Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rejoice in the Lord

Psalm 97:1-12  The LORD is king! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!  Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.  Fire goes before him, and consumes his adversaries on every side.  His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles.  The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.  The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.  All worshipers of images are put to shame, those who make their boast in worthless idols; all gods bow down before him.  Zion hears and is glad, and the towns of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O God.  For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.  The LORD loves those who hate evil; he guards the lives of his faithful; he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.  Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.  Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

This Psalm (which is the set Psalm for tomorrow) is one of seven “enthronement” psalms.[1] These were songs that originated when the Israelites were in exile in Babylon. They were subject to a foreign power, who demanded that they accept a foreign ruler as their Lord. And even when they were allowed to return to their land, they remained vassals of foreign powers such as the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans. The Israelites resisted this by singing songs that affirmed that God was their King.  These were psalms that enabled them to believe that despite their captivity, God was still on the throne, and the day would come when the power of God would be revealed.

This is a helpful psalm for moments when we despair and begin to think that wicked rulers are behaving as if God were not in charge. At such times it is important to state our faith: “For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods”. The gods of our times will not hold sway forever. Light shall dawn for the righteous, and the upright in heart shall rejoice.

Read the Psalm aloud and make it your own claim of faith.


[1] Psalms 47, 93, 95-99.

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