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The Peaks and Possessions We Prize
In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. — Psalm 95:4 NIV
Have you ever seen mountains from a distance? The land around you is flat, then you notice something appear on the horizon. As you get closer, what you thought might be a cloud or a hill starts to come into focus. With every step, the mountains get bigger and bigger. And if you venture up them, you might find yourself looking down at clouds of fog beneath you.
Or maybe you’ve visited a cave or a cavern and seen stalactites (the ones that hang down) and stalagmites (the ones that stick up) and been amazed at God’s hidden creativity. Think about all the beautiful things God has buried in the ground, just waiting for us to discover. Diamonds and gemstones are some of the most expensive things in the world, but they’re natural wonders made by God.
Where are these amazing things found? In mountains and mines! Before we get into how we use the stuff God’s hidden for us to discover, let’s talk about mountains and how God made them.
Where Do Mountains Come From?
There are a few different ways mountains show up in the world, but they are all related to tectonic plates in one way or another. Tectonic plates are different sections of the earth’s crust and upper mantle that float on top of the liquid magma (melted rock) near the earth’s core. Let’s break that down a bit more.
Think of the earth as a boiled egg. The earth’s crust is like the thin shell of the egg. The mantle, which is made of semi-solid rock and magma, is like the white part of the egg. And the yellow bit represents the earth’s core, which is made of iron and nickel. Tectonic plates are places where the eggshell has cracked and can float around the surface of the “egg.”
When two different plates smash into each other like a car crash in slow motion, they buckle up into mountain ranges. The Appalachian Mountains formed in this way. The tectonic plate that’s forced under gets melted and becomes part of the earth’s mantle again.
A more jaw-dropping way mountains are formed is through volcanic activity. As tectonic plates move away from each other, magma rises from the cracks and cools as crystals to form igneous rocks. Over time, these rocks grow into volcanic mountains. The Hawaiian Islands are a great example of active volcanoes turning into ever-growing mountains.
Similar to the water cycle, rocks can cycle through different stages. Over time, weather and vegetation break down the igneous rocks that make up most mountains, turning them into the sedimentary layers of the earth — the parts above the earth’s mantle. When enough of those layers stack on top of each other, they get pressed together to form sedimentary rocks. The rocks closest to the earth’s hot core get changed by the heat into metamorphic rock. Then when these new rocks melt completely, they become magma. The magma rises through volcanoes and cracks in the earth’s crust, and bam! We’re back where we started!
A Biblical Perspective
Maybe you never thought about metals, minerals, or mining practices before today. But not knowing where something comes from or how it is made doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for using it. The fact that our lives benefit from people who destroy the earth (literally blasting it apart in the case of mining operations!) means we need to be thoughtful about how we live. We can change the way we use things and apologize to God for our part in messing up the planet, then we can accept God’s grace through the cross, on which Jesus carried our greed and destructive habits.
In Him we can have the wisdom and motivation to make changes. The first step is to start recognizing that the way we treat the environment is a part of holy, godly living. God has given us the ability to take care of the temporary treasures of earth in ways that reflect His goodness, uphold His natural world, and serve the people who rely on it.
God made the minerals and metals as resources for the things we need, but we should be careful not to be greedy or take things just because we want them. And how we get these materials from the earth should match the character of the God who put them there in the first place.
The Mountains and God Protect Us
Many times in Scripture, God’s people had to hide in the cliffs and caves of mountains when they were in danger. In Psalm 121, the psalm writer looked up to the hills for a reminder that his help comes from the Lord.
God Himself is compared to the mountains as our refuge and strong shelter. Psalm 125:2 says,
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. — NIV
- Yet God is greater and sturdier than the most solid mountain range.
In the words of Psalm 46:1–3:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. — NIV
Minerals Are God’s Unique Creation
Silver, sapphires, opals, and gold — all the precious metals and gems — were made in the earliest days of creation, watched over personally by God. For the one-of-a-kind crystals to grow, each mineral required specific conditions and ingredients: the right mixture of elements, intense pressure, high temperatures, space, and time. John 1:3 says,
Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. — NIV
God is the melder of minerals and knows the location of each deposit. How awesome is He to hide beautiful things in the ground for us to discover!
Have you ever found a particularly sparkly rock or stone on the playground or in a park? Maybe you showed it off to your friends or took it home to add to your rock collection. Minerals and gemstones are one of the most dazzling parts of God’s creation. Sometimes Christians worry that when we appreciate the beauty in this world, we may be tempted to worship nature instead of its Creator. We can avoid this by remembering that
- God is way more awesome than anything He’s created.
Beauty in nature points to its Maker. We can simply say thanks to Him! Then show our gratitude by holding our earthly treasures with open hands — happy not only to show and tell but to share.
Excerpted with permission from All of Creation by Betsy Painter, copyright Karen Elizabeth Painter.
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God created such cool things in and on earth for us to enjoy — mountains and minerals included. We can honor Him by taking care of them and cleaning up any messes we make. What an awesome God we have who created so much beauty! ~ Devotionals Daily