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Environmental pollution, problems and control measures – Overview
A. Introduction and definition of environmental pollution – We know that, a living organism cannot live by itself. Organisms interact among themselves. Hence, all organisms, such as plants, animals and human beings, as well as the physical surroundings with whom we interact, form a part of our environment. All these constituents of the environment are dependent upon each other. Thus, they maintain a balance in nature. As we are the only organisms try to modify the environment to fulfill our needs; it is our responsibility to take necessary steps to control the environmental imbalances.
The environmental imbalance gives rise to various environmental problems. Some of the environmental problems are pollution, soil erosion leading to floods, salt deserts and sea recedes, desertification, landslides, change of river directions, extinction of species, and vulnerable ecosystem in place of more complex and stable ecosystems, depletion of natural resources, waste accumulation, deforestation, thinning of ozone layer and global warming. The environmental problems are visualized in terms of pollution, growth in population, development, industrialization, unplanned urbanization etc. Rapid migration and increase in population in the urban areas has also lead to traffic congestion, water shortages, solid waste, and air, water and noise pollution are common noticeable problems in almost all the urban areas since last few years.
Environmental pollution is defined as the undesirable change in physical, chemical and biological characteristics of our air, land and water. As a result of over-population, rapid industrializations, and other human activities like agriculture and deforestation etc., earth became loaded with diverse pollutants that were released as by-products. Pollutants are generally grouped under two classes:
(a) Biodegradable pollutants – Biodegradable pollutants are broken down by the activity of micro-organisms and enter into the biogeochemical cycles. Examples of such pollutants are domestic waste products, urine and faucal matter, sewage, agricultural residue, paper, wood and cloth etc.
(b) Non- Biodegradable pollutants – Non-biodegradable pollutants are stronger chemical bondage, do not break down into simpler and harmless products. These include various insecticides and other pesticides, mercury, lead, arsenic, aluminum, plastics, radioactive waste etc.
B. Classification of Environmental Pollution – Pollution can be broadly classified according to the components of environment that are polluted. Major of these are: Air pollution, Water pollution, Soil pollution (land degradation) and Noise pollution. Details of these types of pollutions are discussed below with their prevention measures.
(1) Air Pollution: Air is mainly a mixture of various gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen. These are present in a particular ratio. Whenever there is any imbalance in the ratio of these gases, air pollution is caused. The sources of air pollution can be grouped as under PDS_AIR_POLLUTION_0
(i) Natural; such as, forest fires, ash from smoking volcanoes, dust storm and decay of organic matters.
(ii) Man-made due to population explosion, deforestation, urbanization and industrializations.
Certain activities of human beings release several pollutants in air, such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrocarbons (HC), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), lead, arsenic, asbestos, radioactive matter, and dust. The major threat comes from burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum products. Thermal power plants, automobiles and industries are major sources of air pollution as well. Due to progress in atomic energy sector, there has been an increase in radioactivity in the atmosphere. Mining activity adds to air pollution in the form of particulate matter. Progress in agriculture due to use of fertilizers and pesticides has also contributed towards air pollution. Indiscriminate cutting of trees and clearing of forests has led to increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in atmosphere. Global warming is a consequence of green house effect caused by increased level of carbon dioxide (CO2). Ozone (O3) depletion has resulted in UV radiation striking our earth.
The gaseous composition of unpolluted air
Parts per million (vol)
Harmful Effects of air pollution –
(a) It affects respiratory system of living organisms and causes bronchitis, asthma, lung cancer, pneumonia etc. Carbon monoxide (CO) emitted from motor vehicles and cigarette smoke affects the central nervous system.
(b) Due to depletion of ozone layer, UV radiation reaches the earth. UV radiation causes skin cancer, damage to eyes and immune system.
(c) Acid rain is also a result of air pollution. This is caused by presence of oxides of nitrogen and sulfur in the air. These oxides dissolve in rain water to form nitric acid and sulfuric acid respectively. Various monuments, buildings, and statues are damaged due to corrosion by acid present in the rain. The soil also becomes acidic. The cumulative effect is the gradual degradation of soil and a decline in forest and agricultural productivity.
(d) The green house gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) trap the heat radiated from earth. This leads to an increase in earth’s temperature.
