Commas and Other Terrifying Creatures

We’ve been reading The Divine Mentor as a small group, and last week we focused in on the idea that you really only need one idea to stand out when reading the Bible. I read in four places, OT and NT, in my ESV Daily Reading Bible, and some days I wonder, what is God speaking to me today? Anything? Maybe today is meant to lead up to something. Maybe I’m not meant to hear anything today. But God does want to speak to us every day, right? So I go back to what I underlined and I wait…

He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. (Deuteronomy 10:21)

He Is My Praise

The phrase “He is your praise” is interesting. What does that even mean? I get “God is love” or “God is faithful” or “He is my rock,” but how is He my praise? Isn’t my praise what comes out of my mouth? Like songs? Or saying great things about God? This verse says that HE is my praise. Ok, so…. the good things that come out of my mouth about him ARE him. Christ in me? I think so. I think that’s what is being said here. If it’s good and it’s coming out of my mouth, it’s him, not me. I’m seeing a theme in my reading and in what God is speaking to me!

That Comma…

I’m going to get a little nerdy here. That comma means that what comes after it is non-essential. This information is not needed to understand the first part of the sentence. For example, if you know who Mindi is, I don’t have to say “Mindi, who lives with me, is also a teacher.” “Who lives with me” is non-essential information for fully understanding the sentence if you know who Mindi is already. If I’m speaking to someone who doesn’t know her or who maybe knows several girls named Mindi, then the information would be essential for clarification, and I would not use a comma in the sentence. That information is needed.

So what does that have to do with this verse? “Who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen” is non-essential information according to that comma. We don’t need any of this information to understand the rest of the sentence, which says “He is your God.” He’s our God whether or not he’s done great and terrifying things for us. He’s our God whether or not we’ve seen these things. We know he’s our God without knowing that he’s the God who has done these things for us because he’s our only God. There’s nothing unclear. There’s no confusion. That he had done great and terrifying things for me is beside the point. He is my God.

Giant Sea Creatures

Some people know about my fear/awe of giant sea creatures. I imagine that if i were in a boat and I saw something massive underneath the surface of the water, my heart would stop. I would be so incredibly afraid. If you’ve seen the preview for the new Jurassic Park  movie, you may remember the giant swimming dinosaur thing in the Sea-World-like attraction. I would die of fright. But, I’m so eerily intrigued by these creatures because they are so big and so awesome. I mean, they inspire awe. They are terrifying because of their power. They are majestic because of their size, their potential, their mystery. I think God is like that.

Do I want God to do terrifying things in my life? Yes and no… No, I don’t want to be overwhelmed or scared because it’s uncomfortable. Then again, yes, I do want to be overwhelmed and scared because I want to know that God is bigger and because I want my faith to grow. It’s a terrifying thing to rely on God for literally everything (like a roof over your head, a car, a job, food, etc.), but it’s also like watching God stop a monstrous tidal wave from crashing over you at the very last minute, like standing on the shore seeing it rise up overhead, closing your eyes, waiting for the crash, and slowly opening your eyes to see it recede back into the ocean. A God that can do that? Terrifying. Do I want more of it? Yes.

So what do I do with what God has shown me today?

  1. Pay attention to what comes out of my mouth. Is it praise? Is it him? Or is it something else?
  2. Remember that He is my God, regardless of what I see him doing for me.
  3. Stand in awe of Him and his majesty.

As my pastor in my hometown always said

The one who came, still comes. And the one who spoke, still speaks. Let him speak to your heart today.

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