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Water: Symbol, Element, Utility IV

July 2, 2009

Our introduction to water in the Bible is tumultuous. It is a surging, enveloping, grasping entity, tireless in its efforts to overwhelm the good order of creation. Throughout the pages of the Old Testament this contest is tossed and turned.

And in a world as contingent and dangerous as that of the writer of Psalm 29 it takes great faith to believe in God in the presence of the surging danger of the sea or the tragic absence of rain.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.

4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.

8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.

11 The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

The God who sits enthroned over the flood, and who from there blesses his people with peace, is also the God of Job who can stir up the stirrer by disturbing the sea

10 marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
for a boundary between light and darkness.

11 The pillars of the heavens quake,
aghast at his rebuke.

12 By his power he churned up the sea;
by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.

13 By his breath the skies became fair;
his hand pierced the gliding serpent.

14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

And he is also the God of Psalm 46, a Psalm with a chequered history in Northern Ireland

1 our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

POEM

A Hilltop Field, Jane Tyson Clement

“Faith is the energy the Master gives you which enables you to take hold of His promises and to participate in His life.” Phillipe Vernier

Faith has no abode, no tree-hid haven,
no rock-encircled harbour where the tide
will never swirl nor threaten; nor has faith
the quiet breast of broad sweet-flowing river.

Faith has a hill-top field alive and growing,
faith has its nets staked out in the open sea,
faith is a rocky river, swift and harnessed
to fill the valley with its energy.

Water I
Water II
WaterIII

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