The lightning and thunder

“But the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel.” 1 Samuel 7:10

A man once asked a famous minister if he could put his sermons into writing. "Well,” said the preacher, “I have no inherent objection, if you like, but you will never be able to put on the printed page the lightning and thunder." Ah yes, the lightning and thunder. If you’ve seen it, and heard it, you know what it is. Such things do not exactly translate into print.

The roar of a lion, the boom of a father’s voice, the peal of a thunderclap—sounds like these remind us who’s in charge, and hearing about them is not the same thing as hearing them. In our text, the Lord asserts his dominance with a divine ahem that sends chills through the bones of his enemies. There is majesty in that Voice.

Modern, scientific man sees only a natural thunderstorm in the incident before us. But the Philistines knew better. All men sense God’s power when it’s in flex. The learned naturalist would quiver under the sound of that thunder as his fake gods withered. The atheist, sitting under the preaching of the Lion of Judah, would find himself ducking for cover. As it is written, "The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake.” Joel 3:16a

But what is terror to those who reject the Christ is comfort forever to those who trust him. As the rest of the verse says of this roaring God, “But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.” Joel 3:16b.