Pentecost or Shavuot reminds us of thunder and trembling. Thunder is one of nature’s grand depictions of the voice of Elohim. “He thunders with His majestic voice… God thunders wondrously with His voice; He does great things beyond our comprehension” (Job 37:4-5). Thunder surpasses all other natural sounds in magnitude and volume. It forms an audible demonstration of Elohim's power, majesty, and greatness.
Scientists calculate that an average thunderstorm releases 10 million kilowatt hours of energy. Put another way, a thunderstorm is the equivalent of a twenty kiloton nuclear warhead. Quite an appropriate description of Adonai’s voice! He is mightier than anything which can be considered mighty on the earth. When religious Jewish people hear the sound of thunder, in fact, they recognize man’s feebleness and inadequacy, and immediately pray a prayer which honors His mighty power.
Thunder represents the voice of the Almighty and calls for trembling. Ra’am, the Hebrew word for thunder, means to cause trembling. Isaiah declared, “To this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles (chared) at My word.”
Trembling, the word chared, illustrates the action of being reverently afraid. Chared appears with the preposition al in Isaiah 66:2. The only other time in scripture where tremble is written in this manner is in the story of Eli the High Priest. Eli trembles for the Ark which has been carried onto the battlefield. He watches earnestly, and anxiously awaits the Ark’s safe return. He is reverently afraid.
Just as Eli trembled, so must we. First, we tremble for the authority of scripture. Second, we tremble for daily revelation from the Adonai Tzava’ot, the Lord of Host.
Published May 10, 2018