How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension! — Psalm 147:5

One of the advantages of living in a relatively undeveloped country like ancient Israel was that the people, of necessity, lived close to nature. They knew that milk does not originate in cartons, bread does not come sliced, and eggs must be laid by mother hens. Such living meant there was work to be done, and it had to be done outside—in the elements.

Israel looked at the clouds, not CNN, to discern the weather. They saw God send the rain, without which they would not survive. And when snow and ice came they did not head for the slopes; they watched God break up the stubborn soil, without which they would not be able to sow and reap. When the thaw came, they embraced the spring and headed for the fields, anticipating a harvest that only the Lord could make possible.

Close to nature, they were close to nature’s God. So even in the mundane, insignificant details of life, they had cause for rejoicing.

Ancient Israel lacked the convenient power of electricity, internal combustion, or the atom. Their biggest power source was horsepower—literally!

When the horses strained at their tasks and moved their loads, people were thankful for God’s provision of such a magnificent animal. But they knew that even the horse was powerless compared to their God. And if the horse was unimpressive relative to God, then man was just as puny (Psalm 147:10). So they had nowhere to turn but to the Lord, and they found in Him the resources for life that only He could give.

We are more civilized but less smart, more educated but less astute. The ancient agriculturalists knew the one on whom they were dependent, whereas we forget. They knew whom to thank, but we get confused. We need to take a few moments—or hours, or days!—to reflect on creation and remember the one through whom all power flows and from whom all creativity originates.

If we’ll leave for a moment our sophisticated tools and toys and consider the lilies and study the birds, if we’ll listen to the wind in the trees and smell the fragrance of the lilac in the evening air, then we’ll be able to remember God’s powerful work and humbly sing, “How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!” (147:5). As the psalmist declared, “How delightful and how right!” (147:1).

For further study: Psalm 147

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.