All things are done in parables.
Have you ever stood in rapt wonder as the setting sun majestically bid its farewell to the day, flooding the skies with radiant splendor and giving to the approaching night the confidence of ultimate victory? Have you ever watched the innumerable stars in their courses through the dome of the heavens, one surpassing the other in brightness? Have you greeted the dawn as the first rays of light broke over the distant hills, silhouetting the trees in bold relief against the morning sky, and arousing the birds from their slumber? Have you listened to the busy chirping of the birds, the cheery song of the wren, the rustling of the leaves, the whisper of the wind, the rhythmic beat of the waves against the shore? Have you paused to admire a flower, a blade of grass, a leaf, or watched a busy ant hasten about its business? Surely your soul has responded along with the Psalmist: “The heavens are telling the glory of God, the firmament is displaying the work of His hands; day unto day wells forth speech, night unto night shows wisdom.”
Jesus heard this song of creation far better than you or I ever can hope to do on this side of the Jordan of death. Jesus saw a farmer walking along the hillside, spreading seed with the wave of his hand, and He saw a parable. Jesus walked past a dirty field of grain; the farmer had sown good seed in the field, but weeds had sprung up along with the grain, in Jesus’ eyes was another parable. The Lord saw Peter and Andrew drawing up their net full of fishes off the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and He smiled at the parable. The Good Shepherd saw an ordinary shepherd with his flock, He saw a vine and admired the vineyard, He noticed a leper by the way, watched the eagle soar through the sky, heard the cry of the wolf—yes—there were thousands of voices speaking to Him, an endless display of marvels unfolding before His eyes, waiting for His nose to smell, for His hand to touch, for His sensitive soul to respond. Every one of these relayed to Him a message of the spiritual and the heavenly. For He understood so very well that God was doing all things in parables.
Little things belong to this speech of creation. A dot—like this . ? A horizontal line, like this __________ ? Or maybe a vertical line? A slanting line? Let’s take a look. We make use of a dot, a period at the end of a sentence. We use the word “period” to denote a span of time. It stresses for us that we reach an end. It calls for a pause. We pause in that ever moving span of time, until time shall be no more. Then God sets His final period upon all that belongs to time and introduces for us eternity. A straight line goes right to the point, like an arrow that flies to its target. The horizontal line reminds us of the broad expanse of prairie that reaches out to the horizon. It is the earthly in distinction from the heavenly. An animal stands in that horizontal position, all four feet on the ground, reaching his nose down to the ground to satisfy his hunger. Did Asaph have this in mind in Psalm 73 when he complained about his envy of the prosperity of the wicked: “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee”? Did he mean to say, “I saw no farther than my nose was long”? The vertical line is much more appealing. It stands erect to point heavenward, like the towering spire of a church. Man was created in the image of God to stand erect and to lift up his eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh his help. The vertical line speaks of uprightness, conformity to the law of God, a courage that is born from the consciousness of divine approval. The slanting line is a departure from the vertical. It is out of plumb, leans away, hangs awry. It is most disturbing to see a building out of plumb, or a picture that hangs awry on the wall. The sinner who transgresses God’s law slants off from the upright, leans toward Satan, sin and evil, until he falls completely and lies prone on the ground, in the sphere of death. No one but Christ through His atoning death of the cross and His powerful resurrection can raise the dead sinner into an upright position before God. The line that slopes downward leads ever farther into sin, ever deeper into death; it becomes like a swift toboggan ride into the abyss. It is the upward grade, the struggling, narrow way that leads to life. Cross-bearers over Calvary’s heights reach the golden realms of eternity.
We are all acquainted with the symbolism of numbers. One is a unit that stands alone. There is strength in that single unit, even as God is the “Wholly Other,” the independent, self-sufficient, sovereign One. Threepoints to the three persons in the Trinity. Three often makes a single combination: think of the three basic colors, the three notes of music, the fact that water appears in the threefold form of water, ice and steam.Four turns our attention to the four corners of the earth. Even as the horizontal line, it represents the earthly maybe even the earthly as it still lies under the curse. The flood lasted forty days, Israel roamed the desert for forty years, Elijah spent forty days traveling that desert, Jesus was forty days in the wilderness. Six is the number of man without God. It is the week without the Sabbath, it spells out the vain attempts of man throughout all of history in his striving to be as God. Six, when multiplied by 10 makes 60, when multiplied by 100 makes 600, a total of 666—mere empty vanity.Seven is the covenant number, God in intimate communion with His creation, the sum of three plus four. For God so loved the world (the four) that He gave His only begotten Son to redeem that world unto Himself for the day when He makes all things new. Look at the starry heavens and see the numerous combinations of three and four in the stars, as if God would have us know that He keeps covenant even through the dark hours of the night. Ten expresses a fulness, an ever increasing fullness that grows into 100, 1,000, 1,000,000, and thus on and on into the infinity of God Himself.
