Genesis 8:22 - Sending Flowers to Sinners
As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease.Genesis 8:22
What a wonderful time of the year spring can be! Deciduous trees come into full leaf. The fragrance of blossoms and flowers fills the air. Ponds, rivers, fields, and forests teem with life. Did you know that the changing seasons are the work of the Holy Spirit? Step outside and look at a bud breaking forth, a seedling poking out of the soil, young kids and lambs skipping joyfully in a field. All of nature is the work of the Spirit. Psalm 104:30 sings the praises of God's creation, attributing creation and renewal to the work of the Spirit, "When you send your Spirit they are created, and you renew the face of the earth." In all the beauty of creation – the colours of flowers, the whistling of a bird, the crashing of waves on a seashore, a water droplet that crystallizes into a piece of ice, the formation of new life – we see the Holy Spirit at work.
Not everything that happens in the parks and meadows of the earth is holy and pure. What the earth yields is often used for sinful purposes. Humanity is guilty of exploiting nature through greed and selfishness. Instead of ruling over creation to God's glory, mankind has used the creation to further his own interests. The whole creation groans under the pressure of sin (Rom 8:20-23).
So why does God send flowers to sinners? The answer to that question is given throughout Scripture. Right after the devastation of the flood God promises the continuation of the seasons. God sends flowers to Noah and his family! In the beginning God made the world as a beautiful place where people could enjoy the glory of creation. The flood destroys the beauty of the earth, and the work of creation appears to be undone. As a result of sin, beautiful landscapes, trees and forests, plants and flowers are submerged under water. But on the waters floats a boat! In wrath the Lord remembers mercy. In his sovereignty he decides to make a new start. God remembers Noah and he allows him to leave the ark.
Before any work gets underway, God promises never again to curse the ground because of mankind. He will not destroy every living creature as he did in the flood: "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease" (Gen 8:22). God continues to send flowers to sinners because of his desire to save sinners through Jesus Christ. The continuation of every season, the blooming of every flower, is a constant reminder that the Lord will gather his holy catholic church. The flowers you look at proclaim the work of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is creating a new mankind who will enjoy the wonderful gardens that he has planted in the New Jerusalem.
God sends flowers to sinners as evidence of his patience. Jesus says in Matthew 5:45 that his heavenly Father "causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Paul proclaims to the people of Lystra,
In the past God let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. Acts 14:16-17
The Lord delays his judgment, but not indefinitely. We shouldn't think the Lord will keep sending flowers to sinners. God's patience will only last "while the earth remains." Christ will come again as judge at the end of days, and if we do not believe his gospel of salvation, the flowers in our gardens and vases will testify against us.
All of creation displays how God is indeed true to his Word of promise and judgment. Listen to the birds sing the loyalty of your God. Think about God's faithfulness when you watch a sunset, as you gaze into the night sky, and as you take a walk through a park. Take the time to stop and smell the roses! The flowers of the fields and gardens are telling you something. Bring some inside and listen to what they are saying. Thank the Lord for sending flowers to sinners!