There is this verse in Habakukk: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (2:14). My Bible has for some reason developed a crease in the binding so that nearly every time I open it, it opens to this page and this verse. For over a year I have read this verse daily, mostly because my bible opens to that page, but also driven by the thought that God has drawn it out for me for some reason.
I have grown to love it. I imagine it: As waters cover the sea, so will all the world be filled and covered with the glory of God. I see the streets begin to flood with his glory lifting up trash and debris, picking up pace in the current, filling doorways and windows, covering people, cars, trees. At last the water rises to the tops of the building of downtown and we continue to live in this underwater world of God’s present, weighty, and powerful glory. Every so often a fish swims by and I have to remind myself it is not actually water, but God’s glory filling us and all things.
Yesterday I read this in Isaiah: “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (11:9). I have to say my jaw dropped. Promised once is good enough, but promised twice? What a beautiful image of what God has planned for us and his creation.
If you think about it, what is a sea? A sea is nothing without water. Of course water covers the sea. The sea is a massive body of water. It cannot be anything but. A dried up sea is no longer a sea but a big hole filled with rocks and sand.
It makes me thirsty. Thirsty for things to be set right. Thirsty for God’s presence, knowledge and glory to fill the air again. To fill us again. To fill every nook and cranny of all creation.
It makes me long for this city to be filled with God’s glory. Daily I dream and imagine what he will look like here when this promise is fulfilled. People full of joy and hope, peaceful, generous and kind. All people cared for, loved, no longer in want, freed from illness, addictions, greed and idolatry. The trees, streams, animals and mountains more alive than we have ever seen, singing praise, the wind humming along. Glory brings awe. An earth brimming with thanksgiving, wonder and worship.
Such a simple phrase evokes powerful images of such an incredible future.
And so I wait.
I wait with you for these promises to be fulfilled. As naturally as water covering the sea, as defining and real as that is, so one day the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Our space and reality will be defined by the presence of God.
As Easter fast approaches I cannot help but link it here. Lent and repentance and ashes, winter and hibernation and gloom, are coming to an end. Spring is on the hint of every warming wind. And the cross stands before us and we wait for the Lord’s resurrection. Dead stuff comes back to life. Dry valleys are filled with fresh flowing streams. And the glory of the Lord fills all the earth.
C.S. Lewis writes:
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight. At the sound of His roar, sorrows will be no more. When He bares his teeth, winter meets its death. And when He shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
We shall have spring again, as the waters cover the sea.