Psalm 50:3-5 - Our God comes; He does not keep silence; before Him is a devouring fire, around Him a mighty tempest. He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that He may judge His people: "Gather to Me My faithful ones, who made a covenant with Me by sacrifice!"
In Old Testament times, God came to His people in different ways. The Lord came in human form to speak with Abraham (see Genesis 18:1-2). God spoke to Moses from a burning bush (see Exodus 3:4), and when the Israelites left Egypt, He went before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night (see Exodus 13:21). The Lord descended in fire onto Mount Sinai (see Exodus 19:18). In our psalm, God is coming in power and judgment. The psalmist cries out in warning, "Our God comes!" God is coming in fire and storm to judge His people. He is coming to gather to Himself His faithful people, those who trust His covenant promises and offer right sacrifices according to His Law.
God came among us, but He did not come in fire and storm. He came in fulfillment of His ancient covenant promise, but He came quietly, as He had once come to His prophet Elijah. The prophet had run from enemies who sought his life. In fearful despair; he was hiding in a cave when the Lord came to him. As Elijah watched and waited, a powerful wind, an earthquake and a fire tore through his mountain refuge, but the Lord was not in those events. Instead, the Lord's voice came to His prophet as "a low whisper" (see 1 Kings 19:12).
God came among us in the Person of Jesus Christ. His mighty voice was quiet, not heard in a low whisper, but in an infant's cry from a manger in Bethlehem. During His public ministry, Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God, but He kept silence when, "like a lamb that is led to the slaughter" (Isaiah 53:7b), He was condemned and crucified. The divine judgment against sin that should have fallen on us fell instead on Jesus as He hung on the cross. In His blood, in His sacrifice, the covenant was fulfilled—a covenant made and fulfilled by God alone. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus gathered "into one the children of God who are scattered abroad" (John 11:52b).
One day Jesus will come again in glory as Judge and King. He will come on the clouds, "revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus" (2 Thessalonians 1:7b-8). On that day, "the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn" (2 Peter 3:12b). Jesus will gather His faithful people to Himself, all those who have trusted in God's covenant promise of salvation. In eager anticipation of that great day, we raise our joyful cry, "Our God comes!"
THE PRAYER: Lord, I look forward to the day when I will be gathered with all Your faithful people to dwell in Your presence forever. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. How does God speak to us today?
2. Why do you think Jesus didn't come to earth in a more spectacular (and obvious) way?
3. It sounds like when Jesus returns it will be impossible to miss Him. Are you looking forward to that? Why?
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