On the Outskirts

How much I need to battle to maintain perspective. How great is the temptation to make me the center of my universe. Even when I acknowledge God’s place in my life, how often do I make Him a “small enough god” so that I have enough room to find a place beside Him on the throne of my life. I wiggle my way to being at the center with Him. I become familiar enough with “unapproachable light” (1Tim. 6:16) that taking a “selfie” with the Almighty doesn’t seem all that out of order. But Job speaks to my center and reminds me that I am but on the outskirts.

Behold, these are but the outskirts of His ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?  (Job 26:14 ESV)

Job, moved by the Spirit of God, recounts but an iota of the amazing dynamics of creation (vv. 7 – 13). That, if you go to the top of the earth, there’s nothing there holding it up — the earth hangs on nothing. That tons of water can be stored in clouds without them splitting under its weight. That, where light and darkness meet on the face of the waters, there is a circle testifying to a round planet that somehow holds all things to itself. These all testify to the power of the God who created them. And yet, says Job, they are just the outskirts of His ways . . . the mere edges of all He is able to do.

Though, as the psalmist writes, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1), they are but a “small whisper” of His grandeur . . . a faint utterance of His majesty and might. We can’t even comprehend, says Job, the thunder of His power. It’s only because we are on the outskirts that we are able to hear, perceive, and continue to function, and are not so overwhelmed by the might of His power that we are forced to the ground in unending facedown awe and trembling.

O’ the power of our God! The magnificence of His glory! The wonder of His being! We get just a glimpse on the outskirts. What will it be like when we are before the throne?

And before the throne we will be. No longer at the edges. No longer at the fringes. But before the throne. And that, because of grace.

And I wonder at how much I really and fully comprehend the power of the gospel for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). The power that invites those on the outskirts to boldly enter the Holy of Holies and approach His throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). The power that opens the way for Messiah, the Son of God, to call to lost sheep, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). The power that removes the wrath of God from those once in rebellion to God.  The power that makes those who once were makes enemies of God, children of God. The power that invites those on the edges into His very presence.

Do I comprehend but the edges of that power, as well? The power of re-creation through regeneration? The power that’s whispered through the still small voice of the eternal Spirit of God who resides in me? “The thunder of His power,” declares Job, “who can understand?”

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  (1Corinthians 11:12 ESV)

Praise God for the outskirts . . . for the access given to sinners saved by grace. But may I never lose perspective of that which the whispers speak of.

To Him be the center of the picture alone . . . to Him be the throne alone . . . to Him be glory alone.



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