God’s Love and Glory Seen in Nature, August 10

What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than angels [margin], and crowned them with glory and honor. Psalm 8:4, 5, NRSV. BLJ 236.1
Our kind heavenly Father would have His children trust in Him as a child trusts in earthly parents. But we too often see poor, feeble mortals loading themselves down with cares and perplexities that God never intended them to bear. They have reversed the order; they are seeking the world first, and making the kingdom of heaven secondary. If even the little sparrow, which has no thought of future need, is cared for, why should the time and attention of human beings, who are made in the image of God, be wholly absorbed with these things? BLJ 236.2
God has given us every evidence of His love and care, yet how often we fail to discern the divine hand in our manifold blessings. Every faculty of our being, every breath we draw, every comfort we enjoy, comes from Him. Every time we gather around the family board to partake of refreshments, we should remember that all this is an expression of the love of God. And shall we take the gift, and deny the Giver? … BLJ 236.3
When Adam and Eve were placed in their Eden home, they had everything that a benevolent Creator could give them to add to their comfort and happiness. But they ventured to disobey God, and were therefore expelled from their lovely home. Then it was that the great love of God was expressed to us in one gift, that of His dear Son. If our first parents had not accepted the gift, the race would today be in hopeless misery. But how gladly did they hail the promise of the Messiah. BLJ 236.4
It is the privilege of all to accept this Savior, to become children of God, members of the royal family, and to sit at last at God’s right hand. What love, what marvelous love, is this! John calls upon us to behold it: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” BLJ 236.5
Notwithstanding the curse was pronounced upon the earth that it should bring forth thorns and thistles, there is a flower upon the thistle. This world is not all sorrow and misery. God’s great book of nature is open for us to study, and from it we are to gain more exalted ideas of His greatness and unexcelled love and glory.—The Review and Herald, October 27, 1885. BLJ 236.6

The Beauty of Nature Reveals God’s Character, August 9

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1, 2, NKJV. BLJ 235.1
I once had the pleasure of beholding one of Colorado’s most beautiful sunsets. The great Master Artist had hung out on the shifting canvas of the heavens, for the benefit of all, both rich and poor, one of His finest paintings. It almost seemed that the gates of heaven were ajar that we might see the beauty there was within. Oh! thought I, as one after another passed without noticing the scene, if it had been painted by human hands, how many would have been ready to fall down and worship it! BLJ 235.2
God is a lover of the beautiful. He loves beauty of character, and He would have us cultivate purity and simplicity, the quiet graces of the flowers. We are to seek for the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. BLJ 235.3
Parents, what kind of education are you giving your children? Are you teaching them to cherish that which is pure and lovely, or are you seeking to place their hands in that of the world? Are you spending time and means that they may learn the outward proprieties of life, and secure the superficial, the deceptive adornments of the world? BLJ 235.4
From their earliest childhood, open before them the great book of nature. Teach them the ministry of the flowers. Show them that if Jesus had not come to earth and died, we should have had none of the beautiful things which we now enjoy. Call their attention to the fact that the color and even the arrangement of every delicate bud and flower is an expression of the love of God to human beings, and that affection and gratitude to their heavenly Father should be awakened in their hearts for all these gifts. BLJ 235.5
Jesus, the greatest teacher the world ever knew, drew the most valuable illustrations of truth from scenes in nature. Parents, imitate His example, and use the things that delight the senses to impress important truths upon the minds of your children. Take them out in the morning, and let them hear the birds caroling forth their songs of praise. Teach them that we too should return thanks to the bountiful Giver of all for the blessings we daily receive. Teach them that it is not dress that makes the man or the woman, but that it is true goodness of heart.—The Review and Herald, October 27, 1885. BLJ 235.6

