1 The Mighty One, God, the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
2 From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
3 Our God comes
and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
and around him a tempest rages.
4 He summons the heavens above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 ‘Gather to me this consecrated people,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.’
6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for he is a God of justice.[
7 ‘Listen, my people, and I will speak;
I will testify against you, Israel:
I am God, your God.
8 I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices
or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
and the insects in the fields are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
14 ‘Sacrifice thank-offerings to God,
fulfil your vows to the Most High,
15 and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honour me.’
16 But to the wicked person, God says:
‘What right have you to recite my laws
or take my covenant on your lips?
17 You hate my instruction
and cast my words behind you.
18 When you see a thief, you join with him;
you throw in your lot with adulterers.
19 You use your mouth for evil
and harness your tongue to deceit.
20 You sit and testify against your brother
and slander your own mother’s son.
21 When you did these things and I kept silent,
you thought I was exactlylike you.
But I now arraign you
and set my accusations before you.
22 ‘Consider this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:
23 those who sacrifice thank-offerings honour me,
and to the blameless I will show my salvation.’
“The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.” I find this phrase so arresting - it creates such a powerful image. And even as I type that, I realise that I often don’t let God arrest my heart in this way in the everyday. And yet, he is summoning the earth in every sunrise and every sunset. It reminds me of the passage in Hebrews 1 where Jesus is described as being the one who sustains all things by his powerful word. We only get our next breath because He says so. And I want my 2016 to be characterised by my heart being arrested by God. I want to fully grasp hold of what it means to really understand that He sustains my every breath. I want to stop trying to do things under my own steam. I want to live in the fullness of being His accepted child. Will you join me?
Questions for thought and discussion
- How would you like your walk with God to be characterised in this New Year?
- How might we help our young people to understand what it means for God to summon them?