June 18, 2017
“Nature is my church” is a popular expression, but is it consistent with what the Bible teaches about God, creation, and ourselves? Alistair Begg explains that although creation is a witness to God’s majesty and power that leaves men and women without excuse, only the Word of God can give spiritual life. The Word of God points us to the Son of God and enables us to bow in humility before the works of God.
Sermon Transcript: Print
I invite you to turn with me to the Nineteenth Psalm. Psalm 19. And we’ll read the entire psalm:
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
We pause and pray:
Father, we acknowledge that the voice of a mere man is a tiny thing, it’s a fleeting thing, but that your voice is powerful and goes out into all the earth. Come now, by the Holy Spirit, and speak to us from the Bible, we pray. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Well, this year, as I think we should all by know now, we are celebrating the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation. And various celebrations are already afoot and have taken place and will take place throughout the year. And at each of these, there will be the reminder that is expressed of how Martin Luther, in coming to an understanding of the truth of the gospel, asserted that his conscience was captive to the Word. That’s the phraseology that he used. He said, “My conscience is captive to the Word.”
And I have been accompanied by my own little Martin Luther for some months now. This was given to me as a gift, and I appreciate it very much indeed, and I have brought him down here. This is the first time he’s been out from my study. I think he’s quite enjoying it. But it is Father’s Day, so I have him with me. He sits beside me on my desk. He’s holding the Scriptures in his hand and his pen in his right hand. And as he looks on as I study the Bible, I’m saying to myself, “Lord Jesus Christ, help me, like Luther, to become captive to your Word. Help me to teach the Bible in such a way that as we listen together to the written Word of God, that by the Holy Spirit, our minds and our hearts may be captivated, transformed, because we meet the living Word of God.”
Luther was prolific in his preaching and in his writing, nowhere more so than in the work that he did on the book of Psalms itself. His introduction to the Psalms is worth reading in its entirety. And in part of that, this is what he says:
There is no book [of] the Bible to which I have devoted as much labor as to the [Psalms].
[And yet,] I must openly admit that I do not know whether I have the accurate interpretation of the psalms or not.
The Spirit reserves much for Himself, so that we may always remain His pupils. There is much that He reveals only to lure us on, much that He gives only to stir us up.
I know that a person would be guilty of the most shameless boldness if he dared claim that he had understood even one book of the Scriptures in all its parts. In fact, who would even dare [to] assert that anyone has completely understood one single psalm?
And then he proceeds to begin with Psalm 1.
It’s quite salutary, isn’t? I found it, actually, a little bit encouraging, because as I was studying these psalms, I said to myself again and again, “I’m not sure I really get this.” And Luther is acknowledging the fact that the Spirit is at work “to lure us on, … to stir us up,” reserving still to himself that which will always keep us as pupils.
I think part of the inference is that you ought to be very, very careful if somebody in your home Bible study group, who is the person who always tells you that he understands this perfectly—that the fact that he says that is probably an indication that he or she clearly doesn’t. Remember that the main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things. The Bible doesn’t tell us everything about everything, but it tells us how we can view everything.
Anyway, with that said, like the disciples from Luke 24, we are in the position whereby our need is, as was theirs, for our minds to be opened so that we might understand the Scriptures. That’s what Luke records. He says that as they thought together, as they reflected on the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms, then their minds were opened so that they could understand the Scriptures. That’s why every so often we sing that little hymn, “Break thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me.” We’re singing to the Lord of the Word to open up the Word by the Spirit. And the verse which reads,
O send thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me,
That he may touch my eyes, and make me see;
Show me the truth concealed within thy Word,
And in thy Book revealed I see the Lord.
So, as we take a break from the studies in Ephesians and look at these psalms together throughout these few weeks, we begin with the Nineteenth Psalm.
“To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.” Therefore, this poem was to be sung. We know nothing of the express, immediate context, other than the fact that it is penned by the King of Israel, David himself, and it was to be sung by the assembled congregation when they came together for worship. We might also ponder the fact that Jesus, growing up a Jewish household, would have sung the Psalms and would have been present on an occasion when, as the very Creator himself, he sang of the work of God’s creation. C. S. Lewis, in his Reflections on the Psalms, refers to the Nineteenth Psalm as “the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.” That’s heavy-duty, coming from the professor of English literature at Oxbridge, isn’t it?
