Whether they are laden in pure white snow or colored with brilliant red, orange, yellow leaves, trees have always captured my gaze and attention.
No doubt my father’s passion for trees and his vocation in the tree care industry have fueled my own love for the towering beauties.
Like him, my eyes are often lifted up to the tree tops.
I walk beneath the bowing branches. The vibrant color each tree displays is stunning. In their company, I am reminded once again that creation proclaims the glory of God. Every moment of every day.
The maples, the oaks, the birch. They stand constantly in a posture of praise. Silent and towering, their branches salute their Creator.
Indeed by their very nature (pun intended), they reach towards the heavens in worship. Creation knows the purpose for its existence – to endlessly proclaim the glory of God.
Turn to Psalm 148 with me. Go ahead, read the words aloud.
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created, and he established them for ever and ever – he issued a decree that will never pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens …
Praise the Lord.
All of creation is in an uproar of praise. And for what reason? Because at his command all members were created. He established them for ever and ever.
This everlasting song of worship is creation’s response to the excellence of the Lord. His splendor, which soars above the heavens and earth, is worth declaring by every member of His creation.
For his name alone is exalted.
God’s created world, vast and varied, is singing praise to Him. The trees, the birds, the clouds and wind – their sole purpose is to reflect and proclaim the majesty of their Maker.
As we consider nature’s automatic response of worship to God, let us not be left simply amazed by creation’s natural song. For right after David names the small creatures and flying birds, he names the kings of the earth, the rulers, the young men, the women, the old, the children … us, as proclaimers of praise to the Lord. We too are God’s creation, crafted to worship Him with every fiber of our being.
With the heavens and earth, we are to be caught up in praise.
But so often we are caught up elsewhere – praising our own achievements, ensuring our own comfort, craving others’ approval.
We are caught up in pride rather than praise.
Daily responsibilities. Personal expectations. Our days are filled with plenty of things to be caught up with. Important things, tasks that need our attention. We start to think that praise is something extra, something to enjoy “if we have time.”
We look at creation – the trees, the flowers – and think, of course they have the time to praise their Creator, that’s all they do … that’s what they were created to do.
Surely we were not created for the same purpose, we tell ourselves. We have more important things to attend to. Pride is so pervasive in our being that we are convinced praise doesn’t need to characterize every day, every moment, of our lives.
Indeed, we forget that our purpose in life is to glorify the Lord. That with all the earth, we were created to praise our Maker.
But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? (Job 12:7-12)
Job, in replying to his friends, recognizes that even the animals know and can testify of their Creator’s goodness and sovereignty in all things. Job’s life has been plagued by incredible loss and suffering, and his friends are wrestling to figure out what Job has done to offend God that such calamities should befall him.
Job himself struggles to understand God’s purpose, but in the midst of his confusion and the dialogue with his accusing friends, Job remembers creation’s song of praise. The animals on land, the fish in the sea – isn’t it clear that they all know and agree that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his hand – every living soul, yes, every breathing creature? (the Message)
Creation does not doubt God’s goodness, His provision, His care over all things. They know their Creator, and their praise forever belongs to Him. May we learn from them. May we too be caught up in constant praise.
The linden, magnolia, and olive trees. They line the streets or park pathways and stand with their arms outstretched to Heaven. Their posture of praise will never cease to amaze and humble me. Though they have no audible voice, their praise is often louder than mine.
But where their praise ends, ours continues, moving deeper than all other created things dare go. Unlike the birds of the air and flowers in the field, we as human beings are the Lord’s workmanship, crafted in His image. We were created to offer praise to our Creator, but we were also made to be in relationship with Him.
Through repentance and trusting in Christ, we are brought into relationship with God. Before, dead in our sin – now, reconciled to the One who created us and calls us His own. (John 1:12-13; Eph. 2:1) Once caught in sin and separation, now, as new creations in Christ, returned to relationship and caught up in the praises of our Lord and Savior.
What grace we’ve been given! We do not proclaim our praises as strangers, we worship as sons and daughters. We do not praise out of fear or obligation but with gratefulness and joy.
We have the sweet and glorious privilege of living in communion with the God whom all creation worships and obeys. In Christ, we have been given a great grace to be called children of God and to live in communion with our Creator.
With the praise of creation ringing out around us, let us join in worshipping the One who created us and calls us to draw near with boldness. (Hebrews 4:16)
May our praise never cease, for we are caught up in communion with the One who is ever worthy of our worship.