Praising God Again. . A great way to start the day

22 Aug


It always seems like a long time before I write to you again. We are in the midst of praise psalms. Sometimes it seems like they don’t change too much, but the emphasis of what is praised about God is always a little different.

Psalm 97 praises God and sets God apart from “homemade” gods. The Hebrew people lived in a world of competing cultures and gods. The psalmist wants us to know that all the other gods are puny when compared with the true God. I don’t think our world is different today; we live in a world of competing cultures and gods. Our challenge is to identify those gods and ensure we are not worshiping them with our time, talents, and resources.

So, the first half of the psalm calls on all of creation to praise God for the justice God brings to creation.

God rules: there’s something to shout over!
On the double, mainlands and islands—celebrate!
2 Bright clouds and storm clouds circle ’round him;
Right and justice anchor his rule.
3 Fire blazes out before him,
Flaming high up the craggy mountains.
4 His lightnings light up the world;
Earth, wide-eyed, trembles in fear.
5 The mountains take one look at God
And melt, melt like wax before earth’s Lord.
6 The heavens announce that he’ll set everything right,
And everyone will see it happen—glorious!
7-8 All who serve handcrafted gods will be sorry—
And they were so proud of their ragamuffin gods!
On your knees, all you gods—worship him!
And Zion, you listen and take heart!
Daughters of Zion, sing your hearts out:
God has done it all, has set everything right.

The psalmist proclamation is that God has set everything right. The nature and outpouring of God is justice. I think that is true. However, human beings who often do not listen to God, or search for God’s vision follow their own way for their own purposes. The psalmist knows this truth as well and is seeking God’s justice.

You, God, are High God of the cosmos,
Far, far higher than any of the gods.
10 God loves all who hate evil,
And those who love him he keeps safe,
Snatches them from the grip of the wicked.
11 Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people,
Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.
12 So, God’s people, shout praise to God,
Give thanks to our Holy God!

For those of us who follow God’s lure to justice, we embrace the way of God; to hate evil and live with fairness and caring. We can also rejoice that “light-seeds are planted” in our souls and “joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil”.

I hope this day you will find ways to live God’s justice in God’s world.


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