Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Creation Shows God’s Steadfast Love

Dannah Gresh: If you’re tempted to think your life has no purpose, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has an important reminder for you.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: This world is not random; it is not meaningless! Each part and particle of this creation has a divinely ordained purpose!

Dannah: And that gives your life meaning! We’ll hear more about it today. This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Gratitude, for November 18, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Earlier this week we began a series on Psalm 136, recorded in the days just before the pandemic. You can catch up on any episodes you missed on the Revive Our Heartsapp or by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com

Have you seen God’s love demonstrated through creation? Here’s Nancy to continue.

Nancy: Let me ask you to meet me in Psalm 136. We’re back there again today looking at the first couple of sections in this book. We looked yesterday at the first three verses. I want us to repeat those and, as we’ve been doing, I need you to be my choir. The second part of each verse is the same phrase. Are you getting it memorized?

That phrase is, “For His steadfast love endures forever,” and at the end of each of these first few verses, I’d love for you to recite that with me. You say, “Why are you having us repeat this so many times? In fact, why did God have that phrase twenty-six times in this one psalm in just twenty-six verses?”

Well, God must know we need to repeat it. We need to repeat it way more than we do. If we start counseling our hearts with the truth that God is good and His steadfast love endures forever, we’re going to find we have a whole different perspective on what happens in our lives.

It doesn’t make our lives easy; it doesn’t mean we won’t have problems; it doesn’t mean we won’t have heartaches. Some of you have them galore right now! But as you begin to remind yourself that God is good and His steadfast love endures forever, then you will be able to give thanks to the Lord, even when it’s really hard!

So let’s start with those first three verses we’ve already looked at. I’ll read the first phrase, and then you join me on the chorus of each of those verses. 

Psalm 136:1–3: 

Give thanks to the Lord,
   for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.

Now, let’s pause right there for a moment. We’re going to move on, but first let me just say that this, give thanks, give thanks, give thanks (we’ve seen it three times) you can assume that those words are there at the beginning of each sentence throughout the rest of the psalm. The psalmist uses a little bit of shorthand and doesn’t repeat those over and over again.

But as you come to each new sentence, it could start, “Give thanks, for He [has done this]. Give thanks [for He has done this]. Give thanks [to the One who has done this].” 

Now, this psalm starts with reminding us to give thanks to God for who He is: for His character, for His goodness, for His steadfast love.

But then as we come to verse 4, it reminds us to give thanks not only for who He is, but also for what He has done. So verse 4 says, “. . .to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

What are these wonders that God does? They’re great wonders; they’re supernatural works; they’re mighty works that no one else can do. He is the God who alone does great wonders! There are people in this world, some of you among them, who can do great things. You have some amazing accomplishments.

If we were to look at your resume, we would say, “Wow! You got that kind of degree?” or “You make that kind of money!?” or “You’ve learned that kind of skill!?” Those are amazing things, but there’s only one God, the God of heaven and earth, who alone does these great wonders that are being talked about in this psalm.

There is no one else like Him! That’s why we give thanks to Him. The rest of this chapter, Psalm 136, is going to tell us what some of these great wonders are. Today and tomorrow we are going to look at verses 5–9, and we’re going to see how His goodness, His mercy, His steadfast love (remember the hesed?), the steadfast, faithful, covenant keeping love of the Lord.

We’re going to see how God’s goodness and His hesed love are revealed through the wonders of creation. No one else could have created this world—God alone! This is a great wonder! So let’s read verses 5–9.

[Understood: Give thanks] to him who by understanding made the heavens,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

the sun to rule over the day,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
   for his steadfast love endures forever” (Ps. 136:5–9).

We’re going to pause there; we’re actually going to take two sessions on just that handful of verses, because when you start talking about the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars . . . well, you could go on forever and ever! 

Actually, I couldn’t go on forever and ever, because some of these scientific type subjects really are so complex that I can’t start to wrap my head around them! In fact, when I was in the third grade (I was always a good student) but on one particular report card, my teacher wrote a note to my parents that said: “Nancy seems overwhelmed with our study of electricity!” 

I was then; I always have been! If you talk to me about anything related to electricity, I’m going to look at you like, “What language are you speaking?” I find this overwhelming. I find some of these kinds of subjects overwhelming, because you read about the massiveness, the greatness, the complexity of this universe, this solar system, the entire universe, and it’s not just me who is overwhelmed by it. 

Even the scientists who know a lot about this, they know so, so little, because it’s to God alone who does great wonders that we give thanks. And one of the greatest wonders God does (or many of the great wonders) are seen in creation. But we want to focus on how creation reveals the steadfast love of the Lord!

