March 9, 2017: Day 68 – Psalm 68March 9, 2017
This has to be the most difficult Psalm in the entire book of Psalms. The approach of the author is one where God is lifted up as one who defends the people, but then takes that next step of bringing the enemies before the reader “so that you may bathe you feet in blood, so that the tongues of your dogs may have their share from the foe.” And who said that we worship a God of peace and Islam is based upon violence and bloodshed? They must not have seen these verses in the Bible. I would guess that we are able to find very unsettling verses in the Bible which speak to destroying the enemy with bloodshed which closely mirrors the verses from the Koran that point to death to the infidels. Isn’t it something how religion sparks the worst in us?
I guess this is one of those psalms that I would like to quickly pass over. But let me lift up those parts that make me smile and give me strength for the day. As we read in vs.4 we see that we are to lift up the name of God. The main reason for that, as we read in vs.5 is that he is the Father of orphans and widows. He gives the desolate a home to live in and leads out the prisoners to prosperity. It does remind me of Jesus’ words in the synagogue which got him kicked out of this home town. Read Luke 4:14-30. It is quite an intense discourse and it ends with an attempt at violence and bloodshed but it is thwarted. But Jesus refers in the synagogue to a Scripture which comes from Isaiah. When you read Isaiah 61:1 it gives similar wording to the author.
These three Scriptures, and many others, form the foundation for what I consider my ministry. It is our responsibility, even if it is at a cost to ourselves, to care for the most vulnerable within our society. That doesn’t seem to be our approach these days. It surprises people to think that Jesus put the poor, the widow and orphan, the homeless and the prisoner, ahead of our own self-interest. Why would we do that if it endangers us? Because we are called to do it. This has to be the sign of our Christian faith, and not the dangling of our feet in the blood of our enemies, or in the blood of the less fortunate regardless of how they became less fortunate.
How I appreciate these words! It never ceases to amaze me how many people who know the bible very well choose the verses they want to believe and skip over the ones that make them uncomfortable.