(e) Some toxic metals and pesticides also cause air pollution.
[For more refer Industrial Dust, Air Pollution and Related Occupational Diseases ]
(2) Water Pollution: Water is one of the prime necessities of life. With increasing number of people depend on this resource; water has become a scarce commodity. Pollution makes even the limited available water unfit for use. Water is said to be polluted when there is any physical, biological or chemical change in water quality that adversely affects living organisms or makes water unsuitable for use. Sources of water pollution are mainly factories, power plants, coal mines and oil wells situated either close to water source or away from sources. They discharge pollutants directly or indirectly into the water sources like river, lakes, water streams etc. The harmful effects of water pollution are:
(a) Human beings become victims of various water borne diseases, such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, jaundice, etc.
(b) The presence of acids/alkalies in water destroys the microorganisms, thereby hindering the self-purification process in the rivers or water bodies. Agriculture is affected badly due to polluted water. Marine eco-systems are affected adversely.
(c) The sewage waste promotes growth of phytoplankton in water bodies; causing reduction of dissolved oxygen.
(d) Poisonous industrial wastes present in water bodies affect the fish population and deprives us of one of our sources of food. It also kills other animals living in fresh water.
(e) The quality of underground water is also affected due to toxicity and pollutant content of surface water.
(2.1) Water pollution by industries and its effects – Industrial_WaterPollutionA change in the chemical, physical, biological, and radiological quality of water that is injurious to its uses. The term “water pollution” generally refers to human-induced changes to water quality. Thus, the discharge of toxic chemicals from industries or the release of human or livestock waste into a nearby water body is considered pollution.
The contamination of ground water of water bodies like rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and oceans can threaten the health of humans and aquatic life. Sources of water pollution may be divided into two categories. (i) Point-source pollution, in which contaminants are discharged from a discrete location. Sewage outfalls and oil spills are examples of point-source pollution. (ii) Non-point-source or diffuse pollution, referring to all of the other discharges that deliver contaminants to water bodies. Acid rain and unconfined runoff from agricultural or urban areas falls under this category.
The principal contaminants of water include toxic chemicals, nutrients, biodegradable organics, and bacterial & viral pathogens. Water pollution can affect human health when pollutants enter the body either via skin exposure or through the direct consumption of contaminated drinking water and contaminated food. Prime pollutants, including DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), persist in the natural environment and bioaccumulation occurs in the tissues of aquatic organisms. These prolonged and persistent organic pollutants are transferred up the food chain and they can reach levels of concern in fish species that are eaten by humans. Moreover, bacteria and viral pathogens can pose a public health risk for those who drink contaminated water or eat raw shellfish from polluted water bodies.
Contaminants have a significant impact on aquatic ecosystems. Enrichment of water bodies with nutrients (principally nitrogen and phosphorus) can result in the growth of algae and other aquatic plants that shade or clog streams. If wastewater containing biodegradable organic matter is discharged into a stream with inadequate dissolved oxygen, the water downstream of the point of discharge will become anaerobic and will be turbid and dark. Settleable solids will be deposited on the streambed, and anaerobic decomposition will occur. Over the reach of stream where the dissolved-oxygen concentration is zero, a zone of putrefaction will occur with the production of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), ammonia (NH3), and other odorous gases. Because many fish species require a minimum of 4–5 mg of dissolved oxygen per liter of water, they will be unable to survive in this portion of the stream.
Direct exposures to toxic chemicals are also a health concern for individual aquatic plants and animals. Chemicals such as pesticides are frequently transported to lakes and rivers via runoff, and they can have harmful effects on aquatic life. Toxic chemicals have been shown to reduce the growth, survival, reproductive output, and disease resistance of exposed organisms. These effects can have important consequences for the viability of aquatic populations and communities.
Wastewater discharges are most commonly controlled through effluent standards and discharge permits. Under this system, discharge permits are issued with limits on the quantity and quality of effluents. Water-quality standards are sets of qualitative and quantitative criteria designed to maintain or enhance the quality of receiving waters. Criteria can be developed and implemented to protect aquatic life against acute and chronic effects and to safeguard humans against deleterious health effects, including cancer.
