Reflection 10/24: The Voice of God
Dear Beloved Community of St. John’s,
What does the voice of God sound like?
Thunder, we might say, thinking back to Exodus. Like the voice of Paul Robeson or James Earl Jones. Rich, resonant, commanding. God’s voice compels absolute attention.
This is the voice we imagine when, in the book of Job, God rears up and asks Job out of the whirlwind, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” When I hear that voice and those words cascading in a torrent as the scripture continues, we are rendered dumbfounded. This passage is God in his greatest majesty. This is God brooking no rejoinder. This is God at his biggest, and we at our most minuscule.
If you want to be exhilarated by the Bible, read first the story of creation in Genesis 1:1–2:1, back to back with Job 38:1-41. In all the grand stories throughout history from all corners of the globe, there is no other account of God so abundantly, awesomely, and fearsomely described as in these two passages. It’s thrilling, even read merely as literature; it’s ever so much more thrilling through the lens of faith.
I remind myself of this grand portrayal of God when I consider the magnitude of the problems facing the world these days. This is precisely the God who determined that the salvation of humanity was to be found in a humble, iterant rabbi named Jesus who walked on the dusty roads of ancient Israel a couple of thousand years ago. I love the large, dramatic God of ancient narrative. Yet the God who is so much easier to worship is the God who is Jesus—with a voice not like thunder, but one just like ours.
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