Have you ever heard God speak? Have you ever seen God’s speech? Would you like to recognize the speech of God when you hear or see it?
Let’s start with man’s speech. When God created man, He gave him a marvelous gift, the gift of intelligent speech. Through that gift Adam was able to express what he saw in the speech of God in creation, and could declare the glory of God. Through his speech he revealed that he was a God-loving creature. We, too, also reveal what kind of person we are through our speech. Do you hear someone curse or swear? He reveals himself to be a profane person. Do you hear your school mates speak well of their parents? You immediately know that child to be an obedient boy or girl and loves his father and mother.
Well, in something like that, but infinitely more so, God also reveals much about Himself. Adam was the first to be able to read and understand that speech of God. He could see in the creation of each particular animal its own peculiar make-up. God tested Adam, his in-created knowledge, by bringing the animals, to him for the task of naming them. He recognized the kingly bearing of the lion; the meekness of the lamb, the wisdom of the ant, etc. I wonder if we can still read somewhat of that speech of God in creation even though we fell from that state of rectitude, and the creation which we try to understand has also fallen under the curse. Sure we can. God has not taken away all our natural reasoning powers. Besides, we are able to read that Speech of God because we have His Word which interprets much of it for us. As soon as we learn to read in school we can begin to read the Bible which is His Speech quite plain to understand. Shall we begin then by trying to find some examples in nature which have been explained in the Scriptures?
Last week when the heavy thunderstorm went over you heard God’s voice. Didn’t you know that? Psalm 29 interprets that voice for us when we read verses 3 to 9. It says: “The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of Jacob thundered. . . the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. . . it breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. . . it divideth the flames of fire. . . it shaketh the Wilderness. . . it maketh the hinds to calf. . .” Thunder, in Scripture, is often the speech of anger and condemnation. When Israel was fighting the battle of the Lord, their God would thunder upon their enemies so that Israel might win the battle. Do you remember the story? (Can you find it in your Bible?) The psalmist of Psalm 77 sang it: “The voice of thy thunder was in the heavens, the lightning enlightened the world, the earth trembled and shook.” When we hear it thunder we are to remember that God is always angry with the wicked. But, we His beloved, hear that thunder as a revelation of His Majesty.
Our mouth is a Speech of God. Because we can speak God tells us that He speaks. Man was made in the image of God; man could fellowship with Him, as indeed, Adam did when he walked and talked with God. Moses and God talked together; Enoch and Abraham were close friends with God to whom God spoke. God talked directly to Adam, to Eve, and to the serpent who beguiled Eve. To Noah God gave instructions and verbal blueprints of the ark. You can think of many more such examples found in Holy Writ. Our ears are a speech of God, telling us that God can hear. He hears when we pray to Him. He loves to hear us praise Him and confess our sins to Him. Oh yes, God hears alright! (He also hears when we badmouth our teachers and parents).
Our eyes are another such speech. They tell us that God can see. Psalm 94 puts it this way: “He that formed the eye, shall He not see?” When Israel was in Egypt God saw their affliction and God was moved with pity and decided to free them. And do you know that God even saw you before you were born? The psalmist of Psalm 39 sang of that wonder of God watching our formation before our birth: “Thine eyes did see my substance when as yet there were none of them”. Oh yes, God can see! He sees us when we are in trouble and need help. (Remember He also sees us when we do evil).
Our hands (another speech) tell us that as we can grasp father’s hands, and as we can hold a treasure safely in our hands, so God “holds our soul in life” and can be trusted to keep us safely in His hands.
Last Spring when the tulips sprang up in all their beauty they were a speech of God to tell us that Christ was raised from the realm of the dead, and that we, too, shall arise from our graves. Remember that homely green tomato worm which transformed into a lovely white butterfly? Such a transformation awaits us, too. That ugly horned tomato worm is a Speech of God.
In the animal kingdom, we find the speech of God which is spelled out for us in the Bible. The lion is a speech that speaks of Christ as the Lion of Judah’s tribe; as king of the beasts he speaks of the King of all creation, our exalted Lord sitting at God’s right hand of power. The lamb speaks of Christ as the Lamb of God, meek and lowly, who opened not his mouth when he was slain.
In the inanimate world of creation, we find that Speech of God as we behold the meandering streams. They speak of God’s providence in turning them back and forth: so he turns the hearts of kings and rulers to fulfill His will. The leaves of the trees next Fall also speak. Look closely at one of those leaves and you will see that they are dying. Each browning leaf alone is not beautiful, but when we see the whole forest or the individual tree we exclaim at its beauty. Psalm 116:15 explains that speech: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”. The sun speaks to us when its rays have healing power for man, the beast, and all plant life. So Christ, the Sun of righteousness, has healing in His wings. The swarms of fishes in the lakes and seas; the multitude of maple seeds on one tree (it only takes one to start a new tree); the innumerable stars in the night sky, all speak of the host of the redeemed which cannot be numbered for multitude.
God’s richest Speech is Christ. He is the Word of God. And Christ speaks to us in His Word, our Bible. The more you read your Bible, the more you hear the word of Christ in the Book, the more easily you can hear the Spirit speak to your heart. That Word of the Gospel is the speech of the God of our salvation concerning Himself. And the Bible tells us that the Spirit speaks to our spirit that we are sons of God. Now place close attention. When you hear that Spirit testifying to your spirit you have the New Life in you; you are born again; your life is hid in Christ.
When you have reached that state of maturity you are ready to confess your faith in Christ: and you will want to tell the whole congregation what Christ has done in you and for you. You belong to Him and you want everyone to know it. Right?
Now let’s attend to the opening questions in my letter again. Have you seen God’s speech in nature? That speech of God is seen by all men, even the children of disobedience. The Bible tells us that they deserve eternal punishment for rejecting that speech, that revelation of God’s invisible attributes. Romans 1:20 tells us that the wicked are without excuse: they should have recognized God’s Power and Godhead in nature and should have worshipped Him as Lord and Creator. Next question: Have you heard God speak to you? You had better listen!
P.S. I bet that if you would push the “off” button on your parents’ “Boob-tube” and keep it off long enough to sit down and really think of God’s handiwork in creation you could come up with many more “speeches of God” than I have mentioned so far. Do you know what I would like? I would like you to try to find other “speeches of God” in creation which I have missed. Then write them down on a piece of paper; sign your name to it; mail it to. “Gramp”, c/o Beacon Lights, 4625 Juleon S.W., Grand Rapids, MI 49504. No prizes will be awarded, but you just might receive an Honorable Mention!