The simple version

15 Oct

Psalm 105 tells the salvation story of Israel written from a distance of time and location. The salvation story, repeated many times in the scripture, is the people of Israel journey into and out of Egypt.

The psalm is an instruction to praise God for what God has done. When the people of Israel remember what God has done they usually talk about this story of freedom. This story also become a powerful image for the slaves in this country. God breaks the chains of the oppressor and guides the powerless to freedom through God’s power. It is a great story for Israel. However, I always wonder about “the other guy”.

Well, here’s the psalm,

1-6 Hallelujah!

Thank God! Pray to him by name!
Tell everyone you meet what he has done!
Sing him songs, belt out hymns,
translate his wonders into music!
Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs,
you who seek God. Live a happy life!
Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works;
be alert for signs of his presence.
Remember the world of wonders he has made,
his miracles, and the verdicts he’s rendered—
O seed of Abraham, his servant,
O child of Jacob, his chosen.

I like this first stanza talking about translating God’s wonders into music. I think we do that all the time and words added to music make a particularly emotionally witness to who God is in the world and in our lives. Also, there is a great instruction to keep yourself open to what God is doing around you. This is always a great idea. It makes for a more interesting day anyway.

7-15 He’s God, our God,
in charge of the whole earth.
And he remembers, remembers his Covenant—
for a thousand generations he’s been as good as his word.
It’s the Covenant he made with Abraham,
the same oath he swore to Isaac,
The very statute he established with Jacob,
the eternal Covenant with Israel,
Namely, “I give you the land.
Canaan is your hill-country inheritance.”
When they didn’t count for much,
a mere handful, and strangers at that,
Wandering from country to country,
drifting from pillar to post,
He permitted no one to abuse them.
He told kings to keep their hands off:
“Don’t you dare lay a hand on my anointed,
don’t hurt a hair on the heads of my prophets.”

16-22 Then he called down a famine on the country,
he broke every last blade of wheat.
But he sent a man on ahead:
Joseph, sold as a slave.
They put cruel chains on his ankles,
an iron collar around his neck,
Until God’s word came to the Pharaoh,
and God confirmed his promise.
God sent the king to release him.
The Pharaoh set Joseph free;
He appointed him master of his palace,
put him in charge of all his business
To personally instruct his princes
and train his advisors in wisdom.

23-42 Then Israel entered Egypt,
Jacob immigrated to the Land of Ham.
God gave his people lots of babies;
soon their numbers alarmed their foes.
He turned the Egyptians against his people;
they abused and cheated God’s servants.
Then he sent his servant Moses,
and Aaron, whom he also chose.
They worked marvels in that spiritual wasteland,
miracles in the Land of Ham.
He spoke, “Darkness!” and it turned dark—
they couldn’t see what they were doing.
He turned all their water to blood
so that all their fish died;
He made frogs swarm through the land,
even into the king’s bedroom;
He gave the word and flies swarmed,
gnats filled the air.
He substituted hail for rain,
he stabbed their land with lightning;
He wasted their vines and fig trees,
smashed their groves of trees to splinters;
With a word he brought in locusts,
millions of locusts, armies of locusts;
They consumed every blade of grass in the country
and picked the ground clean of produce;
He struck down every firstborn in the land,
the first fruits of their virile powers.
He led Israel out, their arms filled with loot,
and not one among his tribes even stumbled.
Egypt was glad to have them go—
they were scared to death of them.
God spread a cloud to keep them cool through the day
and a fire to light their way through the night;
They prayed and he brought quail,
filled them with the bread of heaven;
He opened the rock and water poured out;
it flowed like a river through that desert—
All because he remembered his Covenant,
his promise to Abraham, his servant.

The covenant story is told in the last stanzas. I often wonder what we highlight in our stories of God’s grace in our lives??

43-45 Remember this! He led his people out singing for joy;
his chosen people marched, singing their hearts out!
He made them a gift of the country they entered,
helped them seize the wealth of the nations
So they could do everything he told them—
could follow his instructions to the letter.

Hallelujah!

Because this week’s scripture was about the 10 who were cured of leprosy and the one who returned to give thanks, I told my story again. I truly believe I am a “preacher” because I kept turning around to give thanks to God for my life. And I notice that as I tell this story through the years I emphasize different parts of the story. It is the same story, I just spent more time on some details more than others.

Also, because this week was another low attendance week, I find myself feeling discouraged. I repeat to myself that those feelings should not have center stage in my life, but I acknowledge that they are there. So, here’s my affirmation. God is good, life is hard, let’s try together one more day. Peace

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