This is something I’ve been pondering in recent weeks. We know God created; we’re going to talk about that, but how does God’s creation show us His steadfast love? Before we go there, this passage takes us back to Genesis 1:1, that tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” 

And then you remember on the third day, God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear” (Gen. 1:9). Now, what I’m reading here is summarized in one phrase in Psalm 136:5–6, where it says He made the heavens and He, “spread out the earth above the waters.” That’s a poetic way of saying what we read in Genesis 1.

God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good (Gen. 1:9–10). 

And then we come to the fourth day of creation and we read a description of what we’ve just seen in Psalm 136:8–9: He made the great lights, the sun to rule over the day, the moon and stars to rule over the night” (see Gen 1:16). The psalmist didn’t make this up. We read this in the record of Genesis 1:14–15, where God said, 

Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth (Gen.1:14–15). 

These are things we know the sun, the moon and the stars do, as God ordered them to do.

And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light [the sun] to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. [He made all of these by the word of His mouth!] And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good (Gen. 1:15–19) 

Why is it good? Because God is good! “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever!”

Of course it was good; whatever God makes is good! It’s a reflection of Himself, of His own character, of His own heart.

The earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars are a great wonder that none but the Lord could have made. A few things you know about these bodies of light that God set into the sky: the sun gives light. Without the sun, the earth would be completely dark. And the sun is a source of life. Without the sun, no plants could grow on the earth.

Without vegetation, there would be no oxygen generated. Animals and people would not be able to breathe. If the sun went out, within a few weeks there would be no life left on Earth. Without the sun’s rays, the temperature would be around . . . Do you want to guess? I asked Robert this yesterday (he’s my guesser; he’s almost always really close on guessing. But neither of us guessed this one).

If there were no sun, no rays of the sun, what would the temperature on earth be? On average around the world, it would be minus 460 degrees Fahrenheit! Brrr! You think it’s cold today—that’s cold! 

The sun evaporates water from the surface of the earth, and it keeps the oceans from overflowing. So many things the sun does! One website I found is accuweather.com. Let me read you a little bit of what it says about the sun, the stars, and the moon. 

No other known planet is quite like Earth. It is covered in liquid water, sits within a habitable proximity to the warm glow of a sun and still retains an atmosphere capable of sustaining life. 

How do you think that happened? There’s none like the One who does great wonders. Right? 

This website goes on to say, 

“The stars of the night sky have astonished humanity, dating back to the earliest civilizations, even dictating religious beliefs, societal norms, and architecture. These heavenly bodies have also inspired philosophers [and] provided direction to weary travelers navigating long journeys.No other star is more important to life on earth than our sun, the star that warms the planet and holds the solar system together.

Now, what holds the sun together? We know the answer; accuweather.com doesn’t. And then it says, 

In addition to the earth’s proximity to the sun and its mass, the Blue planet [that is the earth] also has a moon that offers unique protection from dramatic shifts in climate. This planet travels on an elliptical orbit at a twenty-three-point-five degree tilt from the sun [how did God know to do that?], which is responsible for Earth’s change in seasons. As the earth spins, it wobbles like a top. One astronomer from Penn State University said the moon dampens that wobble. The moon influences the earth’s tides . . . But according to this astronomer, the moon also protects the earth from more drastic temperature fluctuations by stabilizing the wobble of Earth’s spin. 

When you get onto Google and start looking, you will find amazing things about sun, moon, stars and the earth and how they all work together, and the impact and the influence, implications, and ramifications that they all have

Everything would be different if there were even just a little degree of difference in that earth’s tilt. Twenty-three-point-five . . . what if it were twenty-three-point-six? What difference would that make? A lot of difference! These are the things that mark days and seasons and nights and cold and warmth.

So how did all these great wonders come to be? Well, accuweather.com says it this way: 

Nearly fourteen billion years ago, all matter, energy, space and time were unified as one, exploding outward in a violent, chaotic expansion at a rate that challenges comprehension. 

And it goes on to give a very natural explanation, the best that they can come up with, as to how these great wonders came to be. The fact is, they have no idea. They don’t know! But the Scripture gives us an entirely different explanation—not a natural one, but a supernatural explanation for how all this came to be. 

The earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, all working together in a way that is hospitable to human life. How did this come to be? Psalm 24:1–2 tells us, 

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it [the earth] upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 

God was the original, primary cause for whom there was no cause! Out of nothing—“ex nihilo”—He created the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars. All of this He founded, He created it. Proverbs 3:19 says, “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens.” That’s what Psalm 136:5 tells us: “to him who by understanding made the heavens.”

