Other Object Lessons
God's healing power runs all through nature. If a tree is cut, if a
human being is wounded or breaks a bone, nature begins at once to
repair the injury. Even before the need exists, the healing agencies are
in readiness; and as soon as a part is wounded, every energy is bent to
the work of restoration. So it is in the spiritual realm. Before sin
created the need, God had provided the remedy. Every soul that yields to
temptation is wounded, bruised, by the adversary; but whenever there is
sin, there is the Saviour. It is Christ's work "to heal the
broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, . . . to set at
liberty them that are bruised." Luke 4:18.
In this work we are to co-operate. "If a man be overtaken in a
fault, . . . restore such an one." Galatians 6:1. The word here
translated "restore" means to put in joint, as a dislocated
bone. How suggestive the figure! He who falls into error or sin is
thrown out of relation to everything about him. He may realise his
error, and be filled with remorse; but he cannot recover himself. He is
in confusion and perplexity, worsted and helpless. He is to be
reclaimed, healed, re-established. "Ye which are spiritual, restore
such an one." Only the love that flows from the heart of Christ can
heal. Only he in whom that love flows, even as the sap in the tree or
the blood in the body, can restore the wounded soul.
Love's agencies have wonderful power, for they are divine. The soft
answer that "turneth away wrath," the love that "suffereth
long, and is kind," the charity that "covereth a multitude of
sins" (Proverbs 15:1; 1 Corinthians 13:4, R.V.; 1 Peter 4:8, R.V.)--would
we learn the lesson, with what power for healing would our lives be
gifted! How life would be transformed, and the earth become a very
likeness and foretaste of heaven!
These precious lessons may be so simply taught as to be understood,
even by little children. The heart of the child is tender and easily
impressed; and when we who are older become "as little
children" (Matthew 18:3); when we learn the simplicity and
gentleness and tender love of the Saviour, we shall not find it
difficult to touch the hearts of the little ones, and teach them love's
ministry of healing.
Perfection exists in the least as well as in the greatest of the
works of God. The hand that hung the worlds in space is the hand that
fashions the flowers of the field. Examine under the microscope the
smallest and commonest of wayside blossoms, and note in all its parts
the exquisite beauty and completeness. So in the humblest lot true
excellence may be found; the commonest tasks, wrought with loving
faithfulness, are beautiful in God's sight. Conscientious attention to
the little things will make us workers together with Him, and win for us
His commendation who seeth and knoweth all.
The rainbow spanning the heavens with its arch of light is a token of
"the everlasting covenant between God and every living
creature." Genesis 9:16. And the rainbow encircling the throne on
high is also a token to God's children of His covenant of peace.
As the bow in the cloud results from the union of sunshine and
shower, so the bow above God's throne represents the union of His mercy
and His justice. To the sinful but repentant soul God says, Live thou;
"I have found a ransom." Job 33:24.
"As I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over
the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor
rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed;
but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant
of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."
Isaiah 54:9, 10.
The Message of the Stars
The stars also have a message of good cheer for every human being. In
those hours that come to all, when the heart is faint and temptation
presses sore; when obstacles seem insurmountable, life's aims impossible
of achievement, its fair promises like apples of Sodom; where, then, can
such courage and steadfastness be found as in that lesson which God has
bidden us learn from the stars in their untroubled course?
"Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these
things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by
names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not
one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is
hid from the Lord, and my judgement is passed over from my God? Hast
thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord,
the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?
there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the
faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength."
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed for I am Thy
God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold
thee with the right hand of My righteousness." "I the Lord thy
God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help
thee." Isaiah 40:26-29; 41:10, 13.
The palm tree, beaten by the scorching sun and the fierce sandstorm,
stands green and flourishing and fruitful in the midst of the desert.
Its roots are fed by living springs. Its crown of verdure is seen afar
over the parched, desolate plain; and the traveller, ready to die, urges
his failing steps to the cool shade and the life-giving water.
The tree of the desert is a symbol of what God means the life of His
children in this world to be. They are to guide weary souls, full of
unrest, and ready to perish in the desert of sin, to the living water.
They are to point their fellow men to Him who gives the invitation,
"If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink." John
The wide, deep river, that offers a highway for the traffic and
travel of nations, is valued as a world-wide benefit; but what of the
little rills that help to form this noble stream? Were it not for them,
the river would disappear. Upon them its very existence depends. So men
called to lead in some great work are honoured as if its success were
due to them alone; but that success required the faithful co-operation
of humbler workers almost without number--workers of whom the world
knows nothing. Tasks uncommended, labour without recognition, is the lot
of most of the world's toilers. And in such a lot many are filled with
discontent. They feel that life is wasted. But the little rill that
makes its noiseless way through grove and meadow, bearing health and
fertility and beauty, is as useful in its way as the broad river. And in
contributing to the river's life, it helps achieve that which alone it
could never have accomplished.
