November 10, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways. He does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth.’ He says to the rain ‘Be a mighty downpour.’” (Job 37.5-6)
Whenever you feel as if the world is “lording it over you” ask it, or whomever assumes they are your world, “Can you make the rain fall up to the sky?” or “Can you cause the dirt to become snow?” The obvious truth is that no person nor power apart from the Almighty Creator God can change this simple realities. Those who say they can are dependent on the “smoke and mirror” effect of delusional thinking. And we, mighty ones of God, are the empowerment of such thinking when we allow it to go unquestioned and unanswered. God has given us a voice of “thunder in marvelous ways.”
Now, I presented it in that way so that I may introduce, or reintroduce for some, friends of Jesus named James and John- the sons of Zebedee. They were brothers. I believe they may have also been twins. In terms of a modern image common to many today familiar with Saturday Night Live, they were akin to “Hans und Franz.” In Jesus’ day, they were known as the “Sons of Thunder.” I have this sneaking suspicion it was because they spoke boldly, not necessarily wisely; they spoke loudly, not necessarily under control; and they rolled right over people because the lightning flash of common sense crossed the sky. I would safely assume they were the life of many a party and fun to be around. To say it in a different way, they “thunder in not necessarily ready for prime time ways.” For our understanding James and John represent one end of the spectrum of declaring the truth and God stands on the other. In Thomas Paine’s “Age of Reason,” it would be characterized as “between the ridiculous and the sublime.”
In Paul’s letters to the community of faith in Corinth he addresses this diverse declaration with “But God chose the foolish thing of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1.27). He added shortly after that “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of the world [or of this age], you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise [in this age of God’s kingdom]. (1 Corinthians 3.18) Now Jesus say the redeeming factors of discipleship in James and John. I have this feeling that they would go where “angels feared to tread.” Unbridled boldness is perceived as arrogance. We saw that exposed in their request of Jesus, as a response to His announcement of the crucifixion, “When You come into Your heaven will You grant us the privilege of sitting at your right and left hand?” Bridled boldness serves the Lord with gladness and no questions asked. In other words, they “walked by faith and not by sight speaking the truth in love of God and not of self.” We saw that exposed in their obedience to go into town and procuring a donkey, the foal of an ass, as Jesus directed. It would require them to just walk up to the owner and take the donkey saying “The Lord has need of it.” I don’t think Jesus set them up to appear criminal in this instance, or in any instance. I do believe there was a plan in place already established by Jesus with that certain man and the declaration was the coded language for “Now is the time.” Remember, this is the similar inference when Abraham acted in obedience to take his son, Isaac, up to the place on Mount Moriah where sacrifices were made and offer, at God’s command, Isaac as that sacrifice for the sins of his people and the blessing of that land. Abraham complied with a boldness that spoke of utter faith even in the midst of disbelief. James and John fulfilled their assigned duty in what might have seemed to be a “mission impossible.” But, as God’s word declares, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18.27)
It is time, mighty ones of God, for God’s voice to thunder in us and through us. If we leave the world to man’s device, man will use it for their own promotion to authority instead of using their authority for the promotion of what is right, true and good for all. It is a slippery slope that history has now found on this turn of the page. The real agendas of the enemy are now more visible than ever but the voice of the faith community in Jesus as the Christ remains subdued. What is it that we are afraid of? Do we fear more “the one who can kill the body” or “the one who can render judgment on both the body and the soul”? (Matthew 10.28) We have been given the Word of God in written and living form via scripture and the One who has fulfilled the righteousness revealed in that scripture. We have been given the “mighty wind” of God to fill our lungs and flush through our bodies the spiritual oxygen that rejuvenates our purpose and steels our resolve. We are not to simply build ourselves up to withstand the storm as it comes against us with the intent of coming against God. We are meant to build up one another to the full measure and stature of Christ, the Son of God, and move against the storm providing the shelter of faith, hope, love, peace, patience, goodness, mercy and self-control. We are not intended to stand and take it. We are called to take a stand and move out into all the world and make disciples of all nations. Who, in light of this most recent election season, seems to be the better “disciple” maker? Is it the abortionist? The genderless? The racist? The idolater? The hater? The unguided? The self-promoting and self-loathing? The dissolutionist? The wise who are foolish? The fools who are oblivious? We are seeing the lack of sound doctrine and firm foundation within the reasoning and activity of all of these. They are not building on the rock of faith, hope and love. They are promoting the sinking sand of faithlessness, hopelessness and lovelessness. And when the storms come against them, and it is coming, who shall remain and survive to give glory to God who has made it possible for man to endure in peace as in the midst of the storm? Those who build upon the rock! And the thunder of their voice tempered by the truth of God will speak as Jesus did in the rocking boat with the disciples on the tempest sea “Peace, be still.” And while all around them in the distance the storm continued to rage, the waters flattened and the wind deadened and the air was calm enough to hear the disciples regaining their composure, their breath, their wits and their ability to be in “awe and wonder.” They declared “Who is this that even the wind and waves obey?” We know! It is about time we make sure the whole world knows who we are, why we are and what we are all about. Not to set ourselves apart from others but to invite others to come into the peaceful arena of God’s mercy, grace and love and live life as it was always meant to be.
Your will be done! AMEN.