I couldn’t understand third-grade electricity! And God not only understands third-grade electricity, but fourth-grade and fifth-grade and college electricity and post-graduate and post-doctoral . . . and what goes way beyond what any scientist or the greatest minds of the universe can explain or understand.

"By understanding [He] made the heavens, and spread out the earth above the waters” (Ps. 136:6). By wisdom, the Lord founded the earth; by understanding, He established the heavens. For as long as I’ve been alive and for much longer than that, for as long as the world has been around, probably . . . There has been a lot of debate about how this all became into being.

We hear those defend different aspects or types of evolution, creation is what the Bible teachers—Creator. We can get caught up in trying to reconcile Scripture and science, trying to prove how creation is a valid alternative to the theory of evolution. And there are some evidences that are good to know, and I’m glad there are people who do understand those evidences.

But it strikes me that the Scripture never tries to prove the existence of God or the truth of creation. It doesn’t say, “This is how you can know this: A happened, and then B happened, and then C happened, and this is how this all came together, and this is how this all got figured out.” The Bible doesn’t try to prove all this. 

It’s all assumed in Scripture that there is a God who always was, the eternal Jehovah, Yahweh, the self-existent One who needed nothing to bring Him into being. And He is the One who by His wisdom and the word of His mouth and the work of His hands brought into being this earth, this planet, the sun, the moon, the stars and every star, every sun, every moon in every universe that has ever been or ever will be. He created it all!

Psalm 136:4: “[He] alone does great wonders.” Verse 5 tells us He made the heavens. Verse 6 says He spread out the earth above the waters. Verse 7 says He made the great lights in the sky, the sun to rule over the day, the moon and the stars to rule over the night. God made these!

Now, I’m probably not telling you anything that you don’t already believe, but you probably know people who don’t believe it. You probably know people who are intent on proving that it is not true. But you can start with the assurance that it is true! This psalm affirms that there is a Creator.

“[By wisdom], by understanding [the Lord] made the heavens . . . [He] spread out the earth above the waters” (vv. 5–6). There is a Creator. This world is not the product of chance. It didn’t just happen. It was brought into existence by a wise, loving, powerful Creator! Creation has a Creator, and this Creator is personal, and He is powerful.

He’s not some nebulous impersonal Mother Nature to which we ascribe this created world that we see. I kind of wince every time I hear somebody say what “Mother Nature” has done. It’s not Mother Nature who did that! God did that! He’s the Creator of this creation, and the creation of this world that we see around us is a great wonder that no one but God could be responsible for!

So this psalm affirms that there is a Creator. It affirms the wisdom and the understanding of that Creator God, who carefully, skillfully, masterfully crafted this world! He brought order out of chaos. He created this world to function in intricate, complex ways that boggle the human mind! God is wise; He is understanding, and He was purposeful. He was intentional in making this world.

This world is not random; it is not meaningless! Each part and particle of this creation has a divinely ordained purpose! We see a hint of that in Psalm 136:8–9 where it tells us He made the sun to rule over the day; He made the moon and the stars to rule over the night. He made them with a purpose. 

He didn’t just fling them out there and say, “Aww, I think that’s a nice idea. Let’s see. Let’s make some twinkling little stars.” No, there’s purpose for all of this; there’s intentionality about all of it. Every created thing has a created purpose! 

And so much of creation fulfills the purpose of God; whereas we, the apex of His creation, human beings, many times resist our created purpose. How can this be? The sun, the moon, and the stars do what God put them in the sky to do. He was purposeful, intentional in making this world.

And then, Creation reveals the goodness of God and the kindness of God! “His steadfast love endures forever,” we see in each verse of this psalm. He created water and air and land to reflect His goodness and His steadfast love. 

He created them as an environment in which the smallest particle—amoeba and plants and fish and birds and bugs and animal life and human life—could survive and thrive! He made the perfect environment for His created life to function. He gave sun and moon and stars to regulate life on this earth. 

He created a world in a way no one else could possibly have done, that is hospitable, and it’s suitable for human life. He created the macro, and He created the micro. He made the world for man to live in, but He also made the garden and put the man into it. God is the Creator who was looking to how He could bless, how He could make an environment suitable for His creatures.

He made this world for us to live in. He made it for our delight and our enjoyment. He’s not just a functional, utilitarian God. Things do function; they function well, but He made it for our joy, for His joy, and our enjoyment. He made it to reveal His character to us, His goodness and His steadfast love. 

