Excerpt from Psalm 19
"The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. . . The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in [the Lord's] temple all say, 'Glory!'"
Reflection by Christina Villa
While watching one of those storm shows on The Weather Channel, I was struck by pictures of trees with their bark stripped off by the wind. I didn't know that could happen. I couldn't begin to imagine a wind powerful enough. For a few unpleasant seconds, I thought about how fragile and vulnerable we all are here on earth. Then I successfully put that idea out of my mind.
This scripture passage reads like a tornado report from biblical times. Trees whirl and snap, the forest is stripped bare. The psalm is clear that all this is caused by "the voice of the Lord." To which the people say, "Glory!" Apparently, that's the kind of thing they said when they saw evidence of something more powerful than they could imagine. They didn't rush to forget about it.
None of us are very likely to give God glory for being powerful. We tend to think of power negatively, dwelling on all the ways it can destroy and be abused. When was the last time you heard a prayer begin, "Almighty God"? Sometimes I hear "Gracious God," and "Merciful God," and "Loving God" so often that I wonder if God isn't feeling a little pressured to exhibit only these qualities.
People abuse power; God doesn't. What good, I wonder, are God's mercy and grace if they are powerless?
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
About the Author
Christina Villa is the Editorial Director of the Stillspeaking Writers' Group.