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.
Our reading of Psalm 66:1-12 reminds us that the Lord is the one who is praised by Israel. This is a fairly normal theme for a Psalm, of course, but let’s try to see some of the particulars. In verse four, “all the earth” is to sing the praises of God. Why? Because of his acts for humanity. Fair enough. What are these acts? The Psalmist goes on to talk about the rescue of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians by having Israel walk across dry land through the Red Sea, as well as bringing Israel into the promised land by having them walk through a miraculously dry riverbed.
We might question whether this is God’s work for all of humanity. After all, Israel is only a small part of humanity. So how is this saving humanity? Recall that God has always commanded Israel to invite others to join with them. All those who believed God’s words of promise were under his protection when leaving Egypt. All those who believed God’s call to enter into the promised land by faith were perfectly safe walking through the Jordan river. Those who reject him, not so.
Verse seven speaks to God’s work of governing all nations. He watches over them all. Since rebellion against God brings death and destruction, God’s call is for all to follow him.
The exclusive claims of God in Scripture are troubling to many. After all, people in modern and postmodern Western civilization are, above all else, individualists. We want to make our own way, pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, throw off the shackles of tradition, and do something new. Alas, that is exactly what God, who created and sustains heaven and earth, warns against. His call is to live a life, trusting him, walking in his paths, which are good. Christianity is a radical departure from our own will and an entry into God’s will. I’m going to trust God’s will much more than my will. He then shows that he is the one who works good for humanity.
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