Monday, December 15, 2014
Tree Trimmings #12: God With Us (Part 2)
Psalm 136 is not what you'd call a classic "Christmas text". I can't see why not though. It's one passage of scripture that is remarkably balanced between God's amazing works, awful wrath, and the awesome worship He deserves due to His faithful love. When we consider that Christmas marks the coming of the "Mighty God", here's a good snapshot of Who He is:
The Most High: "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good... give thanks to the God of gods... give thanks to the Lord of lords... who alone does great wonders" (Psalm 136:1-4). God stands alone as the supreme being and most revered of all celestial personalities.
The Creator: "...to him who by understanding made the heavens... who spread out the earth above the waters... who made the great lights...the sun to rule over the day... the moon and stars to rule over the night..." (Psalm 136:5-9). He is the manufacturer, designer, and owner of all that is. He delegates authority as He pleases and even celestial bodies do His bidding.
The Judge: "...to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt... and overthrew Pharaoh and his host into the red sea..." (Psalm 136:10 and Psalm 136:15). God condemns the wicked at a time and in a way He knows to be expedient for their destruction and for His own glory. Who do you know of that has done anything people will be talking about 4000 years from now? But that Red Sea tho...
The Deliverer: "... who brought Israel out from among them... with a strong hand and an outstretched arm... who divided the Red Sea in two... and made Israel pass through the midst of it... who led his people through the wilderness..." (Psalm 136:11-16). The Mighty God makes distinctions between those who are His and those who are not (Exodus 8:22, Exodus 11:7, and 2nd Timothy 2:19). Since all have sinned and fallen short of His glory, He is free to bestow saving grace upon whoever He pleases. Whoever has found a refuge in Him is blessed indeed!
The Warrior: "... to him who struck down great kings, and killed mighty kings... Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan" (Psalm 136:17-20). The rapper Jadakiss once observed, "Dead rappers get better promotion." The wrestler known as "Undertaker", somewhere along his very long and storied career, used to threaten his opponents by saying, "I'll make you famous". But God has been famous for making the vast majority of his opponents nameless. He decimates and destroys the unrepentant. He overcomes and overwhelms those who stand against His people. Woe to the one who refuses to kiss the Son.
The Promise Keeper: "... who gave their land as a heritage to Israel... who remembered us in our low estate... and rescued us from our foes... who gives food to all flesh..." (Psalm 136:21-26). Promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are all kept. God delivered on each and every one of them (Joshua 21:43-45).
The might of God's power is matched only by the power of His faithful love which, along with His glory motivates and informs all that He does. It is altogether astonishing to consider the One residing in a virgin womb as the inventor of it. We are blown away to consider the Mighty God as a little helpless baby learning to walk on legs He designed. And although He is a judge and warrior, He came to defend the guilty and make peace with His enemies.
We might well say along with David when he wrote in Psalm 139:6, "such knowledge is too lofty for me to attain". But then again, what should we expect when we experience Emmanuel the incomparable and Mighty God with us.