The lesson in one needed by many. Talent is too much idolised, and
station too much coveted. There are too many who will do nothing unless
they are recognised as leaders; too many who must receive praise, or
they have no interest to labour. What we need to learn is faithfulness
in making the utmost use of the powers and opportunities we have, and
contentment in the lot to which Heaven assigns us.
A Lesson of Trust
"Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of
the air, and they shall tell thee: . . . and the fishes of the sea shall
declare unto thee." "Go to the ant; . . . consider her
ways." "Behold the birds." "Consider the
ravens." Job 12:7, 8; Proverbs 6:6; Matthew 6:26, R.V.; Luke 12:24.
We are not merely to tell the child about these creatures of God. The
animals themselves are to be his teachers. The ants teach lessons of
patient industry, of perseverance in surmounting obstacles, of
providence for the future. And the birds are teachers of the sweet
lesson of trust. Our heavenly Father provides for them; but they must
gather the food, they must build their nests and rear their young. Every
moment they are exposed to enemies that seek to destroy them. Yet how
cheerily they go about their work! how full of joy are their little
How beautiful the psalmist's description of God's care for the
creatures of the woods-- "The high hills are a refuge
for the wild goats; And the rocks for the conies." Psalm 104:18. He
sends the springs to run among the hills, where the birds have their
habitation, and "sing among the branches." Psalm 104:12. All
the creatures of the woods and hills are a part of His great household.
He opens His hand, and satisfies "the desire of every living
thing." Psalm 145:16.
The eagle of the Alps is sometimes beaten down by the tempest into
the narrow defiles of the mountains. Storm clouds shut in this mighty
bird of the forest, their dark masses separating her from the sunny
heights where she has made her home. Her efforts to escape seem
fruitless. She dashes to and fro, beating the air with her strong wings,
and waking the mountain echoes with her cries. At length, with a note of
triumph, she darts upward, and, piercing the clouds, is once more in the
clear sunlight, with the darkness and tempest far beneath. So we may be
surrounded with difficulties, discouragement, and darkness. Falsehood,
calamity, injustice, shut us in. There are clouds that we cannot dispel.
We battle with circumstances in vain. There is one, and but one, way of
escape. The mists and fogs cling to the earth; beyond the clouds God's
light is shining. Into the sunlight of His presence we may rise on the
wings of faith.
Many are the lessons that may thus be learned. Self-reliance, from
the tree that, growing alone on plain or mountainside, strikes down its
roots deep into the earth, and in its rugged strength defies the
tempest. The power of early influence, from the gnarled, shapeless
trunk, bent as a sapling, to which no earthly power can afterward
restore its lost symmetry. The secret of a holy life, from the water
lily, that, on the bosom of some slimy pool, surrounded by weeds and
rubbish, strikes down its channelled stem to the pure sands beneath,
and, drawing thence its life, lifts up its fragrant blossoms to the
light in spotless purity.
Thus while the children and youth gain a knowledge of facts from
teachers and textbooks, let them learn to draw lessons and discern truth
for themselves. In their gardening, question them as to what they learn
from the care of their plants. As they look on a beautiful landscape,
ask them why God clothed the fields and woods with such lovely and
varied hues. Why was not all coloured a sombre brown? When they gather
the flowers, lead them to think why He spared us the beauty of these
wanderers from Eden. Teach them to notice the evidences everywhere
manifest in nature of God's thought for us, the wonderful adaptation of
all things to our need and happiness.
He alone who recognises in nature his Father's handiwork, who in the
richness and beauty of the earth reads the Father's handwriting--he
alone learns from the things of nature their deepest lessons, and
receives their highest ministry. Only he can fully appreciate the
significance of hill and vale, river and sea, who looks upon them as an
expression of the thought of God, a revelation of the Creator.
Many illustrations from nature are used by the Bible writers, and as
we observe the things of the natural world, we shall be enabled, under
the guiding of the Holy Spirit, more fully to understand the lessons of
God's word. It is thus that nature becomes a key to the treasure house
of the word.
Children should be encouraged to search out in nature the objects
that illustrate Bible teachings, and to trace in the Bible the
similitudes drawn from nature. They should search out, both in nature
and in Holy Writ, every object representing Christ, and those also that
He employed in illustrating truth. Thus may they learn to see Him in
tree and vine, in lily and rose, in sun and star. They may learn to hear
His voice in the song of birds, in the sighing of the trees, in the
rolling thunder, and in the music of the sea. And every object in nature
will repeat to them His precious lessons.
To those who thus acquaint themselves with Christ, the earth will
nevermore be a lonely and desolate place. It will be their Father's
house, filled with the presence of Him who once dwelt among men.
[ Back ] [ Up ] [ Next ]