Barking at Thunder

While working out in my yard today, it began to rain. Along with the rain, as often happens in South Mississippi, came thunder and lightning (there is a small tropical storm in the Gulf). Immediately, my year old Great Dane/Rottweiler mix, Huan (Yes, he’s named after the Hound of Valinor! My youngest daughter’s middle name is Luthien, incidentally. You do the math…), began to bark at that thunder, as if to chase it off! Now, looking at the mix there, you can imagine the size of my dog. He is a massive specimen of canine. He’s not as tall as a Dane, but he’s very tall for a Rottweiler, and combines most of the best characteristics of the two. He’s not the dog you’d like to see, as a trespasser, I promise you! As big as he is, as powerful as he is, and as impressive a specimen as he may be; it was comical to watch him barking at something that he couldn’t impress, couldn’t scare, and had no effect on. It was absurd! Sure, he’s scary – but thunder isn’t scared by a barking dog!

That got me thinking. Isn’t that what men do with God? They do a lot of tough talking, and make a lot of demands of their Creator! Somehow, they think this will either impress, or even scare God; or His followers. In reality, it has as little effect on the situation as my dog’s barks had on the thunderstorm. After I started thinking about writing this post, I found that Spurgeon beat me to it. He wrote something along very similar lines.

The first time our young dog heard the thunder it startled him. He leaped up, gazed around in anger, and then began to bark at the disturber of his peace. When the next crash came he grew furious, and flew round the room, seeking to tear in pieces the intruder who dared thus to defy him. It was an odd scene. The yelping of a dog pitted against the artillery of heaven! Poor foolish creature, to think that his bark could silence the thunder-clap, or intimidate the tempest! What was he like? His imitators are not far to seek. Among us at this particular juncture there are men of an exceedingly doggish breed who go about howling at their Maker. They endeavor to bark the Almighty out of existence, to silence the voice of his gospel, and to let him know that their rest is not to be disturbed by his warnings. We need not particularize; the creatures are often heard, and are very fond of public note, even when it takes an unfriendly form. Let them alone. They present a pitiful spectacle. We could smile at them if we did not feel much more compelled to weep. The elements of a tragedy are wrapt up in this comedy. To-day they defy their Maker, but to-morrow they may be crushed beneath his righteous indignation. At any rate, the idea of fearing them must never occur to us; their loudest noise is vocalized folly; their malice is impotent, their fury is mere fume. “He that sitteth in the heavens doth laugh: the Lord doth have them in derision.” (Sword and Trowel, August 1883)

“Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed.” (1 Sam 2:10)

“Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?” (Job 40:9)

Unlike the story of my dog’s antics, the story in the case of the unbeliever is not merely comical. It is a tragedy of eternal proportions. No objection ever offered against the God of Scripture, the Creator of Heavens and earth, ever does justice to who and what He is. They never have, and never will. The gravity of the situation robs it of most of it’s comedy, but none of it’s folly. It is vain to object to your Creator with the breath He grants you.


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