The Lion and Thunder
Today’s scripture selection: Amos 1-4
Key verses: Amos 1:1
Amos knew about lions and storms.
He was a shepherd, so he had likely confronted both.
We today might picture calm shepherds watching over their sheep surrounded by peaceful green pastures – but that was only part of their life. Powerful threatening storms; ferocious carnivorous predators; thieves and murderers – this was all a part of their world too. Wimps made lousy shepherds. You had to be tough and real to make the grade. And they knew the very real dangers of a very dark world – just as they knew the serene beauty of those peaceful green pastures.
So Amos was particularly suited to become a prophet for God.
And in the very opening verses of his book he speaks of God as only a shepherd might:
“The LORD roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem…”
God can be so gentle in loving His children.
God can also be so powerful and overwhelming in His righteous anger for those who try and oppose Him.
It’s a package – both are aspects of the living God.
Amos and the prophets understood this – and we should too.
Need we fear God? Need we be afraid to come before Him with our deepest needs and questions and fears? No, not if we come to Him as our Heavenly Comforter.
But should we stand – or kneel – in awe of His power and the pure fire of His holiness? Yes.
God is both the Lion and the Thunder.
We should never doubt or minimize that.
Prayer: Awesome, holy God, I praise you and bow in respect to your power; I give thanks for how it is tempered by your love and grace. AMEN.
By Paul Simrell
The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
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