As God passes the creatures, one by one, before Job’s eyes, God recites various of their native peculiarities. God begins with the earth’s foundations, then proceeds to speak about the sea, hemmed in by bars and doors. Then God continues with mention of the rain, snow, hoarfrost, sleet and hail. From there God mounts upward to heaven to discuss the constellations, the lightning, etc. Then God has Job inspect the wild goats and the wild asses. Afterward God passes the unicorn before his eyes, the peacock, the hawk, the eagle and the horse. God had only begun this process or Job fell upon his face in deep humility. But God had only just begun. He continues with mention of the mighty beast, the hippopotamus and then finally the leviathan or crocodile, a creature which God describes in great detail. When the last creature has passed before Job’s eyes we find him lying upon his face and saying, “I am vile” and “I abhor in dust and ashes”.
Evidently, therefore, the elements of creation, from the stars to the clouds, and from there on down to birds, the animals and the sea, are adapted to an instruction which has for its effect that the man of God, on the one hand senses the majesty and greatness and the sovereignty of God, and on the other hand becomes keenly aware of his own nothingness. It has for its effect that the man of God finds himself an ash-pile and, in deep humility, worships the Creator-sovereign.
Creation, in the hands of the Creator-sovereign-teacher serves to display God’s wisdom and sovereignty, while it at the same time gives conclusive evidence of man’s nothingness in contrast.
If creation is adapted to this, it is because God Himself has made it so.
If creation is adapted to this, it must constantly serve that end.
And when our Christian Schools deal with these elements of creation, Paul in Rom. 1 emphasizes what we saw also in the book of Job, namely, that the universe of God’s creation is a most elegant book, in which all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to contemplate the invisible things of God, His power and His divinity. And so strong is the revelation which proceeds from it that it is sufficient to convince even the natural man and to leave him without an excuse.
When the door goes open and we look into that marvelous thing called the universe; when we inspect the various parts of that universe, when we observe the ways of God within that universe and when we penetrate into the elements and metaphysics of that universe, the total effect of it must be that we worship the Creator-sovereign.
What other purposes Christian instruction may have, this is the primary purpose.
The Essence of Christian Instruction.
Christian instruction is essentially the process of reverently inspecting the mighty works of God in His universe. And the purpose of it is that we shall fall down before Him in worship for His beauty, majesty and greatness.
We learned this from the book of Job.
Let us cite just a few more Scripture passages which bear this out.
First of all, there iswhich speaks of the praises, the strength and the wonderful works of the Lord. His strength is displayed in His wonderful works, and this display of strength invokes praise to God. His works praise Him, as in fact all creation praises Him. David speaks of the creatures as “His servants” (Psalm 119:91). Besides that, in Psalm 78 the psalmist commands that one generation shall declare His mighty works to the next generation, in order that they may set their hope in God and not forget His works.
Again, in Ps. 104 there is an enumeration of God’s creatures and of God’s ways, and the psalmist says: O Lord, how manifold are Thy works, the earth is full of Thy riches. And a little farther, as a result of this contemplation, he says: I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live, I will sing praises to God while I have my being. And almost in the same breath, he says, Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. In other words, they who will not fall down in worship when they see so great a display of wisdom, they have no right to live . . . let them be consumed.
Finally in Ps. 95 the psalmist starts out with, “O come, let us sing unto the Lord”, and then, “for the Lord is a great God”, then he descends into creation and says: “The sea is His and He made it, His hands formed the dry land” and after this he says: “O come let us worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”
If therefore we shall have schools where the might; works of God are reverently inspected, we need school where His works are inspected in the light of Scripture. We know nothing but what God has revealed unto us in His Word. In His Word His works are interpreted. How then shall we imagine to have Christian instruction in public schools? But likewise how shall we have Christian instruction in Christian schools unless they found their instruction upon the Holy Scriptures? Whether it be in geography, history, science or whatever, it must continually be a reverent inspection of God’s works with a call to fall down and worship Him that sitteth upon the throne. But just therefore, behind the Christian instruction must lay a sound interpretation of Scripture. If not, the connection between God and His works is distorted. Besides, God does not want to be worshipped in any other way than He has commanded in His Word.
In the second place we must have teachers who themselves have the true fear of God in their heart and confess Him for what He has revealed of Himself in His Word. If they shall reverently inspect God’ mighty works, they must possess reverence. And certainly it is true here, that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. It is lamentable how poorly equipped sometimes our teachers are when it comes to these things. Too much I fear people have said that ministers need course in theology, but teachers need courses in normal training. If a teacher shall reverently inspect God’s might; works he must be well versed in the true doctrine of Scripture in order that he can rightly interpret God’ works.
Further, if we shall have such a school and such teaching it stands to reason that the school board has a high calling. Naturally the parents themselves do all in their power to obtain a God-centered instruction in the school. But the School Board is chosen to watch over these things and is directly responsible that such instruction be given. How much of the time of an evening’s meeting is taken up by these most important matters? So often the finances, the new building project, the next drive, how to get the bus repaired, etc., take; up almost all the time. Monthly reports are often neglected or lightly skipped over. Certainly the School Boards have to see to it that the instruction given in the school is God-centered.
No amount of Christian instruction however can lead the wicked to worship God. For in his heart hates God. But in the generation of the Covenant the “man of God” is present, even though at present he appears as a little child upon the school benches. The little one is the “man of God”, as yet undeveloped. In his heart is the grace of God.
He grows in grace as he is instructed concerning God. And his instruction is the means whereby he develops into one who worships God, fit for every good work. There is also a man of sin in our generations. He also must receive this God-centered instruction. He must also be taught God’s mighty works and be called to worship God, the which, when he refuses to do, reveals himself as truly profane.
The essence then of Christian instruction is that it is a process in which we reverently inspect God’s mighty works in His universe, and are thereby continually called to fall down and worship Him that sitteth upon the throne.
(to be continued)