So, let’s turn to the text. It breaks, I think, quite straightforwardly, either in two parts (revelation, all the way through to the end of verse 11; and then response, verses 12–14), or, if you like, into three (first of all, the revelation of God in his world, verses 1–6; then the revelation of God in his Word, verses 7–11; and then the revelation of God in his worshipper). One of my friends this week, as we were talking about this, he said, “You know, I think what we’re given here in this psalm is a threefold invitation.” I said, “Tell me what you mean.” He said, “Well, the invitation is: number one, ‘Look up; look to the skies’; number two, ‘Look down; look to the Scriptures,’ and number three, ‘Look in; look to yourself.’” I said, “Well, I might use that.” And he said, “Well, you better give me credit.” So I just did. All right?
Revelation, then. First of all, verses 1–6, God reveals himself in creation—or, if you like, the majesty of God’s works. The majesty of God’s works. It’s straightforward, isn’t it? Verse 1: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
Now, this is not a unique expression. It runs throughout the work of the psalmist. Indeed, it comes again and again in the prophets’ words as well. Those of you who read through the Truth For Life program in Bible reading will have been reading, as I have, Isaiah in the mornings. And so, in the last while, you will have been in Isaiah chapter 40. And there in Isaiah 40, God encourages those who are reading, “Lift up your eyes on high and see.” Okay? All right? So, “Lift up your eyes and see.” And then he says, “Let me ask you a question: Who created these?” And then he says, “Let me tell you who it was.”
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name;
[and] by the greatness of his might.
Quite an expression, isn’t it? And there in verse 2, whether it’s daytime or nighttime, the majesty of God’s works declare his creative power. In fact, “Day to day pours out speech,” like a fountain that never stops, like a river that runs to the sea. Every day, day by day, as man looks up into the vastness of the created order, God speaks. He speaks continually. And when the nighttime comes and when the moon rises in the sky and when the stars shine, then David realizes that there are more things in heaven and on earth that declare God’s glory.
And so, in just simple terms, if you imagine David the king, he has an opportunity just to rest. And as he sits back in the sunshine of the day, he takes up his pen and he writes, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” And before he goes to bed at night, as he looks out and he sees the moon and the stars… Incidentally, without the benefits that we have in the twenty-first century, it would take the darkness of the night to reveal the complexity of the solar system; otherwise, he might assume that he was alone in the universe, that there was nothing else. So it takes the nighttime to introduce that dimension to the writer of the poem: “When I consider the moon and the stars and the work of your hands, what your fingers have ordained,” and so on.
And then, strikingly, he says, “There’s no speech, no words, no voice.” And then he says, “But the cry goes out through all the earth.” This, of course, is a paradox, isn’t it? And the use of paradox is in order to make us think. And the poem is enhanced by that. This is not written in such a way that it just is a logical progression, but it’s written in a poetic form, in order that just as we studied poetry at school, so we might think of this. What is it that he’s doing here? He’s telling us that the creation speaks, but not in an audible way—that the testimony of God comes by way of the glory of his world. And there is a “voice” that “goes out through all the earth,” and there are “words” that go “to the end[s] of the world.” But they’re not audible! So that whether you’re in northern India, whether you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, wherever you are today, if you lift up your eyes and look to the skies, the evidence, the testimony, is there. It transcends geographical boundaries. It transcends ethnicity. It transcends everything. No matter where you are on this globe, you’re able to look up, and the cry goes out.
And magnificently so, he says, in relationship to the sun. To the sun. In this context: “He has set a tent for the sun.” Or you might actually translate it, “He has a structure for the sun, a track for the sun.” So, here we are, sensible twenty-first-century people who are all filled with all of our background in science and so on. And we turn to our Bibles on a morning like this, and the poetry clarifies all of our thinking. No, he’s actually “set a tent for the sun.” “Here comes the sun.” “Here comes the sun,” positioned as per the Creator’s plan.
Why is the sun where the sun is? Why is it not a few degrees to one side or the other? Well, the scientists say, well, they don’t really know. The person who reads the Bible says, “Well, I think we do know.” We don’t understand—it’s not given to us as a scientific explanation. But what it’s telling us is that the movement and the position of the sun serves as a glorious reminder of how God’s creation declares his glory.
And he uses two metaphors. He says it’s “like a bridegroom”; it’s “like a strong man” running “with joy.” The picture of “a bridegroom leaving his chamber.” The picture, again, would be, in the context of the time, where in the coming together in marriage, there would be a group of friends who would go to the home of the bridegroom. They would then bring the bridegroom out of the house and bring him to the context in which he would be introduced to his bride. You don’t expect that the bridegroom is going to be coming out of the house like, you know, morose or whatever. No, he’s coming out of the house; he’s coming out “like a bridegroom.” He’s coming out with a great sense of anticipation. It’s almost as if he brings his own life force with him. It’s almost as if his splendor is so magnificent that people get caught up in it. That’s the picture! He says, “That’s the sun. It’s like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber. Or it’s like a man on the starting blocks, about to begin a race, and he’s about to fire off with immense power.” He says, “That’s the picture—arrayed in splendor, magnificent in glory.”
