Arthur Pink, 1952
(As in the English, so in the Hebrew and Greek, "marvels" and "wonders" are synonymous, and therefore throughout this article, we shall render the term uniformly, instead of following the Authorized Version.)
Marvels! We are literally surrounded by them. We are ourselves the subjects of them, both in our beings and in the common experiences of our daily lives, by which we mean that innumerable tokens of the divine handiwork confront us on every hand. To begin with, the reader need look no farther than himself, for in his own body he beholds something which infinitely surpasses the skill of the most intricate, delicate, and complicated piece of machinery that was ever invented by man. Good reason has he to say, "I will praise you, for I am fearfully and marvelously made!" (Psalm 139:14)
"As anyone must admit, who has with any care examined the structure and texture of the human body. The exact symmetry and just proportion of all its parts, their positions and usefulness. Every bone, muscle, artery, nerve and fibre is nicely framed and placed to answer its designed end. Particularly the eye and ear, the exquisite make of them for sight and sound having filled the most diligent inquirers into nature with amazement" (John Gill, 1697-1771).
Justly may we be astonished at these living temples — the composition of every part, the harmony of all together.
There is very much more in the Scriptures upon this subject than might be inferred from the writings of God's servants and the converse of His people. The following verses from the Psalms may be regarded as representative ones.
"I will praise you, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all your marvelous works" (Psalm 9:1).
"Many, O LORD my God, are your marvelous works which you have done" (Psalm 40:5).
"Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous things" (Psalm 72:18).
"You are great, and do marvelous things — you are God alone" (Psalm 86:10).
"The heavens shall praise your marvels, O LORD" (Psalm 89:5).
"Declare his glory among the heathen, His marvels among all people" (Psalm 96:3).
"Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His marvelous works to be remembered (Psalm 111:4).
"To Him alone who does great marvels" (Psalm 136:4).
In attempting to write upon such passages as these, we take up a theme to which the profoundest mind and ablest pen could do but scant justice.
"The works of the LORD are great, sought out by all those who have pleasure therein" (Psalm 111:2).
There is something in the divine handiwork surprising and that strikes an awe upon us. God's actions and productions are like Himself — unique, perfect, wonderful. They demonstrate that He is possessed of omniscience and omnipotence. None of the works that deluded souls have ascribed to their idols can in any way be compared with the prodigies of the august Jehovah. His doings are grand and mighty, as worthy of our best attention as are His sayings. They are not few in number, but incalculable. They are not confined to a single sphere, but are equally evident in every realm. They were not performed only before the past generations of our ancestors, but are being done before our own eyes.
Note the present tense of the verb in, "For you are great, and do marvelous things" (Psalm 86:10) — they are transpiring before us now. Look upon the bursting buds of spring or the maturing fruits of autumn. Behold the glorious sunset, the star-spangled heavens, the white-mantled trees in winter.
The creation of all things out of nothing, and the bringing of them into their form and order, and especially the formation of man out of the dust of the ground in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26-27, 2:7) — are altogether beyond our comprehension. The immense universe is full of the glory of its Architect, and the world in which we live is stored with innumerable wonders and beauties which bear witness to God's attributes.
"At the first glance we perceive a majesty and greatness in all the works of God. There is nothing trivial to be anywhere discovered in them. If we have any taste for sublime grandeur and beauty, we shall take peculiar pleasure in investigating the works of creation and providence, and in admiring the discoveries which are made of the divine wisdom, power, and goodness, in every one of them — the minute as well as the immense" (Thomas Scott, 1747-1821).
Yet, how few men deem them worthy of their serious attention. As Horne remarked, "Angels admire and adore — where men will not deign to cast an eye or employ a thought."
Not only in the heavens and the earth, but we behold "his marvels in the deep" (Psalm 107:24) — its ebb and flow, the bounds which He has set to it by His decree, the myriad creatures therein and their continued sustenance.
The provision which God has made for the countless number of His creatures on land, in sea, and in air — His providential care in nourishing and preserving them all from day to day, should fill us with wonderment and praise! These are such stupendous undertakings as no one else can match.
