“Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice” (Psalm 96:12). This reminds me of a song we used to sing in Bible Camp. It’s entitled, “When the trees of the wood will clap their hands.” As we sung this kid’s favorite, we would clap our hands at that part and sing the more loudly. Being an adult, I wondered about trees clapping their hands-literally. I remembered seeing trees on the ‘yellow brick road’ engage humans, but this wasn’t a fictional movie!
So, do trees clap, seas roar and hills rejoice (Psalm 98:8)? The answer is simply yes! Some may ask if I’ve ever heard trees clap. I’ve heard mighty rushing winds that sounded like voices (a language only the Creator knows?). I’ve seen endless wheat fields sway back and forth, in the wind, as if dancing in the presence of the Almighty. Who could forget the vastness of the Grand Canyon as its silence testified of God’s greatness. There was no detectable sound, yet I knew there was praise taking place and it caused me to praise God. Nowadays folk gather there to point out what millions of years have done to create it. Hogwash. Time wasn’t the sculptor of this wonder, but a God who either spoke it into existence or used a finger to etch it so. “I stand amazed in the presence…”
So the verdict? Some say these verses are metaphorical, but not I. If God’s Word says these things why couldn’t they be literal? Why do humans think they have to rationalize everything? “ O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out” ( Romans 11:33)! Everything was created to praise God in one way or another, but humans have a choice; that sadly, not all exercise. From the early morning robin, to a rock on the ground (Luke. 19:40), to a hoot owl at night, to the clapping tree and even the stars (Job 38:7) these are all part of God’s choir. We have but a powerful lesson to learn from these things. We possess the wherewithal and knowledge yet we balk. Someone summed this up beautifully when they wrote, “When man accepts…Jesus Christ…he is only like a late-comer slipping shamefacedly into creation’s choir in heaven and earth, which has never ceased its praise.”
Even in these tumultuous times there is reason to praise. We can make like a tree and clap, sing like a bird to the Almighty or if inclined to be reserved; we can pray and praise all day. Despite all the fear going around, there is plenty to be thankful for.