Colors speak their own language. White and black stand antithetically opposed to one another. The God of the antithesis makes day and night, light and darkness, heaven and hell. Black is, interestingly enough, the absence of all color. White is the combination of all the colors. One ray of light breaks into an array of colors like a rainbow. Therefore the rainbow is so fittingly the sign of God’s promise that He will surely save His people, keeping covenant, forever, even through judgment. The rainbow spreads itself on the black background of the departing storm. Colors can be warm or cold, relaxing or disturbing, appealing or ugly, happy or sad. White is the happy, bright color that speaks of holiness, purity, life, victory. Black is the mournful color of sin, curse, judgment, death. Sin hides under the cover of darkness; the enemy lurks in the shadows of the night. Purple belongs to royalty. Verdant green reminds us of the springtime, while golden yellow tells of harvest time. Red is the wild, angry color that “makes us see red.” One is impressed by the fact that colors can clash horribly, and yet colors can also harmonize beautifully in a grand display of splendor. Heaven must be very colorful.
All creation joins in singing its Maker’s praise. The sun in the heavens tells of God’s dazzling holiness, as One Whom no man has seen nor can ever see. At the same time the Sun of righteousness arises in power and marches through the heavens as the Bridegroom Who brings His Bride with Him into everlasting tabernacles of blessedness. The moon rides through the sky, even at times breaks through banks of clouds, to tell us that night is but a shadow awaiting the dawn of a new day. The starry hosts move serenely above all the turmoil of this present time. How soothing to look beyond all this present confusion and to see that the church, Abraham’s seed, remains unruffled, untroubled, come what may.
Creation necessarily speaks of divine wisdom and knowledge. “The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.” (Prov. 3:19, 20) Standing in the midst of this powerful revelation, the apostle Paul cries out, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor?” (Rom. 11:33, 34) As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s thoughts beyond our thoughts. He is great in counsel and mighty in work.
Predestination, including election and reprobation, is clearly pictured before us in creation. A single oak produces thousands of acorns, yet very few acorns become mighty oaks. The cornstalk produces its leaves, its tassel or flower, its husk and its ear, all for the sake of the kernels of corn that are harvested. Wheat and tares grow side by side. Scaffolding serves for the erection of the building and then is torn down and destroyed.
We stand in the midst of the judgment of this present world. It is evident to anyone who cares to see it that this earth has already passed through one judgment. The lofty Rocky Mountains especially tell of the power of God that heaved up mountains out of the sea cast huge boulders around in wild disorder, scattered the crushed rock as no human power could ever imitate it. Notice the Great Lakes, or the Grand Canyon, gouged out of the continent’s heart by no human hand. There is evidence everywhere of the great Flood that destroyed the first world of wicked men and changed the whole contour of the earth. The desert with its endless span of sand and waste witnesses of the great desolation that God brings upon the earth. The farmer wrestles with weeds, insects, drought and floods. Sickness and diseases penetrate into our homes. Tornadoes roar through the country, leaving a trail of destruction. In an ever increasing measure God sends us the signs of the times that point to the: swiftly approaching end. “The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thundereth: . . . the voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.” (Ps. 29:3, 4)
The wonder of it all is that Zion is delivered through judgment. Scripture speaks of the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. He is mighty Conqueror, the Lion of Judah’s tribe, the Sun of Righteousness, the Bright and Morning Star.
There are times when the desert blooms like a rose. There is the springtime when trees and shrubs and flowers awaken from their long sleep to declare to us the resurrection from the dead. Even the autumn has a splendor all its own. The seed must fall, to be buried in the earth and die, in order to bring forth new life. The trees vie with one another in shouting the praises of our God. As I listen I hear the groaning of the creatures as they travail together in hope, expecting soon to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. (Rom 8:20-23)
The fool says in his heart: evolution, long periods of development. God speaks in such a plain language that it is deliberate unbelief which closes a deaf ear to His voice. That is as God intended, so that man may never find a single excuse for his unbelief.
What an amazing wonder of grace to have eyes to see, and ears to hear! After all, this is my Father’s world, and in His world He speaks His Word.
Lord, open Thou my eyes that I may see ever more clearly the wonders of Thy Word!