In this high-powered technological media saturated age, it is really difficult to know what to believe and who to listen to and then, to know how to respond appropriately and practically in order to live well. Just consider the multitude of voices we are hearing concerning the present worldwide pandemic and all that relates to this, including the ongoing debates over vaccinations, restrictions, and now “learning to live with the virus” and much more.
It seems to me that we have a choice. To become obsessed with all the media hype, including many so-called “conspiracy theories”, and react rather irrationally, or to quietly and prayerfully process, as thoughtfully as possible, all that we hear and then respond to this in the light of the Ultimate Reality, i.e., God, and what He has taught us in His Word, the Bible.
This psalm may help us to come back to the basics and to consider what is really important and so clear our minds to again think clearly and enable us to make good choices.
Read this first section slowly and allow God to speak to you today.
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
To begin, the psalmist offers us a simple invitation – Come! It is an invitation to wholeness, to return to where we belong, to cast aside all the distractions of the world around us and to wholeheartedly worship the One who cares for us, the Rock of our salvation. He says, let us sing… let us shout… with thanksgiving… with music and song.
Secondly, he exhorts us to bow down… [to] kneel before God. It is a position of humility and an acknowledgement of our vulnerability and who we really are before the Maker of all things.
The psalmist also enlarges on why these are the right things for us to do. Why worship? Because the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. We sing to the One who is the King, the awesome and Almighty One to whom none can compare. The psalmist then gives the examples of all that He has created and is the Sovereign King over – the depths of the earth… the mountain peaks… The sea is his…the dry land. Other psalmists elaborate more on this, for example, as they speak of the heavens [which] declare the glory of God; the skies [which] proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1)
Then the psalmist answers the question: Why bow down? Broyles suggests that “The reason for the ritual prostration concerns Israel’s peculiar relationship with this cosmic King; he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (# 4)
It seems to me that, if there is a lesson (and I’m sure there are many) we can learn from our present predicament, it is to take heed of the simple invitation to come, and to return to an attitude of humble worship of the One who really is the Sovereign King and Lord of His universe, which includes our tiny planet and all that live on it. And in that place of trust and rest, seek his wisdom and power.
So, the next time you are confused about all that is going on around you and wonder how to respond, look upwards to the Lord and remember that He is your God and you are one of his beloved children and we are all under his care.
Let me finish with the very practical words of Martin Luther, the author of the hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God”, who lived through three “pestilences” (including the Bubonic Plague in the 14th Century). Asked how they (his friends and congregation) should respond to such endemics, he said:
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely, as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.” https://hail.to/laidlaw-college/publication/z0YvCh2/article/otABdxy
Next time we shall consider the second part of this Psalm – the prophetic oracle.