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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 27’


Isaiah 46: Little Gods

Monday, March 18, 2019

Baal

Today we read about the effects of living a life of enslavement to the many little gods that appear in our lives.  These tiny dieties may appear suddenly and either announce their arrival or enter our lives to take hold of our habits stealthily.  They come with no warning and have little or no overt manifestation.  If we take a moment to review commentary for Isaiah 46 we understand that this is a familiar theme to Old Testament people who lived among the many tribes of Baal worshipers.  Looking at cross references to the New Testament we see that it is a well-known theme in Jesus’ day.   Even today we daily come upon incidents of little gods holding sway over us and hijacking our decisions.  Many of us carry Bel and Nebo on our shoulders allowing them to govern our spiritual, political, social and family life.  Today we ponder these little gods who demand much of our time . . . and bring us no enduring consolation or lasting hope.

Who are these demons who haunt us and how do we recognize the fact that they govern our lives?

They must be borne up on shoulders, carried as burdens by the weary.  When we find ourselves enslaved to a custom or habit that exhausts and does not edify us, it is time to call out these little gods.

They stoop and bow down together; unable to save those who bear them, they go into captivity.  When we realize that we are drained of energy and that the structure we believed in has abandoned us, it is time to put an end to the demands of the little gods.

Although they cry out it does not answer; it delivers no one from distress.  When all that we relied upon has taken our life force and has disappeared into nothingness, it is time to amend our ways and turn our allegiance to the Living God who saves.

Remember this and be firm, bear it well in mind, you rebels; remember the former things, those long ago . . . And so as we continue in our Lenten journey, what do we do to shed our faith in these little idols?

I am God, there is no other; I am God, there is none like me.  We turn to God who has loved us despite our folly in abandoning him, and we see that God has always been beside us . . . even when we were blind to him. We hear the voice of God calling to us and we know that this voice has been guiding us . . . even when we could not hear him.  We see the works of God in the many little graces and in the enormous saving actions he has granted us, and we realize God has loved us all through our comings and goings . . . even when we have ignored and even reviled him.

I am bringing on my justice, it is not far off, my salvation will not tarry . . .

We have a clear choice before us today.  We can muddle along with our little gods or we can choose to follow the Living God.  St. Paul writes to the Romans: Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand.  Let us then throw off the works of darkness [and] put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day.  (Romans 13:11-13)  

Psalm 27 is one of my favorites and it reminds us simply of this: The Lord is my light and my help; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; before whom shall I shrink?

If we are too afraid of our little gods to turn them out of the temple of our lives, we turn to God for strength.  If we fear that the Living God has tired of our constant wandering and will not welcome us home, we need only remember the many promises the Living God has kept, and the savior he has sent to redeem us all.


A re-post from March 19, 2012. 

Image from: http://willcookson.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/review-bibles-buried-secrets-did-god-have-a-wife/

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Jeremiah 38The Miry Cistern

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Written on January 21, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

This chapter describes the place we often find ourselves – up to our knees in mud for speaking truth.  The prophet is delivered from his miry cistern to be kept in the guardhouse, but still he is persecuted.  King Zedekiah asks his advice, and then chooses to not listen to the prophet out of fear.  How does Zedekiah find himself in such a predicament?  What happens to him in the end?

Read article # 3 at http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=73&letter=Z  for some quick details.  It is an unhappy and gruesome story.

Zedekiah relies on his ability to finagle diplomatic alliances with two giant nations which are growing in power just as Judah finds itself in decline.  The Judahite king becomes a vassal first to the Babylonians; later he bargains with the Egyptians.  In the end, he is caught in the pincers of the struggle for supremacy between two super powers.  Zedekiah loses all and is blinded by the conquerors.  His life ends in an unknown prison; his legacy becomes the story of a king who lost a nation because he will not listen to his own prophet.

We have reflected on other occasions about the strangeness of God telling his faithful to save their lives by submitted to the Babylonian princes.

We have also reflected on Jeremiah’s dilemma of knowing that the truth he is asked to speak will bring pain to himself and others.

The lives of these two men are intertwined with the theme of a choice which presents truth as imprisonment and freedom as fear.  What are our dungeons today?  What miry cisterns suck us into their muddy depths?  What unnamed prisons await us?  When we are full of fear, do we – like Zedekiah, – hear the voice of the psalmist and not understand that the words of this twenty seventh psalm speak to us today?

There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long, to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to savor the sweetness of the Lord, to behold his temple. 

We know that God provides safe harbor in all circumstances.  Even when we find ourselves in greatest danger.  Yet how do we act?

For there he keeps me safe in his tent in the day of evil.  He hides me in the shelter of his tent, on a rock he sets me safe.  O Lord, hear my voice when I call; have mercy and answer.  Of you my heart has spoken: “Seek his face”.