Equally wonderful is his divine government of the universe: That the sun, moon and stars keep their stations. That cold and heat, summer and winter, seed time and harvest, are as they were from the beginning. That men are endowed with different inclinations and abilities for the common good of all — some desiring and qualified to be farmers or fishermen, others manual laborers or crafts'men, teachers or physicians. Each man has his own distinct talent and calling. That God confines sin within due bounds and makes it work to His glory. If we were attentive in marking the operations of God in the ordinary occasions of life, we would be filled with admiration and awe, for, whatever instruments He may use, God is the great Agent.
But the greatest marvel is the divine work of REDEMPTION. That transcends all the other doings and deeds of the Almighty. Its design was laid in infinite wisdom and its execution was by infinite power. What an amazing thing, that the Holy One should determine to redeem vile sinners, and fix upon the scheme which He did, selecting His own Son to be the Redeemer of some out of every tribe and nation. "O sing unto the LORD a new song; for He has done marvelous things: His right hand has gotten him the victory" (Psalm 98:1).
Jehovah the Savior is the subject of that song. He became incarnate, the true Immanuel, God with us. So wonderful was this that a multitude of the heavenly hosts descended and acclaimed the same over the plains of Bethlehem (Luke 2:13-14).
The mighty acts which He performed were the works given
Him to do, as proofs of His Deity and Messiahship. Such miracles as His . .
walking upon the sea (Mat 14:25),
stilling the tempest by a word of His lips (Mat 8:24-27),
feeding a vast multitude with a few loaves and fishes (Mat 14:16-21),
giving sight to the blind (John 9:1-7),
and raising the dead (John 11:1-45) —
filled the beholders with astonishment.
In redemption, His glory shines forth and His grace is displayed in an unprecedented manner, putting away the sins of His people by the sacrifice of Himself. What a truly amazing thing it was that the Lord of life should expire, that He conquered death by dying, vanquished the opposing powers of darkness, and gained such a triumph as none beside Him could.
The consequences of Christ's redemption unto all eternity are equally marvelous. These are the operations of and the fruits produced by the Holy Spirit. The works of the new creation are even more remarkable than those of the old creation. The finite mind is incapable of comprehending how an adult person can experience a new birth, be delivered from a death in sin, and quickened into newness of life.
So, too, the Spirit makes the obstinate willing in the day of His power, slays their enmity, and brings the one-time lion to lie down with the lamb.
Equally miraculous is His maintenance of a work of grace within hearts so full of corruption, preserving it despite the hatred and opposition of the world, and all the snares of the devil.
"Blessed be the LORD: for he has showed me his marvelous kindness" (Psalm 31:21), which is free, sovereign, discriminating. It is better than life, and surpasses knowledge. It is set upon men, not angels. It is set upon men some men, not all; and they, many of the worst and vilest, and all by nature the children of wrath.
That marvelous kindness was displayed by CHOOSING them in
Christ, putting them in His hand, making a covenant with Him for them. It is
seen in His saving them with an everlasting salvation. The entire life of a
Christian is marvelous in his eyes — in the answers he receives to prayer,
in being . . .
daily loaded with benefits,
supported under trials,
assisted in his warfare,
delivered from perils,
solaced in afflictions,
nourished in his growth in grace,
and encouraged by foretastes of Heaven.
"Your testimonies are marvelous" (Psalm 119:129)
in revealing to us many things of deepest importance which could not be
ascertained from any other source. His Word is marvelous:
in the revelations which it makes of the Persons in the Godhead — their distinctive offices and glorious perfections;
in the light it throws on the mysteries of life, and the secrets of eternal happiness;
in the unerring guide it provides for us in this dark world;
in the doctrines it teaches,
in the precious promises it contains;
in the announcements of things to come;
in making known how God brings out of the ruins of the fall, more glory to Himself and more blessing to us than had our first parents remained in innocency;
in declaring to us what had never entered our hearts to conceive of the things God has prepared for those who love Him.
The more His Word be studied, believed, obeyed — the more wonderful and marvelous it becomes.