There’s probably nothing quite like a beautiful sunset to bring out the sense of wonder in us. A good friend of mine posts a picture of a sunset on his social media outlet at least weekly, such is his sense of wonder at this marvelous event – different every time!
St Augustine said: “Let others wrangle, I will wonder.” Bishop William Quayle wrote: “When wonder is dead, the soul becomes a dry bone.” Thomas Carlyle said, “Wonder is the basis of worship.”
Wonder can be defined as “amazement, surprise, astonishment, bewilderment, admiration, awe and fascination… unique.”
So, when we read Psalm 104, do we read it with a sense of wonder, or has “familiarity” caused it to lose its wonder for us? Or maybe, with our scientific understanding of the world, we have lost some of the mystery and wonder of a world where God is the initiator and sustainer of His creation.
How is it possible that we could fail to stand back in awe and wonder at the word picture painted here by the psalmist?
Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
2 The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.
4 He makes winds his messengers,
flames of fire his servants.
Consider the use of the word “WONDERful” (i.e., things that are full of wonder!) in the Bible:
God’s activities – Sing to [God], sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. (1 Chronicles 16:9)
God’s words – Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. (Psalm 119:18)
God’s creation of us – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)
God’s ways – Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (Psalm 139:6)
God’s plan – All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent. (Isaiah 28:29)
Jesus the Messiah – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
The things Jesus did – But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things Jesus did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. (Matthew 21:15)
The things Jesus said: When Jesus said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing. (Luke 13:17)
We have so many reasons to stand in awe and wonder and worship!
Warren Wiersbe in his book titled “Real Worship” says, “True worship involves wonder, witness and warfare, but we have to start with wonder… The trouble is that wonder is a rare ingredient… [today it would seem that] there is no more mystery, no more wonder in our world… [Although in truth] “The world will never starve for want of wonders,” wrote Gilbert Keith Chesterton, “but only for want of wonder.”
He then quotes “a leading modern theologian, T.F. Torrance” who states,” Worship is the exercise of the mind in the contemplation of God in which wonder and awe play an important part in stretching and enlarging our vision” of things we may never actually understand fully in this life, (and believe it or not, that is ok!)
Wiersbe concludes: “We need a return to wonder. We need a new emphasis on the mystery of things. For all his great theological brilliance, the Apostle Paul never lost his sense of the wonder and mystery of the faith. ‘Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!’ he exclaimed. ‘How unsearchable are his judgements and his ways past finding out!’ (Romans 11:33)” (# 49)
A modern song of worship also confirms our need of wonder in worship, It says:
I will kneel in the dust
At the foot of the cross,
Where mercy paid for me.
Where the wrath I deserve,
It is gone, it has passed.
Your blood has hidden me.
As endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
For all eternity.
May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
(Written by: Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin. Lyrics © Capitol CMG Publishing)