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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

The Roaming Lightning

God ruled over the flood; He still rules today.

A Framework for Faith/Spiritual Vision

Father, do not allow thunder and lightning, lest we be shattered by its fear and its fire. We fear you, the terrible one, believing there is none like you. All songs praise you throughout the host of angels. Let the summits of heaven, too, praise you with roaming lightning, O most loving Jesus, O righteous King of Kings.

  - Columba, Noli Pater (Irish, 6th century)

Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength...The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders...

  - Psalm 29.1, 3

I am very pleased with the English Standard Version of the Bible. I've used it exclusively for at least the past five years, and I find, overall, that it gives the clearest translation in the most readable English of any of the versions I've used over the years.

However, I keep a running list of what I regard as translation problems in the ESV and of how they affect the interpretation of the passage. Such as in Psalm 29. The opening, "O heavenly beings," is really, "sons (or children) of the mighty one." Now "mighty one" can certainly refer to God; it can also refer to the king, in particular, the king of Israel.

My sense is that this psalm was written by David to calm the fears of his small children during a terrible storm. The reference to thunder, to "many waters," to "flashes" of "fire," and to the powerful "voice" of the Lord all suggest a storm setting. So also the notion of trees being split in pieces - as by roaming lightning - and the whole earth shaking.

Anyone who has ever comforted a small child during a strong thunder storm knows that this is a teaching moment. David was making the most of it to teach his children about the sovereignty of God, who rules all the waters and storms, determines when deer calve and trees cast their leaves, and in whose presence all the holy ones and angels cry, "Glory!"

David explained to his children that God ruled over the flood; He still rules today. But David assured his children that God, in His great strength, would strengthen them and bless them with His peace - even in the face of the power and threat of a great storm.

Columba shared almost the same sentiment in Noli Pater. Here he, too, called out for the protection of God, looking to the roaming lightning as a summons to praise rather than a reason to fear.

This is why creational theology matters so much. By "listening" to the "voice" of the Lord in the things He has made, we can learn to know, love, trust, and praise Him, and to know His terrible but loving presence, even in the midst of a frightening storm.

The creation is speaking all the time, in every place. Will you hear the "voice" of God today?

Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe

ReVision - It's philosophy day at The Fellowship. Today: Determinism vs. Free Will. Or is it both?

Bookstore - Learn more about doing creational theology. Order Consider the Lilies from our bookstore today.

The Pastors' Fellowship - Pastor, how's your vision? Not physical vision; life and ministry vision! Join the discussion.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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