The heavens are telling the glory of God (see Psalm 19:1).
So, sunrises. Or what did the disciples mean at the beginning of John? “We beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). And my answer to both of those is the same. The sun points to the glory of God. The sunrise points to the glory of God. The sunrise, when it comes up in this town, is a parable of the glory of God, which you see with the spiritual eyes. And if you are a believer, you see it immediately.
“The sun rises and your heart bursts with praise to God.” Tweet Share on Facebook
The sun rises and your heart bursts with praise to God. You don’t say, “Praise the sun.” Your eyes go right up the ray into heaven to the Maker. And you know that in the age to come it says there will be no sun there, because the glory of God will be their sun and the Lamb will be the lamp (Revelation 21:23). You won’t need physical light anymore, because there will be another reality that makes these lamps and that sun look like a candle against the physical sun today — only ten million times more. So just know that there are complex issues in how our bodies, our ears, our eyes, all of our senses, relate to spiritual joy, and I have got a whole chapter called “How to Wield the World in the Fight for Joy,” — how to wield food, how to wield exercise, how to wield sunrises, how to wield poetry, how to wield music.
Those are all physical and not spiritual realities. But they all are used by God to mediate spiritual realities. And making that distinction and learning to see spiritual reality in and through God’s good creation, which can so easily become idols, is crucial. Music can become an idol in worship. The book of Scripture can become an idol rather than the meaning of Scripture, so that you put it on a nice shelf and dust it off, but its meaning means nothing to you. Anything can become an idol but God.
And so, we must learn to see spiritually. We are blind, and God has to come and give us light.
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org