The World in Submission

“Hear, O kings! Listen, O dignitaries! I, to Yahweh, I will sing and sing praise to Yahweh, the God of Israel. Yahweh, in your going out from Siyr, in your confident stride from the field of Edom, the ground shook and also the heavens flowed down — also the clouds flowed with water. The mountains even flowed before the face of Yahweh — even Sinai before the face of Yahweh.”

(Judges 5:3-5)

And thus the song begins. Notice again that the emphasis in this song of praise is not on man or even on just how much we love God. The emphasis is on God and all he is and all he has done. His greatness far surpasses anything we might feel or do, yet how often are our modern hymns and praise songs focused on the “I” and not on the “He.”

As one moves into the song, notice the kind of language that is employed…the earth trembles as God is on the move, the heavens above are shaken and rain falls down from the clouds…even the mountains — even mount Sinai trembles and pours forth water. Notice also, how often this kind of language is employed in the scriptures (see Psalm 68, for example). It is language that is figurative in nature, though it describes a historic event. God is on the move and there is nothing in the natural order that does not submit to the presence of the almighty God. That said, how odd it is, that when one gets to the book of Revelation, so many professing Christians (in the pre-millennial school of thought) turn this language into something that can only be understood in a literal sense when throughout the rest of the Bible it is used figuratively when found in this kind of construction.

Deborah and Baraq are indeed looking back to God leading the people through the wilderness and through their enemies, whether on the fields of Edom or from the mountains of Seir (just northeast of the Gulf of Aqaba) and they portray the natural world as moving along with Him — making straight the paths for the Lord of Glory! And since we cannot grasp the might of our God, given our finite limitations, Deborah and Baraq use figurative language to describe the mightiest things that they can think of (the earth, the mountains, the clouds, the sky) as shaking in submission before God. All that is, all that could ever be, must bow before the Lord of Creation. Yet, how sad it is that man shakes his fist in rebellion. Jesus states that the mark of our Love for God is found in our obedience to his command; that simple principle should shake the ground below the feet of most professing Christians, and drive us all to our knees, begging forgiveness and the faith to obey.

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