And when the word of the Lord comes to us, do we look past this face to hear different words?  Words that suit our wants rather than our needs?  Words that suit us rather than God?

It is your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face.

We always know when we have heard good counsel . . . because it bears good fruit despite any pain.

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

And this is the land of the living when we act to make it so.

Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.  Hope in the Lord!

When we find ourselves at the bottom of the miry cistern up to our knees in mud, rather than rely on our own resources, let us long for God, let us seek God, let us be open to his words . . . and when we hear them amid the clamor and din . . . let us believe the message.


A re-post from January 20, 2019.

Image from: http://www.biblesearchers.com/yahshua/davidian/dynasty8.shtml

For more on Jeremiah the Prophet see the page on this blog: Jeremiah – Person and Message

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Esther 1The Race of the Just

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Like Mordecai, the faithful will have a sense of impending doom.  Like Mordecai, they will discover plots against power.  Like Mordecai, the just are rewarded for their fidelity and courage.  It will be this very reward that puts them in danger; yet they be saved from destruction, tribulation and distress.  And there will always be Haman lurking behind the curtain . . . hoping to destroy the just.  When we act in and for God, we must anticipate jealousy and envy.  And we must rely on God alone to save us from annihilation.

Mordecai receives information in a dream and although he trusts this information he does not understand its deeper meaning and its long-range implication.  And so he kept it mind, and tried in every way, until night, to understand its meaning.  I am wondering how much energy we put into understanding a message we receive darkly.  I am thinking that Mordecai shows us how to remain in and with God despite intense, justified fear.

Yesterday’s Gospel also has something to teach us about fear and the race of the just.  Jesus sends out seventy-two of his disciples and instructs them: The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so . . . go on your way: behold, I am sending you like lambs among the wolves.  Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.  Into whatever house you enter, say first, ‘Peace to this household.’  If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you”.  (Luke 10:1-9)

Jesus also sends us into the fields as laborers.  We are also sheep among wolves as was Mordecai.  I believe that we cannot stop evil, but I also believe that when we remain in and with God, we are protected in his strength and guided out of harm’s way.  We are loved beyond measure and we must learn to trust this love.  We must learn to give over to God the clawing fear that grabs at us when we feel alone in a hostile world.  We must remember to lay our turmoil in God’s capable hands when there is tribulation and distress, evil and great confusion.  We must carry our burdens – whether they be light or heavy, small or great – to the one who knows all and to the only one who can confront and even annihilate evil.

The psalmist says in Psalm 27: The Lord is my light and my help; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; before whom shall I shrink?  When evil-doers draw near to devour my flesh, it is they, my enemies and foes, who stumble and fall.  Though an enemy encamp against me even then would I trust.  It is your face, O Lord, I seek; hide not your face . . .

God has shown us his face and it is the face of Jesus.

God has rescued his people and he abides among them.

God has brought us into his eternal Spirit and he dwells within us.

The race of the just will always be saved.  Let us gather ourselves – we the lambs among wolves – and go quickly and surely to the only sanctuary there is that can withstand the darkness of evil.  Let us run to greet the newness we are granted by the one who loves us so well.  Let us find refuge in the power and presence of the one who will always save the race of the just.


A re-post from October 19, 2011.

Image from: http://bibletodaykids.com/Esther.html

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Matthew 5:5: The MeekPsalm-37-11

Second Sunday of Easter, April 12, 2015

On this second Sunday of Easter we continue our reflection on the Beatitudes as we re-focus our attention on God’s priorities rather than our own.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Perhaps patience is the quality we most need if we are to be humble servants. Patience in our understanding that we are not in charge. Patience in our knowing that it is God’s wisdom and grace that answers our deepest questions. Patience in allowing God’s fidelity and mercy to invade all that we do. Patience in both giving and accepting God’s healing love. Psalm 27 reminds us what we gain when we are able to wait. These verses bring into focus what it is we inherit, and why the land in which the Spirit dwells is worth our offering of meekness.

Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear . . .

On this Easter Monday we celebrate God’s strength . . .

Though war arise against me, I shall be confident . . .

We celebrate God’s hope . . .

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living . . .

We celebrate God’s gift of eternal life and love . . .  

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage . . .

We celebrate God’s gift of promise . . .

Yes, wait for the Lord . . .

We celebrate God’s gift of persistence.

2012042151empty_tombWhen our quiet strength rises from God we have no need to boast or strut. When our simple humility follows the example of Christ we have no need to exclude or divide. When our genuine meekness grows in the Spirit of God we have no need to hate or avenge. Let us wait on the Lord, let us give thanks for God’s presence, and let us celebrate the patience we inherit that offers us the gift of God’s meekness.

Using the scripture links, explore different versions of these verses and give thanks for our inheritance of meekness.

Tomorrow, the merciful. 

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