day?
In 1901, Maltbie D. Babcock wrote these song lyrics: “This is my Father’s world/The birds their carols raise/The morning light, the lily white, Declare their Maker’s praise/ This is my Father’s world/He shines in all that’s fair/ In the rustling grass I hear Him pass/He speaks to me everywhere. ( second verse of This is My Father’s World, 1901)
Are we no longed attuned to God? Has the background din from voices within our culture distorted and confused our hearing? Can God’s voice be heard above the denials, the protestations, the intellectual and social and political attempts to devalue the impact of God on life? As our overwhelmed brains whir and pulsate and our DNA strands snap and crack, separate, and rejoin in an amazingly ordered and purposeful fashion, do we hear or find evidences of God or of some mindless, happenstance? Have we become inattentive to what the whole cosmos is telling us?
Gospel singer George Beverly Shea wrote these words in the hymn, “The wonder of it all”: “There’s the wonder of sunset at evening/The wonder as sunrise I see;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul/Is the wonder that God loves me. ” “There’s the wonder of springtime and harvest/The sky, the stars, the sun;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul/Is a wonder that’s only begun.”
God patiently speak to us not only by means of creation but through Scripture and the perfection of Christ, whose sacrifice on the cross atones for us and is humanity’s hope for redemption. ” … in these last days (God) has spoken to us by his Son…. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power… (Hebrews 1:2-3)
What drowns out, obstructs, or overrides this mighty Voice which spoke mountains and all of creation into existence and which creation itself validates?
The Psalmist’s words haunt and challenge us: “O that you would hear His voice!”