Earth Worship

Read Psalm 114

Featured Verse: Psalm 114:3-4

“The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.”

You see a lot of earth worship these days. If you don’t know what I am talking about, pay a little more attention to what is going on in the environmental movement. In my view, a radical form of environmentalism that is tantamount to idolatry has replaced common sense stewardship of the earth. Earth worship, to be precise—the worship of creation over the Creator.

Think about it: Blind loyalty, if not fawning love, is offered to the cosmos, monetary offerings are given to uphold its cause, the words of its high priests are revered without challenge, its message is spread by aggressive followers with the fervor of door-to-door evangelists, and those who don’t readily accept the message are mocked and marginalized.

Sounds like a religion to me!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the earth. I think God brought his “A-game” when he created this planet. But don’t miss the point: Like everything else, it was created. And we, as the highest order of God’s creation, were given the assignment to manage the rest of creation on God’s behalf—and that includes lovingly and wisely caring for Planet Earth. But we are the earth’s stewards, not its Savior, and while this planet is our home, don’t confuse it with our heaven. We are simply to watch over the created cosmos, being careful not to cross over the thin line that exists between watching and worshiping.

Grasping this is so important, you see, because the earth actually worships its Creator. That’s what this psalm is about. And though God has put the systems in place that run the physical world day in and day out, season by season, eon after eon, every once in a while he breaks back into it and commands the cosmos to fulfill extraordinary things for his purposes. Those extraordinary acts are, in reality, nothing more than the release of pent up praise the creation longs to give its Creator. In other words, during those extraordinary moments of earth-shattering activity, the planet is praising.

And yet, when the earth simply goes about doing what the earth does—rising and resting with each twenty-four hour period, moving seamlessly from one season to the next—it too, in those ordinary moments, is offering praise to the One who created it and by his mighty power, sustains it. Moment-by-moment, day-by-day, year-by-year, the earth is worshiping.

The creation worships its Creator. What an awesome thing to consider. What an amazing thing to behold. I don’t want to get caught up worshiping something that worships Someone else. Do you? I want to give my worship to the Creator, and as I care for his creation, even then, I am offering him his rightful worship.

Earth worship! Sure go ahead. Join the earth in worship of its Creator.

“The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God. … I do not worship matter. I worship the Creator of matter who became matter for my sake, who willed to take His abode in matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. Never will I cease honoring the matter which wrought my salvation! I honor it, but not as God. Because of this I salute all remaining matter with reverence, because God has filled it with his grace and power. Through it my salvation has come to me.”
~ St. John of Damascus

Psalm 114: Earth Worship

One Year Bible: I Samuel 22:1-23:29, John 10:1-21; Psalm 114:1-8; Proverbs 15:18-19

Earth Worship

The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back;
the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.
(Psalm 114:3-4)

You see a lot of earth worship these days. If you don’t know what I am talking about, pay a little more attention to what is going on in the environmental movement. In my view, a radical form of environmentalism that is tantamount to idolatry has replaced common sense stewardship of the earth. Earth worship, to be precise—the worship of creation over the Creator.

Think about it: Blind loyalty, if not fawning love, is offered to the cosmos, monetary offerings are given to uphold its cause, the words of its high priests are revered without challenge, its message is spread by aggressive followers with the fervor of door-to-door evangelists, and those who don’t readily accept the message are mocked and marginalized.

Sounds like a religion to me!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the earth. I think God brought his A game when he created this planet. But don’t miss the point: Like everything else, it was created. And we, as the highest order of God’s creation, were given the assignment to manage the rest of creation on God’s behalf—and that includes lovingly and wisely caring for Planet Earth. But we are the earth’s stewards, not its Savior, and while this planet is our home, don’t confuse it with our heaven. We are simply to watch over the created cosmos, being careful not to cross over the thin line that exists between watching and worshiping.

Grasping this is so important, you see, because the earth actually worships its Creator. That’s what this psalm is about. And though God has put the systems in place that run the physical world day in and day out, season by season, eon after eon, every once in a while he breaks back into it and commands the cosmos to fulfill extraordinary things for his purposes. Those extraordinary acts are, in reality, nothing more than the release of pent up praise the creation longs to give its Creator. In other words, during those extraordinary moments of earth-shattering activity, the planet is praising.

And yet, when the earth simply goes about doing what the earth does—rising and resting with each twenty-four hour period, moving seamlessly from one season to the next—it too, in those ordinary moments, is offering praise to the One who created it and by his mighty power, sustains it. Moment-by-moment, day-by-day, year-by-year, the earth is worshiping.

The creation worships its Creator. What an awesome thing to consider. What an amazing thing to behold. I don’t want to get caught up worshiping something that worships Someone else. Do you? I want to give my worship to the Creator, and as I care for his creation, even then, I am offering him his rightful worship.

Earth worship! Sure go ahead. Join the earth in worship of its Creator.

