Nuclear Fission and Worship

6 09 2010

Making sure my relationship with God is a priority over everything else, including medical school, has not been easy. I’m thankful that Amos advised me to make a list of spiritual disciplines and goals that I would not compromise for anything. I now understand what he meant about medical school taking over people’s lives and never being able to know all the material. The week prior to my first midterm was especially challenging since everyone was in super saiyan study mode (instead of blond hair imagine white hairs springing up from stress).

On Wednesday night at 2AM, I felt like my brain was filled to capacity and I could not memorize anymore origins/insertions of muscles or arterial pathways. So I decided to spend some much needed time in the Bible. To preface, I’m the type of person that completely identifies with Rick Holland in that I do not have Piper-esque devotionals normally. I do not think I could even use half of the words John Piper uses to describe his walk with God. But there are those sweet times of reading and prayer where I wish my times with God were always that good. There is an understanding in my soul that this is a small taste of the satisfaction described in Psalm 63:5 “My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips”.

So on Wednesday, I opened up my key passage that I always read before midterms, Psalm 23. Almost everyone has heard this passage at some point in their lives. Some of us hundreds of times. But so much of God’s sovereignty is displayed there along with our frailty. Reading that chapter still amazes me. There is amazing comfort in the passage, and this time my eyes were drawn to the word shepherd. Yes, the comforting imagery of the Great Shepherd over David was apparent. But my mind made a connection that for some reason I had never really thought about previously. Maybe it was from studying Hebrews 11 in small group this past year. David is able to call the Lord his Shepherd because of the sacrifice of the Lamb. My mind immediately jumped to Isaiah 53, an incredibly humbling chapter prophesying the sacrifice of the Suffering Servant. I could go into a whole description of my thoughts when I read that chapter, including the thought about kenosis in Philippians and the humbling thought of Christ giving up His position to come to earth as man. But I need to keep this post to some reasonable length.

I think what struck me the most were the descriptions of Christ as a lamb who willingly died for those sheep that had gone astray. Even though we went astray, the LORD caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. And then v.7 “He was oppressed and he was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its sharers, So He did not open His mouth.” So although the Lord, who is the Great Shepherd, is sovereign over all things, He allowed the Lamb of God to be slain. Why? To redeem His sheep. The same sheep that purposely went their own way in rebellion against God. The Father easily could have prevented the Lamb from death, but He chose to allow Jesus to die for our sins. And Jesus went willingly in complete obedience and humility. What amazing love! So refreshing to think that the exact moment that Satan thought he had victory at the cross was when there was actual victory over sin and death, all under the sovereign hand of God.

That thought provoked another jump to 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, our memory verses from freshman year SG. I love these verses because they show the complete foolishness of the gospel to man. No man could ever think to put together a plan of redemption such as this, but God’s ways are infinitely greater than our ways. The main part of the passage I focused on were vv. 27-29 where Paul states that God chooses the foolish and weak things of the world to shame the wise and strong in order that no man may boast. What are we as Christians to boast in except the Lord our God? God did not choose me based on my merit, but purely by His grace. And that is reason to praise Him forever.

Thinking about God’s grace in salvation brought me to Deuteronomy, the book that I’m going through in my daily reading. Again and again God reminds Israel that they were not chosen based on who they were, but because of who God is. Because of this they are warned to beware pride in their success and are called to fear the Lord. Deuteronomy 7:7-9 shows Israel that it was the Lord’s faithfulness in His covenant and lovingkindness that delivered them from Egypt into the Promised Land. I especially like v.7 because it states, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples”. It totally reminds me of 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 because not only did God not choose the greatest for His people, He chose the least so that all glory would be given to Him.

All of this reminded me of something that I was trying to emphasize during one of our cabin times during family camp this summer. The Old Testament is important. We cannot limit our reading of God’s word to the NT only. I think that’s why I wanted to do a survey of the OT with Hebrews 11 this year, my understanding of the OT was weak. God’s redemptive history spans the complete word of God. And the God of the OT is the same God of the NT. How can we limit our understanding and worship of God by refusing to read the majority of God’s inspired word? Our God is a small God if we do not fully appreciate the God of the whole Bible.¬† To grasp Jesus Christ, we need to grasp the OT. We need to understand that He fulfilled prophecy, that God is sovereign from the first day of creation to the return of Christ, that salvation is through Christ alone for all people…and there is so much more I could say.

The last thing I was drawn to was the book of Revelation. I think it was very fitting that the guest preacher at Journey spoke on Revelation on Saturday. One point he emphasized was that we get so caught up in our eschatology and understanding things like the beast, that we lose sight of the fact that Revelation is about the Lamb. If we figure out all our eschatology and neglect the Son of God, then we have lost sight of why John penned this letter. My mind went from the Lamb who was slain for our salvation in Isaiah 53 to the same Lamb in Revelation who is worshiped at the throne by the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders (Revelation 4:5-11). The same Lamb who will be praised on Zion by the 144,000 (Revelation 14:1-5). The same Lamb who will prepare His bride for the marriage supper of the Lamb and who will come with a sharp sword from His mouth to judge (Revelation 19). All of this is under the sovereign plan of God. How can I ever doubt His purposes? My final thoughts were on how amazing that all of this is contained in a book. Which I think is the ideal, and it’s crazy to think about how all these letters came together to form the Bible I now hold in front of me. The church fathers who gathered the texts, the blood of the martyrs who died to safeguard the Bible, and the translators who were faithful to the truth.

So why nuclear fission and worship? Well a nuclear fission reaction basically involves a radioactive element, in this case Uranium-235, absorbing a neutron which then fissions into smaller fragments while releasing binding energy. One of these fragments then collides with another Uranium-235 atom to proceed with the reaction, with each subsequent reaction releasing more binding energy. As more atoms fission, more fragments are available to react and cause further energy to release. (I love being a south campus major, our illustrations are so much cooler and nerdy). This is what came to my mind that night. That first neutron of being overwhelmed with studying collided with Psalm 23, causing multiple thoughts of worship and praise to result. Some of these thoughts were small instances of doxology and others led to long rabbit trails of multiple reactions. Each reaction resulted in worship of our great God. Soon, all of those reactions resulted in an overwhelming awe of who God is and what He has done and continues to do. Instead of a huge amount of energy, that small stimulus resulted in a huge amount of praise. It’s incredible to think that we hold in our hands a nuclear reactor waiting to be released and for us to enjoy. And all of these thoughts happened in a span of 45 minutes. Pretty crazy. I think those times are so precious and a sweet foretaste of heavenly worship. Today I opened my hymnal and was reminded of this again in reading the words to one of my favorite hymns- Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. It says “Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He to rescue me from danger, Bought me with His precious blood“. How incredible are those words and what a reminder of God’s sovereign sacrifice of His Son for our salvation. And I like the final lines of that same hymn “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it; Seal it for Thy courts above. Amen.” Even though I am so prone to wander, may God take my heart and seal it for His courts above. And may there be many more nuclear fission reactions in the future. (I guess this turned out to be another epically long post. I guess I can only write in those lengths. This was supposed to be a shorter one.)

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