Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tectonic Plates and Self Discipline

Up until now I can say that I have had little to no interest in seismic shifting and tectonic plates but all this recent activity has got me, and many more, thinking about the fact that we are at the mercy of either the environment (which is cold, arbitrary, unfeeling, and erratic), or under a sovereign God (who is just, holy, ignored, misunderstood, and above all loving).

NASA scientists have said that the 8.8 earthquake in Chile may have changed the entire Earth's rotation and shortened the length of days on our planet. "Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth's axis," NASA officials said that the effects of the Chile earthquake moved Earth's figure axis by about 3 inches (8 cm or milliseconds).

Plate tectonics (from the Latin tectonicus - means "building") and is derived from a scientific theory which describes the large shifts in the Earth's Lithospere which is a theory building on the concept of continental drift (of which I know very little). The lithosphere is broken up into what are called tectonic plates and in the case of Earth, there are currently seven to eight major and many minor plates. The plate which shifted causing the latest earthquake in Chili is known as the Vazca Plate and is a part of the volcanic "Pacific Ring of Fire" being responsible for 80% to 90% of the Earth's volcanic activity.

*Disclaimer - I'm getting all my info from Wiki, Yahoo, and Answers in Genesis. Read the full story's here / here / and here.

We see in the book of Joshua how this prophet of God asked that the Sun stand still... and it did. Some offer alternate explanations *italics taken from ESV Study Bible* such as (1) a solar eclipse (problematic, however, as the sun and moon are described in opposition, not conjunction); (2) poetic imagery (a day that seemed prolonged by virtue of how much was accomplished); (3) a day in which the sun's heat was diminished (perhaps by cloud cover), allowing Israelite troops to continue fighting; and (4) a refraction of light (causing the light to linger until the battle was completed). An additional possibility proposed more recently suggests that (5) Joshua is exploiting the Canaanites' superstitious fear of a bad omen, related to the position of the sun and the moon “standing” on the opposing horizons (the sun “at Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Aijalon,” Josh. 10:12). None of these proposals are without difficulties, however, and each fails to do justice to the claim that there has been no day like it before or since (v. 14). Given the miracle-working God of the Bible, the traditional understanding is certainly possible (perhaps cf. 2 Kings 20:9–11, paralleled in Isa. 38:8, where the sun's shadow moves backwards 10 steps). Although there is not enough information in the narrative to determine the precise nature of this exceptional day, the author's emphasis in any case is on the extraordinary answer that God gave to Joshua's prayer, and on the fact that the Lord heeded the voice of a man (Josh. 10:14). Apart from the present context, the Book of Jashar is mentioned only in 2 Sam. 1:18.

With that said there are many cases of God commanding creation to do His will. Some instances were examples of Him moving on behalf of his people and some were only to show forth His power and ultimate authority over all things. I have no clue what all these recent environmental events mean for the earth or for us as humans but being a Christian I believe that God knows whats up with his creation and how to fix it if he pleases. In these troubled days, may it be said of us who follow after God that we looked to Jesus and put our entire self and cares upon Him.


On another note.. Lately I've had my nose in a book by J. Oswald Sanders entitled Spiritual Leadership. It has come to me by a qualified recommendation from more than one source. You would do yourself a favor by picking this book up if you are in Christian ministry. Here's a quote from the book pertaining to this blog post.

"DISCIPLINE - Without this essential quality, all other gifts remain as dwarfs: they cannot grow. So discipline appears first on our list. Before we can conquer the world we must first conquer the self. A leader is a person who has learned to obey a discipline from without, and has then taken on a more rigorous discipline from within. Those who rebel against authority and scorn self-discipline - who shrink from the rigors and turn from the sacrifices - do not qualify to lead. Many who drop out of ministry are sufficiently gifted, but have large ares of life floating free from the Holy Spirit's control. Lazy and disorganized people never rise to true leadership."

Those "large ares of life floating free from the Holy Spirit's control" are like tectonic plates in our lives. Yes the earth moves and stops at the sound of it's Creators voice, but unlike it we were created in God's own image complete with a will to follow Him.. or after our own desires. I have been in Christian leadership for a few years and have felt plates in my own life, and in the lives of others, shift with dramatic force. If I have learned anything from this it is to surrender to God these "areas of life floating free" even though the size of some of my short-comings may seem to be an irreconcilable force. As Spurgeon would say, "Look to Jesus and live!"


Matt said...

Excellent post, Tim. Your comments about discipline are applicable to all Christians, as we limit the amount of us that God can use severely by keeping these parts to ourselves. God bless you and your family, and hopefully, we'll get to see you guys sometime soon!

Tim said...

Thanks Matt - curious.. I know a few Matt's - who might this awesome encourager be?