“The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God. … I do not worship matter. I worship the Creator of matter who became matter for my sake, who willed to take His abode in matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. Never will I cease honoring the matter which wrought my salvation! I honor it, but not as God. Because of this I salute all remaining matter with reverence, because God has filled it with his grace and power. Through it my salvation has come to me.”
~ St. John of Damascus

Hitting Them Where It Hurts

Read Revelation 16

“Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the
seven angels, ‘Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s
wrath on the earth.’ The first angel went and
poured out his bowl on the land…”
(Revelation 16:1-2)

Thoughts… The earth is going to hell in a handbasket! Just you wait and see.

Now don’t get me wrong—I love our planet. My primary pathway of worship is through nature. I love the outdoors and I feel closest to God when I am in the wonder and beauty of his creation. I love the smell of a cedar forest, hiking through the awe-inspiring majesty of the redwoods, rafting Class 5 rapids on a pristine mountain stream, gazing at the unmatched wonder of a Pacific sunset, gazing at the Milkyway Galaxy on a clear night from the Arizona desert…

You’ll get no argument from me that God was at his finest when he created the earth.

But have you noticed in the last few years how man’s appreciation for the beauty of nature has turned to earth-worship. Stewardship of the environment has turned to radical environmentalism. Eco-terror is on the rise. The new political muscle of the green movement now thwarts common sense use of the earth’s resources at every turn.

We are living in a time when man worships the creation more than its Creator.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that when God brings final judgment on the wickedness of mankind, he will hit where it really hurts—in the very area where we have become most idolatrous: The earth.

The very planet that is now worshiped is going to take a beating. God will give the seven angels who administer his judgment power to harm the earth. Plagues will break forth, the oceans will become polluted like never before, rivers and streams will turn putrid, global warming will become global baking, the cosmos will be darkened without remedy, massive earthquakes will destroy great portions of the developed world and everyday weather patterns will become man’s worst enemy.

In short, God will turn the physical world upside down as punishment for those who have chosen to worship it over him.

Keep that in mind in the coming years as the environmental movement grows stronger and stronger, when it turns from a movement into a religion, when you will face increasing pressure to bow at the alter of environmental consciousness, and when coercion and isolation are imposed on those who do not take such a view of the earth. That day is coming friend, so don’t be caught off guard.

But keep in mind also that God will take down this altar of idolatry like he has with every other god and godless system in the past that has set itself against him. God will tolerate no other god before him.

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make
for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above
or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall
not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the
LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the
children for the sin of the fathers to the third
and fourth generation of those who hate
me, but showing love to a thousand
generations of those who love me
and keep my commandments.”
(Exodus 20:3-6)

Prayer… Lord, you are the Creator of all. You alone are worthy to be praised and adored. I give you glory and honor, and I worship you in the splendor of your creation. You rule and reign over all that exist. You are Lord of all!

One More Thing… “Now if I believe in God’s Son and remember that He became man, all creatures will appear a hundred times more beautiful to me than before. Then I will properly appreciate the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, apples, as I reflect that he is Lord over all things. …God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” — Martin Luther

The Real Global Warming

Read Revelation 8

“The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire mixed with
blood were thrown down on the earth. One-third of the
earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were
burned, and all the green grass was burned.”
(Revelation 8:7)

Thoughts… There’s a global warming coming, alright! But it ain’t the one modern day environmentalist are thinking about. It is a global warming that cannot be prevented by reducing our carbon footprint or greenhouse gases or by worldwide efforts to go “green.”

This one is coming because of the wrath that will be poured on those who worship the earth rather than the earth’s Creator.

Now don’t get me wrong—I am not an anti-environmentalist. I believe that Christians are called to be good stewards of this wonderful planet God created. After all, in the beginning, he gave the earth to Adam and Eve and commanded them to steward it. Christians ought to lead the way in caring for a planet that God put so much thought, effort and love into when he created it.

Believers ought to be setting the pace with common sense environmentalism. But we must be careful to love the earth without worshiping it. And we must keep in mind that God will one day destroy this third rock from the sun because it has been deeply and irrevocably corrupted by sin. Earth’s destruction will come not through natural disaster nor preventable man-made causes; it will be ultimately destroyed as a result of God’s inexorable judgment.

But in its place God will recreate the heavens and the earth. And if you think this one was a pretty good deal, wait until you get a load of the new one. It will make the present earth look like a slum by comparison.

And best of all, no sin will ever taint the pure and pristine nature of the new earth. It will be enveloped by the presence of God himself, protected by his power, preserved by his Spirit, sustained by Divine love, and ruled by his Son.

So in light of what God has revealed in his Word about earth’s future, let’s do our best to steward it. But don’t get too cozy with it—a new and improved planet is just around the corner.

Prayer… Father, I’m in awe of the beauty of your creation. I can’t imagine that you could ever outdo yourself, but there’s a promise in your Word that you will do just that. I will do my best to honor your creation, but I can’t wait to experience the next one.

One More Thing…
“The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God. … I do not worship matter. I worship the Creator of matter who became matter for my sake, who willed to take His abode in matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. Never will I cease honoring the matter which wrought my salvation! I honor it, but not as God. Because of this I salute all remaining matter with reverence, because God has filled it with his grace and power. Through it my salvation has come to me.” — St. John of Damascus