Posted by Moira Ahearne Parkinson

Welcome to Mid-Week E-Lift —
a Message in the Midst of a Busy Week
Behold, he scatters his lightning about him and covers the roots of the sea. For by these he judges peoples; he gives food in abundance. He covers his hands with the lightning and commands it to strike the mark. Its crashing declares his presence; Job 36:30-33

LISTEN TO: The Afters, “Every Good Thing”

On Sunday night, driving home after a movie, Forrest and I witnessed a thunderstorm with a vivid display of lightening. Every few seconds, crack! Lightening would illumine the sky. It was a display it seemed, of nature’s fireworks. It was breath-taking but it also provoked feelings of unease. As beautiful as it appears in the sky, lightening is dangerous. It can damage and cause death.

We know that lightening is a discharge of electricity. The ancients understood lightening differently. Lightening was a sign of the active presence of God, a weapon of God, or an instrument of God’s judgment. Pagan storm gods were often represented as brandishing the thunderbolt as an arrow or weapon, the most renowned is the image of the Greek pagan god Zeus, with a thunderbolt in his hand, ready to zap capriciously anyone who provoked the god’s wrath. Our God is different.

In all the instances the work for ‘lightening” is used in the Hebrew scriptures, (baraq), the word is used along with the Lord. It is used to denounce the worship of pagan gods. The Hebrew understanding was that creation was subject to the will of God. God used the elements of the storm as an expression of his will. God’s ways were not seen as capricious. Lightening linked earth and heaven. So lightening stood against idolatry and indicated the judgment, anger, and will of God — that God had already revealed and laid for in his Covenant. Here are just a few examples in Holy Scripture:

Exodus 9:23 When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt.
Exodus 20:18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance
2 Samuel 22:13 Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth.
2 Samuel 22:15 He shot arrows and scattered the enemies, bolts of lightning and routed them.
Job 37:15 Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
Psalm 18:14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them.
Psalm 148:8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,
Ezekiel 21:28 “And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says about the Ammonites and their insults: ” ‘A sword, a sword, drawn for the slaughter, polished to consume and to flash like lightning!
Daniel 10:6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.
Zechariah 9:14 Then the Lord will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south,
Matthew 24:27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Luke 9:29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Revelation 4:5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.
Revelation 16:18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.

We are electrical beings — we would die if the electrical currents which flow through our body ceased or were interrupted Remember the book, Frankenstein? The creature was only brought to life through the harnessing of electricity. So we can only come to life through the power of God’s love and grace. Lightening instills both awe and fear in us. It is a jolt to reflect on our lives. How are we living? How is our electrical current? Is it strong and steady, or erratic and feeble? Is it blocked by sin? Judgment? Fear or hatred? We live in a world in cardiac arrest. Do we need to be shocked back into life — like doctors who apply the paddles (defibrillator) to a patient whose heart has stopped? God is not capricious. Out of love, in Jesus, God shows us the way to live – as powerful and bright as the lightening that illumines his face (Luke 9:29). Let us take this lightening bolt as a “zap”, a electrical shock, of God calling us to live as holy children of God, following the steps of Jesus the Christ.
PRAY: “Lord, Creator of lightening, touch us spiritual lightening, awaken our souls, forgive us and help us to live as your children, spreading your light and life wherever you place us.”