[ For more refer ‘Water Conservation – Need-of-the-day for our very survival‘ ]
(3) Soil pollution (Land degradation): Land pollution is due to
(i) Deforestation and
(ii) Dumping of solid wastes.
Deforestation increases soil erosion; thus valuable agricultural land is lost. Solid wastes from household and industries also pollute land and enhance land degradation. Solid wastes include things from household waste and of industrial wastes. They include ash, glass, peelings of fruit and vegetables, paper, clothes, plastics, rubber, leather, brick, sand, metal, waste from cattle shed, night soil and cow dung. Chemicals discharged into air, such as compounds of sulfur and lead, eventually come to soil and pollute it. The heaps of solid waste destroy the natural beauty and surroundings become dirty. Pigs, dogs, rats, flies, mosquitoes visit the dumped waste and foul smell comes from the waste. The waste may block the flow of water in the drain, which then becomes the breeding place for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are carriers of parasites of malaria and dengue. Consumption of polluted water causes many diseases, such as cholera, diarrhea and dysentery.
[ For more refer Solid Waste Disposal -A Burning Problem To Be Resolved To Save Environment ]
(4) Noise pollution : health_effects_of_noiseHigh level noise is a disturbance to the human environment. Because of urbanization, noise in all areas in a city has increased considerably. One of the most pervasive sources of noise in our environment today is those associated with transportation. People reside adjacent to highways, are subjected to high level of noise produced by trucks and vehicles pass on the highways. Prolonged exposure to high level of noise is very much harmful to the health of mankind.
In industry and in mines the main sources of noise pollution are blasting, movement of heavy earth moving machines, drilling, crusher and coal handling plants etc. The critical value for the development of hearing problems is at 80 decibels.
Chronic exposure to noise may cause noise-induced hearing loss. High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects. Moreover, noise can be a causal factor in workplace accidents.
C. Fundamentals of prevention and control of air pollution:
As mentioned above, air pollutants can be gaseous or particulate matters. Different techniques for controlling these pollutants are discussed below:
a. Methods of controlling gaseous pollutants –
1. Combustion – This technique is used when the pollutants are in the form of organic gases or vapors. During flame combustion or catalytic process, these organic pollutants are converted into water vapor and relatively less harmful products, such as CO2.
2. Absorption – In this technique, the gaseous effluents are passed through scrubbers or absorbers. These contain a suitable liquid absorbent, which removes or modifies one or more of the pollutants present in the gaseous effluents.
3. Adsorption – The gaseous effluents are passed through porous solid adsorbents kept in suitable containers. The organic and inorganic constituents of the effluent gases are trapped at the interface of the solid adsorbent by physical adsorbent.
b. Methods to control particulate emissions –
1. Mechanical devices generally work on the basis of the following: dustbagfilter
(i) Gravity: In this process, the particles settle down by gravitational force.
(ii) Sudden change in direction of the gas flow. This causes the particles to separate out due to greater momentum.
2. Fabric Filters: The gases containing dust are passed through a porous medium. These porous media may be woven or filled fabrics. The particles present in the gas are trapped and collected in the filters. The gases freed from the particles are discharged.
3. Wet Scrubbers: Wet scrubbers are used in chemical, mining and metallurgical industries to trap SO2, NH3, metal fumes, etc.
4. Electrostatic Precipitators: When a gas or an air stream containing aerosols in the form of dust, fumes or mist, is passed between two electrodes, then, the aerosol particles get precipitated on the electrode. dustelectrostaticprecipitator
c. Other practices in controlling air pollution – Apart from the above, following practices also help in controlling air pollution.
(i) Use of better designed equipment and smokeless fuels, hearths in industries and at home.
(ii) Automobiles should be properly maintained and adhere to recent emission-control standards.
(iii) More trees should be planted along road side and houses.
(iv) Renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar energy, ocean currents, should fulfill energy needs.
(v) Tall chimneys should be installed for vertical dispersion of pollutants.
d. General air pollution control devices / equipments for industries – The commonly used equipments / process for control of dust in various industries are (a) Mechanical dust collectors in the form of dust cyclones; (b) Electrostatic precipitators – both dry and wet system; (c) particulate scrubbers; (d) Water sprayer at dust generation points; (e) proper ventilation system and (f) various monitoring devices to know the concentration of dust in general body of air.
