2 Ways God Communicates to People Today
Blazing sunrises, gentle moonlit nights, lush forest paths, rocky arid beauty, bird song, leaf-fall, thunderous ocean waves, cascading waterfalls, gurgling mountain streams—these glorious beauties are the songs of nature. Each of these songs declares a theme, a message from God the King. He calls us to learn of him from nature and his Word. God has created a symphony for us: let's listen.
God the Composer
A composer is a person who writes music. It is his vision and foresight—his message—that is written down on paper for others to communicate. The composer is in control of what fundamentally must be played and how it should be played. Will this line be loud or soft? Will it be played forcefully or delicately? Will the music communicate joy, sorrow, anxiety, or strength?
God is a composer, too. He created the glorious, amazing, and beautiful world around us to communicate something about himself. The rhythm of the seasons, sounds of nature, colors, and smells are all part of his composition. Just as a composer communicates through his music, God communicates to us through his creation and Word. They both reveal something about him.
1. God Communicates Through His Creation
So what does creation say to you about God? Psalm 19 speaks of the creation being a witness to God’s glory: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). And Job 38 stresses God’s power, wisdom, design, and care of his creation. The book of Romans declares, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For 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” (Rom. 1:19-20). Nature declares that God is magnificent, powerful, wise, and good. But creation is not the only way God reveals himself to us.
2. God Communicates by Means of the Written, Preached, and Visible Word
God also communicates to us by means of his Word. He uses the written and preached Word to communicate his message to his people (2 Tim. 3:16). Scripture is God’s written message (2 Pet. 1:20-21). It tells of God’s creation of man for a noble calling (Gen. 1:26-30); man’s rebellion and separation from God (Gen. 3:6-3:10); God’s plan to save man from judgment (Gen. 3:15); Christ’s sacrifice for his people’s sins (Phil. 2:8); God’s adoption of those who trust in Christ as his children (Eph.1:5); and God’s preparation of an eternal inheritance for his children (Eph. 1:11). In historical and poetic writings, prophecy, and letters, God speaks to his people now through his written and preached Word. His words of restoration, blessing and comfort are found there.
God also proclaims his Word though visible signs and seals that are known as sacraments. One of the things the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper do is visibly proclaim the promise of forgiveness and salvation through Christ. Because of this visible proclamation, sacraments are sometimes referred to as “the visible Word.” God not only speaks words of salvation and promise but also exhibits these truths though a meal and washing. So in the Scriptures and Sacraments, God is teaching that humans are sinful and that God saves through Jesus Christ. This Word tells us about the joy we have when we trust Jesus as our Savior—and thus know God as a loving Father and not as a Judge.
Soaking It All In
How do you feel when you listen to your favorite piece of music? Do you enjoy how the instruments and the vocals work together? Do you delight in the artistry and creativity as the music and the lyrics drive home a common message? Even if there are many different instruments the variety gives a depth, complexity and strength to the one message. So, too, is God’s symphony of revelation to us of himself through creation and the Word. We have so much around us in creation that reveals God’s attributes: goodness, power, wisdom. Yet, he also has revealed himself and his love to his people in historical narrative, poetry, prophecy, letters, and the Sacraments. God's communication is multifaceted and provides a wonderful depth and beauty as we use all of God’s revelation to know him.
We learn about God in the beauties of creation, and even more about him in Scripture and the Sacraments. Just as we feast our ears on well-played music, we also can feast our hearts on God’s amazing symphony of creation and the written, preached, and visible Word. Soak it all in.