(God is in the Details)
by Lynne Plunkett
As a new believer, I used to think you only prayed to God for the “big stuff”, but you didn’t bother Him with the minutiae of day-to-day life. He was, after all, Creator of the Universe, and could not possibly be interested in, say, whether I had a flat tire, or it rained during a summer outing. He, of course, can and does handle both.
We see His attention to detail all around us. One cannot marvel at the delicate tracery of a seashell, the intricate and complex workings of a human cell, or the iridescent feathers of a hummingbird, and not see His care in the “small stuff”. God is indeed “in the details.”
This extends to the Bible as well. There’s a wealth of insight into the nature of God in the details. We can miss them because of different translations or unfamiliarity with its Jewish context. For example, His chesed (loving-kindness) is not only evident in His repeated forgiveness of entire nations, but also in small acts on a personal level. Since there is no real equivalent of chesed in English, it is often translated as mercy or compassion.
1 Chronicles 16:34:
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good and His mercy endures forever.
Thus speaks the Lord of Hosts, saying, Execute true judgment and show mercy and compassion, every man and his brother.
David and Solomon, David particularly, spoke of this many times – during both times of joy and of trouble. (Kind of makes you wonder how some folks think the God of the Old Covenant is a harsh one, doesn’t it?)
In Psalm 86:15 (reiterated in 100:5), David, says,
But thou O Lord, art a God full of compassion and gracious, longsuffering and plenteous in mercy and truth.
Psalm 143:8 is one of the few places where it actually is translated as loving-kindness, at least in the King James version.
Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust; cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
In Proverbs 21:21
He that follows after righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness and honor.
As to how God’s chesed plays out in our lives as believers, we have a beautiful example in II Samuel Chapter 9:3, when David was searching for survivors of Saul’s family after Saul and Jonathan were killed:
And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him? And Ziba said to the king, There is still a son of Jonathan, who is lame on his feet. (Mephibosheth)
Yochanan, the disciple Yeshua loved, gives us a good example of Yeshua’s chesed. In Yochanan 18:18, while Yeshua was being questioned at his first trial by the High Priest Annas, Peter warmed himself at a fire in the courtyard outside. It was here that he denied knowing Yeshua three times. The Greek word used for this fire is anthrakia, specifically a fire of coals.
And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
This particular word is used only one other time in the New Covenant, in Yochanan 21:9, when Yeshua appeared to His talmadim for the third time after His resurrection. They had been fishing the night before on the Lake of Tiberius. They had not caught anything until they saw Him on the shore at dawn. He had them cast their nets again and this time they caught so many fish they could not haul in their nets.
As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
After enabling them to fill their boat with fish, He invited them to share the meal he had prepared on anthrakia, a fire of coals. It is during this meal that Yeshua asked Peter three times if he loved Him. What breathtaking poignancy! Not only does Yeshua allow Peter to affirm his love three times, cancelling out his threefold denial of Him, but He even uses the fire – once associated with treachery – as a means to reinforce that total love and forgiveness.
Expect God’s miracles on, well, a biblical scale, but don’t forget to also seek His presence and love in life’s everyday details. If we open our eyes and ears and hearts, we’ll discern Him all around us, made manifest in the multiplied blessings of our personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe.
Yochanan’s book ends in with this reference to Yeshua’s miracles, in 21:25.
And there are also many other things which Yeshua did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
Among the great ones, I think that many of those miracles were small ones, the like of which you and I can do everyday out of the abundance of His chesed toward His children.