Seeker: “Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered; let those who hate him flee before him.“
Preacher: Feeling kind of fiery are we Seeker?
Seeker: “As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, let the wicked perish before God.”
Preacher: I’ll take that as a yes.
Seeker: The psalmist has got me fired up. This was the Yahweh who they believed would vindicate them and relief all of their problems. But I know, Preacher, that the Israelites had a sort of skewered perspective of the Lord God. They were to be a light to the other nations, showing them how to live. But instead they got caught up in their own national identity and came to have the opinion that, right or wrong, their God was on their side.
Preacher: I was worried about you there for a moment, Seeker. But you do have a good grasp on the Israelites unintentional perspective.
Seeker: “But let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy.” the psalmist said. But the Israelites always assumed they were the righteous, and never checked their ego at the temple door.
Preacher: “Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds–his name is the LORD– be exultant before him.” The psalmist got the worship part correct.
Seeker:Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God gives the desolate a home to live in; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a parched land.” Problem is the Israelites assumed that it was only the marginalized Israelites who got the protection.
Preacher: Well, when they were lead out of Egypt, that was pretty amazing, and it came to be their corporate/national/social identity. “O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, Selah the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel.” They were and are not the only nation that thought God’s protection and blessing was for them solely.
Seeker: “Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad; you restored your heritage when it languished; your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.” But doesn’t the fact that nation after nation over time and throughout the world has been saved and brought to prosperity give humanity a clue that the Divine is everyone’s God?
Preacher: The psalmist said, “Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, Selah” And when your world view is limited by the distance you can travel, you tend to have a closed mind and a limited understanding of who else might as worthy as you.
Seeker: You are being very generous, Preacher, and understanding of current humanity. I have heard you be quite critical of modern society on other occasions.
Preacher: “O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens; listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel; and whose power is in the skies. Awesome is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!”
(Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35) I guess I want to honor and recognize the fact that the psalmist, who fired you up Seeker, was speaking with a very limited view of how far the Divine’s care extended. And yes, it is true, I believe that our current society has the same shortsighted problem. But we are also seeing acts of compassion in these days that carry a sense of the Holy Presence. And, people who are comparative strangers are beneficiaries of that care and compassion. So yes, I am giving kudos where it is merited.
Seeker: Hmmm, the Holy Presence. There is irony there. The Israelites thought blessing should be a one way street – from Yahweh to them with no obstacles or conditions. Now, we are seeing people who may or may not profess believe in the Holy Presence perform acts of compassion that is worthy the Divine’s care – albeit done within the confines of human ability.
: Not the same kind of fieriness of the psalmist, but I think this warmth of human compassion will be better and more beneficial in the long run.
Seeker: Selah, Preacher, Selah!