Sunday 3 June, 2018

Psalm 76

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of Asaph. A song. 1 God is renowned in Judah; in Israel his name is great. 2 His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion. 3 There he broke the flashing arrows, the shields and the swords, the weapons of war. 4 You are radiant with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game. 5 The valiant lie plundered, they sleep their last sleep; not one of the warriors can lift his hands. 6 At your rebuke, God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still. 7 It is you alone who are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry? 8 From heaven you pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet— 9 when you, God, rose up to judge, to save all the afflicted of the land. 10 Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained. 11 Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them; let all the neighboring lands bring gifts to the One to be feared. 12 He breaks the spirit of rulers; he is feared by the kings of the earth.

Psalm 76 pulls no punches. God is supreme. This war Psalm reminds us that the Bible was birthed in and arose out of the Old Testament people of Israel. Their hopes and dreams and passions are on display in the Bible – particularly here in Psalm 76. God brings unchallenged victory in battle. God’s power evokes fear in kings, especially those that might choose to oppose God. God’s greatness freezes the forces of violence. If I am willing, this Psalm has a quieting effect. Knowledge of God’s grandness, largeness and power is calming. Perhaps this is the purpose of the Psalm, to remind the people of God who truly has the last word.

God, Thank you that you promise to bring your ultimate justice and perfect judgement on evil one day. You will still all violence, put and end to war, shatter every arrow and break every sword. Thank you that I can be still and safe in you and your power. No matter what calamity rages around me and my family I can have your peace in my heart. Amen

Written by Sam Stewart

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