God’s glory in nature
Habakkuk 2:14 NIV
‘Meanwhile the earth fills up with awareness of God’s glory as the waters cover the sea.’
Think for a moment of a seaside scene or of mountain grandeur. What emotions does it stir up within you?
Shirley and I live in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) in a retirement village, a matter of only seven minutes walk to the nearest beach. It is great to walk along the beachfront or sit gazing out across the bay and reflect on the greatness of our Creator God.
For the Christian, the beauty of nature all around us stimulates our awareness of the glory of our God.
On their CD entitled ‘Perfect Harmony,’ the Blake group sing the song ‘Beautiful Earth’. They sing of the wonderful world God has created for our enjoyment. I encourage you to click on the link and watch the video. It’s only three minutes long. When you’re finished, close the tab and you’ll be back here. It is indeed a beautiful earth. But sadly, mankind has marred so much of it.
Babylon’s Honour Fades
The goal of the Babylonians appeared to be that of making their nation into one held in great honour by other nations. Yet, rather than “the earth” being filled with the glory of the Babylonians, one day it will “be filled with awareness of God’s glory, as the waters cover the sea.”
The city of Babylon was eventually conquered In 539 B.C. by the Persian king, Cyrus the Great. However, the final fall of the city of Babylon was finally only achieved when the Babylonian Empire came under Persian control.
This prediction actually refers to end times, to the ultimate destruction of symbolic Babylon in God’s final future judgement (Revelation 16:19—18:24).
Habakkuk regarded Babylon as a reference to the Babylonian Empire as he knew it, but ever since the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), ‘Babylon’ has in fact had a symbolic meaning as well as a literal one.
- So what then does ‘Babylon’ symbolise?
In addition to being a physical city Babylon also symbolically represents all that is ungodly. All the facets of man’s sinfulness, as well as all those folk who, through self-reliance, seek to glorify themselves and gain heaven by their own works.
Consequently God did destroy the Babylonian Empire. But the evils that Babylon represent will continue until Jesus Christ returns to the earth to set up His one thousand year kingdom (the millennium—Revelation 20:4-6). Then God will finally destroy all evil practices and evildoers, all that has marred the beauty of the world God created.
“A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”‘ (Revelation 14:8 NIV)
“The name written on her forehead was a mystery: BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Revelation 17:5 NIV)
Revealing God’s Glory
- In what ways may the earth be filled with the glory of God?
“Just as water fills the sea, the land will be filled with people who know and honor the LORD” (The Contemporary English Version). So then, as this translation indicates there is a process taking place even now by which God’s glory is being extended to the ends of the earth.
- What can we who love and serve the Lord do in making sure that the folk we know become aware of God’s glory?
Equally important, in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul highlights the fact that we were chosen to bring praise to God’s glory.
”We were the first to put our hope in Christ. We were chosen to bring praise to his glory.”(Ephesians 1:12 NIrV)
Paul also wrote, “Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers.” (Colossians 4:5)
Non-believers take note of what we do. Their picture of Jesus is so often clouded by our actions and words. If we are kind they see Jesus as kind. If we are considerate that is how they see Jesus. So if we are short-tempered and unloving, that is how they imagine Jesus to be.
Max Lucado tells of a chat he had with a rabbi on a plane flight. The rabbi did most of the talking and used an illustration of the daughter of the CEO of a large firm to make a point. This young lady traded on her status as the ‘bosses daughter’ to get various staff members to fall in line with her requests even though they interfered with their required duties. Consequently, the staff impression of their CEO whom they had not seen was reflected in his daughter’s actions.
The rabbi went on to suggest that the picture would be different if the daughter’s actions were different. If she went out of her way to show kindness by offering to help. The staff would then have a more positive impression of their CEO, even though she never mentioned his name and they had never met him personally.
“They’ve never seen him. They’ve never met him. But they know his child, so they know his heart. May we have no higher goal than to see someone think more highly of our Father, our King.” (Adapted from “It’s not about me’ by Max Lucado)
Existing to God’s glory
“Why does the earth spin? For Him. Why do we have talents and abilities? For Him. Why do you have money or poverty? For Him. Everything and everyone exists to reveal His glory. Including you” (Max Lucado – ‘It’s not about me’)
Furthermore, just think about this concept for a while. The reason you and I exist is to glorify God.
“God made all things, and everything continues through him and for him. To him be the glory forever” (Romans 11:36 NCV)
Consider – What can I do today, which will bring God glory?
If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.