Reading for Saturday, June 22, 2019
Psalms 46 – 50
This by far is one of my favorite Psalms. I remember singing it in the church choir growing up. It was a great arrangement, in which you could sense the power of the strength of God and the peaceful tranquility that also comes out of the dwelling in the city of God. Check out the video below to sense the power of these words, put to song.
Can you sense the joy? Do you want to get up, clap you hands and shout for joy? These words should inspire just that, as we “sing praise.” Five times those words are used in just a few verses. Together, let us “Sing praise” to our God!
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm.
(verses 6 & 7)
“Zion.” We haven’t heard or seen this title much in our reading through our Year of Scripture. Yet here, the Psalmist refers to “Mount Zion.” In case you haven’t put two and two together, it is another name for Jerusalem. I remember growing up as a kid at Zion Lutheran Church in Sandusky, Ohio, listening to the Bible being read during worship and hearing the words “Zion” come from the readers lips. Granted it was an old building, and a congregation steeped in tradition, and I was young, but I can’t tell you how many times I was amazed that God’s word spoke direct about our congregation.
Zion, mighty on a hill
Zion, be glad
Zion, walk about it, count its towers
That was my church . . . or so I thought. Even as a kid, I was disappointed to see that Zion refereed to Jerusalem, and not the congregation that helped to form my faith!
I will admit these words were slightly confusing, as I approached the final few verses. Are the rich to be praised and comfortable in their wealth? If you are reading the NRSV as I often do, you might sense what I am referring to. So I paged over to the NIV and then to the Message, and got a very different feeling. Here’s what I’m referring to: (verses 16-18)
Do not be afraid when some become rich,
when the wealth of their houses increases.
For when they die they will carry nothing away;
their wealth will not go down after them.
Though in their lifetime they count themselves happy—
for you are praised when you do well for yourself—
they will go to the company of their ancestors,
who will never again see the light.
Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
when the splendor of their houses increases;
for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.
Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
and people praise you when you prosper—
they will join those who have gone before them,
who will never again see the light of life.
So don’t be impressed with those who get rich
and pile up fame and fortune.
They can’t take it with them;
fame and fortune all get left behind.
Just when they think they’ve arrived
and folks praise them because they’ve made good,
They enter the family burial plot
where they’ll never see sunshine again.
Did you sense it too? The comfort of being rich found in the NRSV, to the the cautionary not of being rich in the other two. While we live with many blessings, I think the Psalmist wanted to warn all of us, that our true treasure should be found in God, and not in our material wealth.
In a world were we often speak ill of one another, I I found these words quite fitting for our own time and place:
You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your kin; you slander your own mother’s child.
These things you have done and I have been silent;
you thought that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.
Mark this, then, you who forget God,
or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver.
verses 19 – 22
Again and again, we need that kind reminder. Think before you speak, and when you speak, speak with the tenderness and compassion of our God!
Readings for the next few days:
Sunday, June 23: Psalm 51-57
Monday, June 24: Psalm 58-65
Tuesday, June 25: Psalm 66-69