Monday, March 7, 2016
Violence and grace
Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46 8-11 ESV
What is happening in this Psalm? First look at what God is doing. God’s work is so powerful that He can make wars cease, and bring desolation to those who are waging war. God work can destroy the handiwork of men if He so chooses. Then look at the work that God has charged to men.. We are to be still and KNOW that He is God. This is the way that God is exalted, by allowing Him to do what He pleases, and for us to rest in the knowledge of God.
We tend to think of God as a God of peace, not of violence. But we witness violence in God’s creation every day. The sunlight that gives us life is created by violent combustion of gas. Lightning and wind have the power to completely destroy any kind of protection made by man. Volcanic eruptions and meteor strikes can create more destruction than any man made bomb.
Every natural disaster occurs because God deemed it so. But why? Why would a God who loves us allow such things to happen intentionally? I do not have the answer to these kind of questions, but God does. He is the one who created the questions.
Death and destruction, from our point of view, is the worst thing that can happen to us. However, from God’s point of view, death and destruction are only a means to produce something better—physically or spiritually. For example, the terrible Black Plague that spread across Europe in the mid 14th century helped to develop a human population that was more resistant to disease. Our economic recession in 2008 has helped to create a trend toward more economically frugal life styles.
God loves us in spite of the trouble and suffering that we experience, and what He asks of us is to be still, know that He is God, and allow Him to be exalted.