Well-regulated Work Aids All-around Development, August 8

For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. Hebrews 6:7, 8, NKJV. BLJ 234.1
The youth need to be taught that life means earnest work, responsibility, caretaking. They need a training that will make them practical—men and women who can cope with emergencies. They should be taught that the discipline of systematic, well-regulated labor is essential, not only as a safeguard against the vicissitudes of life, but as an aid to all-around development. BLJ 234.2
Notwithstanding all that has been said and written concerning the dignity of labor, the feeling prevails that it is degrading. Young men are anxious to become teachers, clerks, merchants, physicians, lawyers, or to occupy some other position that does not require physical toil. Young women shun housework and seek an education in other lines. These need to learn that no man or woman is degraded by honest toil. That which degrades is idleness and selfish dependence. Idleness fosters self-indulgence, and the result is a life empty and barren—a field inviting the growth of every evil…. BLJ 234.3
Since both men and women have a part in homemaking, boys as well as girls should gain a knowledge of household duties…. Let the children and youth learn from the Bible how God has honored the work of the everyday toiler. BLJ 234.4
Let them read of “the sons of the prophets” (2 Kings 6:1-7), students at school, who were building a house for themselves, and for whom a miracle was wrought to save from loss the ax that was borrowed. Let them read of Jesus the carpenter, and Paul the tentmaker, who with the toil of the craftsman linked the highest ministry, human and divine. Let them read of the lad whose five loaves were used by the Savior in that wonderful miracle for the feeding of the multitude; of Dorcas the seamstress, called back from death, that she might continue to make garments for the poor; of the wise woman described in the Proverbs, who “seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands”; who “looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:13, 27).—Education, 215-217. BLJ 234.5

Cooperating With God in Work Promotes Happiness, August 7

And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure. 1 Corinthians 4:12, NKJV. BLJ 233.1
At the creation, labor was appointed as a blessing. It meant development, power, happiness. The changed condition of the earth through the curse of sin has brought a change in the conditions of labor; yet though now attended with anxiety, weariness, and pain, it is still a source of happiness and development. And it is a safeguard against temptation. Its discipline places a check on self-indulgence, and promotes industry, purity, and firmness. Thus it becomes a part of God’s great plan for our recovery from the Fall. BLJ 233.2
The youth [and others] should be led to see the true dignity of labor. Show them that God is a constant worker. All things in nature do their allotted work. Action pervades the whole creation, and in order to fulfill our mission we, too, must be active. BLJ 233.3
In our labor we are to be workers together with God. He gives us the earth and its treasures; but we must adapt them to our use and comfort. He causes the trees to grow; but we prepare the timber and build the house. He has hidden in the earth the gold and silver, the iron and coal; but it is only through toil that we can obtain them…. BLJ 233.4
While God has created and constantly controls all things, He has endowed us with a power not wholly unlike His. To us has been given a degree of control over the forces of nature. As God called forth the earth in its beauty out of chaos, so we can bring order and beauty out of confusion. And though all things are now marred with evil, yet in our completed work we feel a joy akin to His when, looking on the fair earth, He pronounced it “very good.” BLJ 233.5
As a rule, the exercise most beneficial to the youth will be found in useful employment. The little children find both diversion and development in play; and their sports should be such as to promote not only physical, but mental and spiritual growth. As they gain strength and intelligence, the best recreation will be found in some line of effort that is useful. That which trains the hand to helpfulness, and teaches the young to bear their share of life’s burdens, is most effective in promoting the growth of mind and character.—Education, 214, 215. BLJ 233.6

