Thursday, October 27, 2016

Joel 3: God's Address

In one sense, Christians believe that God does not dwell on the earth.  Even the highest heavens cannot contain Him, as Solomon observed at the dedication of the temple (II Chronicles 6:18).  However, from another point of view, God does indeed have an earthly "address" where He has chosen to make His dwelling place known: Zion!
Consider Joel's recognition of Jerusalem's uniqueness.  First he proclaims, "The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake" (vs. 16). Sounds a lot like the prophet Amos!  (Amos 1:2)  There is a rich biblical tradition of linking the Lord with Jerusalem, even if it is just as His footstool.  

Then, in two separate verses, Joel makes the claim that God dwells at Zion:

"So you shall know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy mountain.  And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it" (vs. 17).

"But Judah shall be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem to all generations.  I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty, for the Lord dwells in Zion" (vs. 20 and 21).

How can it be said that God is everywhere and not confined one particular piece of real estate on earth, while at the same time maintaining that He resides at Zion?  I do not pretend to fathom the deep mysteries of God.  Instead I strive to hold competing ideas like this in tension.  There is something both omnipresent about the Lord, as well as a special fondness in His heart for Zion.  How this can be, I don't presume to understand.  But the Bible reveals truth, even when we don't receive as much of an explanation as we would like.  

If you are looking for God on earth, you can find Him everywhere.  But I would also counsel you to check out Jerusalem!

(And, as fellow Browns fans can attest, for some reason God seems to hate Cleveland!)

No comments:

Post a Comment