Theophany, Redemption, and Trembling
- Monday, December 03, 2012
Seeing the actions of the Red Sea, the Jordan, and Sinai, the psalmist inquired as to why they responded so out of character with how they are constituted. He found a common element in the events: The Lord himself was present at each in Theophany form.
Theophanies were an appearance of God in a form that allowed man to know God without seeing the fullness of God’s glory. The cloud and pillar of fire with Israel were theophanies; Joshua’s encounter with the commander of the armies of the Lord was another. Such appearances ended with the incarnation of Christ—when the fullness of the Godhead came face-to-face with man to make God known to us.
Thus, it was the presence of the Lord in delivering Israel from Egypt that made the Red Sea fear. It was the presence of the Lord before the ark of the Covenant, carried by the priests, that made the Jordan jump back as one terrified. It was the presence of the Lord in fire upon Mt. Sinai that made the mountain and hills frolic like lambs concerned about a nearby threat.
3. The events of the redemption of God’s own from Egypt ought to cause a response of trembling by the peoples of the Earth(7-8).
The psalm writer recognizes the lengths the Lord would go to redeem his people and determines that this calls for fear. We should tremble before our God, for his very presence is ever with us as he dwells in us, and is present when we gather as his spiritual temple.
If the parts of the redemption story previously told should not be enough, the psalmist gives two other scenes from the story of redemption (v. 8). On the journey of redemption, God took it upon himself to supply for the needs of his people. To what length would God go for his people to be responsible for their care in the desert? He would go so far as to make water come out of rocks!
We had better find ourselves bowing before the Lord, asking for mercy upon any thoughts and acts that do not consciously give thought of him. We must throw ourselves on his mercy, found only in his Son, Jesus Christ. He has redeemed us from sin, and as Redeemer, he owns us.
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