We have had a couple hatches of Mountain Bluebirds this summer, and the new crop has been learning to forage on their own this week. I try to keep a ground-level pan of water filled for drinking and bathing, and the youngsters readily use it. They tend to be pretty skittish, but this evening they seemed to want a bath more than they wanted to distance themselves from me and my camera! One would think that a bird as beautiful as the Mountain Bluebird would have an incredible song and vocals, but that isn’t really the case. It is not that their song is bad, it just isn’t very musical. Typically they are most vocal in the morning, but on a cool evening they will break out in song…as it were.
Sing unto him a new song: play skilfully with a loud noise. Psalm 33:3
From J. Vernon MeGee’s Thru the Bible: We are to sing a new song unto the Lord. What is that new song? Several psalms speak of a new song that will be sung in the future. I think when the time comes to sing that new song there will be new singers also. I am going to have a new body, and I think I will be able to sing. I hope the Lord will let me sing in heaven. Revelation 5:9 says, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” The psalmist exhorts us to sing a song of praise to God because He is our Creator, but the new song we will sing in heaven will be because the Lord Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. In Revelation 14:3 we read, “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” A new song will be sung in the future.
At great length, King Solomon opined about the vanity of life and the pleasures of things which man has made. Some people might read the first couple chapters of Ecclesiastes and draw the conclusion that life is futile. But Solomon goes on to make the point that God gives life meaning and value. While the things we labor over are only temporary, the ways and actions of God will always stand because He is in control. The book of Ecclesiastes touches on many aspects of humanity that we are confronted with daily. Solomon’s writing style gets a lot of traction from skepticism and pessimism, making me wonder if he might have relied upon sarcasm in social intercourse. Nonetheless, if you’re feeling somewhat undervalued or maybe as worthless as the remains of this pier at Whittington Beach in Hawaii, I’d suggest taking a short trip through this book to get a no-nonsense life course correction.
Coming across the Rocky Mountains last week, along what I believe to be one of the most beautiful drives in the country, a glance in the rear-view mirror captured my attention. After winding down the east side of Roger’s Pass, the highway straightened out for a long stretch and seemingly reached out for some infinite point in the distant mountain range. The beckoning springtime grass, scattered clouds and silent highway combined to make a compelling scene. This sight brought to mind a number of thoughts and Scriptural messages, but one in particular felt like just the right fit.
“Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God!” Isaiah (40:3) spoke these prophetic words about John the Baptist’s future role. Later, each of the Gospel writers would document John doing precisely this, with John 1:23 recording, “He [John the Baptist] said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness; Make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said.”
So John basically made this proclamation to anyone who would listen to him, and maybe even to some who wouldn’t. But what was he telling them? God can do anything He wills, surely he doesn’t need people to pave the way for Him! John’s purpose in this announcement was to put people at the ready for Jesus Christ, who would soon be in their midst. This was not only so folks would be on the lookout for Him, but was an urging for people to get their lives right by God prior to the impending arrival of the King.
Just as the arrival of Jesus Christ in the flesh was imminent in the time of John the Baptist’s life, the Kingdom of Heaven will soon be at hand when Christ returns in judgement. We don’t know when that will happen (Matthew 25:13), but if our lives are not right with God at that moment, we will not join the fellowship in His kingdom. Worse, we will be ushered to the gates of Hades. So, what if you don’t believe that Christ’s return is going to happen soon? Well, perhaps you’re right, but then I’d ask, when will you die? Again, if you don’t have your life right with God when you leave this life on earth, the same rules apply. And that death can happen in an instant – even when you’re least expecting it.
Listen carefully…..do you hear it? Hailing from the clutter and noise of our modern day wilderness can still be heard that same announcement – Make straight the way of the Lord!
Last weekend I was in northwest Washington-state and my visit coincided with the beginning of the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Over the past several years I have traveled on business to this part of the country, but wasn’t aware that the cut-flower and bulb business had such an economic impact in the Mt. Vernon-Burlington area. And evidently the flowers were not in bloom at the time of previous travels, or I think might have noticed them. My timing was fortuitous this year and I become one of the more than 200,000 people who flock to the locale each year to take in the sights.
The first field of blooms to draw my attention turned out not to be tulips, but daffodils! And I actually believe I saw more acres of daffodils than tulips during my time there, however I didn’t cover the country extensively. Even on a cloudy, dreary day, the brilliant yellow was impossible to miss.
The variety of colors at the tulip farm was pretty amazing, and each row of flowers was like a work of art. Mud and drizzling rain turned out to be a good thing, as many of the tourists stayed out of the fields and headed for their cars early, allowing for some relatively clean shots of the fields.
While the tulip business in Washington doesn’t compete with Holland in terms of acreage or economic impact, it remains a very impressive sight to experience. And the colors and beauty of the flowers serve as poignant reminders of He who made them!