Thursday 3 June 2021

Two favourite psalms

For our home group last week, we each had to pick a psalm of significance to us and talk a little about what it meant to us.  We then spent some time as a group, praying the sorts of things the psalmist was praying in the psalm, before doing the same with the next person's psalm.

Two psalms immediately came to mind for me (or rather, phrases from two psalms - I couldn't have told you the numbers of either, let alone quoted them in their entirety), and I was struck by how similar they were.

The first was Psalm 115, which is what I ended up talking about at home group.  It's long-ish, so I'll only quote the first half here:

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
    for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.Why should the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”

Our God is in the heavens;
    he does whatever he pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
    the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
    eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
    noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
    feet, but do not walk;
    they make no sound in their throats.
Those who make them are like them;
    so are all who trust in them.      

 Psalm 115:1-8, NRSV

It then goes on to call Israel to trust in God, reminds them of His faithfulness in the past and calls for blessing in the future.  The final stanza suggests it may have been written by someone in fear for their lives, or maybe not.

The second was Psalm 2.  Again, it's long-ish, and again, it's really the first half that struck me:

Why do the nations conspire,
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds asunder,
    and cast their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

 Psalm 2:1-6, NRSV

It then goes on to talk about how He's put His son in charge, and this son has great power.  Kings would be wise to serve him, and all who put their trust in him will be blessed.

I realised these two psalms have something very strong in common: they're both about how God is in charge.  This has become really important to me over recent years.  I often find myself saying (although I have no idea why I phrase it that way!), that "Jesus is the boss-man".

I don't need to work out how to make things work: I just need to be faithful.

Those who follow idols need to tell the idols what to do - it's more like magic than like following a master.  But we have a God who 'does whatever He pleases'.  I find that so comforting and reassuring.

And all the powers of the Earth can conspire together and do their darnedest to make what they want to happen, happen - but God just laughs.  If/when he wants to, He can just snap everything they are doing.  Again, as I spend so much of time learning about the terrible things people do conspire to do (through Just Kai), it's encouraging to know it's not all on little people like me to actually solve those things.  We are the agents of the God who can just snap those evil networks in two, when His time is right.  I may wonder why He doesn't do so now, seeing as He can, but it's still reassuring to know we serves a God who can just laugh in the face of all the earthly strength we can possibly imagine :-)

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