Nature Made to Serve God's Purposes
Psalm 114:3, 4
The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back.…

These verses are poetical representations of three actual facts which are recorded in the history of God's people. We may see facts in their bare, bald nakedness, or we may see them with the color on them which poetical genius can put. It may be disputed whether bald history or suggestive poetry is really the truer to nature, just as it may be disputed whether the realistic or the idealistic picture is the truer to life. If nature is to suggest thoughts to men, then men only see Nature aright when they know what she says as well as what she is. The poet tells us what Nature says. In these verses we are made to understand that the sea felt God working in it, and yielded to his touch. Jordan felt God working in it, and stopped its flowing. Sinai felt God working in it, and responded with a trembling of reverence and holy joy. The response of Nature is a lesson for man. God would work in his higher powers and his higher spheres; and his response should be more prompt than the hurrying waves, more complete than the check of the river's flowing, and more joyous than the trembling and dances of the divinely honored hills. The psalmist was the moral teacher of his times, and had a definite purpose before him in thus recalling the most impressive events of the national history. His point may be thus briefly stated: Nature does respond to God and serve his purposes, - and man should.

I. NATURE DOES RESPOND TO GOD AND SERVE HIS PURPOSES. This may be illustrated from the usual and the unusual. Pagans peopled the woods and streams and hills with fairies; Wordsworth poetically conceived of Nature as a living being. Religion finds God working out his thought everywhere, and everything responsive to his use. Nature is not God; it is distinct from him. But it is so kin with him that, unhindered, his thought finds expression in it. And so responsive is Nature to God, that it readily yields itself to the unusual, to the miraculous, when these are necessary to God's purposes. Seas will part, rivers will stop, mountains will tremble, in response to him. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof."

II. MAN SHOULD RESPOND TO GOD AND SERVE HIS PURPOSES. He should, because he is a part of Nature, and ought to be in harmony with her. But man is a higher being than any thing or being in Nature - a being with a will, a being made in God's image. It is his willing response, it is his loving and obedient outworking of the Divine purposes, that God asks of restored exiles and of us. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back.

WEB: The sea saw it, and fled. The Jordan was driven back.

Man is God's Temple
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