And, he says, this
rising is from the end of the heavens,
… its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
“Nothing hidden from its heat.” Life in our planet demands the existence of the sun. Without the sun, we’re done. (Now I’m writing my own poems! Not as good, admittedly, but short.) Despite, in my research, discovering a few folks who believe that we can actually survive on planet Earth without the sun… I don’t want to go into it, but you can find them. I hope you’re not one of them. But they believe that we’ll be able to live in some cave very close to the Earth’s, you know, essence, and so we’ll be okay. And I have not signed up for that program, and I don’t suggest you do either, because contemporary understanding of things is that without the sun, the existence of some kind of microorganism for a wee while near to the core of the Earth is understandable; but in actual fact, nothing other than that would survive. Without the sun, all the plants die. There’s no photosynthesis. The plants die, the animals that eat the plants die, and the Homo sapiens who keep the animals in their yard who eat the plants will die as well. Without the sun, it eventually proves to be impossible to maintain life on Earth.
And the psalmist here says that the sun, as it moves across the sky, is a picture of the life-giving power of the works of God. This is why, incidentally, in that little hymn, where we sing that,
Heav’n above is softer blue,
And earth around is sweeter green!
And something lives in every hue
That Christless eyes have never seen;
And birds with gladder songs o’erflow,
And earth with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know,
That I am his, and he is mine.
That the perspective of the believer in terms of the planets, in terms of science, in terms of the nature of the world in which we live is actually understood within the context of God’s revelation of himself.
It is the foolish man—not intellectually impoverished but morally deficient—it is the foolish man or woman who says there is no God. Because the evidence is there for all to see. God has not left himself without a witness. Hence the song that we just sang:
Creation sings the Father’s song;
He calls the sun to wake the dawn
And run the course of day.
This is biblical theology. This is an understanding of the doctrine of creation. Why, then, is it that—since the evidence is incontrovertibly there in the sky—why is it that men and women do not see it?
Well, don’t you think that probably these opening verses of Psalm 19 are in the mind of the apostle Paul when he addresses that issue in writing the first chapter of his magnificent letter to Rome? If you turn there for a moment, I’ll just remind you of it. It’s not unfamiliar territory, but it is timely for us to look at it once again. Romans 1:18. And Paul writes, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”—the inevitable response of holiness to sinfulness—because “[in] their unrighteousness,” they, notice, “suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” If we had had the opportunity to say, “What are you thinking about here, Paul? What do you have in mind?” I think he would have said, “Psalm 19. He said that, you know, ‘Day unto day utter speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There’s no voice, there’s no sound, but the cry has gone out to the earth.’” “Really?” “Yeah!” Because, verse 20, “his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world.” How? “In the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” It is so clearly there, he says—the power of God, his invisible attributes—but in their unrighteousness, they’ve suppressed the truth. They’ve “exchanged the glory of … God” for that which is simply idolatry.
And if you read the balance of Romans chapter 1, you realize that the result of this is the moral disintegration of human society. In other words, the suppression of the truth of the majesty of God’s work in creation—to suppress that truth—has implications that are far beyond the intellectual dimensions of metaphysical thought. They actually impinge upon the way in which a culture finally crumbles. Because now that there is no Creator to whom a man or a woman is accountable, then there is no reason to believe that man has been created in a certain way for a certain purpose. Therefore, man is then free to choose his own destiny and his own plan—that there is no way in which this creator God should be controlling the nature of the formation of society, the multiplication of life, the framework of marriage, and so on. And as a result, foolishness, darkening of understanding, and the disintegration of a culture. Just a reading of history will make this point graphically for you. Where did the Roman Empire go? How did the Roman Empire finally collapse? How did Greece tumble in on itself? How did Alexander the Great be so great and yet so hopeless in the end? The actual answer is to be found in the Scriptures.
