Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May 9

1 Samuel 5:1-7:17; John 6:1-21; Psalm 106:13-31; Proverbs 14:32-33

After my initial reading of today’s Scripture, I was lamenting to my husband that I didn’t really have too much to say about it. I told him, “It seems like it’s about how powerful and holy God is, which is a good truth, but I don’t know how to make a whole blog post about it beside just saying God is powerful and holy.” This comment led to a wonderful discussion on the different portions of our Scriptures today and how they weave together to affirm this truth of God’s character. So, today’s post is a compilation of our thoughts and conversation. But before I get into writing more on that subject, let me make two quick plugs. One: we are meant to be in community around the Word of God; it stirs up new thought and insight and challenges. That is why Moses commanded us to talk about them, to bind them on us and in our homes. Two: sometimes journaling helps us come to greater understandings about the Word of God and ourselves when at first glance our reading of Scripture seems as though it may not really be speaking to us. These were both true in my experience of Scripture today. Let’s keep both of the practices up so that God’s word will dwell more richly in us!

Okay, back to God’s powerful and holy presence. Mike and I saw that theme scattered throughout all four sections of our reading. In I Samuel, it is clear to see that even the Philistines are struck, quite literally, by the power that accompanies the presence of God. When the ark of God, which was the physical representation or God’s physical presence in that day, is in their territory, bad things happen to their gods and to the people within that vicinity. They realized they needed to send the ark “back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people” (I Sam. 5:11). They acknowledged they needed to “pay honor to Israel’s god” (6:5). These pagans who serve and follow other gods are still able to see and acknowledge the presence of the God Almighty to be powerful and worthy of honor.

In John 6, we see back-to-back manifestations of God’s power through Jesus. First in the feeding of the five thousand, and then again as Jesus walks on water to the disciples' boat, three and a half miles from the shore. With the feeding of the five thousand, the people are amazed and in awe of Jesus, saying “surely this is a prophet who is come into the world” (Jn. 6:14).  With the disciples in the boat, they realize someone much more powerful than a prophet has entered their lives as they are “terrified” to seeing him walking on the water towards them.

Finally, in our Psalms and Proverbs, we see the recounting of God’s great deeds among the Israelites with Moses in the desert. We are reminded of how they “exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them” (Ps. 106:20-21). They forgot the power and glory and honor of the God who freed them from Egypt. In Proverbs, God’s power is made known in that “even in death the righteous have a refuge” (Pr. 14:32). Our God has victory even in death.

I am glad to be reminded again today of what a Mighty God we serve. Pagan gods bow down before him. Those who don’t acknowledge his true deity can at least see his power and glory made manifest in the miracles he performs. He has command of all the elements of nature and our natural laws do not apply to him. Nothing is too difficult for him. These are still active truths in our lives and world today. What a Mighty God we serve.  

- Mary Matthias

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