Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lectionary Devotions - Jan 11 - Psalm 29 - The Voice of God

Psalm 29:4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.

When Psalm 29 was written, it took place during the Bronze Age, when human understanding about physics, nature, and the climate was very limited. Because of this, they supposed that the sound of thunder, the howling of a hurricane, the eruption of a volcano, or the roaring of a flood were all the mighty, powerful, and majestic voices of God.

And because these elements were so destructive, most of the time the people felt that when God spoke, it was to judge the sins of the people and punish them for their evil. Think about it – if the thunder announced the coming of a terrible storm, which then devastated a whole community, the religious leaders would be quick to pounce upon this as a sign of God’s retribution. And if you don’t think that that kind of misrepresentation of God occurs in our sophisticated, modern world, then we only have to go back to the 1980’s when the Moral Majority, and the rest of their self-righteous brood, declared that AIDS was sent into the world as a divine condemnation of gay people.

These days, we understand more about the natural world and what causes volcanic eruptions, thunder and lightning, and floods and hurricanes. We no longer describe them as the voice of God; instead we call them forces of nature. But that leaves us with a quandary: where and when do we hear the voice of God?

Added to that is an even more difficult question: if God is speaking to us today, are we listening?

Stushie is the writer of the 4 minute daily devotional, Heaven's Highway.

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