Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 13 September 2016

 In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” Hebrews 1, verse 7.

One more about the angels. And nature.

The NIV study Bible I use to assist me with these writings says “Psalm 104:4 speaks of the storm wind and the lightening as agents of God’s purposes.”   Specifically, that Psalm says “He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire from his servants.”

Do you know the story of Elijah and God in the breath of the wind?   It’s from 1 Kings, chapter 19.   Elijah the prophet has been zealously “propheting” for God.   He’s bringing it, giving his all, and what has he gotten for it?   Queen Jezebel is trying to have him killed.   He’s depressed to the point of desperation and needs some encouragement.   God tells him to go outside to witness divine power.   Then God sends a huge wind (maybe a tornado), and earthquake and firestorm but God isn’t in any of those.   When God does show up, He’s in a breath of wind, and Elijah is refreshed to resume his duties as prophet.

The connection between Hebrews and 1Kings?   The power is God, not angels or elements. There’s one I don’t consider often enough.

Now, I’m not going to opine on global warming, man-made climate change, or any of that. Suffice it to say that there are those of us who believe in that and those of us who don’t. Mankind is pretty powerful; we have the means to literally move mountains.   Don’t believe me?   Go to the Black Hills in South Dakota.   Or visit NORAD at Cheyenne Mountain, which is literally a series of buildings inside a mountain. We’ve made nuclear weapons (and safe nuclear power), explored deep space, cured diseases, built the entire nation of Dubai, and we can talk instantly all across the planet.   But those aren’t supernatural.   They’re fantastic (and wonderful) but they aren’t supernatural.   They aren’t ‘something from nothing.’   They aren’t speaking creation into existence, or two ‘men’ destroying two immoral cities all by themselves.   They aren’t parting a sea, stopping a river midstream (or the sun in the sky), turning water into wine, walking on water, or any of those things. The greatest feats humanity can offer are uses or manipulations of created nature, not creating nature out of nothing.

Only God can do that.   We can’t.   The angels can’t.   Benny Hinn (or Benny Hill) can’t.   Only God can do that.

And only God can use nature to send His messages.   Sometimes I think that, when we humans recognize beauty, we’re seeing the world through heaven’s eyes. God touches and refreshes us using His nature.   A vista of the Grand Canyon, Maroon Bells in the fall, the view from the Matterhorn, a sunset from your own front porch:   beautiful and refreshing.   And I believe they may just be messages from God.   “Look at the beauty of my creation.   See a reflection of Me and know I’m even more beautiful.”

Then consider hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, tornados; devastation.   These things are part of nature, part of the fallen world.   They would be out of place if this were still Eden; they’ll be out of place in the world Jesus remakes after the end of time. Until then, we’re stuck with them.   Nature itself is frustrated by sin, and while people and their sins today don’t bring on these natural events, our world still suffers from mankind’s original rebellion. Those terrible storms happen because a frustrated nature still rails against its own not-frustrated nature.   The elements themselves react in ways they weren’t created to.

Yet through it God is still over all.   He works miracles in the aftermath.   Perhaps His angels are at work exercising protection; we may never know.   The stories of rescue; comforting grieving families. Resolute will to rebuild, the ability to put forgiveness into perspective:   these are expressions of God’s Spirit at work in the wake of sin’s results. In them, they are God using such forces of nature for His own purposes. In them, He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.

For more reading:   Psalm 104:4, Daniel 7:10, Hebrews 1:14, Zechariah 6:5, 1Kings 19, Genesis 18 and 19.

Lord God, You are mighty over all the world.   You are over nature, more powerful than any force, and ruler of all we know.   Thank You for being the Lord of all creation, and for all the ways You minister to us.

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