When was the last time the reality of something you heard become more up-close and personal? For me, it was this past Thursday. We Nova Scotians have become more aware in the past few years of the presence and encroaching prevalence of the Eastern Coyote in our urban areas. They have been spotted in our community, even within a few metres of a local elementary school, and about three weeks ago I was awakened with what I later realized was their distinctive high-pitched yelping and rather frenzied yip-yapping – they sounded close! On Thursday evening our neighbor called to warn us that just three doors down Natural Resources personnel had set traps in a backyard where coyotes had been seen. I’m thinking it may be a while before I go walking alone on our very popular streets and trails! These animals are becoming more comfortable, and sometimes aggressive, around heavily populated areas and so it is a little unnerving and of concern given the amount of children, and adults, who walk back and forth each day. I certainly hope I don’t see one too close!
I was reading a passage this week in the book of Job and one verse popped out at me like never before. If you’re familiar with the dreadful adversities, grief, and tragedy that came upon this once wealthy man you also may know that at the end of his time of trial he spoke very honestly with God. He said, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted…Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” Then this is the verse – “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”[i] Job had heard of God, knew God in a personal way, and trusted in God. However, it was through the agony of suffering and feeling God was so far away that he actually began to see God in all His might and infinite knowledge. He saw God up-close and personal. Through the book of Job we gain a better understanding of God’s ways and how He orchestrates the every day events of our lives. We benefit greatly from the telling of his story.
|Our son and niece near Ross Farm, Nova Scotia|
Deborah knew the importance of telling her people how God had won a great victory for them over the Canaanites. She did so in a poetic song as was very common among the Israelites. As she praised the Lord, she also described in great detail how Sisera’s chariots and army were swept away by a great rush of water and recounted the gruesome facts of how Sisera himself met his end[ii]. Deborah made sure her people heard of God’s intervention, not only in sending the flood, but “the earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water. The mountains quaked before… the God of Israel.”[iii] As she sang, the people heard her praise for all those who willingly volunteered to fight, her reprimands for those who shrunk back from active duty, her blessing upon Jael for defeating Sisera, and her plea to God to continue defending them against their enemies.
Deborah knew that if the Israelites were to see God, they needed to continually hear of His mighty acts of deliverance. As a Christian I also have the responsibility to tell others what I have heard and seen of God so their experience with God can be more up-close and personal. It goes both ways – as I hear from believers around the world, like you, my faith in God goes beyond just hearing to actually seeing God in fresh new ways!
Until next Sunday,