Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
The imagery of Psalm 107:1-9 is that of bringing people from a wilderness into a city where they can remain. While we often think of the wilderness as a place of escape, a place where you can go to leave your troubles behind, a place of solitude and rest, in the biblical cultures the wilderness was viewed quite the opposite way. The wilderness was a place where you might be eaten by wild animals if you managed to avoid dying of thirst or exposure first. Actually, I suppose you would be eaten by the wild animals after dying of thirst or exposure also. The wilderness is a place of death. It’s a place you want to avoid. It’s a place you need to escape.
Where do you go? You go to the cities and towns. Those are wonderful places! They have a water supply. They have access to food. They have other people who will help protect one another from the wild animals. The robbers and other criminals hide out in the wilderness. The cities have fortified walls to protect the citizens from those who would harm them. The city is the place to be.
What happens when people cry out to the Lord? He hears his people and he rescues them. He brings them to a city. He puts them into a civilized state. In that environment they are able to thrive. They may prosper. They can live in safety and peace.
Today we seem to fear the cities. Could it be that we have allowed them to become the uncivilized places? It’s high time to take them back and domesticate them.
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