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  • Writer's pictureBrandon 'b.Side' Alvillar

Sun Setting Over Long Beach: Capturing God's Judgment in the Sky

Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish [in] the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed [are] all those who put their trust in Him.” - Psalm 2:12-13

Warm sunset over Long Beach California skyline with glowing ocean water
Kiss The Son

Shooting sunsets in sunny Southern California makes photography easy. There’s a lot of times where the sunsets speak for themselves. You don’t need to know technique. You don’t need a fancy camera. The colors in the sky and the silhouettes of palm trees and skylines make it so that you can just point and shoot, and get something dope! When I took this photo, it was certainly one of those evenings. I will say though, when you shoot in the same locations over and over, you have to find new ways to make it exciting. You’ve got to find stories to tell, and then use the camera to help tell that story.

 

On this particular day, the red colors in the sky were the real feature. I felt like, as the sun was setting over the Long Beach skyline, it was like capturing an illustration of God’s judgment in the sky! There was a marine layer coming in so it created a natural vignette, which made the beach look kind of ominous that day, and made the red glow of the sun seem more intense. The sun sat right over the Long Beach skyline. Those buildings are pretty big, but compared to the sun in that position, they look pretty tiny. It was a pretty cool moment to see the sun take over the landscape in both the size and scale of the sun, and the color.

 

When I snapped my first shot to see what it would look like in camera, it reminded me of Psalm 2:12. It wasn’t just the phrase “kiss the Son” that came into my head. It was the fact that, the context speaks about the judgment of the Messiah. The context of Psalm 2 talks about the Messiah of Israel judging the nations. The phrase, “Kiss the Son” teaches us that, the Messiah of Israel is the Son of God – Jesus Christ. He’s been given all authority of the Father, as God-in-flesh. So, He’s the Judge. He’s the One everyone will have to stand in front of to give an account for our lives. So we better have favor with Him, and treat Him the right way!

 

I thought it was great to see how this photo pictured the sun hovering over all of the tallest buildings in this area, and since they were backlit, they were just silhouettes. The things that people made, were nothing. They were darkness. They were small by comparison. They were beneath the sun. The beach waters were so much greater than the scale of the buildings, and yet, without the glow of the sun, even all of those waters would have been in darkness too. Still, it was that red glow that made it all so dramatic. Even though we’d normally call those colors in the sky “warm” tones, when you think of those colors in the context of God’s judgment, the “tone” kind of changes.

 

When I look at this photo and see that red glow, thinking about it in the context of judgment, it makes me wonder what the LORD would do with all of the people in that city. We know that the LORD is merciful and gracious, and works all things together for good, for those who serve Him in humble and repentant faith in the Gospel – those who “kiss the Son.” However, for those who don’t – read the beginning part of Psalm 2! The Bible teaches that the LORD is angry with sin every day; and while He has been patient throughout the ages, one day He will respond violently to that anger. The glow of His glory will cause an outpouring of red in a different way, if you know what I mean. It’s an incredible thought. You can look at a picture like this and see beauty in the warmth of the colors of a pretty sweet sunset. Or, in a different context, you can see this threatening sky that shows the smallness of human works. One sun. Two different tones. Well, according to Psalm 2, there is only one Son, and only two ways He’ll treat all people. Best kiss the Son like the Bible says we should.


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