REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor David Kwon who heads Journey Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, was first posted on November 15, 2013. He is a graduate of Drexel University (BS) and Columbia International University (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Our Immense God”
Psalm 104:1-9 (NIV)
Praise the Lord, my soul. Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. 2 The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent 3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. 4 He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants. 5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. 6 You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; 8 they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. 9 You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.
One of the things I’ve learned about God over the years is that God is really BIG. And when I read through the Psalms, I see that many the psalmists have come to this realization as well. How can we describe our great God? What’s he like? Where does he live? They seem like silly questions, but for our finite little minds, tangible representations of our seemingly intangible God can be quite helpful.
In Psalm 104, the psalmist is essentially asking this same question: How can I describe our great God? As many of us do, he turns to nature for the answer. What is God like? Well if God had a robe it would be fashioned from light. And if God had a dwelling it would be the entire sky and the foundations would be the whole of the sea. What about His transportation? Well if God were to need to get from place to place, He’d ride the clouds and the wind. And what happens when God speaks? The foundations of the earth are set and the waters fall into place.
What a BIG God we serve! While no single metaphor or personification will ever do Him justice, we can turn to nature for dim pictures of his majesty and to one another for shadows of his image. And as we do, we get a fuller picture of our really big God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that You, being such an immense God, care about such an insignificant being like me. All I got left to say is to proclaim, “Thank You.” Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Mark 4:35-41 (NIV): That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
A few years ago, Rick Warren released a Bible study program called “40 Days in the Word” in which he outlines numerous methods to study and understand scripture. One of these methods is called “Picture It” and is intended to help readers get the most out of narrative texts (stories, like those found in the Gospels) like the one found in our passage for this afternoon. In a few steps, Warren encourages readers to picture the biblical scene in their mind (sights, smells, tastes, etc.) and engage their imagination asking questions like: What would I have been thinking at this point? How would I have felt? How would I have responded?
For the less imaginative among us, this method can be quite painful. But I think it’s helpful, especially as we look at the passage for today.
Questions to Consider
So, let’s try to picture it: you’re on the boat (and not a super advanced ship like we have today, but one according to the 2000-years-ago technology they had back then). You are in the middle of a really big lake and in the midst of a seriously fierce storm. You are wet with seawater and in serious need of some Dramamine (one of the disciples is hurling over the side of the boat… he’s not so used to being on the water… maybe that would be you). The former fishermen among you have tried everything they know to do but are now at their wits end and are convinced you’re all facing certain death. There is really noting to be done but to bear down and wait for impact. Someone goes to get Jesus; maybe he’ll know what to tell us to do. Jesus comes up, maybe a bit groggy, turns to the stormy waters and says, “Chill out! Right now.” (Or at least that’s how I imagine it…) And even more ridiculous than His solution to the problem, is that the waters actually respond, like a shamed child headed to time out.
1. What must they have been thinking?
2. What would you have thought?
3. Spend some time mediating on the greatness of God.
1. In various places in the Old Testament, particularly in the Psalms (like the one we read this morning), God is personified as one who rebukes tumultuous waters. He is just that big and His power is just that great that nature moves at His command. Yet our great, big God somehow (I get a bit of a headache trying to parse out exactly how it all went down) took upon Himself human flesh and became a man. Throughout this man’s life, a lot of people missed His “God-ness” because He seemed so small – a regular old Joe, with a common name, in a lowly town, with a motley crew – and everyone knows that God is really big. But even when our understanding of the greatness of God was baffled by His ability to be the Jesus walking on earth, the rest of nature did not seem to be confused and responded as they always had when He spoke – with obedience.
2. Our God is really Big – so big and great that nature obeys him. But he is also so small that He can walk with us everyday. Just like the old hymn says: And he walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.” (In the Garden, C. Austin Miles)
3. Maybe you can picture the scene from the passage above or another passage that depicts His greatness. Then spend some time reminiscing with God – thinking about the times God has been personally present in your life, small enough to walk with you in seasons of plenty and want. Let those memories bring you joy and encouragement and lead you to adoration.
In our culture, we use the word “awesome” very freely – a song is awesome, a movie is awesome, extreme athletic ability is awesome, a great pair of shoes (and on sale) . . . awesome! Yet when God’s people talked about His “awesomeness” they pointed to his character and works that led them to stand in awe (jaws dropped, eyes wide, knees knocking, hands trembling). The greatness of God should blow our minds!
Spend sometime declaring the greatness of God in your own words. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of who God is and the things He’s done (in your life and throughout generations). Allow your heart to be moved to awe and adoration for God.