15 January 2012

The Glorious and Gentle One

I remember hearing stories as a child about the unbelievable power of tornadoes.  They could flatten cities in minutes, yet there they often left unusual effects in their path of destruction.  Homes destroyed, yet babies left sleeping. One car picked up and set gently on top of another. In 1964, a home with 10 people was picked up and transported a quarter mile, and no one was injured.  The story that I always found the most amazing, though, was the story of a tornado driving a piece of straw through a fencepost. Extreme power, yet intricate precision. I found several pictures of the phenomenon on the Internet and it's truly amazing.

I also have difficulty holding the juxtaposition in mind of a God who is both all-powerful and gentle at the same time. Yet we see this picture of God throughout Scripture. Revelation is a particularly good place to see this picture of God, the Glorious One.  People fall down and worship him. He rules supremely. In Revelation 7:11-12, it reads, "And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, 'Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.'" The angels around the throne of God worshiped his glory.  Psalm 148 tells us that all of creation will worship him.  From the weather to the creatures of the sea, from the plants to the mountains, from the birds of the air to the beasts of the field, from innocent children to powerful kings--all worship his majesty.

Yet the all-powerful God is also gentle. Revelation 7:15-17 says,
    “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
        and serve him day and night in his temple;
        and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
    They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
        the sun shall not strike them,
        nor any scorching heat.
    For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
        and he will guide them to springs of living water,
    and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

As we sit before the throne of God, serving him night and day and worshiping his glory, he comforts us, he protects, and he nourishes us. The God before whom all creatures will fall down in worship will wipe away our tears. The God before whom mountains melt like wax (Psalm 97:5) will protect us from scorching heat. He will give us streams of living water. 

The same God who has the power to flatten cities is gentle enough to be able to put an unbroken piece of straw through a telephone pole. Glorious, yet gentle.

Daily Reading: Matthew 23, Numbers 26, 1 Corinthians 10, Revelation 7, Job 1, Psalm 148, Proverbs 29, 2 Chronicles 1, Daniel 8, Acts 8

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