Psalm 29:3-4 - The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
There's an old romantic ballad written in the 50s whose languid melancholy refrain touches the sentimental heart, "In the wee small hours of the morning, while the whole wide world is fast asleep ... that's the time you miss her most of all." Your longing heart finds no patience, secures no peace, and enjoys no rest until the voice of the one you love enters your presence. In the solitude of darkness, you lie still and imagine that beautiful voice. Calm fills your soul. Your world is at peace once again. When you listen rightly, you can still hear her voice.
The voice of the Lord thunders from heaven, the psalmist writes. It shakes the cedars; it rocks the wilderness; it strips the forests bare. The voice of the Lord is full of majesty, power, and glory. Who can stand in the presence of the almighty voice of God? Who wants to stand before such an awesome God? It would be like trying to compose yourself after lightning strikes with ear-splitting thunder so close that your bones rattle and your knees wobble. Such a "voice," such a rattling, you do not desire to hear again. Such an earth-shaking voice creates only fear, not love, in the heart of all who hear -- fear that your wee little life could so easily be stamped out in one short moment. Fear that shakes you with the thought that there is no way to discern whether this powerful voice of the Lord is for you or against you. You fear the One who holds your eternal destiny in His hands. How then do you hear and listen to His voice rightly?
Yes, indeed, God speaks loudly in the uncontrollable power and majesty of nature. God created and sustains the world by the irresistible voice of His command. But can your heart fall in love with such a majestic, over-powering God? Fear, yes, but love? I think not. Once God spoke directly to all of ancient Israel encamped at Mt. Sinai. He thundered out His Ten Commandments to be obeyed. The instant response of the chosen people was fear, not love. They say in Exodus 20:19b, "Moses, 'You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.'" Then, where can my heart hear His beautiful voice rightly? Where?
Already the Christmas carols fade from our memories. Already the displays are boxed up, and our homes slowly return to normal, but the Bethlehem carol we must not forget. "How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is given! So, God imparts to human hearts, the blessings of His heaven." In the wee small hours of the morning, in the quiet dusty streets of Bethlehem, God speaks more powerfully than the thunderous bombardment of a hundred lightning bolts. Here, Mary cradles baby Jesus in her arms and gently kisses His forehead. Everything about Him is a miracle! His birth, His life, His cross and death, His resurrection tells every listening heart that this is God, and that He is here to stay. Here, in Bethlehem, is Immanuel. God in Christ is for us!
Now we have listened rightly and heard the beautiful voice of God.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, only in Your dear Son do I rightly hear Your voice. It is the voice of love and peace, joy and salvation for my soul. O Lord, give me ears that listen and a heart that believes rightly. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Mark Schreiber
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