You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.Exodus 20:4-6
In these verses, God addresses man’s inclination to worship just about anything in the heavens, on earth, and in the water below. The Isarelites were physically free of the Egyptians, who had made deities out of created things of this world, but they were headed to a land in which the Canaanites had similar gods. The one true God reminds His people that He is jealous for the affection of His people and expects all to worship Him, not the things He created. As Paul reminds us in Colossians 1:16, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”
All things created for Him, for His delight and for His glory, not for idolatry. We join the future refrain in heaven, declaring, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
The psalmist David describes how creation itself testifies of the Creator. Note the aspects of the natural world wrapped up in these six verses:
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.Psalm 19:1-6
This psalm is a beautiful declaration of God’s creative powers, which weren’t flung around by whim but were used with a beautiful purpose for His glory — and our good!
How often do you step into the natural world created to point to God’s glory and simply bask in the beauty He created? Here are some ways to pause in God’s created world, even for just a few minutes each day, and allow it to direct your worship to God alone. As we engage our senses in the natural world, we declare, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3).
Stay up late to star gaze. As we consider the vast universe, we may feel extremely small, but we praise God that He sees and knows all things about each one of us, including the number of hairs on our heads! (Luke 12:7).
Rise early to watch the sunrise and proclaim with joy, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Take your coffee or tea outside first thing in the morning and engage your senses. You can do this even if you live in an apartment in the city because, while you might not be able to hear birds chirping and smell garden blossoms, you just might feel a gentle breeze on your skin and you will surely see a vast sky above. No matter where you are you can declare, “The whole earth, Lord, is full of Your glory!” (Isaiah 6:3).
Go for a hike, explore a new place, and stand in awe of the vastness of our Creator and His creation. Hint: Some of the best places are off the grid, so pocket your phone (unless you’re taking pictures of the beauty). Soak up the view, the sounds, and the smells with the refrain, “I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
Sit by a natural water source (river, lake, stream, pond, waterfall) and engage your senses, praising God that as we delight in His law, meditating on it day and night, we can be like fruitful trees planted by streams of water (Psalm 1).