As I write we are concluding our week of prayer. It has been a special week, when there has been a real liberty as well as burden in prayer. We are about to begin a new phase in our ministry, and our church anniversary in October will mark the completion of another year. It is vital that our ministries continue to be exercised in prayer. As we pray we demonstrate the fact that we can do nothing of eternal value in our own strength.
In the wider world the news is dominated by two events – horrific hurricanes in the Atlantic and the threat of nuclear conflict in Asia. Both of these events make us reel as we consider how insignificant we are in the face of such diverse power. There is however another perspective given for us in Psalm 8:3,4
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
David is addressing the LORD, our God. The heavens and the earth are the work of His hands. We boggle at such vastness, even when science and astronomy try to explain much of it to us, but it has all been made and is maintained by the Word of God’s authority. It is too vast to take it in, particularly when we see such demonstrations of power in earthquakes and hurricanes. Many would want to argue that things are out of control, but we have the assurance that nothing is beyond the sight or control of the LORD, our Lord.
Such power and authority can give us peace, but that peace is magnified when it is applied to us in such an intimate way, God is mindful of us and cares for us. That last line in the Authorised version says that ‘you visit him’.
Let us take time to consider these great commitments by God – he is mindful of us. When children leave home, or friends and family have to move away for various reasons, we miss them terribly at first, but with time we get used to their absence and sadly they can fade out of our concerns. Our God is not like that – this world and every creature in it is part of His creation and therefore He constantly considers our situation. That care is not simply limited to thought but it is worked out in actions.
In the ESV we are told that God cares for us. Again this is not just thought, but it is a conscious commitment to maintain the order of creation: day follows night, season follows season, and the earth continues to spin on its axis. The seasons, coupled with the skills that God has given us, mean that our food and the essentials of life are regularly provided in accord with His promise to supply all of our need.
When we consider the Authorised translation in the fact that God visits us we are reminded of some of the greatest truths of Scripture. The Old Testament gives us numerous examples of where the “Angel of the Lord” (Our Lord Jesus Christ) spoke to a number of individuals as God in Trinity worked out the great work of salvation and redemption. The Gospels declare the greatest visit of God as Jesus, God the Son, added to his eternal godhead by becoming a human being. His visit took in the whole extent of human experience as He moved from the womb to mature manhood and from the cradle to the grave. He understands life here on earth, including living through the teeth of a number of storms. In many ways God’s greatest visitation is in the fact that he lives within the lives of each of His people in the person of the Holy Spirit. His visit to us is as intimate as it can possibly be. We are never alone.
As we enjoy another year of service let us be encouraged by the facts of His Power, His Care and His Presence.
Your grateful Pastor,
Bernard Lewis October 2017