Work and Study Benefit Both the Earth and the Mind, August 6

Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it. Deuteronomy 10:14, NKJV. BLJ 232.1
In itself the beauty of nature leads the soul away from sin and worldly attractions, and toward purity, peace, and God. For this reason the cultivation of the soil is good work for children and youth. It brings them into direct contact with nature and nature’s God. And that they may have this advantage, there should be, as far as possible, in connection with our schools, large flower gardens and extensive lands for cultivation.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 186, 187. BLJ 232.2
In the school that is started here in Cooranbong [Australia], we look to see real success in agricultural lines, combined with the study of the sciences. We mean for this place to be a center, from which shall radiate light, precious advanced knowledge that shall result in the working of unimproved lands, so that hills and valleys shall blossom as the rose. For both children and adults, labor combined with mental taxation will give the right kind of all-round education. The cultivation of the mind will bring tact and fresh incentive to the cultivation of the soil.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 244. BLJ 232.3
The school has made an excellent beginning. The students are learning how to plant trees, strawberries, etc.; how they must keep every spangle and fiber of the roots uncramped in order to give them a chance to grow. Is not this a most precious lesson as to how to treat the human mind, and the body as well—not to cramp any of the organs of the body, but to give them ample room to do their work? … BLJ 232.4
We should work the soil cheerfully, hopefully, gratefully, believing that the earth holds in its bosom rich stores for the faithful worker to garner, richer than gold or silver…. With proper, intelligent cultivation the earth will yield its treasures for the benefit of humanity…. BLJ 232.5
The cultivation of our land requires the exercise of all the brainpower and tact we possess. The lands around us testify to the indolence of human beings. We hope to arouse to action the dormant senses. We hope to see intelligent farmers who will be rewarded for their earnest labor. The hand and heart must cooperate, bringing new and sensible plans into operation in the cultivation of the soil.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 242-244. BLJ 232.6

The Earth Will Produce Abundantly for Diligent Workers, August 5

Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. Ezekiel 34:27, NKJV. BLJ 231.1
There is need of much more extensive knowledge in regard to the preparation of the soil. There is not sufficient breadth of view as to what can be realized from the earth. A narrow and unvarying routine is followed with discouraging results.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 317. BLJ 231.2
Let the educated ability be employed in devising improved methods of work. This is what the Lord wants…. BLJ 231.3
There is need of intelligent and educated ability to devise the best methods in farming, in building, and in every other department, that the worker may not labor in vain…. God, who has made the world for the benefit of human beings, will provide means from the earth to sustain the diligent worker. BLJ 231.4
The seed placed in thoroughly prepared soil will produce its harvest. God can spread a table for His people in the wilderness…. There is much mourning over unproductive soil, when, if people would read the Old Testament Scriptures, they would see that the Lord knew much better than they in regard to the proper treatment of land. After being cultivated for several years, and giving its treasures to the possession of humankind, portions of the land should be allowed to rest, and then the crops should be changed. We might learn much also from the Old Testament in regard to the labor problem…. BLJ 231.5
The earth has its concealed treasures, and the Lord would have thousands and tens of thousands working upon the soil who are crowded into the cities to watch for a chance to earn a trifle…. The earth is to be made to give forth its strength; but without the blessing of God it could do nothing. BLJ 231.6
In the beginning, God looked upon all He had made, and pronounced it very good. The curse was brought upon the earth in consequence of sin. But shall this curse be multiplied by increasing sin? Ignorance is doing its baleful work. Slothful servants are increasing the evil by their lazy habits…. But the earth has blessings hidden in its depths for those who have courage and will and perseverance to gather its treasures.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 315-327. BLJ 231.7
Who will be missionaries to do this work, to teach proper methods to the youth and to all who feel willing and humble enough to learn?—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 324. BLJ 231.8

Work Given as a Source of Happiness, August 4

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Genesis 2:15, NKJV. BLJ 230.1
God placed human beings under law, as an indispensable condition of their very existence. They were subjects of the divine government, and there can be no government without law. God might have created humans without the power to transgress His law; He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit; but in that case people would have been, not free moral agents, but mere automatons. Without freedom of choice, their obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. Such a course would have been contrary to God’s plan in dealing with the inhabitants of other worlds. It would have been unworthy of humans as intelligent beings, and would have sustained Satan’s charge of God’s arbitrary rule…. BLJ 230.2
The home of our first parents was to be a pattern for other homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. That home, beautified by the hand of God Himself, was not a gorgeous palace. Men and women, in their pride, delight in magnificent and costly edifices, and glory in the works of their own hands; but God placed Adam and Eve in a garden. This was their dwelling. The blue heavens were its dome; the earth, with its delicate flowers and carpet of living green, was its floor; and the leafy branches of the goodly trees were its canopy. Its walls were hung with the most magnificent adornings—the handiwork of the great Master Artist. BLJ 230.3
In the surroundings of the holy pair was a lesson for all time—that true happiness is found, not in the indulgence of pride and luxury, but in communion with God through His created works. If people would give less attention to the artificial, and would cultivate greater simplicity, they would come far nearer to answering the purpose of God in their creation. Pride and ambition are never satisfied, but those who are truly wise will find substantial and elevating pleasure in the sources of enjoyment that God has placed within the reach of all. BLJ 230.4
To the dwellers in Eden was committed the care of the garden, “to dress it and to keep it.” Their occupation was not wearisome, but pleasant and invigorating. God appointed labor as a blessing to our first parents, to occupy their minds, to strengthen their bodies, and to develop their faculties.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 49, 50. BLJ 230.5

