When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.
Why is it, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back?
O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs?
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.
I know there wasn’t a lot of snow and ice for the people of Israel and Judah, especially not like this. This pic was from an ice/snow storm that hit here in Cincinnati in early 2009 after we moved here. It was ice followed by snow and then some more ice. Everything was covered by about .5″ of ice and our trees around our house were coated in the ice. It was beautiful in one sense, but also a reminder of the power of nature and the power of the Creator of nature. Trees were breaking, a huge limb had fallen across our driveway blocking our cars in, power was out in many areas, etc. Nothing different from other ice storms that people have faced in other places as well. As I read this Psalm today, I was struck by the idea of God’s power that talks of mountains skipping like rams in the presence of the Lord…of the earth trembling at the presence of God – the one who can turn a rock into a pool of water…and later on even water into wine. There is a Biblical concept of the “fear of the Lord” that has always been a bit of a struggle for me – what does that mean to fear the God who is also called “all-loving”? It seems contradictory to live with those two concepts. Yet, that is the God we read of in Scripture and those who lived pre-enlightenment had a much easier time accepting the fact that these two concepts (and many others) could co-exist with one another because God is…God. There should be a fear of God because God’s power is beyond anything we can truly comprehend or grasp. But I give thanks that this power is also mixed, tied together with, etc a love and a grace that is beyond description. I loved how in this picture, the branches are covered in ice, yet the light shines through. This Psalm speaks of this power, but also the presence and abiding nature of God through Israel’s history. May you experience both this day.