“How wonderful are the things the Lord does! All who are delighted with them want to understand them.” (Psalm 111:2, GNV)
I am a child of the 60s. I was born in 1961, so perhaps I could call myself a “late-boomer!” And even though I was a young child during that decade, it somehow managed to shape much of what I now think and feel. The 1960s is variously described as both a decade of love and a decade of conflict; a decade of promise and a decade of heartbreak. The 60s brought us a cold war with Russia and a hot war with Vietnam; it gave us rock music’s “British Invasion,” and the civil rights movement’s “Freedom Rides;” it was colored by psychedelics and free love, assassinations and riots. All of those things, I’m sure, somehow affected how I’ve come to view my life and world.
But one thing that probably shaped me most as a young child was the 60’s spirit of exploration and adventure. I remember watching “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” as a kid. I was spellbound by the siren call of “space, the final frontier,” first as it was portrayed on Star Trek (the original series, of course) and then as it unfolded in real life and real time with the Apollo 11 lunar landing in 1969. It was so mysterious…so wonderful! As the very first man on the moon would reflect later, “Mystery creates wonder, and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.” (Neil Armstrong)
Psalm 111 is a song of wonder and mystery. The psalmist is unashamedly amazed by God’s actions and attitudes toward His creation. They display His honor, majesty and righteousness (vs. 3); they remind us that He is kind and merciful (vs. 4); they prove that He is faithful, just and dependable (vs. 7); they declare, “Holy and mighty is He!” (vs. 9). There is no doubt in the psalmist’s mind that God’s wonderful ways should provoke us to worship, “He is to be praised forever!” (vs. 10). Or as another psalm writer put it, “The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. (Psalm 65:8)
But in addition to provoking a response of praise and joy, God’s wonders also invite us back into the mystery. They create in us an aching desire to understand:
“How wonderful are the things the Lord does! All who are delighted with them want to understand them. (Psalm 111:2, GNV)
The psalmist doesn’t argue that all who understand God’s wonders should be delighted, but just the opposite: all who are delighted by God’s wonders should desire to understand! Just who is this powerful and wonderful God, and why in the world would He be concerned with us?
In Matthew 6:25-33 Jesus wanted to assure his disciples that they didn’t need to worry or be afraid. He said, all you have to do is look at how God takes care of the birds and the flowers, then you’ll begin to understand how much this Wonderful God will take care of you. We don’t come to love our wonderful God by understanding Him more, we begin to understand Him by loving Him and believing in Him…and by delighting in His love for us.
Let your soul be filled with mystery and wonder today! Be delighted by God’s creation and His gifts. And as you offer Him your praise and worship in response, invite Him to open up your heart and your mind to know and love Him more. He is Living Water for your soul…stay thirsty for Him!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord Jesus Christ, let us seek You by desiring You, and let us desire You by seeking You. Let us find You by loving You, and let us love You in finding You.We desire to understand a little of Your truth which our hearts already believe and love. We do not seek to understand so that we can believe, but we believe so that we may understand. What is more, we believe that unless we do believe, we shall not understand. Lord, grant us the understanding that comes in knowing You. (St. Anselm, 1033-1109)
A SONG FOR TODAY: I Wonder (Leeland)