“Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendor.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!” NRSV
This past Sunday, we read in Genesis 1 how God’s voice brought the whole of creation into being. Here, in Psalm 29, the focus on God’s voice is much different. The Psalmist’s focus is on God’s voice as powerful and majestic. Genesis 1 is all about the beautiful relationship humankind has with its Creator. Psalm 29 presents God as someone or something to be feared.
The beauty of scripture is that you can find support for just about any belief you want to hold about God, i.e. loving Creator or fearmonger? Scripture will allow you to justify both views.
Finding support for just about any belief you want to hold about God is also scripture’s greatest liability. Millions of people have been duped by control freaks and power-hungry individuals with weak ego structures who use scripture for nefarious purposes to meet their own needs, not God’s.
In his ministry and teaching, Jesus gave us a baseline for discerning what is and what is not acceptable interpretations of scripture. Over the centuries we gave these baselines names. Here are but a few, The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31), The Two Great Commandments (Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:29-31, Luke 10:25-29), and The Great Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46). The baseline is always, love God first, demonstrate your love for God by your love for neighbor, and meet the needs of the neighbor/world with what you have to give. That is what opens your heart and mind to a deeper understanding and relationship with God.
If what one teaches or what one does violate the intent of this baseline Jesus established for his followers, well……
Sadly, this person won’t be alone, but I can promise this person will be the means to someone else’s ends, not God’s. That is why you should always question me, other faith leaders, and everyone making a definitive claim about God’s truth or doing things in God’s name or inferring that is God sanctioning their actions. Everyone speaks about God with a bias. It’s the ones who know they are biased who are worthy of more conversation about God.
My prayer is that we can all stay true to Jesus’ baseline and be a blessing to someone today!