Scripture Psalm 114
1 When Israel came out of Egypt,
Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
2 Judah became God’s sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled,
the Jordan turned back;
4 the mountains leaped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
5 Why was it, sea, that you fled?
Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
6 Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,
you hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turned the rock into a pool,
the hard rock into springs of water.
- Alludes to the Exodus and to the crossing of the Jordan by Israel at its end
- The people became God’s sanctuary (not the tabernacle or the temple?)
- The earth’s reaction in vss. 7 and 8: God’s presence in the people / in Judah?
- Further allusion to God’s bringing water out of the rock when Israel wandered in the wilderness
When I was a child, my dad had on his bookshelf the book “Your God Is Too Small.” I have since read it and somewhere around here I have it on my shelf. When I read this Psalm today what came into my mind is “Randy, your God is too nice.”
I think too fondly of God – and not much awe, fear, or trembling. It is kind of popular today to see God as a therapeutic deity whose main function is to heal our neuroses and resolve our personal problems. But do I tremble at the thought of God? Do I hold God in awe in worship or in prayer or in meditation? Not so much and not very often.
It’s no coincidence that when God visits people in the Bible – even through intermediaries – the reaction is often fear and trembling. God is not my therapist nor my personal banker nor my life journey travel planner. God is high and lifted up…. God is the God whose presence makes the earth tremble. I need to reclaim that trembling.
God of Judah, come and dwell in me and in your church as you did in them long ago. God of Israel, extend your dominion over my life and your church. May your presence cause me to tremble because you are more wonderful than I can imagine and more than I can comprehend. Restore to me that sense of awe and wonder at your presence and let me experience it in my life again. Amen.