A Devotion for 2 February 2021 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? * 3 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand. 4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? 5 Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger. 6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. 7 Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. 8 Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. * 9 Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. * 10 Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. 11 Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.” (Job 9:2-10; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)
No man can fathom the depth of wisdom and knowledge of the Lord, but He has given us our marching orders whereby we can understand that which God expects of us in His desire to bless and to sustain us and our families. His Word is sufficient, and so is His grace, to save and to redeem.
This classic hymn is by the great William Cowper (1831-1800) who wrote so many hymns of majestic beauty and meaning. There are two tunes noted in the 1940 hymnal – London New, and Dundee – both by Thomas Ravenscroft (1592-1635) I prefer the latter for its ease of singing and exalted reverence.
GOD MOVES IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY
1 God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
2 You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
3 His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ev’ry hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.
4 Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan his work in vain.
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.
1 God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform. He plants his footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm. The Mind of God is so lofty that mortal man cannot begin to grasp its fullness; however, God has granted man marvellous facilities of mind and soul to join his small attributes of understanding with the fullness of the Mind of God – much like the tiny tributary that flows into a mighty river. Cowper employs the beauty of God’s Word to express his meanings: “Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. 2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: 3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: 4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: 5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.” (Psalm 104:1-5)
2 You fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds you so much dread Are big with mercy and shall break In blessings on your head. Why should the Christian fear the mighty tempest and the roaring billows when he knows fare well that his God is the Master of the Seas – as well as her billows and her gales? If you went outdoors and saw a ‘firenado’ perhaps you might be terrified – especially at night when the firey column rose seemingly to Heaven, or early dawn when you saw a pillar of cloud extending from the earth to the Heavens. Would you not be terrified? But this is what the Children of Israel saw daily in the wilderness. It was a sign to them of both the leading (for guidance) and the following (for protection) of the Lord our God. Those lofty storm clouds which build with dramatic flashes of lightning may present a vision of coming disaster, but the rising air masses, full of moisture, are lifted upward to cooler air masses so that it condenses into much-needed rain for the dry fields of the farmer. Thus, we enjoy showers of blessing instead of blasts of ruin and flood.
3 His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding ev’ry hour. The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flow’r. The unfolding beauty of a rose is gradual and natural – you cannot hurry the process. The rosebud appears, then, as the loving hand of God peels away the outer petals to open them, there is revealed an increasing beauty and fragrance beyond man’s feeble ability to duplicate. When the rose is thus ordered in full bloom, all around that wonderful flower is the sweet fragrance of love. Its red color represents sacrifice, and sacrifice represents the highest order of love. Consider the love of our Lord Jesus Christ in shedding his red blood in the redemption of our sins. His grace has made a sweet smelling fragrance not only for the believer but civilization itself.
4 Blind unbelief is sure to err And scan his work in vain. God is his own interpreter, And he will make it plain. Our faith should never be BLIND. Were it not for the drawing of the Holy Ghost in the secret chambers of our hearts, we could have no faith at all. True faith informs. We may have faith that we can fly, unaided, from the pinnacle of the Empire State Building, but that endeavor would end in a major cleanup operation for the sanitation workers of the city. Faith, to be effectual, must be centered on its proper object. The Lord is the object of our faith and the Cornerstone thereof. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:16-19) So, you believe God? Why and how strong is that belief? Is it informed with diligent Bible study? Or is it simply hearsay from the streets. It was the hearsay of the street that drew the ‘Woman taken with an Issue of Blood’ to Christ, but it was the touch of His garment in healing as she drew near to Him that enriched her faith to know Him as her Lord and the Healer of her malady. We, too, must draw near by faith and touch the things that enrich our love and faith in Christ. He is approachable and kind. “He is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” He invites us to “Come and see.” We are enabled to do that through the study of Holy Scripture.