The biblical faith says creation is of enormous importance because God created it. He made it, he sustains it, he speaks in it, he moves in it. He sent the Christ into it, who walked on it, who got sick from it, who ate on it, who wanted a job on it, who preached on it, who loved on it, who died on it. It is of enormous importance. Pay attention to it. It is crucial. Souls are lost and souls are saved in this world; therefore live, watch, pay attention to it as if your life depended on it because, of course, your life does depend upon it. It seems to me almost before the Bible says anything else, it is saying that—how important it is to be alive and to pay attention to being alive, pay attention to each other, pay attention to God as he moves and as he speaks. Pay attention to where life or God has tried to take you.
The prophets were also saying to pay attention, especially to history. Pay attention especially to what’s going on in the headlines, with Amos, for instance, thundering out, Pay attention to the way the rich exploit the poor, to the way there are people living off the fat of the land in air-conditioned bedrooms and more to eat than they can handle while there are other people who are starving to death, who are sleeping in the streets of New York and San Antonio and God knows where in bags and cardboard boxes. Pay attention to that, says Amos, because God is speaking a terrible word through that, of judgment and of wrath, and of hope, in a way. Or the prophet Isaiah, who says, Watch the foreign policy of the nation, read those headlines, the powers in the north are coming to punish Israel for her running off after foreign gods every chance she has, and so on.
These prophetic voices continue, of course, and sometimes history itself becomes prophetic. I remember watching those students holding demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, and there was a period when the students were being gentle, and the soldiers were being gentle, nobody was shooting, and nobody was shouting, and something so precious was starting, was trying to happen. I thought I could hardly watch without tears in my eyes. And then, of course, the shooting did start, and the tanks rolled in, and the bodies fell, and some were arrested, and here history itself was saying, Pay attention to what’s happening because these are the prophetic words being spoken to you on your television screen about the kingdom at hand.