Now, you say, “This is very, very important.” Well, of course it’s very important! And it demands, you see, that we think biblically about these things. Some of us are afraid to. Those of us who are no good at science get frightened by scientists. I mean, I was frightened by my chemistry teacher, apart from anybody else. And the physics teacher, he was, even… Well, he was on the same level. And the biology teacher, I could understand that. I mean, at least I had some kind of something I could look at that had to do with biology. But beyond that, you tend to be frightened. So, “Oh, the great scientists have said… The scientists have said… The scientists have said.” What do the scientists know? What do they know? Science begins by the acknowledgment of phenomena that exists, which then has to be analyzed on the strength of what it is and whether it repeats itself and so on. Science actually has very little to say about the nature of divinity, about the notion of the establishing of the character and handiwork of God in the universe. It’s like walking in the dark with his hands out in front.
And yet despite that fact, that many within the framework of the church, and not least of all young people, have been cowed into fearfulness in our culture today, being prepared to give credence to all kinds of contemporary spiritualities which are an expression of confusion—radical environmentalism, self-made New Age notions—all of which share this: that they are pantheistic. All of which are saying somehow or another that creation is confused with God and therefore that we may make contact with God if we look in on ourselves, since we are part of creation.
Now, what are we going to say about this when we have conversations? Well, we’re going to say, “My understanding of it is that the Bible makes it clear that there was no creation before the beginning.” There was no creation before the beginning. “In the beginning, God created…” And until he created, there was no creation. So we teach our grandchildren, before there was time, before there was anything, there was God. And God made. God spoke, and it was. That’s Genesis 1: “And he spoke, and it was. And he spoke, and it was.” That’s not a scientific explanation of the development of the universe. It is the declaration of the fact that behind the creation, there is a Creator. And he is the one who has acted in this way.
The creation is therefore not coeternal with God—is not coeternal with God. Before its beginning, God dwelt alone, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in perfect harmony, in perfect unity, in perfect security, in perfect fellowship, in need of no one and in need of nothing. And God created our world. That’s why we sang this morning, “This is my Father’s world.” He made this. The universe was made by him, it is providentially sustained by him, and it is utterly dependent upon him. Okay? This is biblical theology. It was created by him, it is providentially sustained by him, and it is utterly dependent upon him.
God is not in any way dependent on his created universe. God is not in any way to be confused with that which he has created. And if you’re not alert to it, then get alert to it, and pay attention to the message that is being conveyed on virtually a daily basis within our Western culture, and it is pantheistic from beginning to end—hence the inroads of Hinduism and so on in our environment. Because it expresses all those things. As silly and as simple as it might be: “Let’s see what Mother Nature has for us this morning.” Now, I don’t suggest you start shouting at your television screen, but you should at least have read your Bible and be able to say, “Oh dear, oh dear. Here we go again. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God.’”
When Paul is invited to address the intelligentsia in Athens, after he’s made a few introductory comments that are contextual and congenial, he starts right in on this, doesn’t he? They said, “Apparently, you got some strange things going on in your head. And you’re saying… You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears! And we would like to know what these things mean.” The question of meaning. “Is there meaning in the universe? Are we simply a collocation of atoms? Are we just a bunch of molecules held in suspension? Is the world just an apple spinning tirelessly in space, you know? You’ve got some strange stuff. Can you come and tell us about it?” Paul said, “Yeah, I’ll be glad to.”
Where does he start? “The God who made the world and everything in it…” They’re surrounded by all indications, covering their bases in the hope that somehow or another they haven’t missed a god out, so they put one there for “the unknown god”—“Just in case we’ve missed one. Let’s have it here.” And he comes and he says, “You’ve got all of this stuff around you. He doesn’t live in places like this. You can’t turn him into a statue. He made the universe, and he made you.” And as he progresses, he says, “You know, if you think about it, if you listen to Paul Simon…” No, he doesn’t say that. He says, “If you listen to your poets, the poets will tell you the same thing.” And on and on and on it goes. And there we have it.
Oh, you see, the quest for meaning is an understandable quest. And some of you are here this morning, and you are just exactly there. I mentioned Paul Simon because we were at Paul Simon the other evening, here at Nautica. And what an amazing time it was. And yet, what a deep sadness for me when finally he comes clean about his attempt at understanding life and purpose and the universe, and he offers to us all to read a book by an eminent scientist who’s now in his eighties that would explain our lives and explain the universe and explain how we can save everything and how we won’t all be turned into this and that and the next thing. I said to myself, “You’re better than this, Paul. How can you buy this? How can you?” Do you know why? ’Cause he’s blind. And so are we, without the gospel.
Because you see—and this, we’re finished, closed. We’re going to have to come back to this tonight. The idea that you can go up a mountain or sit by a stream or, you know, gaze up at the universe and get the answer to these questions is unfounded and is ungrounded. Because God’s majesty in creation, God’s revelation in creation, is sufficient to leave us without excuse when we suppress the truth. But God’s revelation in creation is insufficient in bringing us to an understanding of his saving purposes in the person of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And that takes his Word.