The common equipments / process used for control of toxic / flue gases are the (a) process of desulphurisation; (b) process of denitrification; (c) Gas conditioning etc. and (d) various monitoring devices to know the efficacy of the systems used.
e. Steps, in general, to be taken for reduction of air pollution – To change our behavior in order to reduce AIR POLLUTION at home as well as on the road, few following small steps taken by us would lead to clean our Environment.
1. Avoid using chemical pesticides or fertilizers in your yard and garden. Many fertilizers are a source of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Try organic products instead.
2. Compost your yard waste instead of burning it. Outdoor burning is not advisable, as it pollutes air. Breathing this smoke is bad for you, your family and your neighbors. Plus, you can use the compost in your garden.
3. If you use a wood stove or fireplace to heat your home, it would be better to consider switching to another form of heat which does not generate smoke. It is always better to use sweater or warm clothing than using fireplace.
4. Be energy efficient. Most traditional sources of energy burn fossil fuels, causing air pollution. Keep your home well-maintained with weather-stripping, storm windows, and insulation. Lowering your thermostat can also help – and for every two degrees Fahrenheit you lower it, you save about two percent on your heating bill.
5. Plant trees and encourage other to plant trees as well. Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and filter out air pollution. During warmer days, trees provide cool air, unnecessary use of energy on air conditioning is avoided, hence the air pollution.
6. Try to stop smoking; at home, at office or at outside. Tobacco smoking not only deteriorates self’s health, it affects others health too.
On the Road:
7. Keep your vehicle well maintained. A poorly maintained engine both creates more air pollution and uses more fuel. Replace oil and air filters regularly, and keep your tires properly inflated.
8. Drive less. Walking, bicycling, riding the bus, or working from home can save you money as well as reducing air pollution.
9. Don’t idle your vehicle. If you stop for more than 30 seconds, except in traffic, turn off your engine.
10. Don’t buy more car than you need. Four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, engine size, vehicle weight, and tire size all affect the amount of fuel your vehicle uses. The more fuel it uses the more air pollution it causes.
D. Water pollution prevention and control:
Water is a key resource for our quality of life. It also provides natural habitats and eco-systems for plant and animal species. Access to clean water for drinking and sanitary purposes is a precondition for human health and well-being. Clean unpolluted water is essential for our ecosystems. Plants and animals in lakes, rivers and seas react to changes in their environment caused by changes in chemical water quality and physical disturbance of their habitat.
Water pollution is a human-induced change in the chemical, physical, biological, and radiological quality of water that is injurious to its existing, intended, or potential uses such as boating, waterskiing, swimming, the consumption of fish, and the health of aquatic organisms and ecosystems. Thus, the discharge of toxic chemicals from a pipe or the release of livestock waste into a nearby water body is considered pollution. The contamination of ground water, rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and oceans can threaten the health of humans and aquatic life.
Contaminants have a significant impact on aquatic ecosystems. for example, enrichment of water bodies with nutrients (principally nitro
The Christian’s Highest Occupation
Alfred P. Gibbs
Copyright © 1950
THE MEANING OF WORSHIP: THE Holy PERFUME
As we further think of the definition of worship, let us now consider:
6. The Holy Perfume (Exodus 30:34-38)
This very beautiful picture of worship is given to us as part of God’s revelation to Moses in
regard to the Tabernacle, concerning which He had said: “Make me a sanctuary, that I may
dwell among them” (Exodus 25:18). Minute instructions were given regarding the details of its
furnishings, and we find God repeatedly saying to Moses: “And look that thou make them
after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount” (Exodus 25:9; 40:26, 30; 27:8, cp.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and
galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:
And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered
together, pure and holy: And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the
testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto
you most holy. And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to
yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord.
Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people”
Three things impress themselves on the mind as one reads this passage regarding the holy
(1) The Exclusive Use of It (verses 37-38)
It was reserved solely for use in the worship of God in the sanctuary. God expressly forbade its
manufacture for any other purpose. The obvious inference from this is that worship belongs to
God alone, and that He will share this honor with none. David, “the sweet Psalmist of Israel,” by
the Spirit’s inspiration wrote: “He is thy Lord, worship thou him . . . Exalt ye the Lord our
God, and worship at his footstool, for he is holy . . . O come, let us worship and bow down:
Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker” (Psalm 45:11; 99:5; 95:6).