This is what we read in Romans chapter 1:19 about how Creation reveals the character of God. It says, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” These are people in parts of the world where they’ve never had a Bible, they’ve never had a hymnal, they’ve never had a church, they don’t know the name, Jesus. 

But they have eyes and ears. . They can feel, they can touch, they can taste. They see this created world. God has made Himself plain to them.

For his invisible attributes [His goodness, His steadfast love, these you can’t touch those, you can’t see those, but His invisible attributes], namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse (v. 20).

Who is without excuse? Those who say, “There’s no God. I don’t believe in God. God didn’t create this world. God’s not loving. God is not powerful. God isn’t good.” No, they have evidence in front of them and around them every day. 

They stand on it; they sit on it; they move in it; they breathe it; they see it at night; they see it in the day—the evidence of the goodness and the steadfast love of the Lord. God showed His eternal covenant-keeping love—His hesed, His faithfulness—by creating this world.

I read in a sermon about this passage, one writer who said, 

Things are not as they are because they have to be, but because God first loved them into being. He continues to sustain them by this love, and will yet somehow transform them further in love. 

That steadfast love of the Lord underlies His creation in its origins, in its sustenance, in its continuity, in its future. The love and mercy of God will always be the steadfast bedrock for everything in this world. The created order of the heavens and the earth reflects the steadfast covenant keeping love of God! 

There’s an interesting passage in Jeremiah chapter 31 that makes this clear. Jeremiah 31:35:

Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night . . . the Lord of hosts is his name . . . If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever (vv. 35–36). 

What is God saying? The fixed order of this universe, the fact that the sun comes up again tomorrow, and the next day and the next day. We here in Michigan don’t always see the sun But it’s there! 

There are seasons; there is day; there is night; there is routine; there is regularity to all of this. There’s a fixed order that doesn’t change. God says, “That’s what My covenant-keeping love is like.” 

If those things could change, if the sun could just fall out of the sky or forget to shine or a day could become forty-eight hours instead of twenty-four hours, if things went into this random helpless, hopeless chance, then God says, “I would forget my covenant with you.” But they’re not going to go into chaos until God says it’s time for this fixed order to change. 

And God says, “As they don’t change, so I don’t change! My steadfast love for you, my covenant with you is fixed.” And so, the psalmist says in Psalm 8:3–4, 

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

When you stand watching the sunset, when you look up into the night sky and you see twinkling stars, too many to count, when you wake up during the night and you see the full moon lighting up the earth below, remember how big God is! Remember how small you are! And marvel that this God is not only great, but He is also good!

He not only keeps this entire universe going in its fixed order, but He knows you. He sees you, He cares for you. His steadfast love is forever! 

When you see this created world and you contemplate who God is and what it reveals about Him, then give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His steadfast love endures: how long? Forever! Amen!

Dannah: Amen! Isn’t it breathtaking just to think about how God orchestrated this world and this universe so perfectly, so beautifully, in His power and might! He is a personal God. He cares for us with a love that goes beyond anything we can imagine!

We just heard from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth from last February, talking about the ways creation reflects the beauty of our Creator. If there is anything I’m thankful for in this challenging and difficult year, it’s how it slowed my life down so that I can see the birds worshipping the Lord when they wake up every morning . . . and the trees and the flowers! 

I certainly have seen more of Him in the beauty of His creation. Not only the beauty, but His goodness and His faithful love. He’s the One who rules over the universe! Doesn’t that reminder bring you comfort today, especially in this difficult year we’re living in?

Well, I want to tell you about a new 2021 calendar from Revive Our Hearts that I think will also anchor your heart in that same comforting confidence. It’s beautifully designed by Ginny Graham, a friend of Revive Our Hearts. This wall calendar centers around the theme “Heaven Rules.” Of course, that’s a phrase Nancy says often, and she believes it with every part of her being!

We’ve adopted that phrase as a ministry, and we hope it’s one you’ll hold on to. Each month of the calendar contains hope from God’s Word and quotes from Nancy to remind you to keep your eyes on the reality that heaven really does rule! You’ll receive a 2021 Heaven Rules calendar when you give a gift of any amount.

I want to remind you that with your donation, you’re helping women discover the joy of life in Christ. Let me go ahead and thank you in advance for supporting Revive Our Hearts and partnering with us to share the gospel. You can visit ReviveOurHearts.com to make your donation, or just call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Creation sure is beautiful! But it’s really only a reflection. It leads us to adoration of our heavenly Father. Nancy is going to be here tomorrow to continue this thought. We hope you’ll be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you see how creation reflects God’s love. This program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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