And that’s why, although it’s a fairly abrupt transition, it is understandable. I think poetry helps us with it, doesn’t it? “And the rising of the heavens, and the circuit to the end of those, there’s nothing hidden from his sight,” and then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere: “And by the way, the law of the Lord is perfect. The law of the Lord is perfect.”
You see, this is why, incidentally, we teach the Bible. Because God’s Word is not like the word of man.
Let me end with Luther, since I started with Luther, and we’ll have to come back to it later on. This is Luther in a little book, quoted by Horatius Bonar, God’s Way of Peace, page 105. And Luther says,
We must make a great difference between God’s word and the word of man. A man’s word is a little sound which flieth into the air, and soon vanishe[s]; but the word of God is greater than heaven and earth, yea, it is greater than death and hell, for it is the power of God, and remain[s] [so] everlastingly. Therefore we ought diligently to learn God’s word, and we must know certainly and believe that God himself speak[s] with us.
In other words, it takes God’s revelation in his Word, brought home by the Spirit to the heart of a man or a woman, to then look at God’s revelation in his works and to declare, as the psalmist declares, “This is the Lord’s doing; [and] it is marvelous in our eyes.”
Don’t be afraid of the pushback in our culture. God’s Word is true. It’s sufficient. And even though our voices are little, tiny voices, and we stumble and bumble in trying to affirm the truths we profess, God’s Word accomplishes its purposes.
In fact, just as I say that now, I think of the lawyer who wrote the book—Darwin’s Black Box, I think. I think it was him. But he tells the story of how he had an argument with his wife about who was going to the vacation Bible school evening program for the parents. And she said, “Well, I’m not going.” He said, “Well, I’m not going either.” And eventually, his wife won, and he came. And he told me, he said, “When I went there and I sat and listened”—and I thought about this very much, ’cause I did similarly this week. It was a dreadful, dreadful talk. I tried to give one Thursday evening. It was hopeless. And he said, “The fellow that spoke, it was hopeless.” He said, “There was very little logical progression in what he was saying. And I sat there and thought, ‘This is terrible.’”
And then he said, “But I said, secondly, to myself, ‘But you know what? I think he believes it.’” And he said, “It was the fact that he seemed to believe it that was unsettling to me.” And he said, “And it was that terrible talk at the vacation Bible school that God used as the first hook into my heart and mind, which brought me to an understanding of the written Word in the presence of the living Word and has enabled me to declare all these things about the nature and majesty of God’s works.”
Well, we pray together:
God our Father, thank you that your Word is fixed in the heavens, that your Word accomplishes its purposes. Otherwise, why would we ever spend the time like this, just to listen to a monologue? Lord, we long so much that you will conduct that dialogue within our hearts, showing us ourself, and showing us our Savior, and making the Book live to us. Help us to this end, we pray. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
 “Luther at the Diet of Worms,” in Luther’s Works, ed. Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 32, Career of the Reformer II, ed. George W. Forell (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg, 1958), 112.
 Luther’s Works, vol. 14, Selected Psalms III, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan (St. Louis: Concordia, 1958), 285.
 Luther, 285.
 Luther, 284–85.
 Luther, 285.
 See Luke 24:45.
 Mary A. Lathbury and Alexander Groves, “Break Thou the Bread of Life” (1877, 1913).
 C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (1958), chap. 6.
 Isaiah 40:26 (ESV).
 Isaiah 40:26 (paraphrased).
 Isaiah 40:26 (ESV).
 Psalm 8:3 (paraphrased).
 George Harrison, “Here Comes the Sun” (1969).
 George W. Robinson, “I Am His, and He Is Mine” (1876). Lyrics lightly altered.
 See Psalm 14:1; 53:1.
 Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend, “Creation Sings the Father’s Song” (2008).
 Romans 1:18–20, 23 (ESV).
 Genesis 1:1 (ESV).
 Maltbie D. Babcock, “This Is My Father’s World” (1901).
 Acts 17:19–20 (paraphrased).
 Acts 17:24 (ESV).
 Acts 17:23 (ESV).
 Acts 17:24–25, 28 (paraphrased).
 Martin Luther, quoted in Horatius Bonar, God’s Way of Peace: A Book for the Anxious (London: James Nisbet, 1864), 105.
 Psalm 118:23 (ESV).
 See Psalm 119:89.
 See Isaiah 55:11.
 R. Hudson Pope, “Make the Book Live to Me” (1943).
Copyright © 2022, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.