Down with Chaos!
More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters, more majestic than the waves of the sea, majestic on high is the Lord! – Psalm 93:4 (NRSV)
Before there was something there was nothing. The proto-physicist(s) who imagined the creation of the universe “in the beginning” described a formless emptiness. To the Ancients, water—especially the sea—was a symbol of chaos, understood as disorder, tumult, and confusion.
I once visited a friend of mine in the hospital who had just suffered a stroke. I asked him how he was and he answered, “It is all tohu wa-bohu,” which is the Biblical Hebrew translated as “formless void.” He had grown up in Beirut and spoke Arabic, which has a very similar term for chaos. My friend likened his mind’s confusion and sense of disorder to the primordial chaos of Genesis 1.
We all from time to time experience chaos in our lives. Sudden changes can throw our world into disorder. Daily we witness on the news confusion and disorder in our country and among the nations.
Psalm 93 begins a series of psalms that proclaim the absolute sovereignty of God. Our passage for today asserts God’s sovereignty by proclaiming that God’s majesty is mightier even than the waves of the sea. In other words, God has control over chaos.
How, when, and where God exercises that sovereignty remains mysterious, but we are assured that ultimately God will be up and chaos will be down. May it be so!
God of majesty and might, bring order to chaos, understanding to confusion, and your sweet peace to every place of disruption.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. and author of A Course In Basic Christianity and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross: Reflections on the Atonement. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.