Even as a child, I never understood why people cringe at the idea of the big, scary God whom they refer to as “the God of the Old Testament.” Isn’t big and scary what you want? I do! Don’t soldiers want a tough general—one who absolutely knows what he’s doing . . . and who also cares about them?
Remember the Sam Gerard character (the US Marshal played by Tommy Lee Jones) in The Fugitive? What a no-nonsense guy! Don’t dare question his authority. There’s an interesting dynamic as he mentors rookie deputy Noah Newman. The development of that relationship (and Newman’s maturity) along the way is a fascinating subplot. But early on, in a showdown with an escaped convict, this rookie is caught off guard, grabbed by the bad guy, and held with a gun to his head. Gerard maneuvers around, takes the only shot he has, and kills the bad guy.
Not long after, we find Gerard being chewed out on the phone—they needed the bad guy alive to get information. But Gerard makes no apologies: “He was gonna kill one of my kids!” One of my kids.
The first time I saw the movie, I felt the intimidation from Sam Gerard that viewers were supposed to feel. Then we hit this scene. “One of my kids.” And I thought, “OK, I’d follow this guy anywhere!”
I’ve watched the movie several times just to see that telephone scene. Because big, scary Gerard makes me smile about big, scary God. God’s way is THE way, AND he loves his kids! And that—like Psalm 104 (the inspiration behind the hymn “O, Worship the King”)—is a cool kind of scary. (Also see Romans 11:22; Psalm 145:8, 9.)