God’s Wisdom and Love Revealed in Nature, August 3

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28, NKJV. BLJ 229.1
The holy pair looked upon nature as a picture of unsurpassed loveliness. The brown earth was clothed with a carpet of living green, diversified with an endless variety of self-propagating, self-perpetuating flowers. Shrubs, flowers, and trailing vines regaled the senses with their beauty and fragrance. The many varieties of lofty trees were laden with fruit of every kind, and of delicious flavor, adapted to please the taste and meet the wants of the happy Adam and Eve. This Eden home God provided for our first parents, giving them unmistakable evidences of His great love and care for them. BLJ 229.2
Adam was crowned as king in Eden. To him was given dominion over every living thing that God had created. The Lord blessed Adam and Eve with intelligence such as He had not given to the animal creation. He made Adam the rightful sovereign over all the works of His hands…. BLJ 229.3
Adam and Eve could trace the skill and glory of God in every spire of grass, and in every shrub and flower. The natural loveliness which surrounded them like a mirror reflected the wisdom, excellence, and love of their heavenly Father. And their songs of affection and praise rose sweetly and reverentially to heaven, harmonizing with the songs of the exalted angels, and with the happy birds who were caroling forth their music without a care. There was no disease, decay, nor death anywhere. Life, life was in everything the eye rested upon. The atmosphere was impregnated with life. Life was in every leaf, in every flower, and in every tree. BLJ 229.4
The Lord knew that Adam could not be happy without labor, therefore He gave him the pleasant employment of dressing the garden. And as he tended the things of beauty and usefulness around him, he could behold the goodness and glory of God in His created works. Adam had themes for contemplation in the works of God in Eden, which was heaven in miniature. BLJ 229.5
God did not form human beings merely to contemplate His glorious works; therefore He gave them hands for labor, as well as minds and hearts for contemplation. If the happiness of humans consisted in doing nothing, the Creator would not have given Adam his appointed work. In labor, humanity was to find happiness as well as in meditation.—The Review and Herald, February 24, 1874. BLJ 229.6

All Nature Entrusted to Adam and Eve, August 2

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26, NKJV. BLJ 228.1
While they remained true to God, Adam and his companion were to bear rule over the earth. Unlimited control was given them over every living thing. The lion and the lamb sported peacefully around them or lay down together at their feet. The happy birds flitted about them without fear; and as their glad songs ascended to the praise of their Creator, Adam and Eve united with them in thanksgiving to the Father and the Son. BLJ 228.2
The holy pair were not only children under the fatherly care of God but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no obscuring veil between. They were full of the vigor imparted by the tree of life, and their intellectual power was but little less than that of the angels. The mysteries of the visible universe—“the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16)—afforded them an exhaustless source of instruction and delight. BLJ 228.3
The laws and operations of nature, which have engaged humanity’s study for six thousand years, were opened to their minds by the infinite Framer and Upholder of all. They held converse with leaf and flower and tree, gathering from each the secrets of its life. With every living creature, from the mighty leviathan that playeth among the waters to the insect mote that floats in the sunbeam, Adam was familiar. He had given to each its name, and he was acquainted with the nature and habits of all. BLJ 228.4
God’s glory in the heavens, the innumerable worlds in their orderly revolutions, “the balancings of the clouds,” the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night—all were open to the study of our first parents. On every leaf of the forest or stone of the mountains, in every shining star, in earth and air and sky, God’s name was written. The order and harmony of creation spoke to them of infinite wisdom and power. They were ever discovering some attraction that filled their hearts with deeper love and called forth fresh expressions of gratitude.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 50, 51. BLJ 228.5