It will be recalled that the first demand of the law was: “Thou shalt have no other gods before
me . . . for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:3-5).
There is no substitute for spiritual worship. It is the unique right, the sole property, and the
exclusive privilege of God Himself and He will not tolerate any rival. Idolatry, in its essence, is
simply that by which man seeks to displace God, or which attempts to relegate Him to a position
of secondary importance. An idol is anything that a man worships in his heart, to the exclusion of
God. It was because of the idolatrous apostasy of Israel that God:
- Set Israel aside nationally,
- Allowed them to go into captivity,
- Scattered them to the four corners of the earth. (See II Kings 17:7-18; II Chronicles 36:14-17).
We do well to pay good heed to the Divine dictum: “I am the Lord, that is my name, and my
glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42:8). He alone claims the title of, “Holy and
Reverend” (Psalm 111:9).
There is always the subtle danger of becoming more occupied with:
- The visible, than the invisible;
- With the temporal, than the eternal;
- With an outward and formal ceremony, than an inward and spiritual reality.
There can therefore be no substitute for spiritual worship:
- However ornate may be the ritual,
- Or gorgeous the vestments,
- Or beautiful the building,
- Or well phrased the prayers,
- Or smoothly conducted the service.
Undoubtedly all this has an appeal to the esthetic senses, and is well pleasing to the flesh, for
man is naturally religious; but it is not spiritual, and consequently cannot please God.
(2) The Ingredients that Formed it (verses 34-36)
Four ingredients, compounded in equal proportions, composed this perfume, and each part was
necessary to the whole. These ingredients were stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense. Each
of these four things has a typical significance which we shall not dwell on now.
Let us think of them as four elements which, when compounded together in the heart of the
believer, as he sits in the presence of God, causes the perfume of his worship to ascend to the
Father and the Son.
The first ingredient is remembrance.
It is good for the believer to use his memory to recall what he used to be by nature, and
what he now is, by God’s matchless grace.
The words of Paul to the saints at Ephesus are pertinent to this:
“Wherefore remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh . . . but now, in Christ
Jesus . . . are made nigh” (Ephesians 2:11, 13).
Let each Christian call to mind his black past, when he was without God, without Christ, without
life and without hope. Then let him contrast this with his present acceptance in the Beloved,
together with all the spiritual blessings that are now his present and eternal possession. Surely the
result of such remembrance will cause him to life his heart in adoration to the One who made this
so blessedly actual to his experience.
His memory should also be focused on the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Himself. The
purpose of the Lord ’s Supper, as indicated by the Lord Himself is: “This do in remembrance
In view of this, worship will become an essential feature of such a meeting, for worship is
kindled upon the fires of remembrance. As David puts it: “While I was musing, the fire
burned; then spake I with my tongue” (Psalm 39:3).
It is memory that enables us to recall the record of His matchless life, as given in the holy
The Christian should therefore concentrate upon:
- Christ’s wondrous words,
- His mighty deeds,
- His perfect and holy character,
- His absolute obedience to the father’s will,
- His infinite grace in going to the cross,
- His completed work of redemption accomplished by the sacrifice of Himself,
- His victorious resurrection,
- His glorious ascension,
- His present ministry as the great HIGH PRIEST of His people.
As he does so, the believer’s heart will warm within him, and his worship shall rise to God as a
The second ingredient is gratitude.
As memory recalls all that God is and has done, the heart responds, even as the strings of a harp
break forth into song beneath the skilful hands of a master musician. We have before noted that
the gratitude of the believer delights the heart of the Father.
Socrates, the great Grecian philosopher, declared that gratitude was the greatest of all the virtues,
and ingratitude the basest of all the vices.
A study of the great worship hymns indicate how great a part gratitude plays in their
composition. Hannah Burlington beautifully expresses it thus:
“The knowing this, that us He loves,
Hath made our cup run o’er;
Jesus, Thy name our spirit moves,
Today and evermore.”
