Friday, May 25, 2018
Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings; honor the Lord for his glory and strength. Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf; he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with bolts of lightning. The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as king forever. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalm 29:1-11NLT)
The Psalmist describes the voice of God as mighty and cataclysmic – something not to be denied or ignored. His voice echoes above the sea, splits gigantic cedars, shakes the mountains as if they’re dancing in reply, sends lightning flashes, and stirs quakes in the quiet wilderness, making everything shout-out the glory of God.
After all that imagery the poet peels back the façade of storms and natural disaster to reveal the majestic Lord reigning as king forever, the One who gives his people strength and…peace!
Peace? How does peace enter into all that earth-shaking and shattering? Where is the peace in all the clammor of today’s constant arguing, partying, and killing? Peace?
I cannot imagine anyone not wanting to live at peace, and in peace. Of course this assumes people who are mentally healthy. Anger, conflict, confrontation, and a general sense of in-your-face attitude are so alien to what my soul craves, it makes me cringe just to think about all that. I don’t want to be around people who are at war, literally, or merely in their own minds; they spill-out bile and vengeance into their relationships. There is little sense of peace or well-being there, or even just considering that picture.
I heard it said once that there are two types of people who are on the positive side of peace; there are peace-lovers, and there are peace-makers. For me that’s too simple.
Here’s what I mean: Loving peace and making peace are as night and day different as passive and active. Loving peace only requires an attitude – a desire to not have a fight going on. Making peace sometimes (even often) requires the willingness to have a fight in order to end the fight. Again, that’s too simple.
The complexity that enters this picture is when people who really aren’t in a healthy place enter the equation (people who are not sound of mind). These are terrorist-seeds looking for a place to root. Their literature claims peace as the motive for their “holy war” but goes no farther than throwing-off the blame for their warring ways on the higher power. There is really not a desire for peace; there is only a lust for aggression.
So, how can you tell the difference between a really strong soldier whose target is peace, and a really strong terrorist who only craves the frenzy of war? There are lots of variables in the answer to that question, such as the peace-making soldier who loses sight of peace being his target. But my insides tell me the one true test is whether or not one is willing to trust. Trust is the ability to lay-down the weapons and engage with words. That is a first step in moving towards peace; without that first step, there is no chance to go anywhere but to the grave.
And isn’t that the crunch? War and graves go hand in hand; only those who trust, people who are willing to lay down their anger, war and hurt are candidates for peace. You need a quiet moment to hear the voice of the Lord.
True peace lovers are also peace makers; and the other way around too.
Are there any weapons in your arsenal that need laying-down?