Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Psalm 29

Worship Yahweh in the majesty of holiness. The voice of Yahweh is upon the waters, the God of glory thunders…the voice of Yahweh is powerful, the voice of Yahweh is majestic. The voice of Yahweh breaks the cedars…the voice of Yahweh hews out flames of fire. The voice of Yahweh shakes the wilderness…and in His temple everything says, “Glory!”

In Exodus Chapter 19 we read: So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain…Moses said to Yahweh, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.’”

I cannot look directly at the sun without the sun damaging my eyes, but by the light of sun I can see all things. The sun is great and my eyes are frail. So frail that in the glare of summer, even if I do not look directly at the sun, over the course of time the sun can damage my eyes if I do not protect them with sunglasses. My view of the sun must be mediated.

My home is powered by electricity, but this electricity cannot flow directly into my home from the generating plant, it cannot flow directly into my home from high voltage transmission lines, it must be mediated by a transformer or else my home’s electrical system will be destroyed and possibly my house will catch fire. The electricity from the generating plant is too powerful for my home to receive directly – it can destroy my home – the electricity must be mediated. Compared to the generating plant my home is frail.

The ancient Hebrews knew that lightning and thunder and storms and earthquakes were not the voice of Yahweh; yet they also knew that when Yahweh spoke that it could lightning and thunder and storm and that the earth could quake – they knew that the physical world could react when God Almighty spoke and they knew that God could manifest Himself through creation and in images of creation just as He could manifest Himself in our hearts and minds. Descriptions of God’s presence and speech, in both the Old and New Testaments, often include dazzling light, shaking, lightning, and thunder – what we witness in creation is but distant image of what exists elsewhere in fullness.

We forget that God “said” let there be…and there was. We forget that all that we see and smell and touch had its beginning in the voice of Yahweh. We forget that the voice of Yahweh is transposed downward from the Divine throne to our frail world and frailer hearts, minds, and bodies. We also forget that in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, that word may be unsheathed in its glory and splendor and return man to the dust from which he came. 

The ultimate downward transposition of the voice of Yahweh, of His word, is seen in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” To appearances the voice of Yahweh became frail and was crucified on a cross, it was mocked and bloodied and shamed and buried. Those who live in the world of appearances cannot conceive that the Jesus Christ who they mock lives in splendor and power and gives strength and peace to His people (Psalm 29:11; John 14:27). But those who know Him and live in Him are reminded when they hear the thunder, and see the storms and lightning and feel the earth shake, of the voice of Yahweh; and they know that He is the one who gives strength to His people and blesses them with peace. His people know that the voice which created the world and all that is in it is the voice that assures them, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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