February 16, 2023
On Sunday, Pastor Paul opened the sermon with a report on a spiritual revival at the chapel of Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. During a chapel service on Wednesday, February 8th, a sermon called people to repent of their sins. Under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, a handful of students remained in the chapel to offer prayers of repentance and to sing. Reports of their faithful response to the Word of God swept across the campus. Throughout the day, other students and faculty returned to the chapel to pray, sing, and share in scripture reading. The revival has continued. People, near and far, are making pilgrimages to answer the call of God’s Spirit. God is speaking. People are responding in obedience to God’s call for repentance. Repentance gives birth to spiritual revival.
In the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus, Pastor Paul drew our attention to the presence of Moses and Elijah, and how God spoke to them in Exodus and 1 Kings. We learned how, in Exodus, God spoke to Moses and the Israelites through thunder. We learned how, in 1 Kings, God spoke to Elijah in a whisper. We learned that God speaks to different people - in ways they need to hear - to 1) increase their faith in God and 2) empower them to live obediently to His will.
In the transfiguration story, God spoke with overwhelming power to Peter, James, and John. God said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to Him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were terrified. As with Moses, God spoke thunderously to the three disciples, and they assumed a posture of full humility, with proper fear and submission toward a holy God.
The disciples also heard God whisper to them! In Matthew 17:7, we read, “Jesus came up, touched them, and said, ‘Get up; don’t be afraid.’” As God spoke to Elijah in a tender whisper, Jesus - who is God - spoke tenderly to his disciples. Jesus demonstrated grace and tenderness towards those who were postured correctly before God. How is God speaking to you at this time? Sometimes God speaks thunderously to get our attention, humble us, and instill a proper fear of his holiness. And sometimes God speaks in a tender whisper to assure us of his love and care for us. And whether God speaks thunderously or tenderly, His manner of speech is intended to keep our hearts turned toward him in obedience.
God is speaking at Asbury University. God is speaking at the First Presbyterian Church of Bakerstown. Revival happens wherever people posture themselves in full humility before God and hear Jesus say “Get up, don’t be afraid. Come and follow me down this mountain of meeting. Follow me as I lead you to serve your place in God’s kingdom.” God speaks in thunder and whispers, with life-changing effect.