Psalm 139:13-16 – Wonderful

Psalm 139:13-16 – Wonderful

As a child, I spent a lot of time with chickens. Not only did my parents, for a time, raise them for meat, we also raised hens throughout my childhood for eggs and sheer entertainment value. Those of you familiar with chickens know they march to the beat of their own drum, and I often found myself watching the antics of our little flock for twenty minutes at a time, amused throughout.

Growing up with chickens, one thing you learn pretty quickly is not to mess with momma-hen. You might say that’s nothing surprising, as most animals are fiercely protective of their young. However, the protectiveness of a hen doesn’t start when the chicks hatch but long before. As soon as she commits to sitting a nest, her protective instincts kick in hard. We call this being “broody”. A broody hen will fight to the death to protect her little clutch of eggs. I have seen a bantam cochin hen, weighing in at a whopping pound-and-a-half, fly out to attack a ninety-pound Labrador in defense of her nest. I have seen hens starve themselves nearly to death, refusing to leave their eggs even for a moment to eat. As the chicks grow within the eggs, the hen will make soft, tender clucking noises to her eggs as she rolls them over carefully, already establishing communication with the chicks growing within. Before they are born, chicks become familiar with the unique voice of their mother, and the mother will be able to pick out their chirping from any other chicks born in the barn. They are hers.

In Romans 1:20ESV, Paul writes, “For [God’s] 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.” When I read this, I often think of mountains and oceans and sunsets and all the beauty of the created world. But even in the a little, momma hen, we can see the fingerprints of the creator in her fierce love for her children, even unborn.

In Psalm 139:15-16ESV, the Psalmist writes, My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Before you were born, God knew you. You weren’t a mystery to Him. Your days were not yet to be revealed, but He knew every moment of every day of your life before one of them came to be. He knew your failings, your successes, your gifts, your faults, your loves, your regrets…the deepest parts of all you are.

And He didn’t recoil.

He didn’t sign in regret that He hadn’t done better.

He didn’t roll his eyes, shrug, and mutter, “Oh well…”

Rather, the Psalmist writes you are, “Fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works”. Wonderful. Not just wonderful, but fearfully wonderful. In other words… incredibly, awesomely, overwhelmingly wonderful. No matter how you feel. No matter what you are told by others. This is the declaration the CREATOR of the UNIVERSE makes over you:

Wonderful.

  1. Why does your life often seem less than “wonderful”?
  2. Why is it so difficult to believe God’s word’s about you, compared to your own inner dialogue or the criticisms of others?
  3. How often do you look at others as wonderful works of God?
  4. Challenge for the Week: God affirms His love for you in every day. Pay attention for those moments and little gifts He gives you. When He does, write them down and spend some time reflecting on them instead of dismissing them with negativity.

Ezekiel 37:1-14 – You’re Not a Waste

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.'” – Ezekiel 37:1-14ESV

Do a quick Google search and you’ll find out some interesting things about this blue ball we live on. For example, the deepest point on earth is the Mariana Trench, which is about 35,462 feet deep. Do the math. That’s almost 7 miles below the surface of the ocean. The creatures living out their lives there look like something out of a horror film. It’s hard to believe they share this planet with us.

Another interesting fact: according to a November 15, 2017, article in Forbes entitled “The Number Of Earth-Like Planets In The Universe Is Staggering – Here’s The Math”, there are potentially 19,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe with the potential for at least one planet similar to Earth. That’s 21 zeros after the 19. I’m not even sure how to say a number that big. Yet, so far as we can tell, Earth is the only example among all these with the opulent existence of life. And not just mere micro-organisms, but beautiful, complex, astonishing life.

Now that I’ve got fixed firmly in your mind how incredible creation is, take a look at Ezekiel 37:4-8:

“Then [God] said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them…”

Did you pick up on the enormity of what just happened here? Ezekiel was an ordinary man living in 6th century BC Babylon among his fellow Jewish exiles after Babylon conquered Israel and Judah. He would only live about fifty years, prophesying the coming redemption of Israel that he would never see. Yet the same God who thought up the weird creatures in the Mariana Trench, the same God who thought it would be fun to make however-many kajillion (or however you say that number) stars and planets, but only inhabit one with life…chose to use this simple man to raise the dead. He could have easily done it Himself, but He chose to include Ezekiel in the display of His absolute authority over all life.

What does that remind you of? It reminds me of a mission trip I once went on with a group of high schoolers where we had to re-roof an 8/12 pitch house with cedar shingles underneath two layers of tar shingles. You have to have safety lines on everyone just to stay safe on the roof. It was almost one-hundred degrees and humid in the middle of summer in central Michigan. It would have been far faster and far easier for the experienced adults to rip right through that roof and get it done. But what was important to us wasn’t just re-roofing a house for someone…it was equipping the youth with new skills and confidence to do hard things. It took us a lot more brutal days under the sun, but because of that attitude, by the end of the trip, the kids were laying shingles with hardly any help from the adults, using nail guns and cutting shingles to fit like they’d been doing it all their lives.

You see…God is our Father, not just our Lord. We are His children. He says it over-and-over again throughout the Bible. There are countless times in the Bible when He could have easily done things Himself…and didn’t. Instead, He worked with and through ordinary people to achieve the extraordinary and transformed human history and human lives for the good by doing so.

And He is still doing the same thing today…through US. Through YOU.

You are not a waste. You are not a failure. Not now that God has come to live in your heart. The same God Who defeated Egypt through the power of the son of a slave, the same God Who defeated a giant through the arm of a shepherd, the same God Who defeated a conquering army through two women not trained for battle…choses to work through you every single day of your life. He choses YOU.

  1. Do you ever feel like God doesn’t really have a use for you? Why?
  2. How do you feel knowing the God of Creation works through you?
  3. How might it impact the way you view your life if you view yourself as just as important to God as the heroes of the Bible?
  4. Challenge for the Week: Read Ezekiel 27:1-14 every day and pray for God to give you eyes to see the ways He wants to work through you this week.