The “Ter Stegen” hymns are amongst the finest we have. One of them, by Ernst C. Homburg,
written nearly 300 years ago, is redolent with gratitude:
“O Lord, from my heart I do thank Thee
For all Thou hast borne in my room,
Thine agony, dying unsolaced,
Alone in the darkness of doom,
That I, in the glory of Heaven,
For ever and ever might be --
A thousand, a thousand thanksgivings
I bring, blessed Saviour, to Thee!”
The third ingredient is reverence.
This is produced as the soul apprehends, in some measure at least:
- The greatness of God,
- The majesty of His Divine character,
- The glory of His unique attributes,
As displayed in His
We are living in an age characterized largely by cynicism, flippancy and lightness regarding
The modern trend is to humanize Deity and deify humanity, and that has not aided in man’s
concept of God. One has only to read the Scriptures to discover that whenever a person was
brought consciously into the presence of God, it filled him with a holy awe, humbled him in the
dust and produced a deep reverence for God.
Moses, the great leader of Israel, was taught this lesson many times. At God’s first revelation to
him at the burning bush, the voice of Jehovah said: “Draw not nigh hither; put thy shoes from
off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).
At God’s revelation to him on the mount, in response to his request to see God’s glory, God gave
him a vision of Himself. At this august spectacle we read: “Moses made haste, and bowed his
head towards the earth, and worshipped” (Exodus 34:8).
Isaiah, whose magnificent concept of Deity has thrilled the hearts of the people of God for
twenty-five centuries, had to lay to heart this essential requirement. In chapter six of his
prophecy, he describes the vision he had of the glory of God which completely revolutionized his
life. This sight not only filled him with a sense of his own littleness, uncleanness and
insufficiency, but indelibly impressed upon him God’s greatness, holiness and power.
Daniel, “the man of desires,” tells us that when he saw the majestic vision of God: “There
remained no strength in me, for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption and I
retained no strength” (Daniel 10:5-11).
We could add others to this list, but these will suffice to indicate how necessary it is that godly
reverence accompany all our dealings with Divine things.
This reverence must always be present if our worship is to be acceptable to the One who is
described as “The high and lofty One, who inhabiteth eternity,” and who hath declared: “Let
all the earth fear the Lord: Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (Psalm
Familiarity with God can never produce contempt, for those who know Him best, love and fear
Him most. The more God impresses the soul with His Person, the greater that individual is filled
with holy awe as he stands in the presence of Him, before Whose eyes “all things are open and
naked” (Hebrews 4:13).
It should be obvious that humility of mind, sobriety of manner, and sincerity of spirit are
essential to and fitting in the presence of the One who said: “Ye shall . . . reverence my
sanctuary. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:30).
The fourth ingredient is amazement.
We have before indicated that worship has, as one of its basic requirements, the element of
wonder. He who ceases to wonder, ceases to worship.
The hymn writer has put it thus:
“I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean!
O how wonderful! O how marvelous!
And my song shall ever be,
O how wonderful! O how marvelous!
Is my Saviour’s love to me!”
One of the many titles of Deity is “Wonderful.”
Everything about the Almighty takes upon itself this character. As the believer thinks of the
wonder of His Person, His creation, His word, His Son, His love, His salvation and of each
Christian’s blessedness, he is led to exclaim with another:
“That Thou should love a wretch like me,
And be the God Thou art,
Is darkness to my intellect,
But sunshine to my heart!”
(3) The Purpose of It.
It was for God’s pleasure and for His glory. These ingredients, equally compounded together,
combined to produce a perfume which ascended to God in a fragrant stream and brought great
pleasure to Him. Likewise, when a believer sits in the presence of God, with an equal measure of
remembrance, gratitude, reverence and amazement well compounded in his heart, there will
undoubtedly rise, from the censer of his soul, a silver stream of humble, reverent, sincere and
adoring worship to his God and Father, and to the Lord Jesus Christ.
This, in turn, will delight God’s heart, for it fulfils His desire for the worship of His people. This
was expressed by His Son in these words: “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true
worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship
him” (John 4:23)
Our last consideration, under the heading of the meaning of worship, is:
7. The Root Meaning of the Word in the Old Testament
Those that understand such things have affirmed that the root meaning of the Hebrew word
carries the thought of “a dog to its master.”
