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 historic one-year lectionary.
Psalm 66 calls the reader to shout for joy to the Lord who is so powerful that, in verse three, his enemies cringe before him. At first glance, this should make us uncomfortable. We usually fear a culture of authoritarian power and control. That’s why, in Western culture, we’ve almost always had the attitude that the best government is normally the one that leaves us alone and lets us do what we please. We think of it like the milkman of bygone days, whose horse knew the route and stopped at the homes of all the customers. The milkman doesn’t have to exercise much control at all.
But here we have a picture of a God before whom you would rightly cringe! How do we respond to this picture? Is that the kind of Lord who would cause you to rejoice? Perhaps it’s the kind of ruler who would execute you if you stopped clapping too soon at one of his rallies? That isn’t the case at all, as we read on through the Psalm. In verse 6 he made a way for his people to cross the Red Sea and the Jordan river without even getting their feet wet. And he did it because of the enemies who were pursuing them or waiting for them. God is the one who protects his people when they are in trouble. That’s the heart of his glory, as described in Psalm 66.
When I’m in trouble, when enemies are threatening me, that’s exactly when I want a Lord before whom the enemies will cringe. Especially when I reflect that the Lord not only allows but encourages all people to come before him in trust, so as to be the people under his protection! God in his mercy welcomes all to come to him, trusting that he is the creator and redeemer of the world. He welcomes all who come to him as partakers of his mercy and kindness. He will protect them from all evil. And, as he changes our attitudes so we desire the things he desires, he normally leaves us to proceed in an orderly manner, just like that milkman’s horse. He shows us the route. We keep to it, as it is the pleasant and right place to be.
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