As one approaches the town of Hartsdale from the city of New York, he will observe, to his left,
an animal cemetery. It is perhaps the most ornate in the world. Beneath marble monuments,
some costing hundreds of dollars, like the remains of pet animals and even birds.
Many of these tombstone’s bear sentimental epitaphs, such as: “Momsie’s only baby.”
Others are grotesque, as one over a dog which reads: “He cannot come to us, be we can go to
However, there is one epitaph that stands out from them all.
It is of a dog whose master caused to be inscribed: “To the memory of Bruce, the devoted
servant, faithful friend, warm admirer, and ardent worshipper of his master.” Then follows the
name of its owner. Does this not aptly describe what a dog is? Dogs have been described, and not
without some cause, as “man’s best friend.”
A cynic once remarked: “The more I know of human beings, the better I appreciate dogs!”
Let us use an illustration to clarify this point.
We will suppose that a man, warmly clad, ventures forth on a blustery and bitterly cold night.
The temperature is below zero, and the streets are practically deserted. Presently he sees a poor,
neglected, shivering and half starved cur, sheltering behind a telephone pole from the biting
wind. Some cruel boys have tied a can to its tail, and it has been kicked from pillar to post, until
now it is almost at the end of its tether. It will never survive a night like this on the streets.
The man pauses and looks the dog over. What a pitiable sight it is: thin, miserable, frightened,
homeless, hungry and on its last legs!
His compassion is stirred and, yielding to the impulse of the moment, he stoops down, reaches
out his hand and calls to the dog. Suspicious as first, for the dog has good reasons for distrusting
mankind, it gradually approaches, until at length it comes under his hand. The man pats it on the
head, strokes it, all the while speaking kindly words. Then, after removing the string and the can
from its tail, he lifts it up, opens his overcoat, pops it in, and carries it back to his home.
When he enters his home he says to his wife:
“I’ve found a poor starving dog on the street, that will surely die tonight, unless it finds a home.
Please put a sack in the corner of the kitchen and we’ll take care of it for at least tonight.”
Accordingly, the dog is gently placed on the sack, and a delicious bowl of hot bread and milk is
given it, followed by some scraps from the evening meal. For the first time in many days the dog
wags its tail in gratitude for this unusual kindness. The next morning it greets its benefactors
with another friendly wag of its tail, and they decide to give it a permanent home.
A month passes by, and what a wonderful change it produces in that dog! As a result of good
food and proper care, one would scarcely recognize the fine looking animal as that miserable
starving cur of four weeks ago.
One evening, as the man is sitting in an easy chair, with one hand hanging over the arm of the
chair, he suddenly feels something warm and wet on his hand. Glancing down he sees the dog
looking up at him with adoring eyes as, again and again, it licks the hand of the one to whom it
owes everything. The dog had not come into the room to beg for a bone, or even to be petted.
It wanted nothing from its owner but the privilege of sitting in his presence, so that it might look
at him with rapt, adoring eyes and, every now and then, to enjoy the privilege of licking the hand
of the one whom it loved above all others.
This is worship.
Now apply this to the believer, who once was a lost, guilty and helpless sinner, deserving
only the judgment of a holy God.
- Through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
- By faith in His substitutionary sacrifice and glorious resurrection,
- By acceptance of Him as Saviour and Lord,
He has been:
- Brought into a place of acceptance, provision and security.
Surely it is not too much for the Lord to expect that His people, saved as such an infinite cost,
will want, like that dog, to come into His presence in order to be occupied only with the One
whom, “having not seen, they love” with all their hearts. May it be yours and mine to know
something, by experience, of the real meaning and nature of worship, and thus fulfil His purpose
in our salvation.
The words of Miss C.A. Wellesley will form a fitting conclusion to this section of our study:
“Occupied with Thee, Lord Jesus, in Thy grace;
All Thy ways and thoughts about me
Deeper stories of the glories
Of Thy grace.
Taken up with Thee Lord Jesus I would be;
Finding joy and satisfaction
All in Thee;
Thou the nearest and the dearest
~ end of chapter 5 ~
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